This swing was commissioned by an existing client of SA Spooner’s.
The brief was to design and install a swing, large enough for two children to play on at the same time; with the names of the clients’ six grandchildren carved around the edge of the swing – with space for more; suitable for use all year round; long lasting; and requiring no maintenance.
The seat of the swing is made from best quality oak which can be polished to finish or left to ‘silver and grey’. Synthetic hemp rope was used to hang the swing. This was chosen because it is soft to handle so more suitable for the children’s hands and, unlike natural hemp, it does not have to be brought in over winter. The rope was threaded through the holes made at the corners of the seat and hand-worked (spliced) back into itself to give a strong, traditional join; the interwoven ends were firmly held in place using a wrapping weave in a finer thread of a different colour. Marine stainless steel was used for the metal fittings used to hang the swing. This type of steel is less likely to rust when used outside.
This commission came about after a culvert on the clients’ land collapsed as a result of ill considered, poor construction years previously.
The brief was to design and install a new bridge; of greater scale than the original; using materials that would enable easy and safe passage for vehicles, and on foot; while providing a structure that blends in with the landscape.
A structural engineer was consulted to establish accurate load calculations in relation to large load axle weights. This was to ensure that the bridge designed for this commission would be able to endure ongoing use by the type of vehicles that would be crossing it repeatedly.
English oak was selected to make the bridge because of its durability. The oak was ‘fresh sawn (green), 1st quality furniture grade’. This selection of quality and preparation of oak ensured that the air shake that occur in beamed oak are kept small and to a minimum, as compared to normal beam stock which develops large sectional movement shake as a result of the drying process.
The main deck section of the finished bridge weighed 10 tons. The bridge was detailed with sculpted edge feathering on the radius ends of the beams once the deck was laid. The surface of the deck was textured to provide a safe grip for crossing by foot, especially in the wet.
Following the culvert bridge project above, the clients then commissioned SA Spooner’s to design and install a method of safe foot access to and across, but further down, the same stream. This entailed dealing with the steep gradients of the banks either side of the stream. The brief also required ‘structures’ to be included in the design which could be carved with messages.
The challenges of this commission were resolved by designing curved steps, graduating in width, with specifications individual to the placement of each step into the steep banks of the stream. With a vertical hand turned post placed on each step.
Each step was designed with a piece of hand sculpted oak at the front of the step, with the tread of each step individually cast in concrete. The concrete treads were pre-cast in the workshop and taken to the site. Each was then concreted in to position and back filled with earth to blend in with their environment. The hand posts were turned from ‘off heart, fresh cut, 1st quality’ oak.
This was chosen as it does not split during the drying process and therefore better lends itself to the beauty of the work carved into it. The oak used for the curved step fronts was of a lesser grade as they did not warrant the higher grade oak used for the hand posts.
This sculpted ‘Tree of Life’ was originally planned to be a totem pole prior to the onsite meeting. The tree itself had died standing and had already been topped.
During the onsite consultation the totem pole idea grew and evolved into the ‘Tree of Life’. Over time, life events will be carved into the face of the tree, enabling the clients to watch their story grow on the tree in their own woodland setting,