Oxford Inspiration for Homemade Balustrade
See an intricate balustrade come together using a shopmade lathe and reclaimed Douglas fir
A balustrade at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, England, captured Fred Ziegler’s imagination when he studied there in the 1960s. The interlocking arches intrigued him and the design rattled around in his brain for years. Decades later, he finally excised the pattern by incorporating it into a balcony in his new timber-framed home.
Ziegler crafted the columns from reclaimed 100-year-old factory beams made of Douglas fir. He turned the arch segments on a 36-in. faceplate lathe. The challenge was to adapt the original limestone design to wood and master the geometry of the intersecting arches. Watch the slideshow (click on the button above) for details on how he completed the project.
The balustrade is just one of many notable fixtures on Ziegler’s property. He and his wife retired to West Virginia and bought an 1857-era water-powered mill (left). They’ve since worked to turn the Old Cook’s Mill into a center for traditional crafts. They installed woodworking equipment in the mill itself, set up a forge building for metal work, and are preparing another outbuilding for weaving. Ziegler houses his collection of antique woodworking tools in a fourth outbuilding.
Photos: Steve Brightwell, Beckley, W Va.