A reveal is a recess or offset between two pieces of material where they come together. Its function can be to avoid having to make an exact alignment, to cast a shadow line for compositional purposes, or to cast a shadow line that hides minor defects in workmanship.

1. The finish carpenter works against heavy odds to create attractive, well-craftcd trim: The surfaces being trimmed are often out of plumb, out of level, out of dimension, and wavy. The lumber with which he or she works is often slightly crooked or warped, even out of dimension, and will change dimension constantly during the life of the building in response to changes in humidity. These factors make it inadvisable to ask the finish carpenter to create a flush edge where two planes of trim come together at the jamb of a windoworadoor. Ifa small but significant reveal is included in the detail, slight misalignments, crooks, and moisture movements will never be noticed, because they will merely change the dimension of the reveal but not the presence of the reveal. Ifa flush detail is insisted upon, it will be more expensive to make, and it will be perfectly and reliably flush only at die instant that it is completed, before moisture expansion and contraction begin to take effect.

A reveal of this type also multiplies the parallel lines that surround the window or door—an effect that we often find pleasing.

2. A reveal of another type can be used to create a shadow line that conceals imperfections in a joint. The reveal itself becomes the apparent joint. D>

Concrete Wall and Parapet with Rustication Strips

3. Reveals also work well at joints and exterior corners of stone and concrete facings, both to create shadow lines for compositional purposes and to disguise joinery that may be less than perfect. For another kind of reveal often used in this type of situation, see the quirk miter illustrated on page 153.

4. Rustication strips attached to concrete formwork create shadow lines that conceal irregularities that occur where one pour of concrete joins another or where one panel of form-work butts another. ■

3. Reveal at Corner of Stone Panel Facing

A butt joint is the simplest way of assembling two components. It is also the most desirable way of doing so under most circumstances.

1. Mitered corners are an attractive concept, but they present several problems. One is that they create a knife edge on each piece of material at the corner, and knife edges are both fragile and potentially dangerous. Another problem is that to realize its aesthetic potential, a miter must be fitted very closely and precisely. This is often difficult to do when the pieces being mitered are long, wide, or warped. A miter between pieces of wood presents a third problem: Because wood shrinks a great deal perpendicular to its grain and very little along its grain, a 45° cut across a board will no longer be 45° after the board has shrunk or expanded. Miters in wood tend to open up unattractively as the building is heated and the wood dries out. t>

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