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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Thanks, guys. Hopefully it will provide some different perspective and ideas about how to achieve a desired shape, regardless of the material. This was a good job to finish without breaking it & buying it.. I would rather carve granite than marble.

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  • neilb
    replied
    thank you for sharing your work cliffy

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  • Chazza
    replied
    Superbly impressive work!

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Final pics. The four flat vertical faces were also bricked with the same abrasives in same crosshatch pattern at the end to match the carved areas. The apex edges were bricked to a knife edge while the face edges were tipped approx 45 degrees. This was to match the remaining exterior corners (as they came to me from the manufacturer) and to help protect these edges from damage. The combination of the white color, definitive faceting and strong play of value (shadows, light and dark) make this a very dramatic stone to photograph.

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    The ironic aspect of this stone is that the apex detail is largely invisible after installation to the casual viewer because it is set far above eye level. This is all that most people will ever really see.

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    The front and back will have a border with panel and cross detail added via sandblasting. Sides will be left blank for now. It's easy to fake a curve. It's much harder to do straight lines, flat panels and square corners, especially to do many on one job with no losses or failures. This will be a hard job to beat and is a fantastic addition to diversify my portfolio. Thanks for watching.
    Last edited by cliffrod; 31-10-20, 05:14 PM. Reason: add a word

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    The crooked lines seen in the last pic of the previous post are a good indicator of how flat/straight the details are or aren't. Carefully remove crown in neighboring details and all goes straight. Then, it's done-

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    This stone is not quite as vertically sharp as the original because it's slightly larger in horizontal dimensions.
    Last edited by cliffrod; 31-10-20, 05:13 PM.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Once lower corners are well developed, it's time to resolve crown on both edge and panel area detail. This is the endless blocking of a car prior to painting. There are no short cuts.

    Marble is metamorphic stone- sedimentary stone that has acted upon by heat and pressure to knead it like bread dough- so has inclusions. These can be fatal to a project, especially on edges and corners. This piece has some issues but has been pretty clear and sound. Now I can remove crown and square things. It's still best to err slightly on the side of crown. Perfectly flat & straight happens for an instant. Then it's dished or concave, which is a 100% fail every time. Not cool. A slight (imperceptible) swell of crown in line or panel also uses employs the concept of entasis to convey strength, vibrancy and life.

    While granite is finished with a chisel, marble is carved to near completion with a smooth chisel and then bricked/rubbed into final dimension and surface with abrasive. Marble is so soft that it easily bruised or stunned. A white mark denoting crushed crystals can remain in the smoothed surface, require another 1/16"-1/8" of material be removed to resolve it. This can destroy a proper flat or straight. So it's slow work to carve near to completion, then brick it to correct position and have all end well.

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    There's nothing romantic about the abrasives used. I keep all of my old green wheels, exhausted from sharpening carbide chisels, for exactly such work. They are cut and abraded into whatever shape I need. For this job, I needed longer rubbing stones. A quick trip to the cheap tool store netted a couple of cheap 8" x 3/4" blue grindstones with a tiny center hole. I cut one into strips and got to work.

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    I had already worked most of the edge detail very close to straight/plane, leaving crown in the centers between edges. Now the crown in the center, sometimes as much as 1/4", is worked down with a wide flat chisel. It's easy to see the material being removed here on an apex panel near a dormer ridge. Much like regular blocking, working tools in a crosshatching pattern helps limit deep cuts and bruising.


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    After this portion is close to flat, the rest of this panel will be brought into plane with chisels. Twist between sides needs to be resolved at the same time. Since the edges are already nearly perfect, they are not disturbed. The margin between the lowered center and near-finished edges is visible here. All is slowly bricked into shape to end at nearly perfect flat condition. Once this is done, the corners and intersections- in this picture, that would be the apex plane and dormer ridge- needs to be squared, straightened and finished without leaving any undercuts or bruises.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Now to move down to lower corner detail. This is more complicated to reach and keep details justified. Once again, the plane of the ridge is developed one step at a time for each corner before progressively moving to the next step.

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    The priority now is to develop all the detail so that it properly registers with tangent detail and agrees with neighboring details. Because the stone is not perfectly precise in dimension, variation needs to be addressed. Each corner has to both match the complementing corner on the same face (180 degree partner) while it simultaneously matches the tangent corner (90 degree partner). The unavoidable imperfections in both dimension and natural stone irregularities require some fiddling to make all demonstrate or appear as flat, true and square.

    This is a primary reason for the methodical approach to producing flats for ridge planes, plumb corners that become exterior edges, etc. instead of carving them freehand and hoping all ends well. Having a dominant number of straight, square and plumb features- especially ones that handle light significantly to reinforce their straight/square/plumb characteristics- will functionally overwhelm the the viewer to convince them that all is well. This is how visual noise in a composition can be used to your advantage. Minor variations are diminished.

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  • Chazza
    replied
    Fantastic work! I still can't understand how you sculpt something as hard as granite,

    Cheers Charlie

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    In general, panel or flat areas are defined along or around the edges with center left crowned or heavy. The crown is then lowered to produce as flat a panel as desired. The apex detail is very crowned right now as I approach both flat and agreement. The vaulted apex top needs to properly agree with each neighboring side and the respective dormer top. Tomorrow I will begin finishing each dormer top- ridge line is visible pencil line on the flat, base of pitch is at intersection of flat- simultaneously with the apex detail.

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    Overhead view-


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    The remaining crown makes these visible as curved, but that will go away.

    Along with the tools above, I meant to add- when I started carving this 2 wks ago today, I sharpened my carbide chisels. They are still as sharp now as they were 2 wks ago. When carving granite, the same exact carbide chisels stay sharp for approx 3-5 minutes before needing to be resharpened. When carving marble, it's easy to have cramps from sitting or standing without moving enough. It's also normal to have to stop carving because the chisels get too hot to hold from working against the stone. After fighting granite every step of the way, it can be fun to plow through marble at a ferocious rate.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    The pitched panels are cut with a smooth chisel and left approx 1/8"-1/4" heavy for now.

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    Now work begins upon the apex top detail.


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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Now the top detail begins. I continue cutting detail via production of checks or squared stock removal to a desired level. The same detail or step is done on each face before the next detail is produced. This will speed your work and produce more accurate results than producing a single area to completion before advancing.


    First will be the check along the base of the dormer vault-

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    After this is done, the general pitch panels of the dormers are roughed into shape.


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    Then the horizontal flat of the check at the base of the pitch is produced.

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    A couple of details. Aspects are accurate but not perfect or square or even cut to the lines at this point. It's important to leave room for 1. the abraded final desired surface and 2. to adjust the overall job so that all details register properly with neighboring details. This stone is close but not perfectly square. Neither is the stone it must fit. In fact, the column it will top is 1/4" out of square as delivered.(1'-2 3/8" x 1'-2 5/8") All adjoining faces and intersections will have to be made to meet properly, while all surfaces must be produced in plane as much as possible. So there's a little wiggle room left.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    Before more stone was removed from the top, it was time to flip the stone over and produce the detail around the bottom. Same strategy- produce accurate divisions of material removal and proceed with detail production.

    a 1" band is produced to facilitate the 1/2" radius half round.

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    Pics go kind of fast here. Two bevels are produced. First, a 1/2" deep cut it produced 1/2" above the placement of the upper 1/2" check placement. Then a bevel is produced to connect the two. A second bevel is then produced for the larger cove or scotia detail between the 1/2" check and 1/2" round at bottom (or joint, which is currently top in pic) ., These bevels are then evacuated to produce the 1/2" check and the approx 2" tall cove.

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    Fast forward to finished check & cove with 1/2" round, stone right side up-

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    For reference, 99% of this work is done with one of two pneumatic air hammers, two smooth straight chisels, one clawed chisel, a tri square and a few sanding blocks & rubbing stones. Nothing fancy.
    Last edited by cliffrod; 13-10-20, 03:22 AM.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    I produced both a sheet metal pattern of 1/2 of one face of the dormer detail, as well as a 1/4 pattern (90 degrees) in 1:1 scale for reference. It is normal to produce the model or 3D pattern for a capital in 90 degrees, since it will be repeated 4 times.

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    Showing the process of how this is cut might help some here think through making relevant shapes. Most people without specific training would just decide upon a path and start cutting without a practical overall strategy. This leads to interior edges and corners that are not square or plumb or level by themselves or in relationship to neighboring detail. Having the original square faces, it's straightforward (just very boring) to sequentially produce significant interior details as measured and squared from the existing true faces before those faces are removed.

    First, the plane of the top ridge of each dormer is produced. Each is approximately in the center of these reliefs. The interior end of each relief represents the intersection of the dormer ridge with the respective face of the apex top.

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    Then the raised blocks on corners are removed. The goal here is to produce the approx 1" of the bottom of the interior corner. This is actually the exterior edge of the step detail on the model. When it is further relieved on the right and left, this interior corner will become that interior edge. This is a relatively simple way to produce a straight, plumb and accurately located detail as measured from each respective face. If I had just started cutting and hoped to find this detail as I worked, it would be a big fail.

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  • cliffrod
    replied
    No metal work recently. I've been working on my shops so doing metal and wood will hopefully be a more efficient process. There has been stone work. I'm working on a very different project right now, compared to my "normal" subjects.

    A local customer requested a reproduction of a Carrara Marble memorial, likely cut in the 1870's. The uppermost detail of this installation is considered to be a dormered capital with a vaulted apex top. This type of work is traditionally done by a finisher, not a carver or sculptor. My cousin who trained me is a Master Finisher, so taught me finishing techniques as well. A friend once said/asked "basically, people send you a picture and you send them a statue, right? No fancy measurements or drawings, right?" That's partly how this came to me. It was too complicated to measure and communicate to an out-of-town specialist. So they called me. It was literally too complicated for me to even measure and document in person. So I took a few relevant dimensions and resolved the rest as needed.

    The original family plot stone with early dates of 1874 and 1882 iirc.

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    Overall dimensions of the capital (from the half round bead below the cove) are 1'-7" x 1'-7" x 1'-5" tall

    Since dimensional Carrara Marble is not commercially available, I recommended Colorado Yule Marble. Very similar to Carrara.

    Here is stone with initial layout-

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    Last edited by cliffrod; 13-10-20, 03:18 AM.

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  • cliffrod
    commented on 's reply
    Thanks, Charlie. This patron is thrilled and really gets it. It's always great to connect with people like her & even better when they buy something.
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