Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gothic Horror

Last week marked the start of my building two gothic arched windows for my planned walk-thru haunt this year. More prop than functional, the windows will be featured in the church room of the haunt just to add an additional layer of depth to the scene. I'm hoping to make each area of the haunt more than just black walls as I'd like the experience to be an immersive one.

Tall order for a first-year haunt in a driveway, but some of my favorite home haunters like Brad Godspeed and Chris Ainsworth have achieved some levels of detail that's unequaled in most haunts. It's going to be a relatively small haunt -- I've only got 8 feet of width to work with, though it's going to run some 30 feet or so long -- so I think there needs to be lots of eye candy to hold the attention of those going through.

Part of that is the gothic windows I'm building. Based on a design by Jason Becker from Graves of the Groves, the windows are built out of an MDF wood frame overlaid with rigid foam insulation for the detail.

Making the windows was a much more involved process than I imagined. Simply watching a video, even one that's not time-lapsed, fails to give the full scope of effort that's needed. Yet if you do watch Jason's video for his mini-gothic window, which is time-lapsed, you can see he goes through several "costume changes" during the build. Even on a small scale these windows are a challenge.

As a half-assed woodworker, I'm all too familiar with people not understanding the design and build process. I build toy boxes as baby shower gifts and though they are essentially little more than 4 sides, a bottom, and a top there's a lot of effort that goes into just making each component before you can even begin to put them together: measuring, cutting, routing, and sanding before you even get to the gluing, clamping, drying, sanding again, and finishing.

It's the same with these windows, and I should know better. I saw the videos and though, oh cool! I'll cut out some shapes, slap some foam on, and paint. I can call it a day by 5 p.m.! Well here we are 5 days later and I'm only just getting close to finishing the build now.

I should be winding down the build today with the latest layers of foam added to it, leaving just the painting of it to do. I'm still undecided whether it will have a stone-carved look to it, which is the way I'm leaning, or a wood look.

If you have a preference on whether the windows should be wood or stone, let me know in the comments section below.


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