Short Stories About My Miniatures June 2020

I am going to start posting on the my Blog some of the short stories and photos I have posted on social media. I apologize in advance if you follow me there and have read them before. This will act as an archive to keep these stories together.


Dovetails

June 16 2020


For years I struggled to figure out how to hand cut dovetails in miniature. In a conversation decades ago with Mack Headley, Master Cabinetmaker at Colonial Williamsburg, the solution became clear. Just cut them out to fit each other. No one is going to be swapping parts so the layout isn't critical as long as each corner fits. In miniature laying out something tiny can take longer than to cut it out. Also the lines are huge! So I just cut out the pins first, then the tails with a jewelers saw. It is a very different process than doing full scale dovetails, which btw I'm really bad at, my miniature ones fit better than my big ones.



Twin Manors

June 17 2020


I spent a good part of the 80s, or at least my workdays, in the shop building a pair of miniature houses. They were built in 1/12th scale. Commonly called dollhouses but I like the term Miniature Houses because these were never meant for dolls. The only people to play with then are children over the age of 55 I often joke. They are named Twin Manors, because there I made two. One is on permanent display at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures in Kansas City, MO. (as with so many museums in the world they are closed but will reopen soon). This is a detail of the stairway, there over a 1000 pieces just in the stairway and something like 9 different lengths of fluted balusters. The ceiling height of this room was 12" ! So that knoll post is under 3" tall. It is even drilled hollow and under the ivory cap is the deed.


You can read a lot more about Twin Manors on my website.


Larger Scale Child's Blanket Chest

June 20 2020


Sometimes I make miniatures in a larger scale than the normal 1/12th. This was a prototype for a class I had planned aimed at full scale woodworkers. It was a little larger to make cutting the dovetails easier even though I just love to cut the really tiny ones. The class was cancelled in '08 and this finished piece just sits at the back of my workbench for me to enjoy.


Greene & Greene Rocking Chair

June 22 2020


In the early 1990s I made miniature copies of Green & Green's furniture for a miniature house made by Noel & Pat Thomas. This was based on the Gamble House in Pasadena, CA. These miniatures can be seen in the Mini Time Museum in Tuscon, AZ.


This is a maple rocker is from the bedroom, it has square pegs and silver inlay. I did all the furniture in this room including the pair of nickel silver beds. One of the best parts of this job was when I visited the Gamble house after-hours they not only let me examine the furniture in detail but let me sit in all the chairs. Trust me, they are as comfortable as they are beautiful.




Coin Scale

June 25 2020


Miniature coin scale in carved wood case. Has both nesting and flat weights. Beam was cut out with a jewelers saw and filed to shape.




Dancing Master Caliper

June 29 2020



I used to trade "Doc" Pearson, who was an Antique Tool Collector/Dealer in PA. miniatures I would make for old tools. Over the years I made him a number of one-of-a-kind copies of tools from his collection. This was a miniature pair of dancing master leg calipers laying on the full scale ones. Note the sort of hammered finish and the engraved garter.


Detail of a Greene & Greene Table

June 30 2020


In the early 1990s I made miniature copies of Green & Green's furniture for a miniature house made by Noel & Pat Thomas. This was based on the Gamble House in Pasadena, CA. These miniatures can be seen in the Mini Time Museum in Tuscon, AZ.


Here is an old photo of the drawers in the hall table. You can see details like the large rounded box joints, square ebony pegs and molded curved handles. One of the best parts of this job was when I visited the Gamble house after-hours they not only let me examine the furniture in detail but let me sit in all the chairs. Trust me, they are as comfortable as they are beautiful.





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William R. Robertson | Kansas City, MO

"Details Matter"