Interior Window Security Bars

Inside view of bathroom windows

Inside view of bathroom window security bars

Many older style homes and units have outward opening bathroom windows which makes it difficult to install suitable security bars. The solution we offered a client was to install them on the inside of the bathroom windows.

Interior security bar installations present their own set of difficulties not least of which is being able to open and close the windows which are now behind the bars.

These particular windows have a long arm which needed to be able to swing up from the locked position and then pivot out to push the window open. This was achieved by using a cross motif in the design which allows the opening arm to be manipulated through the open areas of the bars.

Window opening arm operation.

Window opening arm operation.

Exterior view of bathroom windows

Exterior view of bathroom windows

 

Another Headstone Inscription Repair

Repaired headstone inscription

Completed headstone inscription repair

Here is another headstone inscription repair that we recently completed. In this case the inscription had been painted black and, over time, all the paint had worn away leaving only the engraved lettering in the marble headstone.

The engraved inscription was in very good condition so it responded very well to our repair process which involved cleaning the marble, masking the areas around the lettering, applying a polyester adhesive to fill the engraved lettering and finally sanding off the excess to reveal the inscription.

These steps are described in the photos below and also in this post .

Original headstone inscription

Original headstone with difficult to read lettering due to faded paint infill

Masking tape around lettering

The area around the lettering is masked off for ease of sanding

Applied polyester adhesive filler

The polyester adhesive filler is applied to the inscription with a spatula

Sanding the inscription

Sanding back the polyester adhesive filler with wet’n’dry abrasive paper

 

Arched Window Louvre Shutters

Arched window shutters

Arched window shutters

An upstairs verandah in a Sydney terrace had a bare brick opening in its side wall which the owner decided needed some louvre shutters. The owner had some discarded louvre doors available and we were approached to see if they could be recycled and used to make a set of louvre shutters for the wall opening.

The louvre doors were cut to size and fitted with arch sections which matched a timber frame that was built to fit inside the wall opening. Once the window frame had been painted it was fitted into the wall opening and fixed in position with black epoxy filler. Epoxy was used because the wall opening was not square and the arched top not a perfect circle arc resulting in clearance variations between the bricks and the wooden window frame.

As can be seen from the photo below the addition of the decorative window shutters was a major improvement to the overall look of the home.

Original opening in the upstairs verandah wall

Original opening in the upstairs verandah wall

Verandah view of window shutters

View of the window shutters from the verandah

Giant Number One

Giant number ONE assembled

Giant number ONE assembled

This giant number ONE was built as a centre piece for a first birthday party. The number stands 2.5m tall and is 1.6m wide at the base.

For ease of transport the number ONE splits into two pieces. Steel pins on each of the four uprights sleeve inside the top part of the frame for assembly.

The framework is made from 20mm steel RHS tube and painted white. A small platform was built into the base to give the option for a high chair to be placed inside the framework. The platform would raise the high chair so it was more central inside the frame.

Giant number one disassembled for travelling

Number ONE disassembled for travelling

Giant ONE display

Giant ONE display installation
(courtesy Serena Cece photography)

Steel Display Frames

Steel display frames

Steel display frames X3

A simple yet effective method for displaying flowers or any object for that matter is to put them into steel display frames. They highlight the objects on display by making them seem as if they are in display cases and imparts a feeling of exclusivity to the items.

These steel frames are made from 25mm square steel tube and are 2.1m tall, 65cm wide and 30cm deep. Painted gloss black they are free standing and can easily be moved around. This type of frame can easily be made in any size to suit your individual requirements.

It is a good idea to fasten the base to the floor or have a strong fishing line tether attached to the tops of the frames to prevent them from falling over if accidentally bumped by a curious patron.

Large Crown Display Table

Completed large crown

Completed large crown display table

This post describes the finishing of the large crown display table frame. The table is 815cm high and was used as a display stand for a birthday cake however it could also be used in any situation that required a unique and stylish display centre piece.

The main objective in making the large crown is to get the finish of the timber framework as smooth as possible. By its nature raw timber is uneven due to its grain. The crown frame was first sanded to remove large irregularities and then cleaned with compressed air. Next the first of several coats of undercoat were applied.

The first application of undercoat was the most important as it absorbed into the timber causing the wood grain to expand. The timber crown frame was then sanded smooth again. After the first undercoat any imperfections in the finish became blazingly apparent. These were first filled with Spakfilla and sanded back again before subsequent applications of undercoat. After each application had dried the frame was sanded back yet again which gradually filled remaining small surface imperfections. The display table had seven undercoats before the finish was acceptable.

Undercoated timber frame

Undercoated timber frame

Drilling guide holes for upholstery nails

Drilling guide holes for upholstery nails

Once the undercoating was finished the decorative trimming was applied. A simple fleur-de-lys was fitted to each of the six laminated curved sections of the large crown frame and domed brass upholstery nails were aligned along all the edges. A small jig was made to drill location holes for the upholstery nails to ensure they were all an even distance from each other.

Fitting decorative trimming

Fitting decorative trimming

Undercoat again to seal the trim

Undercoat again to seal the trim

After yet another undercoat application and light sanding of the timber framework the upholstery nails were fitted. It was better to leave the nails till last so that they didn’t obstruct the sanding process. After the upholstery nails were fitted the whole large crown frame was sprayed with metallic gold paint.

Upholstery nails fitted

Upholstery nails fitted

Large crown painted gold

Large display crown painted gold

Laminated Curved Plywood Crown Display

An interesting and unusual job was commenced recently which involved the design of a laminated curved plywood crown display table which will be used as a display table for a birthday cake at a party. The final design will be a gold regal crown approximately 800mm high and 700m wide with a removable platter on top to accommodate the cake.

Drawing a curved shape

Drawing the curved shape on a grid

The crown was first designed using CAD to get the proportions balanced and to determine the sizes of the individual parts and how they were going to fit together. A scaled down version of the crown side profile drawn within a scaled grid was printed out on an A4 sheet of paper.

Next two sheets of 15mm plywood the size of the final profile were screwed together and a 1:1 grid was drawn onto the top sheet. The 1:1 profile shape was then drawn on the plywood using the scaled A4 printout as a guide. Once the profile shape had been drawn the rest of the form shape was added and the shape of the first form section was cut out using the bandsaw.

First from profile cut to shape

First from profile cut to shape

The plywood offcut left over after cutting this first form profile will be used later in the build to make the second half of the profile form.

A belt sander was used to smooth the profile curves of the 15mm plywood *sandwich* so that both pieces are identical. These two pieces of plywood will form the top and bottom faces of the profile form so it is important that they are the same so that a smooth curved surface can be achieved that will clamp the plywood laminates together with an even pressure across its surface.

Fitting spacer blocks along the profile form

Fitting spacer blocks along the profile form

The finished width of the laminated curved plywood sections will be 120mm so the width of the form profile was made to be 130mm so the sections can be trimmed to size after each one is made.

The two 15mm plywood sections are now separated and 100mm high blocks of wood are arranged along the profile curve as shown on the left.

Completed form profile sandwich

Completed form profile sandwich

Once these have been glued and screwed the form profile is again smoothed on the belt sander so the blocks follow the contour of the top and bottom sections. This ensures that the 4mm plywood skin which is next attached to this face of the profile is supported as much as possible so it wont deform when under pressure from the clamping process later.

Marking out the second form profile

Marking out the second form profile

The curved plywood laminates will be approximately 20mm thick so the profile of the second half of the form must be 20mm offset from the profile of the first form. This ensures that when the two halves are clamped together there with be an even pressure along the entire length of the curved section making a uniform bonding of all the laminates.
You can see in the picture how the completed first profile is placed on the offcut from which it was cut and a 20mm offset has been drawn along its profile.

Completed second profile form

Completed second profile form

The second profile is now cut out on the band saw and the same process used in making the first form is repeated. The two plywood halves are separated and 100mm spacer blocks are attached along the profile between the two halves. The inside profile is again sanded so that the spacer blocks follow the profile of the sides so that the 4mm plywood face will be well supported when the two halves are clamped together with the laminates inside.

Applying PVA glue to the plywood laminates

Applying PVA glue to the plywood laminates

Now that both form profiles have been made we can make the curved plywood crown sections. There will be six 3.5mm plywood laminates needed for each of the six crown side sections. Strips of plywood 140mm wide are cut across the width of the plywood sheets. This is ordinary plywood and it bends much more easily across the sheet than along its length. Once all the strips have been cut the glue is applied.

I have found that using a paint roller gives the best coverage over the plywood surface. Prior to applying the glue I like to wipe a wet cloth over both plywood faces to ensure that there will be no dry spots and that the glue gets good penetration into the wood. Both sides of each plywood strip are covered in glue (except the top and bottom of course) and stacked on top of each other.

Fitting the plywood laminates into the form

Fitting the plywood laminates into the form

Next carefully lift the plywood laminate *sandwich* and lay it between the two halves of the profile form. You need to judge where to start forcing it into the profile so that it doesn’t come up short at either end. This profile has a particularly tight radius and the bending had to be done gradually and carefully to avoid snapping the laminate sections. I found it best to use the first profile form to push the *sandwich* into the form. Make sure that the bottom form has a stop on the bench so it doesn’t move about as you manipulate the plywood into position.

Pulling the plywood into the profile form

Pulling the plywood into the profile form

Once the *sandwich* was bent into the tight radius a clamp was used to gradually pull it further into the profile form. A bit of juggling was needed with several clamps to get a uniform thickness along the profile curve. A clamp on the right hand side levered the first form into the second to achieve a snug fit. Make sure that the individual laminate strips don’t slip too much out of position. A wooden mallet can be used to tap them down flat before final clamping if they have moved out of alignment.

Fully clamped profile form with plywood laminates

Fully clamped profile form with plywood laminates

Once you have both profile forms in position and are happy with the position of the plywood laminates several other clamps can be applied and tensioned so that there is an even secretion of glue along the entire length of the section. This is the best way to gauge whether you will get a secure bond. Wipe all excess glue from the laminates (top and bottom) before leaving to dry. Leave it a good 24 hours before removing the clamps.

Completed section removed from profile form

Completed section removed from the profile form

After the glue has been allowed to dry the clamps are removed and the laminated section can be removed. The section holds its shape very well with only a few millimetres spring back measured. The next step is to trim the *sandwich* width and trim both ends in preparation for assembly.

The first thing to do is make one straight edge. Here is where the profile form comes in handy again as a means of holding the section securely while the edges are trimmed. The most convenient and direct way to clean up one edge is with a hand plane.

Planing one side flat on a section

Planing one side flat on a section

The section is securely clamped back onto the profile form with about 5-8mm protruding above the form face. The laminated section is now planed back to the edge of the form so that all the laminated strips are at the same level. Once this has been done the section is removed from the profile form and the edge is sanded smooth on the belt sander. We now have a straight edge from which the correct width cut line can be marked.

Sanding the edge flat on the belt sander

Sanding the edge flat on the belt sander

Marking the cutting llne for the section width

Marking the cutting llne for the section width

To save on a lot of hand planing a band saw was used to cut the majority of the excess width from the section. This needs to be done very carefully because of the irregular shape of the section.

Completed crown sections ready for assembly

Completed crown sections ready for assembly

Once the section has been cut to width it is again put on the belt sander to smooth up the edge. The final job is to trim both ends of the sections so they can be assembled as per the drawing. The procedure described above has to be repeated six times in order to make all the parts for the crown table.

A circular base was made with six equal rebates cut around the circumference to accommodate the laminated curved plywood sections.

Assembled basic structure of the crown table

Assembled basic structure of the crown table

The crown table was now be assembled by glueing and screwing the sections to the circular base section and the upper support disc. A strip of 1.5mm plywood is fitted around the base to hid the bottom of the side sections and give a cleaner look.

The next task is to undercoat and fill the framework in preparation for the gold finish. There will also be mouldings and trimming added to the frame to add to the visual appeal of the display table. This process will be described in another post.

Wollemia Urology Centre Website

Wollemia website screenshots

Responsive design Wollemia website

We usually apply our design skills to theatrical props and Art Deco security bars so it was a nice change to be offered the opportunity to design a website for the Wollemia Urology Centre in Gosford.

Rather than starting from scratch you can save yourself a lot of time by using one of the huge variety of website templates available on the Internet. There are many free templates available and for a small fee you can purchase one with a bit more pizzaz. There is a tendency for websites to have lots of “bells and whistles” which can get tedious to wade through so our approach to the design was to keep it as simple as possible while still maintaining an appealing and distinctive look.

The biggest challenge in using templates is deciding what features you don’t want to use. This is made doubly difficult with huge CSS style sheets that have been written to accommodate every feature in a template. Searching through the style sheets trying to find the code that will adjust a font to just so with just the right colour can get very time consuming. Its a bit of a learning curve to get things to do what they were not intended to do in the original template.

We based the site on the free Proximet responsive website by Anariel Design. This offered a clean basic structure that was quite easy to adapt to our purposes. The usual way to build a site is to have all the content and build the site around it. We approached it from the other direction by seeing how the pages where structured and creating content to fit. It was a more organic approach and the site slowly evolved into its final form as it was literally sculpted into shape. The only Java script we retained was for the image slider on the homepage. It’s use on the other pages were felt to be too much of a distraction.

When you have finished a site *always* do a spell check *and* get somebody else to proof read it for you. After days of staring at code the most glaring errors can be invisible to you until pointed out. Once all the content was finished SEO issues then reared their ugly head. SEO is another steep learning curve which really stretches the limits of your command of the English language.