How Giant Clamshells Form
This massive entryway above a Rhode Island beach was inspired by nature, but built by hand
What do you get when you combine the design of Ronald F. DiMauro Architects; the CAD and construction work of New England Woodworking; the carving, detailing, and layout work of Stephen Plaud Inc.; and the installation and finish work of Kirby Perkins Construction? A giant clamshell, of course. And a masterfully crafted one at that.
The clamshell, perched atop the entry of a Rhode Island beach house, is made from 19 layers of 2-1/4-in. thick pattern-grade mahogany and took the quartet (all of which are based in the Ocean State) 300 man-hours to engineer and build. But, don’t worry, watching a slide show of the shell’s painstaking construction will only take you a minute or two. We’ve also included a detailed drawing of the project and show you the carving tools you’ll need, should you attempt a giant clamshell of your own.
Photos by Chris Ermides
Tools for hand-carving the flutes: A caliper to measure flute diameter (a). Carving mallets of assorted weights for fine-tuning the cuts (b). Dust brush for clearing away chippings (c). Straight, fishtail, and veiner gouges for making various cuts in each flute (d). Flute width/depth gauges help guide the cuts (e).