Sunday, 17 April 2011

Building Flats

On Tuesday the 5th we had a demonstration from Henry Jones. He showed us how to make the flats for our sets and then helped us work out exactly how many flats we needed and at what size. (I do not currently have these but I will post them when I do).We then began to build the flats. First we had to measure the wood. For each 8 by 4 flat, 2 x 8 foot pieces of wood and 5 x 4 foot (minus 2 times the width of the wood) were cut. On the 8 foot pieces of wood, one end was marked so that we knew where to start when putting everything together. We measured along these and made a mark every 2 feet with a pencil, using a square to make sure the lines were straight. We marked them in bulk to save time (eg. 5 at a time). On each end, we made a mark a distance from the end equal to the thickness of the wood. We used a power drill to make two holes in each end. These were to prevent the wood from splitting when the screws were inserted . Then, starting from the marked end of the 8 foot piece of wood, we used the drill to screw on the 4 foot pieces of wood at each mark. We repeated this for the second side, again starting with the marked end.
Once this has successfully been screwed together, PVA glue was spread all over one side of this frame. A 4 foot by 8 foot plywood skin was then placed on top, and one of the marked corners was made flush. An electric nail gun was then used to fix the plywood to the frame.
We used this around each edge, manipulating the plywood to make sure it was flush against each
edge as we went round. This meant that the finished flat was as straight as possible. We drew lines across the plywood which showed where the frame was underneath, and also used the nail gun across these to make sure the plywood was secure. We then used a router to go around each edge to make sure they were straight.
This was repeated for every flat, footer and header but with any necessary measurement changes.

We measured 3 feet from the bottom of each flat and used a set square to make sure the line
drawn across the flat was straight. This marked where the panelling would be. We painted up to this line to make it look like mahogany. This was done with three coats of paint. Firstly red oxide paint was applied. While this was still wet burnt umber was mixed into it (making sure all of the brush strokes followed the grain). Black paint was then lightly brushed on to create a more defined grain. This was then dry brushed to blend it in.

We discussed how the panelling effect would be created. at first we thought that a plywood square with the middle cut out, and the lines painted onto it would be used (image 1). Then, after discussing it with Andy, we decided to make each individual 'piece of wood' from plywood and butt them together as in image 2. Then I suggested that we could make every piece of wood in the same size, making it easier to make them, and then butt them together as in image 3.
These were cut to the right size (which I do not currently know, as I did not measure or cut them) and I then helped to paint them in the same way as the flats.
Fiona and Callum were making the stove for the drawing room and had to cut out and paint MDF tiles to cover it. When they had been cut out I helped to prime them with covent garden primer and give them 2 coats of white emulsion.

Through all of these steps I made sure I was wearing the correct equipment: steel toe boots, goggles when using the drill, router or saw and a mask when using the router or saw.

All photos courtesy of Sarah Laker.

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