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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Furniture and Petit Point

I realized the other day that I have only shown you a photo of the finished Federal sewing table, this table has many parts and proved a challenge to build. One thing I have discovered in building more than one of the same table, even though you cut all the parts at the same time and mill all the joinery simultaneously....once you start building, each table seems to take a shape of it's own and each individual drawer etc needs to be fitted separately for each table, so it becomes very important to keep each table and all it's pieces together and not mix them up. Why does it happen...I think because the tolerances are so small, even the finish can interfere with the fitting of a drawer.

Here is a table with all it's pieces, the top and the two small swing out drawers still needs to be fitted before I can glue the top on, I am using a pin hinge for these two drawers, so the drawers needs to be fitted and installed before I can glue the top on.

This one is almost done, I am in the process of putting the finish on this one and then the table top hinges will be glued on. Another challenge on this table is the raising top, it is only 1/16" thick and then you need to cut recesses into it for the hinges and stand.

For one of the tables I covered the big drawer with a silk bag, I think I will do that for my own table too and speaking of my table...

The petit point for it is coming along slowly but surely.

Since I am in the final stages with the last few tables I have started working on a new commission...this is the legs, the inlay isn't finished on these yet...stay tuned, in my next post I will tell you more about this piece and give a step by step tutorial on doing the inlay.

Remember the new rug I showed you a few weeks ago that I started of in french knots, well I ordered a book that I knew had a photo of the original rug in it.

Here is a scan of the full scale antique rug....but the real rug was done in cross stitch, it wasn't knotted and the outer border was a bit more I started over again...

doing it in cross stitch now and I changed the border a bit, I love the colors of this rug, for those of you who owns Annelle Ferguson's book Traditional Stitches in Miniature, you can find the chart on page 78.

Have a great week

PS: The rain has stopped and the sun is out, the worst flooding happened in an area three hours north of us, my niece who stay in that area, her house got flooded, they stayed with her in-law's for the last week as the river got higher and higher, they could go to their house for the first time today, she says there is mud everywhere. Here are two photos as it looked late last week in the town.

This area had a lot of damage and I guess it will take quite awhile for things to go back to normal.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Progress, fitting and rain, rain, rain....

Sorry for the long is just so busy!

I made a bit of progress on the Cape Dutch home, because the door opening between the hall and back of the house is so big, I thought it would be a lot easier to glue in the door frame before I screw the walls together.

Using some squares to keep the frame square while the glue dries, hmmm, the rusted big one isn't mine!

A close up of the frame.

Test fitting with the two side walls...something was bothering me.

Oops, the roof isn't going to work like this, can't have those two gaps..I kind of did expect problems here, the room on the back of this wall was added about 70 years after the original house was built, the gables on this house was also added at that after thinking about it for awhile I decided to change this wall to what it would have looked like before the additions.

I cut the wall down as you can see in this photo.

And then added a slanted piece of wood that I cut on my band saw to bring everything up to the height that it needed to be.

Next I need to finish the four doors, fitting the rail with the slant is rather a job. Somebody asked me why the side rail is wider at the bottom, I am not really sure...but I wonder...these doors are a lot taller than your usual door with a lot of glass in the top section and I think...maybe it was to have more solid wood in the bottom part of the door to support the weight of the glass.

Last night Yoda came to inspect the house...he is rather a bored kitty at the moment as it has rained almost non stop for more than a week now over a fairly large part of the country. We have a river going through our city and the least bit of rain makes it overflow now, roads are starting to cave in...

The building to the right is a hotel... just behind it to the right is a big shopping mall that I often go to, I live on the other side of the horizon, the water you see here is the river bursting it's banks. Fortunately I live quite high up and away from the report says it still going to rain until the end of next week!

A damaged road in one of the suburbs.

The highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg, this happens to be the sign for the off ramp that I take when I come back home from Johannesburg, fortunately it wasn't raining when I used the highway on Saturday to go to our mini club meeting.

A road in, that is serious damage, and I wonder how many more are going to crack when it starts drying up, I have noticed a few potholes appearing in roads that I drive on...I took none of these photos, most of them I received in an email.

Keep well