I was approached by a couple, after they saw some 3d carvings I had done for a local craft fair. They asked me if I would be interested in making a series of 36 panels for the stairway and balcony railings in their house (see picture of original stairway railing). They wanted the panel's to incorporate a northern theme of animals and scenery. The panels range in size from 10" wide by 24" high, up to 6ft wide by 24" high. We decided on using red cedar as the wood, with the panels being 1 1/4" thick and the carvings being cut to a depth of 3/4". I had already purchased Vector Art's Design and Carve Wildlife series, so using that as the starting point for the design, we spent several months working through a series of design scenarios until we finally came up with a series of scenes that they liked. The stairway panels would feature animals in the larger panels and trees in the small panels and for the balcony railing it would be a large mountain scene spread across approximately 20ft. Building the panels, and doing the cutting and finishing would take another couple of months. The panels are mounted in u-shaped wooden cleats to allow for movement. Some of the panels took 24 hrs or more to cut on my ShopBot PRSstandard and all the designing was done using Aspire. Having taken up CNC routing after my retirement from teaching, I've found it a very creative and rewarding experience and you even can make a bit of money at it. I've attached some pictures of the panels below, hope you like them.
In the Navy they would give you a score of "B" "Z" or Bravo Zulu! It is the ultimate of complements. A higher mark cannot be obtained. Congratulations on a job well done! That is just beautiful. Some things you just want to keep for yourself I'm sure you know what I mean. With your 24 hour cut did you make any stops to cool down your spindle/router?
Jim Darlas "Can Do!" http://www.esteemedwoodcrafts.com/ http://www.esteemedplaques.com/
Thanks very much for the compliments. The long cut times were broken up into a roughing and finishing cut. I found cutting across grain on the rough cut and only taking a 1/4" deep cut each pass prevented a lot of the problems with chip out in the red cedar. On the final cut I used a 1/8" ball mill, at 10% step over and a speed of 100 ipm. Then there was hours of final sanding and detail work to get it ready for the finish. The dishing of the panels was learned from watching the tutorials that came with Vector Art's Wildlife series. Plus having to use the sculpting tools of Aspire to finish off the corners. The hardest part of the whole project was doing the mountain scenes on the balcony railing which was a continuous scene across the entire length of the balcony. I've attached some more pictures from the project.