Friday, August 19, 2011
Finishing the Ferrari Crankshaft Base
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Ever heard of him?
He's known for two concepts that kept buzzing around in my head when I was completing this next project - "God is in the details" and "less is more." Both sentiments couldn't fit more aptly with regard to this piece.
This commission has been in my shop for WAY too long, I blogged about making the curved recesses here, and sanding those curves here. But I was held up by having to wait for the bearing that would allow the crankshaft to spin on the base I'd made.
It finally arrived.
I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't a split bearing like this. How was I going to utilize these two halves to support the crankshaft?
After coming up with a few sketches, I had a plan.
I needed to cut a curve to match the diameter of the bearing, so I pulled out the trusty Router Buddy and cut a sample recess, to test the fit.
Perfect. I got lucky; it usually takes a couple of attempts.
Since the base is made of solid (and gorgeous!) Cherry, I cut the curve into a solid block of Cherry, and then split the block down the middle, giving me two matching halves.
Here is how the bearing will fit on the crankshaft end.
And here are the bearings in the blocks of wood that I've prepared.
But here is where my brain started messing with my plans - what sort of shape did I want to use for these end blocks?
I sketched something with slanted sides, but I just wasn't certain that those looked best. So I drew one with a straight side.
I still couldn't decide which I liked best.
Eventually, I made both styles out of scrap wood, and set them in place. It's so much easier to make decisions when you can see the choices right in front of you.
The decision was pretty clear, after seeing the two options. Slanted all the way.
A little more sanding and then the final attachment of those end supports.
When completed, I applied Watco Danish Oil to the piece, sanding it into the wood with 400 grit sandpaper. It's hard to describe how wonderful the wood felt after all these coats, but I think these pictures will give you an idea of it's character.
Sweating the details of a piece isn't uncommon; the little things like these two supports that can make or break the design.
This crankshaft freely rotates on the two bearings, it doesn't take much effort at all to spin it. I love doing off-the-wall projects like this!