Carpentry, the Mary Rose and more from the Wabi Sabi Workshop
I would strongly recommend a visit to the Mary Rose Museum. Buy your tickets online to avoid the queue and you will also get a free boat tour of Portsmouth harbour. The new Park and Ride service in Portsmouth is great value for money at the moment and, from Tipner Lane beside the motorway, it delivers you to within a few minutes’ walk of the historic dockyard where the museum is located.
The Wabi Sabi workshop has continued to be productive in recent months. Dad has made some toy animals for Noah’s ark (see my previous blog post). The bear, gorilla and rhinoceros have been made from Honduras mahogany reclaimed from a Victorian bed frame – definitely upcycling in action! The toys have been articulated using bungee cord stretched tight. Dad’s next project is a play house for the grandchildren. This will be in the form of a miniature living van or shepherd’s hut on wheels. More on this, with a blueprint, anon.
We also have a free gift for all the toymakers out there. Last Christmas my nephew Noah received a wooden walking chickens toy, said to be a traditional toy from Poland. I have pinned a picture of a similar toy on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/WttWBooks ) – this comes from a company www.realwoodentoys.com that makes the same toy with a variety of different animals that ‘walk’ down the sloping ramp. It is simple but the rhythmic action of the chickens nodding along down the track is mesmerising and it makes a lovely clicking noise! We all played with it at Christmas and it made Noah laugh. So, with this in mind, we have taken a chapter from a vintage book called Toy Manufacture by J. T. Mackinson (first published in 1921) and included it as a free PDF file on our ‘Free Gifts and Samples’ page. We considered publishing an ebook of this title but most of the book is about setting up a commercial toy company and it not relevant for today’s amateur toy maker. However, the chapter on ‘The Movement of Toys’ is both practical and interesting, and offers several challenges for those who enjoy creating self-powered toys based on ‘Simple laws of nature, such as, for instance, gravitation (involving acceleration and retarded velocity); inherent properties of bodies (elasticity, expansion and contraction); and finally, chemistry…’ that ‘make possible the successful operation of many most ingenious contrivances.’ The swing-boat toy looks so complicated and requires such precision that I find it hard to believe an amateur Geppetto could make it work. Anyone want to prove me wrong?