I’d like to say our speciality in this industry is curves. If we’re asked to design a counter, 9 times out of 10 we will include a curve in there somewhere, if asked to develop a design we will usually put a curve where there is a square corner, it not only makes it look better it just makes it more functional for the user and softens the appearance and usability. Yes it’s harder to do, but we blummin’ love a challenge!
All our apprentices learn how to curve, and when we were asked to produce a curved skirting detail Danny and I figured it was the perfect opportunity for Josh to learn how to do it! His “learning curve” if you will……
When forming your curves the first thing to do is establish the centre point of your radius or circle. I was sent a drawing which showed an internal radius of 900 mm, but, what the drawing says and what is on site are usually two completely different things. A site survey would have to be made, so I asked Charlie to cut me a couple of templates using 4 mm MDF which I took on site and fitted them to the internal and external radius, I can confirm that they were different to the drawing, quite a bit different. But this wasn’t a problem because I had fitted them to the exact shape.
I took these back to the workshop where I went through with Josh what he had to do. I explained that using the templates, he had to form a jig the opposite way round. So that the back of the skirting would fit the wall. The diagram below should explain it better.
Once he had cut and shaped these to fit, he went about building a former using these shapes to ensure it would all be identical. Using a flush cutter in the router Josh could ensure that the curved formers would be exactly the same as the template, he cut two of these and then cut some ribs to build the former out to the desired width.
Using these formers Josh used a layer of BendiPly and 2 layers of 4 mm MDF to build up a thickness of 18 mm to match the existing skirting on site. Between each layer he spread a coat of PVA glue across the whole surface and once he sandwiched all the layers together he used ratchet straps and clamps to pull the layers to the shape of the former.
After the weekend Josh took the clamps off to reveal the once flat panels were holding the shape of the curve without the need of a clamp or strap. After cutting them to the required width the next step was to machine the bevel on top to match the existing on site.
To do this he would either need to use a router or the Spindle Moulder, after inspection he concluded that the hand held router would not be able to safely cut the mould on the internal radius, so he set up the adjustable angled block on the Spindle Moulder with a guide wheel.
With the mould cut, it was time to finish the skirting to the same finish as what was on site. However, the ones on site were solid Ash. Ash can be steam bent and is a good timber to do this, but the client wasn’t keen on going down this route. So we purchased a flexible paper backed veneer which we adhered to the exposed faces to create the effect of a solid piece of timber. To the rear Josh adhered a backing laminate to balance and to stop it springing out.
Once finished I delivered to site where the site carpenters would fix them to the wall and run the existing skirting seamlessly into the curved section.
We are always learning at JFW Ltd, always adapting to new methods, processes and materials. Passing on the knowledge to the younger members of the team is one of the best things we can do. It benefits us all, It teaches the lads skills which they can take on and develop throughout their career, it also helps them help the company produce top quality interesting work. We are proud that we can state that all the guys here were apprentices through John F. White Ltd Cabinetmakers. They learnt their craft under our roof and developed it under our roof and we are what we are because of it.
I hope you enjoyed this little lesson in our methods. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch!
Have a great weekend!!!
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