fancy mikado?

fancy mikado?

Here is the result so far of a really fun collaboration; a bunch of front and back legs that will turn into four poster beds. It started out as a wild idea between me and a dear miniature friend from the other side of the globe. What if we could combine his milling skills with my hand carving??? We came up with a design that would incorporate both and have an overall elegant feel to the finished bed.

first mock-up drawing
The milling took place with the aid of a CNC mill, and for that he had to draw up the design in a CAD program (computer aided design). That program then translated the dimensions and shape of legs the to CAM software that generated the commands (or G-code) to control the milling machine. Do you still follow? I know I was confused too at first ...

detail of CAD drawing
Here's a detail of the some of the many drawing that he'd made before final milling. It might you think at this stage; "Hey! That is easy, anyone can make a miniature this way". But believe me, it not as straight forward as you might think.

Besides this stage there is still loads of (manual) construction work afterwards to do. I just look at it as just another power tool, something each of us probably use every now and then. Maybe not as high-end but still a tool that doesn't work without human input. In this case one still has to come up with a design and be able to draw. Mastering the (drawing) software to drive the mill is just as challenging as mastering the potential of a table saw or a drill press and make that work for you. As this was his first project on a CNC mill I'm very proud of the steep learning curve he's undergone ever since. 

a set of legs
test pieces for shape, color and finish

Because the milling was quite a challenge at times, being long and thin and with the fragile finials at the top. I think his results so far are just amazing! After that I added even more details by carving the acanthus leaves with the aid of his milling. As you can see we used small strategically placed indicating cuts that helped me place the 4 leaves equally around the circumference. They were an enormous aid as i could focus completely on the carving and not have any worries bout spacing. 

the carved centers

It will be a while till completion, but already it's been great fun to work on. Although i must confess carving over 20 legs was a teeny weeny bit tedious, i look back upon it as a great way to get practice, practice and even more practice. On to the next stage, the head and foot boards!

detail of a test piece

To be continued...


  1. Wat leuk zo`n een gezamenlijk project. Het ziet er prachtig ui. Ben benieuwd naar het eindresultaat.

    Groetjes Xandra

  2. Like always your work amaze me! What a wonderful and perfect result of carving. I'm sure,the bed will be a masterwork and I'm looking forward at the next steps of your work. Jeannette

  3. That is fantastic Debora !
    I adore when technology assists craftmanship !

  4. Super. Fantastic. Wonderful.
    Hugs from Craftland

  5. Hello Debora!
    What stunning work you do! Those bedposts are incredible and I can only imagine how beautiful the finished piece will be. I am in awe of your talent and abilities.
    For sure I will be watching to see this progress.
    Sending you good wishes from Ray!

  6. Incredible! What a wonderful job, Debora.
    Cant wait to see how it progresses x

  7. You clever girl! Not only do you recognize the value of a good collaboration but you again manage to create something beautiful. The whole CNC concept goes beyond my comprehension although I know that if you master it, fantastic things can be done with it. My compliments to your friend on this first project being a triumph!

    The dark colour on the last photo is gorgeous. You have achieved a beautiful finish on it, enhancing the detail.

  8. How exciting. Your friend sure seems to have mastered his part. I love the carving you have done. I already know I am going to be dying to have one of those beds.

  9. Wonderful work Debora, the wood looks so beautiful and silky smooth in your last photo, what type of wood are you using? It must be fun to work with someone else, I am looking forward to the rest of the bed.

  10. Hello Debora,
    Wow! That is just wonderful! what a great idea to team up with other artists. The pieces are gorgeous and as always your delicate, precise carving is just spectacular. I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug,

  11. Wow, they are wonderful, blown away!!!


  12. Beautiful! Quite a challenge to find the right balance of how much to do using the CNC milling machine and how much by hand. It does look amazing! Can't wait for the follow-up.

  13. You are an extremely skilled artisan. The carving is exquisite. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Fabulous! That must have been tedious work but your efforts sure paid off.

  15. They look great in the photos, I bet they look even better in person. Keep up the good work and thanks for posting.

  16. What a great collaboration, you are both very skilled and talented. The finished legs are just amazing, hard to believe they are miniatures. These beds will be works of art.

  17. What a marvellous project for you and your friend. The whole CAD thing goes over my head I'm afraid but I do love the work it helps create.

  18. I am telling the blog world is limitless and boundless. Great collaboration of two talented artisans + amazing design.

  19. Great idea to do a shared effort!
    This work is one of the outstanding examples that show what an excellent artisan you are, Deborah.
    That bed is going to have a soul.
    I know it is a long, longggg shot, but if I ever win the lottery, would you do me the honor to make my furniture?
    Mind you, I've never won anything in 30 years, but you never know.
    Absolutely blown away,

  20. Debora, I'd love to play mikado with you! ;-)
    The legs are truelly wonderfull you've done an amazing job.
    Can we see the result at Castine 2013?

    And ofcourse untill friday

  21. I'm running short on time but i really would like to thank each and every one of you for your kind encouragement and positive comments. I can recommend teaming up together with any one you think that has a skill that could complement your own, and visa versa. I've learned so much along the way already and it is a great way to share the passion for miniatures we all must feel.
    In my mind comes the gorgeous needle work some of you can do, together with the sewing tables Elga Koster has made. They have a fire screen slide incorporated that needs embroidery. Or the silver and ceramics terrine that Jens Torp and Henny Staring-Egberts collaborated on. Too much to mention...

  22. Debora!! I can't believe you make these legs - they are fabulous. I absolutely adore the leaf design and the finish you have got is incredible. I am looking forward to seeing the finished piece. Thank you again for visiting me in blogland and your really kind words. You have inspired me to dust down my workbench. Big hug, Carol

  23. wow... those are fantastic! What a great way of combining two talents. Just stunning!

  24. Yes I would say WOW !!!!! also thank you for sharing Debora. I'm going to have to step up my building..


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