Monday, April 23, 2012

CT 16 Historic Millwork

College of the Redwoods Historic Millwork

Students projects were revolved around several major projects for the Spring of 2012. These projects included the turning of newl posts and balusters for the HPRT field school. Also on the project list was the milling and construction of redwood cabinets and counter tops to furnish the field school. Students had to mill their own profile knives to create the details that were to be replicated on the newly milled picture rail, crown molding for cabinets, the raised panels of the cabinet doors.

Shay Omran turning the newl post
Megan Carver turns the newl post top that consists of a sphere on a convex return with two donut details

Sarah Issacs-Myers and Quinn Kalish glueing up

The cabinets took the most length to prepare due to the stock had to be squared up and planed to the proper thickness then calculated for each style and rail that it would take to create each individual panel. Further more a special router set up was needed to create the radius profile seen on the door pictured top left
Redwood cabinets getting shellacked in the finish room.

Between three different classes, Millworks, Cabinet Making, and Interior Finishes the project is moving forward and is nearing completion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

CT 3 Interior Plaster

Quinn Kalich attaches wooden lathe back to the fire place
Peter Santino, master plasterer and interior finishes craftsman, is instructing students are learning traditional plastering  mixing and application, as well as, learning how to remove, repair and re-install broken plaster keys and lathe. Seen here is student, Quinn Kalish (left) replacing lathe on a fire place prepping it to receive a traditional lime putty, sand mortar mix as a base coat then a final finish coats  of joint compound and small mixture of Plaster of Paris (gypsum) for the final finish coast. Plaster walls and ceilings provide a great sound and thermal barrier when they are in proper shape, and most importantly are of craftsmanship that is HISTORIC!!
Peter Santino applying Lime Putty and sand as a base coat
showing proper "Italian" style throwing the
mud onto the wall
Peter feather boarding the second base coat to thickness to prepare for  the beggining of the finish coats

Using a "scarifier" to sctratch the base coat
 for the application of finsih coats

applying  fiber mesh is tedious work because sometimes surfaces and adhesive may not be ideal so dabs of joint compound can be used to help stick the fiber mech to the wall or ceiling surface

Jordan  Stull-Barnes and Elliot Kane apply Fiber Mesh and Joint
compound to the entry way of the field school

Shown at right are College of the Redwoods HPRT students applying fiber mesh to original plaster ceilings and walls to provide a reinforcement layer to the plaster which will receive three finish coats of joint compound for a nice smooth finish
Greg DeAngelis working the trowel and his hawk

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CT 8- Casting and Moldmaking

(right) Professor Bill Hole, College of the Redwoods, explains how to separate flexible molds from models. 

This spring College of the redwoods HPRT students are leaning and studying the aspects of plaster work and replication and creation of models and molds. Students learn  how to make clay models, make mother molds of plaster, latex 74, Polyurethanes, and resins in order to cast models. Advanced techniques include using oxides to add pigments to plaster to gain color attributes and mimic marble patterns, as well as, making an "horse and slipper" in which a wooden hand tool is fitted with a profile knife made of tin and fastened to wood stock with the same profile negative cut into it using a band-saw.
A running mold designed to  do mold a radial ceiling medallions (as seen below)

 Here students learn the basics of model and molds and how the shape of the model will indicate how easy it will be to remove the model from the mold. The extraction of the model form the mold depends heavily on what type of mold release is used and  what is also referred to as "undercuts". Mold releases help prevent the casting agent from sticking to the interior of the mold. Mold release can be anything from shellac, potters soap, universal mold release, vasoline, and a few other commonly obtainable products. Undercuts are where the shape of the model has a negative profile or recesses on its surface which can create a area of contact that will not allow the mold to separate from the model

Students Jordan, Chris, Elliot, and Paul pouring up a three part split mold held together by rubber bands to keep its form

Iron oxides were used to color  this garland  as an experiment in color pigmentation of plaster, as well as the decorative tile shown beloew

Rubber Mold Compound used for making a very rigid mother mold that will produce numerous castings withous loss of details. (above is the two part mix with an abalone shell as the model) 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


One of many abandoned homes left from the storm

Historic Green: Spring Greening 2012
       During the month of March in New Orleans, Louisiana; students come together under the banner of a humanitarian organization called, Historic Green.
       Historic Green is an organization that invites students down to the area of New Orleans - known as the lower 9th ward. This particular neighborhood saw a great amount of flood waters after the tropical storm, Katrina, caused a major levee to collapse. To help restore the neighborhood to a growing community, college students come during their Spring Break to volunteer for such actions as: repair/rehabilitation of homes, plant gardens, work on playgrounds, and helping with community and waterway cleanup.

Historic Green Volunteers
              Historic Green has been providing the lower 9th ward with student-volunteers for nearly 5 years now, but there is still so much left to do. Many homes still lay vacant with boards barred against windows and doors. Abandoned homes bear witness to the magnitude of the disaster as homes are broken, sinking, leaning, collapsing, or being reclaimed by nature. Little public support has been given to the 9th ward after Katrina - partially due to the neighborhoods undesirable image before the storm. The 9th ward was home to low-income families, elderly, and young dissident persons. Now, nearly 7 years later, the total population of the community is only reaching 40%, of which, only 10% are original residents. The 9th ward has been faced with many social and economic issues that plague its development because of these low population numbers.
             The lower 9th still has no access to fresh food. There still is not an operating grocery store or fire department, nor are there enough schools for the children that do reside in the lower 9th ward. The City of New Orleans says their population is not large enough to dictate the city investing in the above listed public projects. Most residents of the 9th ward respond with, "How do you grow a community when there is limited-to-no resources offered with-in it?" So for 6 years residents of the lower 9th have invested their tax dollars on goods that were purchased in another parish or ward.
              That said, College of the Redwood students have returned to New Orleans for their Spring Break to take part in helping (even a few) residents quality of life in the lower 9th ward.
This is our story of that journey.

Minnesotans de-glazing

Chris (Hist. Grn. Organizer) giving a glazing workshop

            My name is Joshua Carr, and I am Megan Carver, and we are Historic Preservation and Restoration Technology students at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. During March 12-16, we were able to travel to New Orleans to volunteer with the organization called Historic Green. When we arrived to New Orleans we were introduced to the neighborhood with a walking tour to look at past, present, and future projects around the neighborhood. We were assigned to a neo-classical attached-double-shotgun home that had been modified into a single family residence.
             The projects for this particular house were double-hung wood-sash window restoration and painting of the exterior walls and trim. We went to New Orleans specifically for window restoration and quickly set-off using our knowledge and training. There were about twenty additional students on the site which were broken into groups to paint and assist in the window restoration process. These other students came from various backgrounds and geographic locations; such as, Buffalo, New York, Minnesota, Kentucky, and Illinois.

Project House
Josh removing the window to repair sash cords and reattach weights

Megan cut a new pane of glass to replace the broken piece and then glazed it

        On site, we began to carefully cut through layers of paint to free the window sashes to begin the process of de-glazing (removing old window glaze that has broken off or cracked) and to repair broken panes of glass. We were quickly promoted to group leaders and took responsibility for teaching volunteers how to restore the sash-cord/window-weights back to their intended use. We performed the skilled labor of removing the weights from the weight-pockets, due to the possibility of damaging the original wood, and organized other student-volunteers into a group of "de-glazers" and a "re-glazing with putty" group.
            Various other repairs were necessary for some of the windows. They included "dutchman" patches(cutting out damaged wood and replacing with fresh wood) on the meeting rail; as well as, cutting a new parting strip to replace one that had dry-rotted. Josh used the table saw to cut stock to width, length, and thickness and had one of the students from Minnesota use a block plane to round the parting strip profile to match the one that had rotted. 
Finished product: working Wooden Sash Windows

           Over the next three days, we accomplished getting nearly all the lower sashes of the home repaired. Some of the top sashes had been painted or nailed shut, in which case, a modernized spring-loaded system will be installed in order for the windows to function properly again. We repaired a total of twelve windows in only 3 days!
            Lucky for us, we were also able to play as hard as we worked! The Village had a fundraiser in the form of a Crawfish Boil the night before we left New Orleans. Amongst that we had many good meals and just as many daiquiris - when in Rome, right? Thank you, local lower 9th resident and previous College of the Redwoods student, Kennon Bradford, for your amazing taste in local cuisine/entertainment and your ability to direct us toward it!
             Lastly, a very special and HUGE thank you to Tracy Nelson, and Patti Corral and Jerry Cornwell for their Southern Hospitality! Our trip was truely made special by the ability to stay in the lower 9th with local residents for the week we were in town volunteering; who are still currently dealing with the issues surrounding the 9th ward's recovery. We are beyond is because of them that we will both forever have a soft-spot in our hearts for the lower 9th ward!
             We had a great time helping the people of the 9th ward and it was encouraging to have so many students and organizational staff intrigued by our knowledge and skills that the Historic Preservation and Restoration program at College of the Redwoods has provided. We left feeling very gratified for the hands-on education we're receiving and with an understanding works!


Day1: Walking tour of 9th Ward

Foreground: Mack, Operator of 9th Ward Community Center - "The Village", giving some volunteers information on how the Lower 9th is still working to gain back the community it once possessed before Hurricane Katrina

The Village:
 Banners hang on every surface of this adapted warehouse, representing volunteer groups that have circulated through the community center since 2006

Built by an African-American Carpenter this was the most ornate home we found in the Lower 9th

Just one of the many homes that has fallen victim to the storm; there are a plethora of ornate details, both inside and outside the home, that are now in total disrepair.

Day 2: Work begins!
Josh constructed a jig to support windows in need of repair
Working Hard! This 5ft tall window was removed to add new glazing, and repair/reattach sash cord and weights to make the window able to function again

Day 3: Glazing Continued...

 Teaching fellow volunteers how to glaze a wood-sash window

Repaired window

Later that evening, we enjoyed what Bourbon St. has to offer!

Day 4: Last day on-site

Megan Carver glazing one of the last windows we repaired