This was a project I did a couple of years ago and just never got around to documenting. It was for a woman who was expecting twins and was decorating the nursery, although when she saw the result she decided she wanted it installed in a much more visible location at the top of the front stairs.
When she first contacted me about the project I was a little incredulous and suggested that she send me some kind of sketch to show what she wanted. When she sent me a picture of large sheets of paper taped to the wall with an actual size drawing on them I realized she was quite serious. She’s pretty knowledgeable about the digital design process and was able to scan her life sized drawing and provide me with a vector file of the outline in DXF format.
She originally suggested cutting it out of plywood, and as I was calculating the cost of the very high quality plywood that would be required and the large amount of it that would be cut away and discarded, plus the issues with finishing the edges I realized that solid wood was a viable alternative. The whole thing is made of red oak and joined with jigsaw puzzle joints. which I added to the original outline.
To do this requires cutting on both sides of the board. This kind of two sided machining is pretty demanding and requires exact alignment of both the machine and workpiece. The whole thing would obviously have been very difficult to transport if it was all glued together, and it would also have been very difficult to get it through the doorways to it’s intended location, so I made it in four sections with joints like the one in the picture below.
These plates were cut from high strength 6061 aluminum, and the smaller ones with the screw threads in them were glued in place with a slow setting high strength epoxy.
It’s always a treat when I get to machine solid wood, and even more satisfying when I get to make someone’s wild idea into something real!