Construction 17: Stone columns

05/03/12 | ۩ |

After the making of stone pillars (one of them is still unfinished) I had to temporarily stop the work due to some bureaucratic issues.
When I resume the construction, a few weeks later, I immediately finish the second pillar. Then I decide to make a little changing to the project.
Repetitive things get me bored and the construction of two more pillars wasn't such an exciting prospect.
The continuous search for documentation always suggests me new solutions, and in this second part of the cellar I'd like to place two stone columns with its bases and carved capitals.

So, I use the Dremel tool to cut the segments of my column, taking advantage from some slate waste, partially cut in a round shape
The sum of the parts must correspond to the height of the pillars, so like the width of the capital frames where the cross vaults will lean on.

I start working on the plinth, slightly smoothing the edges with sandpaper. Then, using the same paper and a small round file I make the base mouldings and the cylindrical sections of the column.
Working on slate is not especially hard even with such a rough tool. Things changes with the capital, which presents a more elaborated shape.

First of all, I scratch the slate block with a bodkin, drawing a circle with the same diameter of the shaft. On the side surfaces I draw four semicircles, marking the areas that I need to carve to reach the capital shape.

I can remove some material rubbing the edges on sandpaper and then using the Dremel tool with diamond point.

Once the main work is done I place the capital on the column, giving it some finishing touch to make it perfectly match with its shaft.
This appears slightly bulging, getting slimmer at the ends.

Now I'm only two steps away from finishing my column (that's what I think at the moment): I still need to work on the capital frieze and the upper frame.
For the first one I use the diamont point to lightly "chisel" the capital on every side. I only leave a smooth round spot in the middle.
The frame is easier to work and I can make it using sandpaper only.

And here are the finished columns, assemblied with glue and placed inside the Domus:

(9/1/2010 update)

I am fairly satisfied of my columns, but more for the making than for the final look. Some elements doesn't look very medieval, like the moulding at the base and the bulging shaft. It reminds me more of a late renaissance than middle ages.
At first I pass over this incongruity, but every day it gets more evident to my eyes so I decide to remedy to this situation. Some pictures help me to "medievalize" my columns with a few effort so to avoid that feeling of mistake when I look them.

To improve the columns I follow the model of Chiavari's medieval arcades.

This time I work manually with no electric tools.
I strip down the columns, remove the moulding from the base and bring its diameter to the same size of the shaft. I polish the shaft too, to remove the bulging effect.
Final touch, the carving of the base with sandpaper and files to get concave edges like the one you can see in the above small picture.

Now I reassemble all the parts and here is my 'new' column. The shaft thickness is a little above the average, but now I think it's more realistic for a XIII-XIV century column.

The columns before and after the operation:

(12/7/2010 update)

Finishing touches before the final placing: filling with grout, cleaning and varnishing.


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