Friday, May 20, 2016

Time to catch up...Teaching Trips 2015

I have been incredibly busy since I last posted many moons ago. I thought it was high time to catch up.

In September and October of last year I went on two teaching trips, the first one in the lovely little coastal town of Betty's Bay in the Cape Province, South Africa where the annual South African Miniature Convention is held each year. Here is the hall where the classes were taught, lunch and dinner was served each day which made life a whole lot easier on the teachers and students.

I taught two furniture classes, a Georgian bedside table and a Georgian dressing table mirror, both date from the early 1800's.

Two students busy working on their mirrors.

And we had one student all the way from Seattle in the US, here she is working on her bedside table.

About two weeks later I went to Sweden And Norway to teach two different classes, in Sweden the French washstand that I have posted about before on my blog and in Norway the tilt and turn table that you have also seen on my blog.

First some photos of the class in Stockholm, one of my students recently send me this photo of her completed washstand.

The class in Norway was held at Fellow blogger Janne's cabin in the beautiful Norwegian mountains.

I had a fantastic time teaching in these three venues, the students were all eager to learn, and we had lots of fun and laughter in between all the hard work.

In my next post I will show you some of the places I visited in between teaching.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More Brass Work

I am still alive, I promise...just very busy :-)

Now that I know how to work with brass on the lathe I have been having loads of fun with it. First up is this candlestick, it is Dutch and dates from about 1650.

A close up of the three pieces that makes up the candlestick. The screw was made using a tap and die set.

I taught this as a class at our club recently, for most of the students this was their first time turning brass on a lathe and they had lots of fun, here are two of the students with their candlesticks.

Next I made all of these little pieces...

It is hardware for this dressing table mirror dating from about 1800, the candlestick in this photo was made by Bill Robertson.

With the drawers open, I will be teaching this piece soon at our South African convention.

And lastly another tilt top table latch, I posted lots of step by step photos on the IGMA forum if you want to see how I made it.

All screwed together, now I need to start working on the table for this latch :-)

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

18th Century Brass Latch

In my last post I told you about my class in Tune Denmark, making the wine decanter. When I came home I started working on and off on making a brass latch for my tilt and turn tea table that I made back in 2012, using all my newly acquired skills. Here is the finished table made of mopane wood.

The latch is based on a real antique latch from the 18th century, here is my mini version.

The body of the latch was made out of a solid piece of 2mm thick brass, with a 1,2mm hole drilled into it for the bolt part of the latch, I used a spring on the bottom end of the bolt to ensure that the latch will stay in the closed position...we don't want teacups flying all over the place :-) The tiny knob was turned on the lathe and threaded to screw into the hole that I drilled and tapped in the bolt.

And here it is finished and installed on the table.

Time for tea I think.

Have a great week everybody.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tune 2014 Mechanical Wine Decanter

Last year I attended the miniature school in Tune Denmark that took place in July. I finally had time to finish the tiny mechanical wine decanter that we made in Bill Robertson's class, it is made from brass and ebony. The decanter dates from late Georgian to Victorian times, the main idea of the decanter is to slowly decant the wine while the heavy bitter sediment you had in red wines back then stayed in the bottom of the bottle. We did all the turning ourselves on a metal lathe as well as the treading to make screws and nuts.

Since the class I had time to look at a few more examples of decanters on the internet and decided to change the cradle into a simpler design than that of the class prototype, of course simpler doesn't always mean easier as I discovered with this one. I made one out of cardboard first as it had to be pretty exact. I made it from one solid piece of brass.

The second thing I changed was instead of just using a pin riveted into the cradle through the supporting uprights I made tiny screws with little knobs to keep the cradle in place after I saw that on an antique french wine decanter, here are all the pieces ready for final assembly.

To lower the bottle you turn the handle and if it wasn't for the cork the bottle would be empty now :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned a lot of new techniques that I have since continued to practice at home.

Have a blessed Easter everyone.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Seven Months of Silence

Wow, I almost can't believe it is seven months since I last posted. Real life has been very busy and filled with some difficult times. Progress on miniatures has been slow, but finally I have some things I can show you.

Remember the French washstand I made last year, during November I made a Victorian bath towel for it based on some real ones that I saw on the internet. Mine is made from 50 count linen with a crochet edge made using a 0.4mm hook and some cotton sewing thread, the embroidery design dates from Victorian times and were stitched with Pipers Silk.

A close up of the stitching.

Hanging on the washstand, now I must do the embroidery on the second towel.

I spend some time building the second room for my Cape Dutch house during the last six weeks. The house is finally standing in a decent place where I have good access to it after we moved some furniture around.

The front of the house with the entrance hall in the center, to the right is the bedroom I just built, the empty spot on the left will become the drawing room.

The space behind the front rooms of the house will have a corridor in the middle behind the entrance hall with a kitchen behind the bedroom and a dining room behind the drawing room.

One will have a nice view through the doors into the other rooms. The furniture I used here is just to give you an idea of my plans for the bedroom, most of them won't be used here.

The wallpaper I used for the panels is gift wrap with a chinoiserie design dating from 1780, since the pattern is quite big I decided to use it in panels so as not to overwhelm the room. I am thinking of painting the bottom panels just a shade darker before I add molding all around the panels. I plan on using the beautiful silk velvet for the curtains. Making the flooring for the bedroom is probably next, at this stage all the walls can still be removed, I find it a lot easier to work on them while they are lying flat.

I have made some progress on my 1740 rug which is destined for the bedroom, the colors match the wallpaper perfectly.  

Hopefully it won't be another seven months before you hear from me again!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

IGMA Forum

Yes, I know, I have been very quiet on my blog over the last while. life has just been very busy, both with miniatures and some real family happenings.

One of the things that kept me busy...back in January I was asked if I would like to help set up a forum for the International Guild of Miniature Artisans, it took me about two seconds to say yes. The forum was officially launched last night at the opening ceremony at Guild School in Castine. The website went live about two months ago but were kept a secret with the exception of a few people who were asked to join and start posting so that there would be some content by launch date.

You don't have to be a Guild member to join the forum, please read through the forum's guide lines before you start posting. I hope many of my friends here will join, this is going to be a great online place to share and inspire each other to build great miniatures! 

Please share this on your blogs and other social media so that we can spread the word among as many miniaturists world wide as possible.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Building a door and two furniture pieces

This last weekend I spend some time on the building of the screen doors. The top rail is curved and after some thought I decided it would be easier to cut a slot in the wood for the glass as opposed to grinding the glass to fit, especially since I have to build four doors.

The slot with the glass in it.

Cutting the slot on my table saw was a bit nerve racking as all the curves and molding were already cut, I didn't even try to cut it to the full depth in one shot, probably did about 15 cuts raising the blade a bit each time.

Cutting the door side rails to length presented another problem, they were way too long for my table saw and I don't have a full scale table saw and my pieces weren't the same length either. in the end I taped a piece of wood to the arm on my band saw and cut all eight side rails to the same length but still a bit overlong.

The last little bit I cut off on the table saw because I wanted a really smooth cut.

The panel for the bottom of the door was slightly too big and I had to remove about 0.5mm on all four sides, with the angle in the middle rail this was all quite complicated to cut and fit.

One of the four doors in the frame to check that the height is right.

I also checked that the glass and small rails will fit right, I am using microscope slides as they are nice and thin and I was lucky enough that they fit perfectly height wise, now I need to cut the glass and the wooden rails to size before any gluing can be done.

I also took time off from my orders to build two pieces of furniture, I had a deadline and finished both of these in eleven days. The first is a 19th century French washstand, the original was build from pine, I used Oregon pine for mine.

I think this piece lends itself well to all kind of uses, I used a granite look melamine to imitate the slate of the original.

And here is the original full scale washstand that I copied.

The second piece is a lovely Regency Etagere from 1840. I need more books for this one!

The original was made from Rosewood, I made mine from some mahogany sheets that I had because I didn't have time to cut and sand the wood I really want to use for this, a South African wood called Candlewood, it has a very nice grain and color that resembles Rosewood very well and I will make some again later this year in the Candlewood.

The reason for the rush, they were for class proposals, I will be teaching for the first time later this year, looking forward to it and kind of dreading it at the same time, first time nerves I guess! I will tell you later when and where when all the details has been loaded onto the website.

Have a great week