Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My first project

Planning and Building the Gazebo (By Sherpa)

Somewhere early July 2007, I received a request from Little Sun, if it would be possible to make her a Gazebo. My answer was: "That should be possible, but what is a Gazebo?" "A garden house or a teahouse, but in an English way" she replied. Well, surely that could be possible, right in time for my month off work. I’ll create an outline and get started! Six corners, no wait, octagonal that’s beautiful. And what kind of roof? One floor or rather two? Supplies are no problem. A shop for miniature aircrafts just opened in our hometown and all kinds of wooden strips are for sale. So on to the store and let’s get some wood…
First start is the floor, like a porch, on the wish list. I thought it might be nice to make it in the shape of an octagon, instead of having all the boards lined up next to each other.
 I got a green light from Sun, and started creating a mould, so that the eight segments would be the same. It is our first time building on scale and we do not have the proportions in our head. The segments have a length of 9.5 cm, which would bring the gazebo to a diameter of 19 cm. The more we work on it, the more we find, that it will be a very small gazebo. In 1:1 scale, it would be a 228 cm diameter, which isn’t a lot. Just enough for a chair and a table, and that’s it. Hmmm, maybe we should change the plan a bit?

We also have a Camel walking about in the house, who likes to be involved in the fun. He has a lot of comments, but also presents us with an idea... If we would double the segments in length, the diameter would become 465 cm in 1:1 scale, and that would be reasonable. No, we do not have a garden with room for a gazebo like that ourselves, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we have dreams.
So, let’s go back to the store and get more wood. New moulds that connect to the already-made segments are made, and we continue with the floorboards.
And then you find out that your plane is waiting. Has the time gone quicker than expected, or has it been a lot more work, than we’ve envisioned? On itself, the floor consists of 224 pieces of wood, and getting it all right, simply takes a lot of time.
Well, let’s go on vacation and after that, it should be easy, to finish the Gazebo. At airport Schiphol they serve coffee, with beautiful wooden stirs.. What can I do with them? Yes, I know! Trellis for the roof. Let’s see how to get some more. I have one now, and with the next cup of coffee, I have another…
I’m doing volunteer work in the USA, at a festival in the desert. It lasts for 14 days, and yes, they have the same coffee stirs. On my last day, I go and ask if I could have some, and that wasn’t a problem. Hurray!
I’m going home, with in my bags a lot of coffee stirs, and many ideas for the Gazebo.
Back home, we pick up the project where we left it. Camel has his own ideas, and doesn’t always keep his mouth shut, so, every now and then, we shut him up with a cloth pin…
Next is the roof, and that makes it exciting for me. I do not have any drawing, nor a description, and have to do everything by looking and trying. I’ve left school before they could teach me about mathematics, so I’m not able to calculate anything. Well, okay, it is just an octagon, and there are just three levels in the roof…
Again, we work with separate parts, that will later on be connected. We make frames and beams out of balsa wood.
Soon we find, that the floors were easier… That was flat, this is not only a triangle, but also standing a bit upwards. We make a mould of cardboard, and hope for the best.
Camel provides the necessary help, holding the glue

or testing the roof

                                by using it as a lazy lounge chair.

Whilst waiting for the glue to dry, I’m working with the coffee stirs. With some glue, some headpins, some soft board, the trellises start to grow. It appears that there will be 420 coffee stirs needed, so we’re busy for quite a while. We glue them on, 8 pieces at the time, on the soft board covered in baking paper, to avoid the glue sticking to something else.
And while the glue on the trellises is drying, we return to the roof… That is, if we can keep it out of Camel’s paws.. We try to imagine the height between de roof levels, and what to make between the medium and smallest roof. We thought slats would be nice. The trellises are planned between the biggest and medium level of the roof.
We’ll try and see. It’s getting more difficult than expected, because the whole thing is getting pretty big, and not too easy to handle. Fortunately, the Tacky Glue dries rapidly.
It’s a lot of work, but the roof grows to be just like the image we’ve had in our minds and finally it gets ready for the roof shingles. We’ve talked a lot about these tiles.. Sun finally decides, she wants the shingles, as seen in a kindergarten in Leiden, and they could be made in scale, out of wooden tongue depressors.
We have no idea, how many we will need, but we start with ordering 5 boxes. That should do, there are a 1000 shingles to be made of them.
Wel, it turned out, that we needed 995 shingles for the roof. We have to sand every single one of them, to make sure, they lie nicely flat over each other. I’ts a lot more work, but it shows. The more we look at it, the more we think, the roof is sure looking like a pineapple.

The trellises are getting finished.
Time flies and the Dolls House Fair in Arnhem is coming up, which suits me very well. We do not have all the necessary materials at home, and it’s also a good opportunity for searching for ideas.
There’s a little fence coming in 7 of the 8 sides, and we have no wood for that. The shop Houthoekje provides us, with railings and the large poles, that should keep the roof up. At the fair in Bocholt (B), we find the little posts for the fence. 

We would also like to get some lacy consoles in the upper corners, and we order those by Veronica, of shop De Maneschijn. The consoles are the only parts, in the whole project, that are glued, when we buy them… But we still have to alter a lot, to make them the way we like it.
Later on, we will make a plastic cube, to cover the entire project and keep the dust out. But for now, it’s time for Christmas. According to my counting, there are now 1983 pieces of wood in the project.
Looking back, on the construction, I think we’ve done very well.. it’s our first project, and though we still have to learn a lot, we’ve given it our best, and it sure has become a beautiful Gazebo. The building was an opportunity to buy lots of new tools, and learn how to use them.

Sun made the flowers and the furniture. Together we made the pond and the bees and the hive.

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