Saturday, July 2, 2011










Monday, April 25, 2011

A Few Arks!

Here's a few of the Noah's Arks that I have done so far for this year. I also have six sets of animals nearly all done......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Noah's Ark Promotional (1990)

The ark....the result of Noah's great faith and his efforts to save creation. The ark....a toy that children could play with on Sundays while still remembering the sabbath; and keeping it holy. The toy arks are as much a part of Americana as the spinning wheel and coffee grinder, and are treasured pieces of true American folk art. Each of the arks is handmade from salvaged wood in keeping with the traditions of their original manufacture; each pair of animals is hand carved and painted. because each is handcrafted, every ark is unique. differences between arks include the types of wood used and the whims of the craftsman. Although the basic design of arks has remained the same over hundreds of years - a boat with a house on it - toy arks have reflected the geographical location and historical era of the builder. Thus some arks, which reflect the simple rustic mountain life might feature a cabin with animals familiar to the craftsman, pigs, goats, horses, cows, etc. Other arks, reflecting different circumstances, may feature structures more like a Victorian home with more sophistic animals; elephants, giraffes, zebra, etc.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Animals, Animals, Animals!

As one can see, I've not been forgetting about the Ark animals.This represents about 1/3 of the animals I'll need this year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Returned From Vacation And Back to Fun Work

Returned from Florida and am getting back to the Ark making fun. While in Florida I carved about 80 animals. Don't know why I planned on doing more. I am cutting out blanks now to carve an addition bazzillion...... In the next few weeks I'll be putting the final touches on the first batch of Arks. I'll be numbering the Arks, for easy identification.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Animal Carving in Florida

One of the problems with power carving is the dust that is created. Some woods have very toxic dust that can cause breathing problems as well as allergic reactions, for some individuals. I am happy to say that I have solved that problem. First you find a beach in Florida with a beautiful beach house.

All beach houses have porches on all levels that face the water. In my case it's the Gulf. At some point in the day there will be a strong wind blowing. When this happens, you place yourself on the porch with the rotary tool and your wood. Position yourself so that when you power carve, the dust created will blow away from you (and others too). The only problem I have to overcome is the motivation to sit and carve several hundred animals..

Monday, February 14, 2011

They're Taking Over!

I don't only make Noah's Arks. I whittle other things, like Gnomes. But this is piracy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Animal Blanks Cut & Packed For Florida

Well, I made a big deal out of putting off carving the animals. Now I'll fess up. I do the carving on the beach in Florida. We'll be at a beach house for the month of March. I've cut out some blanks, and packed them for the trip.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carving the Animals

You all do known that I have been putting off carving the animals. The arks are much more fun to make. Each one is different. The animals on the other hand.............................

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tall Noah's Ark

This is a taller Noah's Ark. The cow is about 3 inches tall. The arks hull is crown molding that was recently salvaged from a house remodel. The roof is leather hinged and the top cabin is intended to store the animals. I still may add some trim over the windows and doors; and of course apply some ware and antiquing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Barn Noah's Ark

When you cannot go anywhere because of the ice, you make another Noah's Ark. This is a 15 inch tall Ark. It's a bit smaller that the others. I will carve some slightly smaller animals for this one. I may carve only North American animals for this one, since it's a "barn ark". I also plan some hex signs for the side of the barn.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Double Door Noah's Ark - Continued

Here's two slightly different angles of the double door Noah's Ark. There's a shelf inside the hull with several stalls. If you look close you can see a tiger in a stall. Still must round off some corners and antique it a bit, and put a bottom on it. Notice the window in the top right corner of the right hand photo. If you look closely that's a tree encased in ice. We have anywhere from 3/8 to 1/2 inch of ice on everything. A good day to stay inside and play....That's just what I did...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Double Door Noah's Ark - Continued

Not much time spent of the Double Door Ark today. You can see the size and design of the double doors. Leather hinges will be used on these doors. These larger doors are necessary because little hands will be reaching in and out placing pairs of animals into and out of stalls.
Note the rough bow trim piece. This piece too, is from reclaimed wood. In this case the result of dumpster diving. This piece still has some paper glued on it. The piece was from a stack of pine boards that were samples of various stains and finishes. The furniture store had thrown them out.
Tomorrow. maybe I can spend more time. Now, back to carving Gnomes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Double Door Noah's Ark

This next Noah's Ark will have "Double Doors". These doors will let one place animals in stalls within the arks hull. This type of ark presents some different challenges in its design and construction; but that's some of the fun part of making them. More tomorrow.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Small 10 Inch Noah's Ark

It was time to use up some scraps, left over from the larger Arks. The larger arks use wood left over from trimming houses, the left overs keep on getting used. The arks just get smaller and smaller. This ark measures about 10 inches long and 10 inches tall. The animals are in the range of 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Larger Noah's Ark Completed

Here's two views of the finished ark, with a few animals. Perhaps you can see how much fun I can have designing on the fly. The door in the hull opens down and becomes kind of a ramp. When not being played with, the animals can be stored in the hull. The roof with the leather hinges opens up, and there is one of the other side too.
I don't know what the next Noah's Ark will be. If there is any suggestions as to design, or colors, or anything else; feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Larger Noah's Ark

Opps! I forgot to get some photos from the actual start. This will happen when I'm doing an Ark without plans, and just letting it develop. I get into the "Zone" and forget everything else. Maybe that's why I like doing this so much.

The first photo is of the basic flat sided hull with the bow and stern pieces. The deck is also done and inserted into the dados that were cut into the inside surfaces of the bow and stern pieces. The sides are 1/4th inch birch plywood, that has cleats attached to the inside for the deck to sit on. This ark will have a door for the animals. When opened, the door will be a ramp.

This Ark cabin has three openings on each side, and on the ends, so the animals can be placed inside.

This photo is just another angle. The animals are placed so that one may get a better idea of the Ark size. The elephant is about 3 inches tall.

Well, I thought it needed another cabin. The only place for it is on top of the other one. I also found some old salvaged OGEE molding that I used over the windows and doors, as well as at the top of the first level cabin..
Next we'll do the roof(s), copula, and the door.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fun Noah's Ark!

It's time to get a bit more creative with the Noah's Arks. As I have mentionned; I use no plans. Following plans might make the effort more like "work". Right now it's fun. The next Ark will be the ultimate in fun for me. I'll just start out with a basic hull and build up from there. Maybe one story cabin or maybe 4 stories. Don't know; it'll just evolve as the spirit move me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crown Molding Noah's Ark

The next Noah's Ark will be one made with Crown Molding for the Hull. Crown molding can be very expensive to purchase. But If you know a builder, or a trim carpenter; ask them for some end cuts. To start this ark, I make 22 1/2 degree cuts at the ends of the each piece of 17 inch crown molding.
I next determine how wide I want the ark to be, and cut 3/4" wood to that width. The length is usually about 1 1/2 inches taller than the crown molding. Use a compass to mark a curve to be cut off each end piece. Scroll down to see the "assembled" ark.

Next determine where the deck should be. I use a table saw to make a groove that will hold the deck. This cut is made at the same level on both ends and the hull sides. If you do not have a table saw, you can glue cleats on the inside of the end pieces and the sides that will allow the deck to sit on top, and provide a surface for glue and brads.

Here's what the Ark hull will look like.

Next start on the cabin. The cabin is made of salvaged 1/4 inch birch plywood. Make the cabin any size you wish. Mark and cut two cabin ends, and two cabin sides. Nail the ends together, and nail the sides together. Mark the door on the end piece, and the windows on the side pieces.

Use the scroll saw to cut out the doors and windows. Since the ends and the sides are matched/stacked and nailed together, you cut both the windows and the doors at the same time.

This is what the Crown Molding Ark will look like with out the roof pieces.

Here's the painted and assembled Crown Molding Noah's Ark. Notice that I added the bow and stern pieces. I'll have to cut and attach some leather hinges to the roof sections and attach the roof. But this is basically the completed Crown Molding Noah's Ark,

Completed Table Top Noah's Ark

Here's the completed Table Top Noah's Ark with a few pairs of animals.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Noah's Ark Animals

I have found most of my animal patterns in children's coloring books. I transfer them to 1/8 inch fiber board or plywood and cut them out on the scroll saw. I can then easily trace them onto the wood for cutting out.

Here's an example of a cheetah and an elephant pattern in use. Starting at the left is the pattern. Next the cutout and the finished painted animal.

I generally use the rotary tool with a 1/2 inch sanding sleeve to shape the animals. I have found that the sanding dust from Redwood and Cedar can be a bit toxic, so I use a good dust collector to pull the dust away from me.

In these photos of the cheetah you can hopefully see how I use the rotary tool and the sanding sleeve to shape the cheetah. After I cut the blank out, I start at the neck area and lay the 1/2 inch sanding sleeve on the wood and make a concave "cut". Then I do the exact same thing of the other side of the blank. Next, I remove wood to shape the tail. After the tail I generally move to the legs. Remove some wood in front of the rear legs and then behind the front legs. Then you can just round off the areas between the tail and the neck cut. Finally, use the sanding sleeve to make the cuts that define the cheetahs face.

You can put as much detail in as you wish. But remember, children may not notice, and too much detail may tend to break off when played with. Experience has told me not to separate the animals legs, as they tend to break off.

After shaping the animals with the sanding sleeve, I dip the animal into shellac and let dry. After the shellac is dry, I use acrylic paints for the color.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ark Animals

Some information on making the pairs of animals for the Noah's Ark will be a starting point. I use Redwood when I can get it, and if I cannot get it, I use Cedar. In either case, the wood is either salvaged from house decks, picnic tables, outdoor furniture, or fence boards. If I have to purchase the Redwood or Cedar it's in the form of fence boards. These boards are between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. I do try to use thicker wood for the thicker animals like the elephant.

I also use a rotary tool (Dremel) with a 1/2 inch sanding sleeve to achieve the desired animal shapes. I will post a series of slides that show the sequence of sanding sleeve cuts to carve the animals.

I hope to have ther animal series posted in the next few days....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Making A Table Top Noah's Ark...continued

The first photo shows attaching the cabin to the ark hull. Do this before attaching the roof.

Cut pieces of leather to serve as hinges to open one side of the roof . I fold the pieces of leather and preform them by squeezing them between two blocks of wood, over night. Use tacks and glue to attach the hinges to the roof sides. Be sure to leave about 3/16 inch between the tops of the roof sides, when attaching the hinges. If not, the roof sides will not lay flat against the cabin when closed.

After the hinges are attached to the roof sides, they can be attached to the ark cabin.
Remember the water, rainbow, storm cloud, lightening, and sun that we made. Cut and attach blocks of wood that have a short dowel attached to the block of wood, to the backs of these pieces. Drill receiving holes in the ark hull to receive the dowels in the back of the water.

Attach the lightening to the storm cloud. Drill a hole in the roof side to receive the dowel on the backs of the storm clouds, the sun and rainbow.
The reason for the attaching dowels on these parts is so that children, when hearing the story of Noah, and follow along and attach the storm clouds when Noah is told about the coming storm, and add the water when the flood comes.
Our next steps involve making the animals......