Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Make the Rods for a Hanging Scroll

Summer vacation, a broken right arm, and a new puppy later …

Now I am back at last to where I left off. I described how to construct a hanging scroll in my May post. This one will cover making the hanging rods.

You need the following equipment:
--birch dowels 1/4” - 1 1/4” in diameter depending on the size of the scroll)
--carpenter's ruler
--a miter box and miter/chop saw (manual tools)
--a mechanical miter/chop saw with at least a 3 1/8 inch blade (mine is made by TruePower)
--a 1/8 – 1 1/4” pipe cutter (mine is Mag-Bit)
--a nail file
--a hand-held sander, either manual or mechanical (mine is a Makita)
--medium grit sand paper
--steel wool grades 1, 0, and 00
--high-gloss acrylic interior/exterior enamel (I used Behr Premium Plus)
--paint stirrer
--screw driver
--paint brush (I used an artist's 1” Windsor Newton University Gold B)
--water jar for cleaning the brush
--a heavy pottery jar for standing the rods in to dry
--rags or paper towels
--mono-filament (fish line, etc.)

Measure the width of the hanging scroll. Add 1 ½ inches, more or less depending on the size of the scroll, to the width to get the length of the top rod and 2 ½ inches, more or less depending on the size of the scroll, to get the length of the bottom rod. I like having the bottom rod heavier and longer than the top rod. For “White Violets,” which is 18 x 24 ½,” I used a ½ “ diameter dowel for the top rod and a 5/8” dowel for the bottom rod.

After marking the dowels with a pencil at the appropriate place to cut, use a miter box and miter/chop saw or a mechanical miter/chop saw to cut the two dowels to the desired lengths.

Sand the cut ends smooth and then bevel edges gently with the sander at a 45 degree angle.

To make the grooves for the hanging filament, score the ends of the top rod only with the pipe cutter. I usually put the grooves about ½ inch in from the ends. Widen the grooves with a nail file so that they will hold the hanging filament in place.

Next, steel-wool the rods smooth starting with grade 1 and progressing to grade 00.

Open the paint can with the screw driver and stir the paint well. Paint from the end to the middle of each rod, checking the ends of the rods for good but not excessive coverage. Stand the rods dry-end-down in the heavy jars to dry. When they are dry to the touch, repeat the painting process for the other halves of the rods. When both rods have been completely painted and are thoroughly dry, steel-wool them smooth starting with grade 1 and progressing to grade 00. Repeat this paint process until the rods are as glossy as you want them to be (usually 2 or more coats).

Insert the finished rods in the hanging pockets of the scroll. Tie the desired length of mono-filament Into the groove at one end of the top rod. Tie a loop in the other end of the filament and set the loop into the remaining groove at the other end of the top rod. (Making one end of the mono-filament removable helps when it comes to packing the scroll for shipment.)

That's all! Now you have an elegant presentation of your artwork that has no glass barrier between it and the viewer, didn't cost a fortune in framing, and is light-weight and easily transportable or shipable.

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