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Solstice Wall – Mapping the Lines with a Laser

December 30, 2023

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

This article was published as an issue of my newsletter Ready for Rain

I always assumed the rays of the Solstice Wall would be mounted directly onto the drywall. Over time and lot of experiments, it became clear this would not work well. I tried installing versions of the rays and found that the drywall was not a sturdy or reliable base. The rays felt loose.

We considered using epoxy or drywall anchors, but nothing seemed to make sense. The anchors would be secure, but the installation needed to be highly precise, minimally visible, and easy to repair.

This prompted us to think about more secure ways to mount them. The obvious choice was mounting plywood panels on the wall and then mounting the rays on the plywood.

This idea had an added benefit: we could move the entire operation to the floor, design and build everything, and then install it all at once.

The Puzzle

The plan seemed almost perfect, but there was one snag. The coordinates of each ray existed in only one form: thumbtacks on the wall. How could we translate the thumbtack coordinates from the wall to the panels on the floor?

The answer was to place boards on the edges of the wall and use a laser level to establish the lines on the boards.

This way, we could place the boards on the floor by the panels and map the lines.

The idea worked and our work moved to the garage floor, where we could continue to design and build the rays before installation

Here’s a brief video about this process:

I’m sharing this process on social media. Follow along!

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