Monday, February 6, 2012

Making display pedestals or other cylinders

We're working on building a pop-up shop for Ms Brown, the new M&M character debuted at yesterday's SuperBowl.
The shop is in the style of an art gallery so we had to make the 5 display pedestals you see here.

So, to cut the circles for the tops and bottoms of the pedestals, we attached a plywood piece to extend the table of the bandsaw, (photo #2) and pre-cut square blanks of plywood on the table saw whose dimensions were the diameter of the circles.
Finding center of these squares, and the center of the extended bandsaw table, we screwed the plywood blank through its center point exactly onto the line of the center of the plate, so that the side of the blank touched the bandsaw blade,(see example photo #3). Rotating the blank around this centered point, we cut out our circles(photo #4)
We actually stacked two blanks to cut them in pairs and marked the radial "hour" marks identically onto each edge, while they were still stacked, so we could exactly line up the struts, which you see in left of  photo #1 . We then cut away the center of one circle, leaving a ring for an open bottom so we could eventually put weights in there for stability.
Attaching these struts very carefully to keep the unit square, we made the framework,  and then rolled a strip of 3/8" wiggle wood on to it to wrap the piece.
You can see the basic idea in photo #1 - though what's not shown is that we used a common car ratchet strap to give us the leverage to cinch the wiggle wood skin tightly to the pre glued struts. The skin was then stapled to the struts, using 1 1/4" narrow crown staples.
Wiggle wood is rather rough so to finish the pieces, we sanded them lightly first with #150 paper and then skim coated the entire surface with vinyl spackle, to take away any hint of wood grain. We sanded with #220 and spackled them again after this to make a fine surface for the paint. Prime painted, and spot filled/sanded again as needed.
Luckily these pieces were to be flat white, which is a very forgiving finish, so filling and sanding was fairly straightforward. If they had to have a shiny surface, we would have wrapped them in formica, Italian bending poplar, or other smooth sheet product, as a final surface over the wiggle wood.
And there you have it... easy cylinders that will each hold about 100 lbs of sculpture.