Construction of this project took
several months, along with other projects for the owner, and installation of the
completed window was finalized approximately 1 o'clock the
afternoon of the Winter solstice, about 10 minutes before the
client's annual Christmas cookie-exchange party was set to begin!
The 12-foot in diameter window was
crafted in a shop in Highland Park near the Pittsburgh Zoo and then transported
to Upper St. Clair bolted to a supporting jig mounted on the
side of a truck. We had to ensure the overall height was under
13'6'' as the vehicle needed to use the Liberty Tubes
for transport to the South side.
window began life as a stack of cedar and oak planks which
planed to uniform thickness, ripped to a consistent width
and then cut to an angle on the ends which, when fitted to each
other, formed a circle a little larger than 12 feet in diameter.
A router attached to an arm pivoting around a center post was
used to cut the edges precisely for a jamb only 2" thick x 10"
A number of additional layers,
first of weather-resistant cedar for the outer part of the
window, followed by oak for the interior trim, were glued up and
added to the the jamb of the window.
two cross beams were built-up of cedar and oak epoxied to a
of 1/4" aluminum plate for strength and bolted and epoxied into
the circle of the window to act as a dividers for the glass and
to strengthen the entire unit.
We used a very strong marine glue
to lay up the cedar plies and a clear boatbuilding epoxy was
used to join the oak pieces where necessary in order to avoid
seeing dark glue lines
interior oak trim was finished with several coats of tung oil,
the cedar with a
coat of clear epoxy, a pattern used for cutting the four
pie-shaped pieces of glass and our window was ready for
transport. Once on site, a crew of helpers manning guy lines was
used to keep the the window stabilized in gusty winds as the
supporting platform was raised.
Finally, high-tech caulking was
applied, the finishing trim pieces were fitted in place and
the party could begin!
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