Taking a fireplace surround from a raw block to polish by James Gray

After cutting the raw block to a rectangular section that will fit the bollection profile that I'm wishing to create, I start by making a series of stepcuts that are rough at first, then progressively more refined to the finished shape.

This is a leg section after the refinement of the step cuts with different blades on the bridge saw.

This is a leg section after the refinement of the step cuts with different blades on the bridge saw.

The various parts ready for carving and shaping, etc.

The various parts ready for carving and shaping, etc.

Starting with lower grit sandpaper, moving to higher grits, the color and figure of the stone will become more present.  It really starts to give back at this point.  

Starting with lower grit sandpaper, moving to higher grits, the color and figure of the stone will become more present.  It really starts to give back at this point.

 

The polished black marble leg with plinth blocks

Installation of the fireplace surround almost complete

Installation of the fireplace surround almost complete

The finished work with a brass, polished stainless steel fire basket to complete.  

The finished work with a brass, polished stainless steel fire basket to complete.

 

Historical fireplace surround reimagined by James Gray

My client wanted me to reproduce an historical fireplace surround using a black marble with white veins, pietra dura veneer around the firebox opening using white marble and brass, and an 18th cent. style fire basket in brass and steel.

This is what I have in the design phase.  Now off to build it.

This is what I have in the design phase.  Now off to build it.

Carved wooden capital for historic restoration by James Gray

hand carved wooden drop finial for historic restoration

Working together with an architect in Milwaukee Wisconsin, I created this hand carved wooden drop finial, (photo is inverted), for an historic restoration of a wooden porch that was removed for rot in the 1920s, but is back in full glory now.  I have considerable experience with restoration of cathedral and ecclesiastical restoration, and commercial and high end residential restoration.  The acanthus type is unique to this home and my knowledge.  Seems to be more shamrock than acanthus :)

You can see on this historical photo around the time the mansion was built, the original shape and hand carved decoration.

You can see on this historical photo around the time the mansion was built, the original shape and hand carved decoration.

Progress shots of the porch reconstruction

Progress shots of the porch reconstruction

One of the full capitals during installation

One of the full capitals during installation

Mahogany capital ready for primer

Mahogany capital ready for primer

Preparing for a resin table top pour by James Gray

Resin Table
Resin Table

Careful planning must be a part of a successful end product.  The biggest problem with casting resin is the heat build up.  I constructed a mold for a 3" thick top by building a flowing water bath around it.  This will help me cool it down and control the heat which can cause cracking and warping.  I also am adding an extruded panel of polycarbonite to gain stability.  Same with the pour for the legs that will support the top.