Mobius><Terminus

For about the past year, I have been on a creative quest to expand my art furniture design efforts. In particular, I have been engaged in sculpture work. Mobius><Terminus is a piece that was recently completed for exhibition at the Saint Paul American Craft Council Show.

Mobius&gt;&lt;Terminus - 20” diameter x 8” deep. Cherry; finished in tung oil.

Mobius><Terminus - 20” diameter x 8” deep. Cherry; finished in tung oil.

The piece was inspired by a mobius strip, which is defined as a surface with only one side (when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space) and only one boundary. The Mobius strip has the mathematical property of be unorientable. The Möbius strip has several curious properties. Perhaps the most obvious one is that a line drawn starting from the seam down the middle meets back at the seam, but at the other side. If continued, the line meets the starting point, and is double the length of the original strip. This single continuous curve demonstrates that the Möbius strip has only one boundary.

In the case of Mobius><Terminus, a case could be made for two surfaces, rather than one. The viewer will note that there is a flat “edge,” and an edge with a radius. Then too, while Mobius><Terminus was inspired by a mobius strip, it cannot be authentic as such, for it has two terminal points. Where the viewer able to “pull” the two terminal ends together, then a case could be made for being a mobius strip.

The piece began as a beautiful plank of American cherry, the dimensions of which were 120” L x 10”W x 3”D. I then cut the piece into 6 equal pieces, each 20”L x 10”W x 3”D. Next, I planed and jointed all the pieces to be flat and square, then glued them into a single block of lumber: 20”L x 20”H x 9”D.

Mobius&gt;&lt;Terminus, waiting to be sculpted.

Mobius><Terminus, waiting to be sculpted.

At the bandsaw, being readied for the circle cut.

At the bandsaw, being readied for the circle cut.

Circle cut is complete, but I left a temporary “base” so that I could more easily mark the next cut lines.

Circle cut is complete, but I left a temporary “base” so that I could more easily mark the next cut lines.

After opening a kerf line at the base to the center, I circle cut the center and removed it.

After opening a kerf line at the base to the center, I circle cut the center and removed it.

After marking the desired dimensions and direction of the final shape, I drilled two holes “outside the lines,” to allow a saw blade to cut the piece to rough shape

After marking the desired dimensions and direction of the final shape, I drilled two holes “outside the lines,” to allow a saw blade to cut the piece to rough shape

This image shows the piece being '“roughed out.” As one can see, the amount of sawdust is dramatic!

This image shows the piece being '“roughed out.” As one can see, the amount of sawdust is dramatic!

Ready for design shaping.

Ready for design shaping.

In the vise, with major design shaping nearly complete.

In the vise, with major design shaping nearly complete.

Mobius&gt;&lt;Terminus mounted, but without any finish.  When doing sculpting work the hand sanding process requires many days.  The grit sequence is as follows:  #60, #80, #100, #150, #220, #400, #800, #1200, #1500, #2000.

Mobius><Terminus mounted, but without any finish. When doing sculpting work the hand sanding process requires many days. The grit sequence is as follows: #60, #80, #100, #150, #220, #400, #800, #1200, #1500, #2000.

Mobius&gt;&lt;Terminus, ready for exhibition.  The finish is 14 coats of tung oil, very lightly sanded with #2000 grit between each coat.

Mobius><Terminus, ready for exhibition. The finish is 14 coats of tung oil, very lightly sanded with #2000 grit between each coat.