Monday, October 3, 2011

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Here is one of my projects from earlier in the year.  

Yaquina Head Lighthouse, 
South Elevation

I was contracted by the BLM to provide a new front door for Yaquina Head Lighthouse, not to be confused with Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  The BLM wanted a new door to match the original that had long since disappeared.  They had one drawing of what the door looked like and I had some old photos provided to me by one of my Preservation Field School students.  Her family was one of the Lighthouse Keepers back in the late 1800s.  The Lighthouse was built in 1872.

From the original drawings the size of the door was 7' x 3' at 2 1/4" thick.  The BLM wanted the species to be Alaskan Yellow Cedar (AYC); the species of the original could not be determined.  Alaskan Yellow-Cedar (C. nootkatensis) is a fine grained softwood actually related to the cypress family .  It is very expensive but a dream to work.  Because of this fine, tight grain planing and sawing this wood is a wonderful experience.  It does have an odor and some people are allergic to it but it is very durable in wet environments.

Planing AYC

Applying decorative chamfer

The assembly process for the door was intense due to the massive size of all the elements. The photo below is of the D-8 rip saw cutting the tenons in the bottom rail.  That bottom rail is 1' in height.  Since the drawing I had did not give any construction details I used Fred T. Hodgson's book Modern Carpentry, published in 1906 as a guide.

Ripping tenons

Assembling bottom rail and side stile

One of the biggest things that I fretted about was making the drip edge for the bottom of the door.  This piece was very clear in the original drawing, I just had to figure out how to do it.  It turned out to only take about 15 minutes to plane and fairly easy to install.

Start of planing drip edge

End result-ready to install

The dado for the drip edge

Seems like a great detail.  I'll see how it holds up down on the coast.

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