Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vintage 1940's miniature skis

 This is a re-post from a few years back, on my first blog, but I thought I'd post it here too.  


 1:12 scale vintage skis

I thought this was going to be easy, but the original idea I had morphed into one of the most intriguing projects I've ever done. I thought, carve the skis, even with their contouring and grooved bottoms, easy enough, put some metal for boot bindings and done. No way!! It became evident early on that this was woefully inadequate, certainly not something I'd like to be represented by. Even as I went along, I kept pushing myself. Get more detailed, figure out how it works. As luck would have it, I dragged home these very skis (full size- circa 1947ish) from a junk sale. I was annoyed at myself because they were cumbersome and kept getting in the way, but now, I'm so grateful to have them! See, like I always say, the junk I drag home ALWAYS comes in handy!
**selecting the wood**
First I cut my wood to size then rough shape. Here are some prototype and cast offs.

I went through my metal stash and settled on this .016 brass. I didn't like the idea of shiny brass so I "aged" it in ammonia fumes.

***forming the top of the boot bindings***
I used these pliers as a bending brake and made the first part of the boot bindings. Then I drilled the holes for the nails.

***the finish***
I painted the skis with brown acrylic, then rubbed them with a piece of paper bag. For added realism, I waxed the bottoms.

***making pins***
These pins are where the sides of the bindings will adjust for boot width.

  ***making buttons***
I used this thin brass tubing to make the pins and also  the "buttons" that the back straps fasten to.

The  boot width, adjustable, these are the sliding
sides of the boot bindings, with the straps buttoned and all slots cut.

The straps are made with real leather. Not having any really thin leather, I used an ordinary piece and "shaved" off a thin layer. Then I cut the strips for the 4 straps and used hide rejuvenator to make it soft and dark.

For the tiny buckles on the top straps, I used .002 shim brass. The buckles are movable, with the leather going through the sections, not glued.

To assemble the bindings, I pinned them in place on some cardboard to insert the top straps.

They're done!
I've used tiny brass nails to nail the binding tops. I made the poles from thin dowel and turned the hand grips, then wrapped the grips with black thread. The points are made from brass tubing and rod, and the discs are carved from wood.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Canada geese

This is a 1:12 scale hand carved hand painted wood depiction of a scene that played out many times at the farm where I worked for 6 years as caretaker. I never missed one day, ever, I had to be there for the animals. In late winter and early spring, the Canada geese moms would pick there spot for their nests. I would take a bucket of corn to each nest to make sure they got fed. As a result we all got to be great friends. They totally trusted me. This one mama made her nest right in a wide open field. I wasn't happy about it but daddy was right there to protect her. Well one day, I was exhausted so I went out to the field to take a break and sit with her. As soon as I sat down, she stood up. Out from her nest tumbled two freshly hatched peeps! They ran right up to me! Then I kid you not, they climbed into my lap!!! I did not put them there. I asked mama if this was ok and she said yes! As though she needed a break too. It was magical. I looked around. Nobody was there. I thought "oh great no-one will ever believe me". Just then I realized I carried a small disposable camera in my fanny pack. I very slowly unzipped it and took out the camera. I leaned way back and got these pictures!
Then I started to worry that mama wouldn't take them back. Well as if on cue, they scrambled back to her! It was such a wonderful experience! Thank you mama, you made my day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Michelangelo's David

in 1:350 scale!
I carved this micro miniature of the famous statue last year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My new website

Announcing the launch of my new website Miracle Chicken Miniatures. I really had alot of problems with the glitchy software and uploading was a nightmare, stuff kept disappearing! I had to redo pages, re-upload files that were already there HUH??? But, I've worked out the worst bugs and hope I don't find any more!

I am currently working on reciprocal linking on my links page so if anyone wants to swap links to their miniature website, let me know. Tell me what you want your link to say in a couple lines. I'm offering text links because of the problems from before, for now anyhow, additional graphics would be iffy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trick or Treat!

This kitty is going out as Puss-n-Boots for Halloween!
I'm going to show you how I carved him:
First I found some pictures and drew my pattern on a piece of wood. (Jelutong; grain running vertical)
I've cut the wood to size on my band saw.
Then I rough it out on the scroll saw. This stage is sometimes called a "single profile blank".
 I've started carving, I have to be very careful, as his hat has gotten dangerously thin. You can see light shining through!
I'm almost finished with the carving. I have to be very mindful of the tail and cape at all times. So easy to break off. And of course, that thin hat with it's feather.
I've sanded the finished carving and now he's ready for paint.
He's done! I made the sword from metal.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My hummingbirds...

Today, amidst cold, windy, rainy weather, I brought my hummingbird feeder inside for the season. Those south of Ohio, look after my flock!  They're down by you now. They all know me, and eat out of the feeder before I even have a chance to hang it. It is wonderful to get to know the babies each year, small and scruffy, checking me out, flying up and down within a couple inches of me, looking me straight in the eye. Until next year little ones....
I had a friend/client who wanted me to draw what I see when I look out at my feeder (circa 2005) and this is what I came up with:
Pencil drawing, made with 13 different pencils, from the very soft black to very hard almost imperceptible.
I have a much nicer feeder nowadays, but this one served it's purpose as my first attempt at getting to know these wonderful incredible birds.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Lakes Woodcarving Exhibit

This past weekend I was in Cleveland for the Great Lakes Woodcarving exhibit. My 1:144 scale tiger won a blue ribbon! In the miniatures category of course. Here is my table.
The magazines on my table are the ones that my toothpick and matchstick carvings have been featured in. These include Carving Magazine, Chip-Chats, American Miniaturist. 
The tiger is dwarfed by the ribbon!
Hand carved hand painted wood. Shown with an ordinary pencil.
This last picture is of the table and fantastic carvings of a dear friend of mine from the days of The Parma Woodcarvers Guild, I joined in 1978.

What a fantastic fun time I had. I was carving at my table. I carved a toothpick- a flower in a pot on a table. Of course there is 4 legs on the table with equal space in between the legs. After seeing all the wonderful  full size carvings in the hall, when the people got to my table they couldn't believe it. One person thought I was cleaning my fingernails!!!  Nobody could believe I wasn't wearing glasses or magnification of any kind. My secret? During the summer months, I don't wear a contact lens in my right eye because of an allergy in the eye. I am so myopic that without a lens the eye sees very magnified, in focus just one inch in front of it. The other eye, with a +8.00 lens sees perfect distance. My eyes effortlessly toggle back and forth with the task at hand. Sweet!

By the was the tiger is for sale.

Monday, September 19, 2011

1:12 scale Boxer

This was my neighbor's dog, Chief. I loved him. He disappeared one day. I had gone over there with my camera and had a photo shoot with him. He sat beautifully. I also measured him. This is my hand carved hand painted wood, anatomically correct tribute to him. 
This 1:12 scale carving stands 2 inches (5cm) tall.
shown with ordinary ball point pen

Saturday, September 17, 2011

1:12 scale stork family

I made this family of 1:12 scale storks for my friend, Karin Corbin. They are hand carved hand painted wood. The nest is made from roots. (Again, the roots the pigs at the farm had rutted up.) That boxful I brought home is sure coming in handy! I knew it would. Wish I'd gotten more that day, but it was SO hard to rip out, knee deep in mud dodging mean pigs!
 This little guy was hard to part with! I named him 
The Li'l Peeplet.
Here's a close up of the carved feathering.
And before I painted them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

1:144 scale Noah's Ark

      I had been working with a client on various scale miniature projects, all wonderful challenging ideas, so when she suggested Noah's Ark in 1:144 scale I was intrigued. After much research, I arbitrarily decided on 4" for the ark. All the animals are 1:144 scale.
Using a scale rule, I first designed my pattern on paper. 
Then I transfer my pattern to a small block of wood (Jelutong) with the grain running vertical.
 The next step is to rough it out by cutting around the side view. I use an x-acto knife with disposable #11 blade. If the animal is large enough, 1/2" or larger, it can be roughed out on the scroll saw.  Then the fun begins!
With my x-acto knife, I carve and detail the animal. This includes carved eyes,  paws, inside ears etc. 
Next comes the sanding. I have to be very careful not to sand off the detail. I like to use approximately 220 grit sandpaper, but instead of progressing to finer grits for details,  I like to use pieces of the same sandpaper that are more and more worn out. Not  only does the grit become finer, but the backing paper is very soft and well broken in. It is essential for such tiny work. I am constantly aware of where I am putting pressure when carving or sanding. Sometimes I am so immersed in the carving or sanding and not aware of how I am grasping the piece and it breaks, and I have to start over. The last step is painting the animal. I use a good artist- grade acrylic paint.
 When all the animals were finished, I needed to construct the diorama. I started with a base of boxes glued together. I used some actual rocks from my road, then cut some foam wall insulation to create tiers. Then I spackled the gaps, painted everything green, and covered with scale model landscaping, building up layers to look realistic. I made the tiny trees from bits of root that the pigs on the farm where I worked were rutting up. My miniature eye saw thousands of tiny trees, and I brought home a box full! I could not use a real photo of Mount Arrarat for the background as no doubt it would be copyrighted, so I went through my neighbor's vacation pictures and found a nice shot of The Badlands. Finally the moment came where everything was done and I got to set it all up. What fun!
Following are some close-ups: