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.


  1. I loved seeing how you made these. They turned out beautifully. I am not totally clear about how you made certain elements in metal. For instance...How you cut the interior square inside those tiny buckles and I have a few other questions (later). They sure are perfect! Thank you for posting these.

  2. Fantastic!
    Thanks for the tutorial.
    Bye Faby

  3. Una auténtica obra de arte. Preciosos
    Un abrazo

  4. Thanks for the tutorial, Love these!

  5. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. The result of your work is wonderful.

  6. I so enjoyed seeing these fabulous skis.....I love the step by step photos, the detail is amazing...thank you!

  7. Thank you my friends, glad you enjoyed the skis!
    Catherine, I used a #11 x-acto blade to cut the tiny openings in the shim brass. It was very difficult with that big clunky blade. I'm guessing it would be easier now that I have obtained these fantastic knives with incredibly fine, tiny blades originally for eye surgery.

  8. I, too, love old things. These mini vintage skis are incredible and the work in progress pics are easy to understand. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Sandi :)

  9. Amazing!!I am impressed.

  10. Te ha quedado de lujo los skies y estámos en la epoca para ello, así que los personajes van a pasar un invierno divertido.
    Un abrazo

  11. Linda,
    What exquiste work! Those skis and poles are amazing and what a treat to get to see how they were done. I look forward to following your artistry.
    Best regards from Ray

  12. Thank you Ray!

    And thanks to everyone who left a comment---

    You make my day!