Thursday, November 15, 2012

Casket construction has begun.

After working through a few difficulties on the prototype of the casket, construction on the final caskets has begun. I am making 20 of them, cutting the wooden parts are quick, putting them together however.....,lots of patience will be required.

These are just some of the parts for the casket, 40 sides, 20 bases and backs, a whopping 60 drawer dividers, and not in the photo, 40 partitions and 20 sliding panels. All the sides and backs has been grooved where the drawer dividers fit in, as well as the bottom and back edges of the sides where they fit into the base and back. Plus the drawer dividers has grooves for the upright partitions between the drawers.

The first step is to line the inside of the casket with paper. At first I wasn't sure if I should seal the paper or not, but realizing that in the process of putting them together the parts will be handled a lot, I decided that it would be better to seal the paper. Now the next question arrived, with what should I seal it, I didn't want to use a water based sealer as those seem to stay tacky forever and neither did I want to use a normal varnish, and these caskets will end up in different parts of the world, some places extremely hot and dry and others damp and cold. So off I went to the art shop and was introduced to a product I have never heard of before, Japan Gold Size from Windsor and Newton and I just love it. It puts on easy, it dries quick and no visible layer, I bought the antiquing one and love how it deepens the color of the paper. The sealer is quite oily while it is wet and seeps right through the paper, so to prevent any problems with gluing the paper to the casket, I first sealed one side of the paper with thinned white glue (this side is the side that gets glued to the casket) and once that was dry I used the Japan gold size on the other side. Once the sealer is dry there is no sign of oiliness. I apply the paper before putting the casket together and made a cardboard template for each shape to speed up cutting time.

One of the processes that were changed from the prototype was the silvering of the edges of the drawer dividers. For the prototype I used aluminium leaf but didn't like it as it was too shiny and the gold size was lumpy and took forever to dry. In the end I tried a silver permanent marker and once again it proved easy to put on. I simply just draw on each front of the drawer divider before assembly, then the silver also covers the  cut paper edge. The pen is also too shiny, but by immediately going over the line with a Q-tip, the excess ink is removed and the silver gets a nice matte look.

With the sliding panel in place. Now my goal is to get all twenty to this place, which I guess is going to take the rest of the month. This is not difficult to make but incredibly small and fiddly to handle.



Giac said...

Hello Elga,
That is awsome! The finish looks really good. I really love the fact that you build it like a real life piece. Your attention to detail is very inspiring. I can't wait to see more.
Big hug,

Mini Southern Millworks said...

Elga I know how you feel machining all those tiny pieces. I never put all of them together though.

Waiting to see the finished piece.


Gee said...

You won't be bored this month, I would probably go crazy if I had to make that much of the same.
I guess you are a patient person. Already excited to see the next post on this.
Good luck!

Fi.P said...

Hi Elga,

you know I use that exact japanese Gold Size to stick gold leaf onto my paintings. It is a wonderful product.

I often find myself shaking my head when looking at the work you do. It is always so precise, and i am amazed at level of detail.

Fi xx

Anneke said...

I'm going to have to look into this japanese gold stuff. It sounds like gold!

The precision with which you work is astonishing! I love the little lady in her tent work you did, and now these tiny caskets... I love it.