I'm going to add some arches to my 1.5m high stone wall so that it does'nt appear and feel too heavy. I'm hoping I can put in some lights which appear hidden but illuminate the arches and the plants (plans might change on that).
I've knocked up a couple of formers in two different sizes and I thought you might be interested in how I did it. It's quite simple.
Unfortunately I didn't photograph how I marked out the initial arch template. Nothing too scientific, I just worked out what looked proportionally right and then used a tape measure and a little trial and error to create a curve I was pleased with.
I the cut out the required shape onto 1cm plywood on my bandsaw. A jigsaw will suffice.
Then I cut 3cm square battens to act as spacers.
My wall is 40cm wide so I cut the battens to 38cm long.
Tack the three extreme points
I then spaced out the battens. Nothing scientific, just fairly evenly tracing the outside profile of the pylwood board. I then put a single screw in to secure each batten.
Here's the finished arch former/template
I'm going to have three large arches with two smaller arches between.
Rather than waste wood I cut the smaller arches out of the larger arch.
To replicate the shape I cut a scrap of plywood, inserted two screws and drilled a hole so I can insert a pencil.
I then followed the outside profile of the arch making sure the two screw heads maintained contact with the edge. The result is a perfect duplicate of the arch but in smaller scale.
Using a jig saw I cut out the inner arch.
Then repeated the process with the battens. Now I have to two sizes I need, perfectly scaled to each other. Of course it's also possible to repeat the process to make an even smaller arch.
Sorry about the quality of some of the images. Taken on iPhone with one hand (didn't have an assistant available:)
I meant to add. The single screw through the plywood into the batten makes it easy to remove the former at the end of the job. Once all screws are released the battens will all fall in. I just have to be careful not to jam the edge of the profile with the stone. If I do the I'll probably cut the centre of the board with the jigsaw to release it or even cut and screw it before building.
The former template isn't a support.
These formers are not designed to be supporting. The idea is only to use the profile to get the a consistent shape. I will build all five formers into the wall as I go and only bump up the stone sensibly so that the mortar has time to go off before proceeding.
There will be a little local pressure as I add individual stones. I'll add some images as I go.
Sorry I missed your question.
I watched a Youtube video initially but I found the method extremely complicated.
In the end I cut a piece of plywood to the right width and height. I then put a centre mark at the top and along one side where I wanted the arch to start (I used instinct to achieve the right scale).
I then pulled a tape measure (it doesn't have to be a tape, a long straight edge will do) across the plywood board until it spanned the board and kept adjusting it until I could rotate the tape through the tip of the arch and the start of the curve.
I put in a screw to create a centre and then scribed the wood. It came out perfectly.
Below are all the finished formers reader to start building-in over the weekend.
Hi Phil. Very smart gothic shape. How did you manage to draw the original arch so neatly and evenly?
All of the formers are in place now and I've started to build up the tile and stone.
I'm using broken canal tiles (all waste that would otherwise be discarded). All I'm interested in is one fairly regular right angle to form the corners both sides. I'm not being particular about chipped or irregular tiles as I think this will add a great deal of character. Besides, I'm trying to recreate a look of age and the peasants builders of the day weren't choosy.
The centre infill is inaccessible at the moment due to the batten slats. I will chip away the cement after I remove the formers and either fill the joints or leave them exposed (or a mixture of the two). I want the slithers of tile to dominate.
I think the warm orange red and black in the tiles contrasts nicely against the with and warn honey glow of the stone.
Note the edge of the arch former is only being used as a guide and the tiles are not touching.
Phill i was taught to have a solid sheet over the battens thus stopping any slumping into the arch and support the former on knock out timbers thus saving the need to dismantle the former though i guess you will not be using them again i think you might have problems when you start to wall over the arch.
looking good Phil
if you use a solid sheet the bedding mortar could/will be be pressed onto the face of the brick/stone and there is no way you can see it until the temporary arch form is removed
the construction method used using timber laths is how I was taught at college 38 years ago and similar to how the Romans constructed arches 1000's of years ago all be it without the use of plywood
Thanks David & Mick
I'm only using the former as a guiding profile. There's 3-5mm gap from the inner face of the arch to the battens. This means I'm able to slip my trowel in from the top and sides to cut away any snots. I'll chip further excess to reveal the tile (and some stone) once the formers are removed.
Because I can spread my work along the five arches (that's ten sides) it means I don't need to build up quickly, thus giving the mortar time to go off before proceeding. I'll use lateral tying stone to maintain weight from the centre of the piers to help strengthen the arches. Once I bridge over the top of the arch it should then secure everything.
In theory, just unscrewing the plywood faces will release the battens and make it easy to dismantle:)
My wall building has suffered a bit of a hiatus recently. I've managed to resume this week and hoped to be finished by the middle of next week.
I've completed one arch on the rear of the wall (see below).
Below is the rear view. Note the wall has two faces as it will be viewed from two sides. For the forseeable future the wall will not only be the focal point but also hide the tumbledown cow sheds behind it (one day to be a single bedroom cottage).
I've either left the joints open (by securing with mortar from behind) or, in the case of the thin tiles, raked out the mortar to leave a deep recess. I find this method creates so much interest in terms of texture, light and shape.
I now have the option to crepie the front and brush back until their is consistency all the way across the wall or, one I'm seriously considering because I love the look, is leaving completely alone and let moss and lichen grow in the deep crevasses. I'll even introduce some fine ferns and succulents.
Below is the view through the tumble down cow sheds. I'm using the stone and tile in the wall construction.
Each arch will have a concealed downlighter.
I bet you all think I'm a wimp, taking so long to do this job ;-0)
Truth is I only get to work for about an hour or two every so often and I'm desperate to finish so I can level my terrace to create a surface I can relax on.
I've almost passed the tricky arch formation, after that I can motor on quite fast. This evening I managed to make some good progress.
I wired in the down lighters yesterday, fingers crossed I'm still on target to finish this week.
no not a wimp at all Phil especially working off billy smarts flying circus scaffolding :)
struth what would the HSE have to say about that - LOL
Yes, the scaffold is a bit heath robinson. Luckily it's only 4' off of the ground:)
You want to see some of the mad-cap set-ups French artisans use. I'm sure it's not legal but they can be 60' off of the ground and still only a single scaffold board with no safety rail.