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preserving the past
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We were working on a higher end project that gave me a lot of shop time. I had to make wavy balusters, bullet top newel posts, a wood screen detail with arches and my favorite part...the gargoyles.

The homeowner is trying to bring the house back to its late 1800's glory. The architect was given a picture of the house from around 1890 and from that he designed a lot of the missing details that i needed to make for the house. Up under the gutter of the second floor walk out porch were these 4 lizzard like creatures which we referred to as the gargoyles.

They are about 5 1/2" wide by 7" high and 2' long. I made them by planing down some 2x12 clear cedar and gluing up 5- 1 1/8" thick blocks together. Once glued I cleaned them up, cut out the shape on the band saw and drilled the eyes with two different size fostner bits.

I drilled them for a long threaded rod that went from the back area where they engage the column to a point about half the length of the figure. From the top I made an access hole to drop the washer and nuts down into. This hole would eventually be covered by copper flashing. The trickiest part of this was the back cut to get them onto the porch columns. Each column has an obtuse angle that had to be cut into the gargoyle block but the porch columns also deliberately "lean" into and towards the house so the cut had to be made at different depths. i also had to allow a 1/2" pitch drop on the gargoyle to shed rain. Of course every column had a different angle and back pitch.

I made most of the cut with a circular saw and finished them with a Japanese pull saw after doing some serious angle and pitch calculations. they were a lot of fun and the children of the house each "adopted" one gargoyle to represent themselves.

If anyone wants details on the bullet style newels or the wavy balusters I would be glad to tell you what I did and learn how you may have done it differently.

-John
 

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Great looking accents. Those gargoyles sound like quite a challenge. Did you make the balusters with a template on a router table?
 

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preserving the past
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
balusters

We first did a rough cut out with a jig saw then tried a shaper to clean it up but the wood is mahogany and the jig saw cuts were too far from the line and also the blade flared out on the bottom. The shaper was catching too much wood and just ripping pieces off.

Then went back and did a much tighter, cleaner cut on the bandsaw. After that I micro pinned a template onto the rough cut blank and brought it back to the shaper which had a top bearing pattern following bit on it. I still had to go slow though because depending on the way the grain went and how dense the wood was I would occasionally get a piece where the bit would rip off a good chunk especially at the high spots of a curve.
 

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I wood if I could.
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Very cool stuff! I may need to try incorporating a variation of the lizard/gargoyles on the gazebo I'm building. I've ben looking for cool details outside of the same old ideas typically seen on gazebos. Great work, Sir. And thank you for posting.
 

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Being right under the gutters it I believe one use for such beasts was as water diverter. When rain water would spray out the mouth away from the house. The "ugly" part of most new houses is the roof downspouts that no architect seems able to imagine corrupting the beautiful lines of their house designs. Of course some utilities and cable companies will scar a house too. Your lizards are a nice detail. Now imagine them functional. Jmho.
 

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preserving the past
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
spouts

I thought about the same thing! How cool would it be to find a way to channel some clean water from the gutter to the gargoyle! It would have been easy for me to get a 1 1/4" pvc pipe drilled into the figure with an inlet hole up top. The key would be to keep debris out with some kind of filter or screen. It would be so cool to see them shoot water!
 

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Wow! Those are great details for the house. I like specially the wavy balusters and the gargoyles, very pleasant to see and something we don't see often. Excellent work!
 

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I wood if I could.
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Thank you again, Shopman, for posting these pictures. I decided that I will be using the gargoyle idea on my gazebo. Since I'm getting closer to that stage I had to look this thread up again to refresh my memory. I like it. I'll post a picture here when I get that far.
 

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I have to build a second floor porch rail and those wavy balusters are looking like the way to go. I have a while before I get to that project, so I took a copy of the picture.
 
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