• Just for sharing/education I thought I would describe how I usually find the scales of things from photos, which I do a lot for my sculptures.

    Here’s one wall of the map room in the NY Public Library, I already know it’s 34 feet wide because I found that fact in an article, so I would first look around for something of known size, if an adult person is standing there you can use a rounded out 6 feet for the scale, in this case the only known size is the width of the room.

    Now I want to find out the size of the corbels in that cornice or entablature at the top of the wall, but notice the round top pseudo window in the center means that cornice is broken and there are none across that space to count, so I made a red box across 6 adjacent corbels, briefly moved it over to the pseudo window and could tell that space would have had 6 corbels across it.

    I counted 9 corbels on each side, plus the 6 comes to 24 total spanning 34 feet, 34 ft x 12 inches = 408 inches, divided by 24 corbels means each is spaced 17-1/2 inches center to center, now we’re cooking because we have a measurement to use for all the rest:

    Now I imported a cropped, lightened up and slightly desaturated to reduce the shin of the gold- enlarged version of the picture into CAD software, and after scaling the picture properly using that 17-1/2″ measurement I was able to begin making measurements of landmarks to start with:

    The good thing is the original picture was taken pretty straight-on, and with a minimum of paralax angles caused by taking a photo looking up at something tall, there is a little here because of the height of the ceiling, but one can get reasonably close enough measurements with this that using a little fudging will get it accurate enough for this use.

    If I lacked the room width to begin with, that EXIT sign and that wall clock would be the second choice for scaling off in CAD, because those exit signs are a pretty standard size and can be determined with a search, the wall clock too but it’s a little less likely to be any standard size, but most of them around this size would be around 16″ across- it would be my last choice to scale from if I have other choices.

    We see the wood cornice with the corbels is 3 feet 3″ high, the coffers in the photo due to the angle of view give us the illusion they have height we can measure just like the cornice- they do have heigh, but if we were to measure that coffer from this photo going from the top of the dark cornice up it would be wrong due to the angle- the measurement that way is actually from the projection of the cornice’s edge towards you at the camera which is measuring the room length not the coffer’s depth- thats the optical illusion one has to be careful of when scaling off photos!

    I was able to extract 4 more measurements above the coffers and if one looks carefully there is another optical illusion between the two 6-1/2″ measurements because that section of the ceiling projects horizontally towards the camera just like the coffers are.

    The top measurement of 1 foot 11 inches is another major molding, a concave repeating molding with beed and fluting designs, it sits on top of a 6-1/” tall egg & dart molding, the other 6-1/2″ molding is a Greek styled leaf design.

    We also can see the green painted wall is 7 feet 1 inch from the wainscot to the cornice bottom, the pseudo window is 8 feet wide, and the shield over it is 2 foot 9-1/2″ wide.

    So in just a few minutes we have the majority of the measurements needed, the rest can be found with other photos, and whatever is missing can be guessed at with reasonable accuracy.

    This photo would provide the square coffer’s width, we can assume that one IS square and determine it’s other measurement front to back, the one to the left of it would be the same front to back, it’s width can also be found in this photo and it’s rounded corner approximated easily although very hard to see here- there is a quarter round DOME above the pseudo window and that shield is not directly over that pseudo window as it appears- another optical illusion- it’s actually several feet closer to the camera, this also tends to make the measurement of that ( 2 foot 9-1/2″ ) a little incorrect because it is closer to the camera/viewer than the wall where the cornice is, but the camera is far enough away the error is really minimal here.

    I also discovered when I lightened up another photo of that cornice- between each corbel there is a lion’s head carving, and each one is holding the end of a swag which curves along the bottom of each corbel which can be seen in the above photo.

    So that is the method I came up with years ago.

  • The Woolworth Building

    I was reading a number of articles on this gothic styled 60 story building which is now 100 Years old, the whole of the facade is made up of over 16 MILLION pounds of terracotta made by the Atlantic TC Co.

    The building’s facade has more than 400,000 units of terra cotta. Due to the lack of maintenance, the anchors attaching the terra cotta to the steel frame rusted and caused widespread damage to the terracotta panels. Many broken pieces have had to be replaced with new terracotta, or in some cases, an alternative material which these days is usually cheap fiberglass replicas or fiberglass reinforced concrete.

    By 1978, just 65 years old- the building’s four smaller towers were badly disintegrated due to constant exposure to the elements and faced structural issues. The cost of terra cotta replacements was described as “shocking” at the time. Budget constraints led the architects to instead stabilize the towers and cover them with pressed aluminum sheaths that loosely resembled the original silhouette and color scheme.

    That has me thinking again about this scenario which I’m seeing a lot of- extensive (translate that into costly) restorations and replacements of damaged or destroyed elements, all of this costly work had to be done on this building that is only now 100 years old, logic and common sense tells us that if the building needed all this work in the first 100 years, it will need it again within the next 100 years! But if the architects and all thought the replacement terracotta costs was “shocking” now, imagine what the cost will be 100 years from now!
    So THEN what happens? just keep replacing, and replacing and replacing? at some point there will be so much replaced with cheap fiberglass and other materials there won’t be a lot of the original left, and by 100 years from now the elements put in today will themselves be 100 years old and deteriorated to the point they have to be replaced too, with the original elements now 200 years old.
    If the building was damaged by years of poor maintenance who can say we won’t see a repeat of that?

  • Model ideas

    Unfortunately only two people on my mailing list responded to the last newsletter asking for input on interest in any of the 10 or so photos of possible designs for the next model.

    I’m leaning a lot towards this Assyrian themed Art Deco on the 1928 Ageloff Tower building, I remember seeing this in person years ago.
    It measures over 9-1/2 feet wide on the building, if I did one half of it as shown by the red box and reduced it’s scale a little a 19-7/8″ x 30-3/4″ model would retain the same proportions and be a more practical size.

    It would be a pretty easy model to make really.

  • Roombox continued

    I decided to stain the floor, door and wainscot to see how they look using Cabot Walnut stain, the mahogany floor looks very good in person, a bit red in the photos, but the color in person looks nice, as well as aged, the basswood doesn’t stain really evenly but gee, in the future there’s no reason I couldn’t make the wainscot out of mahogany, ditto for the stairs, the only issue would be the moldings, I’m not thrilled by the design of the Northern scale lumber’s baseboard profile I could come up with a much better one if I research what machine it could be cut on and have a custom cutter or router bit made for it (thinking of the possibility of selling them as well)

    I would think the baseboard, door case frames and crown molding would not be difficult, the tiny moldings such as the 1/8″ quarter round probably won’t look any different when stained whether they are basswood or mahogany.

    I need some more stair tread wood now I ran out, think I’ll make what I need since it’s just flat strips anyway.
    A couple of photos from today, one with the chair and table set in place to see how they look, I pencil marked the primed wall, down and around to give me some idea where the wainscot or similar will go, above that line will be wallpaper, under the stairs behind the table will be filled in with panelling. The window in the “dead space” can be seen through the doorway, it will need interior trim, it is primed and the visible part of that room will have a different treatment on the wall, likely wallpaper to the baseboard.
    I find that I’m not as happy with the Houseworks door as I was but it’ll do for this, I sanded down the too thick threshhold to about half it’s thickness and rounded the two edges. The door itself is only hinged with a couple of pins from the top and bottom, it’s hinge side was rounded out in an unrealistic way- done to allow the door to open without hitting the frame, I’d rather have real hinges and hardware, and squared edge.

    Also the face boards of the HouseWorks door frame are somewhat crude- two vertical grooves, but given the bulk of the market these are geared for – dollhouses, they are very nice little works of craftsmanship, but for something aimed towards higher quality they are on the crude side.

    These certainly could be given a much nicer, realistic profile with an appropriate cutter or router bit.

  • Roombox miniature

    I decided to make a miniature room, something I’ve wanted to do for many years but never got around to it, here is the progress thus far: