Guest Workers

Got Grit?
Got Grit?

Here you see the gritty grin of a person sanding beautiful wood. Cherry, at this moment. Every piece of wood you are about to see came from a tree. I say this because it has never been so real to me before. Such a simple idea, yet so much work! Trees are not smooth, nor are they beveled or cut to size. That all had to be done piece by piece. Not complainin’. Just es’planin’!

At the end of March, we had some guest-workers. Meet Vickie and Kevin.  C’mon, let’s get busy!

There’s Kevin, helping plane some wood.

Planin', not complainin'!
Planin’, not complainin’!

The Altar piece has been the center of attention for some weeks, but other jobs are calling. Here’s Vickie getting gritty with the antique light fixtures. Go Vickie!

Scrubbing
Scrubbing
Lights Before...
Lights Before…
And after. Viva La Difference!
And after. Viva La Difference!

And we sent Kevin to the corner…to sand the floors.

You've been very very bad!
You’ve been very very bad!

But the floors look very, very good!

Scrubbing
Scrubbing

Meanwhile more vertical action on the Altar Piece.

Evening Light
Evening Light

We had a nice visit with Kevin and Vickie, but the weekend came to a close and the Altar Piece was still not done.

Thanks, guest workers! See you in a few weeks!
Thanks, guest workers! See you in a few weeks!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

It’s like making a Giant Painting…

…overheard while eating chicken soup on a tuesday night…and the rest of the sentence was, ” but it takes three years of your life and a ton of money.”

Latest Zaitz Original!
Latest Zaitz Original!

Michael was referring to the renovation of White Church Gallery, specifically the altarpiece we’re working on.

The sides are the pillars.
The sides are the pillars.

This past weekend was all about putting some wood up on the front of the church. I started the ball rolling on Friday by pulling staples. It’s been awhile since I’d done it, and it seemed harder somehow than the last time. The staples were rusty and stubborn. It was the opposite of fun.

Ugly, ugly staples.
Ugly, ugly staples.

I had to clear the floor around the pillars, because work was about to commence on them. So I pulled staples and sanded around the front of the Church. Saturday morning, bright and early, we got to the church filled with eagerness and a bit of anxiousness. We’d been working on the wood planks for almost two months now, taking them from rough sawn planks all the way to the glorious art pieces they became. But now, after weeks and weeks of planning and plotting, we were finally going to see how the whole thing would look. Would it look as we intended- to be a glorious work of art? Or would it look like Dean Martin’s living room? (Actually- Dean Martin’s living room ain’t too bad!)

Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…
Owners: Dean Martin…Tom Jones…Nicolas Cage…then Citibank…

The first step was to do the bottom border. These border pieces came from giant planks of walnut.

Mitering needed!
Mitering needed!

This procedure took some hours, since it needed to be practically perfect. Level, fitted, and mitered.

P1010027

All went fairly smoothly; there was a rhythm of measuring thrice and cutting once.

Measure it one more time…
Measure it one more time…

And then it happened. A boo boo. A piece of walnut got cut too short. Red Alert, Emergency! Luckily we had a chunk of unprocessed walnut nearby. I ran it through the planer a few times, I jointed the edges, then did a quick but thorough sand job on it. It would have to be clear-coated in situ. But it looked fine, and work could continue.

All angles and edges…
All angles and edges…

Walnut is a VERY hard wood, but it keeps a nice edge.

Ah, mitered!
Ah, mitered!
Sweet! It all fits!
Sweet! It all fits!

Once the base was finished, we started on the upright pieces.

With a little help from our friends!
With a little help from our friends!

Thanks to Rybak’s owners Paul and Ann for burning the late night oil with us and getting the first layers of the altar piece up. It was grueling, exacting, tiring, but inspiring.

At last!!
At last!!

And so it goes…piece by piece, bevel by bevel. Screw by awkward screw. Awkward, because Mike had to screw each of the boards in from the back.

His arm had to fit through the space you see here at the side. And then somehow bend around enough to put pressure on the driver to screw into extremely hard wood from the back. (After drilling a pilot hole.)

There's not a lot of room behind!
There’s not a lot of room behind!

We had two different nail lengths depending on which wood it was going through. There was a lot of thought put into this! And it was exhausting work.

But we think it was worth it. Here’s the other side.

It looks better in person…
It looks better in person…

There are imperfections, and we’ll fix a few next time, but this represents so much effort that I hope it shows.

I had to take a selfie- and I think it’s my fave so far. Blurry, wrinkled eyes, weariness, but a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Hey now!
Hey now!

The next morning, things still looked good, so we did a photo shoot.

The Artist
The Artist
And the apprentice!
And the apprentice!

Until we meet again!

 

– The White Church Gallery