Welcome to my design blog for my class, Materials, which focuses on the practical skills of working with a variety of materials.
Project 1: Wooden Geometry
Objective: Using the knowledge, tools and techniques we have gained in this module, turn a raw hardwood segment into a convex polyhedron (Links to an external site.). The object should be no larger than 12"x12"x12", but should have at least 2 sides that are ~6" or larger.
To start the project, I begin to explore different shapes and how the edges of those shapes might be joined together. Immediately I was drawn to shapes that were hollow and utilized miter cut joinery. I found the hexagon and octagon shapes to be most attractive and wanted to do some type of honeycomb structure. Realizing I would not have enough wood for this, I settled for choosing a hexagon or octagon. To make this decision, I mapped out how I would cut my piece of wood for each. My pieces of wood were 12", and I decided six 2" wide pieces would be easier to work with than 8 1.5' pieces. Also, with an octagon I would have to cut precisely to a half degree for the miter joint. With the hexagon, the miter cut would be at 30 degrees which would be easier for my level of accuracy.
Prototype and Practice:
So that I would not waste one of my pieces of nice hardwood, I used a piece of pine board to practice my miter cuts and joinery. This was a good thing because I initially made a wrong cut on the first piece. I used a chop saw to cut my two inch wide pieces of wood from the 12" plank. I then cut at a 30 degree angle on the chop saw on each piece. When cutting the second 30 degree angle on the first piece, I cut it in the opposite direction I was supposed to. For this reason, my prototype pieces are smaller than the final product because I had to cut down each piece even more to account for my mistake. Overall the pieces fit together decently, but I knew I'd have to be slightly more precise for the final product.
For the final product, I used a 12" piece of poplar wood. Like I did above, I measured and cut the board into six 2" pieces. From there, I cut a 30 degree angle on the end of each piece and made sure the opposite cut on the same piece was -30 degrees. I then glued the pieces together and placed some screws (as seen in the top of the middle picture below) to add some support for my piece. I tried to sand down the tops of the screws in areas where I thought their protrusion was overexposed. My cuts were slightly off, and it can be seen at the top connection point in the second and third images below. I believe that if I did this project every day for a month, the result would be more accurate over time. There are some intricacies to cutting wood, and simply put, sometimes the wood does not want to work for you. Instead you will work for it. To finish off my piece, I sanded it down with 80 to 120 to 220 grit sand paper until I thought my fingerprints were also sanded off. The grain was smooth and the linseed oil I applied to the wood gave it a nice finish that made the grain look nice with the shape. In reality, I love everything in the color black so I felt the need to spray paint it a matte black. I actually think I like the look of the finished grain better than the painted version.