Monday, February 20, 2012

Moe Lass': Building the fireplace

According to Mr. Moore’s article, this building is sort of representative of a sorghum processing plant dating from the mid-1800s. A building like this might potentially survive into our end of the 21th century with fairly regular maintenance and a whole lot of extremely good luck - the building would be around 160 or 170 years old today! But, it probably wouldn’t still be used for the job it was originally built to serve.

[Basically, the fireplace is built up from several layers of 1/16 inch balsa sheet.]
I struggled for awhile with this one’s story of how it could still be around, and what it might be used for these days. In the end, its massive fireplace was the key: barbecue. With a strategic site on the Lost Ocean Line it could easily be imagined to serve mouth-watering ribs, brisket, chops, chicken, duck, or whatever, to an appreciative clientele from both the industries in the east, the city in the west, and the tourist attracting beach in the centre. The primal call of barbecue is one that can’t be ignored! The aroma wafting through the countryside would no doubt be the only advertisement required. It’ll probably need its own streetcar stop to handle the customer traffic

[The outside face of the fireplace has two semi-circular openings at ground level for creating the fire. The barbecue operation will need someone to sit back here to keep the fire going.]
I built the overall shape of the fireplace fairly close to Mr. Moore’s instructions, but I did modify the interior hearth to allow for barbecuing, so I didn’t incorporate a place for the sorghum vats. These would have been removed and lost to history during the ongoing refitting of the building over its long life.

[The hearth is so high off the floor because there is a 3-foot tall platform that covers half the floor. So, there'll be an elevated cooking area and lower area for customers.]
Mr. Moore describes a technique for weathering the Northeastern brick walls with tempera paints. Instead of following his suggestions, I decided to age things a bit using pastels since I wasn’t sure if the water-based tempera applied to the paper and balsa laminated walls would warp them a lot. The overall effect of the dry pastels is subtle, but it does tone down the shininess of the brick paper a bit.

[Those super family-sized cans of baked beans on the shelves are made from styrene tubing cut to size and filled with putty.]
I also rubbed down the edges of the brick paper with a soft lead pencil to get rid of the white edge. It sort of gives the building the look of something that’s been drawn with a pencil and then filled in with colour, but that’s ok with me. Some more general weathering is probably on the horizon for this building, but I’m going to ease into it.

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