Building JANUS – roughing out the profile

David Hoffman’s architecture for JANUS is based on my design and his experience as a Hollywood scenic designer.

I originally planned to monkey together some kind of framework from metal tubing – I had a couple of old Ikea deck-rocking-chair frames out of swoopy-looking 5/8-inch steel and had planned to (somehow) hang them from tubing bolted to the roof rack. But David came up with something far better – a lightweight, somewhat rigid framework of 2x4s, 1x6es and 4×8-foot sheets of half-inch plywood.

The first order of business after bolting the major framing to XyloVan’s burly roof rack was to cut the plywood’s edges to fit the contours of a 1985 Ford ClubWagon XLT.

We set the sheets up on blocks beside the van, leveled them, then drew the van profile with a stick – one end of which traced the shape of the sheet metal, the other end of which held a Sharpie that drew the shape onto the wood.

Then David and John installed loose-pin hinges, which we’re using so the plywood profiles can be mounted and unmounted easily.

This involved quite a bit of finagling with the jigsaw, as we shifted the panels up/down/left/right to bring them into line with the vehicle and the ground.

This is the right-rear corner, where we’ve cut and installed two plywood sheets. They’re on hinges so, they swing a bit, but we’ll get that sorted out.

The mounting point for Right 2 gave David and me pause ,,,

We had to mount it to the doorjamb – which is about 1.5 inches wide – so that both the passenger front door and the big sliding door (with xylophone keyboard #3 mounted on it – open and shut smoothly. Once we cut down the hinges a bit, removed one of the circular door gongs and trimmed the profile about six times, that panel fits perfectly, and both doors operate smoothly.

Here’s the finished product.

Next – cutting out the profiles’ outer shapes.