Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Antique chip-carved tray

This is a copy of an antique chip-carved tray. I'm guessing the original is well over 100 years old. I carved it out of pear wood. Each one of the tiny squares in the border takes 30 separate cuts. It took at least 25 hours to carve the bottom, not counting drawing the pattern on the wood and putting the piece together.

The tray measures 2" x 1-1/4" That is large enough for it to carry a teapot, 2 cups and saucers and sugar & creamer. However.... when not in use it would look fine displayed as a piece of art, perhaps on a shelf or mantle.

This piece is available on my website
By the way it the first piece created with wood thicknessed on my new sander :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thickness sander

I made it all by myself!

It became painfully obvious that I was going to need a way to get really thin boards for my miniature accessories. My planer, even with the auxiliary table to raise the bed and do thinner work was not adequate.
I knew I needed a thickness sander. I have been wanting to build one for about 25 years now, ever since I saw plans in one of my woodworking books. The time was not right back then but it is now!! I searched the internet for plans, copied a bunch and settled on this one. The exploded view scared the crap out of me and the instructions were like reading Japanese at first. But I stuck with it, and soon everything made sense. Well...sorta....

Here is the frame constructed and in the clamps.

I added 2 casters to the back figuring I'd not have room for a permanent home for him and he's be getting wheeled about. 
I've got the table in place with the elevation control and the drum assembly with the pillow block bearings. I had to cut 18 plywood discs for the drum. 

Here I've got the motor wired and installed. I was so scared!! Was it going to work or explode???  I cut a cord off a power strip that died to use for the power cord. The wires in the motor come coded but they assume you know what the numbers mean and what goes where.Well after phone calls to Harbor Freight and some internet research I learned that black was hot, and turns out, the numbers are kinda standard! So I figured out how to wire it, BUT, not only did the switch on the motor not work (typical) but I needed to mount a switch on the tool. I've mounted switches before, not rocket science, but this motor had all those coded wires and I didn't know what went where... Enter dear friend Catherine who found a schematic online and BINGO there was the answer! That's why I surmised that the code  numbers were standard. The first time I flipped the switch I was literally shaking ...success!

I've got the switch mounted, the drum trued up and wrapped in velcro then sandpaper. (not fun)
Here's a close up of the dust shield.
Well there you have it, a home made thickness sander.....finally!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Carved pipe box

This is a copy of a 1700's pipe box. It is chip-carved from cherry and has two compartments for holding tobacco. Tiny knobs I turned from brass. 

The pipes are hand carved from African black wood, pear and brass.

They come in light or dark stain and are available on my website:

Monday, October 22, 2012

European antique miniatures

Introducing my new line of European antique miniatures---
First up, a chip-carved writing desk. I saw one from the 1700's and decided to create my own version.

Hand carved from cherry wood.

This piece is available on my website at 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ATTN: John-Merriman Park

John---I have an urgent message for you. It is apparently from an old friend. Referring to this post
She wants to tell you 
I WANT MY FINGERS BACK.................

I'm coming to get you.........
(insert screeching violin from shower scene in Psycho)


Oh I dream of the day........

HAHAHAHAHA (sinister laugh...)

Oh perfect timing my friend! I was home visiting in Cleveland a mere few feet away from my Patti Play Pal in the attic when I heard her calling me. Actually she was calling YOU! She is apparently very upset about the infamous finger incident!!!

Even though we are past peak, the leaves on the trees driving through Ohio are just stunning! It doesn't matter how many times I see the leaves change it is just as beautiful and breathtaking as the first time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old English rocking horse

One of the projects for my new endeavor that I had my heart set on making was an Old English rocking horse. I really had fun creating this piece. So many different materials to work with. The horse is hand carved wood, as are the rockers. The boards across the bottom are from my little home grown cherry tree, with perfect scale grain lines and knots. I made the saddle, halter and straps from leather that I shaved very thin. For the mane and tail I was going for a billow-y look.

Here are some in progress pictures.:

Carving the horse
Then painting him

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Highland Woodworker Imag

 is a wonderful woodworking tool company. They publish an online magazine called Wood News. I am proud to post that they have featured my work in the current issue, here is the link to the article :

Friday, August 24, 2012

And now for something completely different...

A friend got married and I made the sign. It is hand lettered, hand painted and huge- for me anyhow!

Check out the gorgeous 1939 buick

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Magical nuthouse!

Oh lucky day!!! I received this absolutely stunning nut house from dear friend Catherine! Her blog is There are many pictures of this piece as well as all her nut houses on her blog. The workmanship is not to be believed, the incredible detail will just blow you away. I just sit and stare.....This is the most beautiful amazing piece I've ever seen.

Check out this detail. The tiny perfect eggs in their little acorn nest. Little did I know when I was finding these tiny acorns on the road where I walk what Catherine was planning for them :) Oh yeah they came back home- in a way I never could have imagined!!

The second floor has tiny furnishing! Including a tiny vase with flowers on the table!!! Have I mentioned my mind is completely blown??? The top floor is an aviary. Sweet! I love birds. This piece is all about my love of birds.  Thank you Catherine, you are 
amazing ((( {:>= )))

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And the winner is.....

drum roll....................

Thank you John, you were the 12th comment! Email me with your mailing address.

I am moved beyond words by this response and all the comments ... truly....words escape me and 
for entering and joining .

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Give away- A chip-carved foot warmer

I haven't been a very good blogger of late, it's been a strange summer! Because I've been away so long, and to thank my followers for hanging in there I am holding my very first give-away. It is open to my 123 followers, if you are interested in entering the give-away, please leave me a comment. I will use the random number generator in one week-August 8th.

 I first discovered chip-carving in 1978. Since then I enjoy making full size items  but really love doing chip-carving in miniature!

Foot warmers were a common household item up to the Victorian era. The drawer held the metal container of hot coals, and people would rest their feet on top. Sometimes the container held boiling water. And I think this one did both, judging from the rust and soot inside!

The bottom

There is a handle because they were hung up when not in use which explains why the bottom is as elaborately
carved as the sides.

The top

The pierced top allows the heat out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fellow submission pieces

These are the 5 pieces I submitted to IGMA for Fellow evaluation. They represent 4 different scales 1:12; 1:24; 1:48; and 1:6. I also represented many different textures- hair, feathers, shell.
(I believe if you right click > open in a new tab, the pictures enlarge)
Following are some in progress shots:

The gorilla 1:24 scale
1) The first step is to gather the subject matter, the photos. I have been tearing out animal pictures since I was twelve years old. I always refer to my good old World Book encyclopedia, and of course now we have google.
2) Having decided on a sitting pose, and gathering sitting photos, I do a measured drawing. 
3) I then transfer my drawing to a block of wood. The wood I use is Jelutong.
4) The next step is to cut the blank. I use my scroll saw.
5) Then the fun begins! Start carving and watch the gorilla emerge. 
6) When I've finally freed her from just a block of wood, it is time to paint her. I use good artist grade acrylic.

The Camel 1:48 scale

The Spotted owl 1:12 scale
It was alot of (maddening) fun to carve each feather!

The Box turtle 1:6 scale
I love these little guys. I am always stopping the car to get them out of the road, put them on the other side...cuz that's where they were going!

The dog 1:12 scale
This is a little yellow Lab mix.

Each piece was carefully chosen and carved specifically for this endeavor. I am honored to have been selected.

Monday, May 7, 2012

IGMA Fellow announcement

I've just heard the news!!!
I am thrilled and honored to have been selected a Fellow in the International Guild of Miniature Artisans!