Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I made this replica based on the sea chests that could be found on whaling ships, although they were used on all sorts of vessels, both military and commercial. Due to lack of space, all the sailors wordly possessions had to fit in this often simple box. Some of the more elaborate ones had nautical paintings on the lid. In this case I elected to fill the box with the tools of trade for a scrimshaw artist.

Whaling has been on my mind since reading The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, the true account of the disaster on which Moby Dick was based. It was written by First Mate Owen Chase. The story was recently brought to the screen in "In the Heart of The Sea"

I'm pretty sure I got the tools from Pete and Pam Boorum of Smallerthanlife.

The scale is 1/12, 1 inch = 1 foot


Took inspiration (and the painting) from this beauty from the San Francisco Maritime Museum, which says the following:

One more thing (to quote Columbo), an excellent edition of Owen Chase's account came out recently, called "The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex: The Complete Illustrated Edition".  It has outstanding illustrations and annotations.

Even better is the graphic when you remove the dust cover:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Smokin' Idea

Great idea. Saw it on Designboom

Yes, there is an organization just for people who build miniature carousels

Saw this photograph on the site of the International Guild for Miniature Artisans (IGMA) and it was thougth  to have been taken around 1910. One of the commenters referred to an organization called the Carousel Modelers and Miniature Association, in case you want to check it out.

The IGMA sponsors a trade show in the New York area every year, usually in August.  To become a certified artist, you have to submit work that is judged on factors such as scale, authenticity of materials and quality of craftsmanship. Many people do not get certified the first time they apply.  The Guild also sponsors a school in Castine Main every year.  It's website used to be just a listing of members, but I see now they have a blog and a very good forum where you can learn/share techniques and projects.

IGMA Guild School
IGMA Forum

Images from IGMA Artisans or Fellows

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Stringed Amazingness

These are the best 1/12 scale instruments I've come across (after much diligent searching). They are made by Canadian woodworker John Ottewill. The pics are from an article he wrote for Canadian Woodworking Magazine, which I assume you all read, but in case you missed it, here's the link.

The artist:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Furniture, glorious furniture!

 Some of you may have noticed that the banner for this blog shows a model I've been working on, over the years, of my apartment. In that particular photo, I allowed myself some artistic license, such as the bamboo looking walls, which do not really exist.  The model, along with my apartment, has  changed over time. Here are some pieces I made in a recent round of building.


This is made from primarily from black walnut, but mahogany was used for the back piece and the draw bottoms. This 1/12 replica is made of better material than the real piece, which is veneer over some kind of pressed wood.

The replica (above) and the original (below) on which it is based. The real sized piece is the 6-drawer Villas Dresser, from Overstock.com. The picture is from Overstock's site.

Here are some shots of the finished piece and the process in case you are curious about how this was built.

Desk, file cabinet, ottoman, book shelf

There are many ways to make the sliding draws. I went for the simple method. A more elegant solution might have been to  cut grooves in the inner walls or the draw piece.

The desk with one simple drawer.

Yes, those are some of my actual books (Dracula, a classic everyone must own, a look on pirates, and a boxed, double volume of  Leslie Klinger's Annotated Sherlock Holmes).