20 Years of Contributors (Part 1)

 

When The Scale Cabinetmaker started in 1976, it had a two person staff– Jim and Helen Dorsett, a selectric typewriter, a small workshop in an upstairs bedroom, and a stack of ideas listed on the back of computer printouts. It wasn’t the Dorsett’s first venture in publishing– the Cabinetmaker’s Guides to Dollhouse Furniture first appeared on the market in 1963–but it was their most ambitious. While the first issue of TSC reflected the small staff, subsequent issues and volumes saw the inclusion of projects from many of the leading craftsman in miniatures and the inclusion of a broad range of regular contributors. Indeed, at the time, the subscription list and the contributors list read like a “who’s who” in the miniature hobby.

Each new contributor added an additional layer of expertise to The Scale Cabinetmaker and added to the collective knowledge of the miniature hobby. While the writers of TSC never exhausted the subject, they did cover an enormous range of subjects, from kitbashing to metalworking to designing period roomboxes. The re-release of TSC brings the voices of folks like Jim and Helen Dorsett, Horace Cooke, Jim and Harriet Jedlicka, Madelyn Cook, Harry Whalon, Pete Westcott, and many others to a new generation of hobbiests.

When possible, we have added some additional information about each writer. In some cases, their background is lost in Jim’s many file cabinets; others are fairly well known in their field and their names crop up on a routine basis.

Bill Allen (Toronto, Canada)

  • Workshop Chatter (column): 11:1 (27); 11:3 (28,34)

Bill Allen, a miniature craftsman from Toronto, Canada, began his new column in TSC at the beginning of Volume 11. Unfortunately, his column ended far too soon with his untimely death in 1987. Jim Dorsett, in his “In the Interim” column in the Fall, 1987 issue of TSC (11:3), wrote:

The [Workshop Chatter] column was the child of a week-long visit by Bill last November to the TSC workshops. It was a week of periodically recessed, but never adjourned, conversation, of shared ideas about tools on the workbency, of opinions, agreements, and disagreements and of point of view (first made during several years of multipage letters) stretched into discussions that tended to forget where the hands on the clock stood. Bill’s practical bent with tools and his relaxed manner (exemplified by his logo, a laid-back turtle), whether in conversation or with pen, led to my proposal that he consider writing a regular column for TSC. His pending retirement last spring from years as a college lecturer, his eager anticipation of the expansion of “Allen’s Efforts”…a cornucopia of tool ideass and products with which he intended to fill his retirement…and his eager willingness to share his thoughts and energies made him a natural as one of TSC’s regulars…

…Whether you knew him or not, all of us in the hobby are going to miss Bill Allen. The reason is woven into the tapestry of ideas in one of his last letters. “I guess the following from Jonathan Livingston Seagull sort of sums it up for me,” he wrote. “It’s good to be a seeker, but sooner or later you have to be a finder. And then it is well to give what you have found, a gift into the world for whoever will accept it.” In that respect I hope that Bill Allen and his ilk will always be among TSC’s “regulars.”

Barry Appleyard

  • Drawing Room Grand Piano: 12:2 (5-18)

Ruth Armstrong (Jonesville, Michigan)

  • 1920’s Hot Air Central Heating: (Part 1) 12:3 (6-12); (Part 2) 12:4 (29-35) 

  • 1931 Monitor Top Refridgerator: 11:3 (8-18) 

  • Edison Cygnet Cylinder Phonograph: 13:4 (30-38) 

  • The Evolution of a Working Gumball Machine: 9:4 (19-25)

  • Farmhouse Cream Separator: 17:1 (25-31) 

  • The Fireless Cooker (c. 1920): 12:2 (25-32) 

  • The Hand-Pumped Vacuum Cleaner: 10:1 (18-23)
  • 
The J.J. Deal Buggy: (Part 1) 16:1 (5-16); (Part 2) 16:2 (12-20); (Part 3) 16:3 (45-48) 

  • Japanese Toilet Stand: 20:1 (13-19)
  • 
Low Post Rope Bed: 10:2 (12-16) 

  • Making a Swell Bodied Cutter: (Part 1) 17:3 (5-14); (Part 2) 17:4 (25-36) 

  • Making the Original Hoover “Model O”: 11:2 (25-29) 

  • Miniature Trickery in the Third Dimension: (Part 1) 19:1 (5-15); (Part 2) 19:2 (25-32); (Part 3) 19:3 (47-48) 

  • The Old Family Popcorn Popper: 9:3 (31-34) 

  • Reality: The High-Oven Gas Stove: 11:4 (37-45) 

  • Reflections in a Victorian Parlor: An Operating 1870 Kaleidoscope: 8:3 (6-11) 

  • Seven Match Safes: 11:1 (5-9) 

  • Soap Savers: 10:2 (20-23) 

  • Tinwork Makes a Hoosier Cabinet: 7:4 (40-49) 

  • The Transitional Gas Range, c. 1915: (Part 1) 13:2 (10-18); (Part 2) 13:3 (29-34)
  • 
Turn-of-the-Century Parlor Stereoscope: 8:5 (9-13) 

  • Water Queen Electric Washing Machine: 15:3 (5-16) 

  • What Makes a Pump Pump? Yard & Pitcher Pumps in Two Scales: 9:1 (35-42) 

  • A Working Platfom Scale: 18:1 (25-35)

Ruth Armstrong was one of our favorite contributors, in large part because while we knew her designs, at least early on, would involve “mushroom” cans, we never knew what she was going to create next. Her projects were thoughtful, well-designed, infinitely creative, and wonderfully inventive. Her articles added an additional layer of depth to TSC, especially in the area of metalworking in minitaures. As with a number of other regular contributors, Ruth jumped into the breach after Helen’s death and created some of the more memorable covers, including her series of articles on “miniature trickery, the “J.J. Deal Buggy,” and the “Swell Bodied Cutter.” In addition, Ruth was an excellent writer and inherently understood the needs of new and intermediate modelers. Her articles are detailed and provide more than enough information to encourage even the beginning modeler to pick a can of mushrooms the next time they are at the grocery.

Al Atkins (Spencer, New York; founding member of IGMA)

  • The Nature of Metals: 5:2 (12-15)

Al Atkins was known as “the Village Smithy.” Beyond a vast knowledge of the nature and use of metals in miniatures, including the fabrication of hinges and other hardware, he was also known for his wicked sense of humor…which was on full display in his article on the “Nature of Metals.”

Wallace Auger (Fairfield, Connecticut)

  • Adjustable Doll House Construction Horse: 6:4 (27-28)
  • 
Simplified Drilling & Milling Jig (Dowels): 6:4 (28) 

  • Wood Bending Fixtures: 7:1 (45-46)

At the time he wrote for The Scale Cabinetmaker, Wallace Auger was a pattern maker for the Burndy Corporation, a company that manufactured electrical connectors and installation tools. He was an accomplished carver and had a keen understanding of the importance of jigs and fixtures, some of which still reside in the TSC workshop. In addition to his work for TSC, Wallace also published in Fine Woodworking.

Jane Bernier (Winterport, Maine)

  • Case-Bound Bookbinding in Miniature: 1:4 (56-59)
  • Marbling Paper for Miniature Books: 2:1 (13-14)

Jane Bernier classifies herself as a “microbibliophile”: a lover of small books. As the owner and operator of Borrower’s Press, she is the publisher of a series of limited edition books, intended for the collector’s market. Every volume in each edition is signed and numbered by her, assuring its identity and uniqueness (a practice, incidentally, encouraged by the editors of TSC for every product of miniatures craftsmanship). The books from Borrower’s Press are distributed by mail order and through the attendance by Jane Bernier at various shows throughout the Northeast, where the admiration for her craft has grown increasingly widespread over the past three years.

In addition to her book business, she is also a fiber artist, studying toward a masters degree in Fabric and Clothing Design and specializing in weaving and spinning. If these pursuits were not enough to engage all of her time…setting type, letter press printing, binding, studying and attending classses..her “three and a half year old, very active boy” and the operation of a small farm with several animals would serve to take up the slack.

However, the editors of The Scale Cabinetmaker are pleased that she maintains time for the miniatures modeling hoby. With bifocals adjusted and the proper squint in place, we pick up one of the Borrower’s Press editions (Bill of Rights, Longfellow, A Christmas Carol, Star Signs, etc.), open the marbled cover, and read “The earliest known writer on astrology was Claudius Ptotemy…”…We are pleased to welcome this talented artist to the pages of TSC.

One of the most attractive books in the library of The Scale Cabinetmaker is Star Signs from Jane Bernier’s Borrower’s Press. With its black, half leather binding and richly marbled blue, green, and yellow cover paper, the volume stands out in every setting. It is only one selection from a growing publication list from Jane Bernier’s workbench…In this and the previous issue of TSC, the editors have learned the rudiments of bookbinding from Jane, and we are in her debt.

Editor’s note: Borrower’s Press, Winterport ME, published the micro-books from 1974 to 1987. Many of Jane Bernier’s books from Borrower’s Press are in the Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books in Specials Collections at the University of Iowa.

Bill Birkemeier

  • A Water-Cooled Lathe for the Unimat: 5:2 (49-50)

Bill Birkemeier is actually a second-generation craftsman. His parents, Bob and Millie Birkemeier started Studio B Miniatures in 1972. Like the modelers in the decades before the growth of the miniature hobby in the 1970s, the Birkemeiers sold their miniatures through dealers, miniture shows, and mail order. Bill and Peggy Birkemeier specialize in a wide range of tinware pieces, a specialty that is reflected in his article on the “water-cooled lathe for the Unimat.” While the Unimat has taken a back seat to newer lathes, his article still reflects a depth of knowledge that has become associated with The Scale Cabinetmaker.

Barbara F. Blauman (Royal Oak, Michigan; Owner: Miniature Maker’s Workshop)

  • A Bed-Sitting Room: Artistic License in Miniatures: (Part1) 2:3 (26-29)(Part 2) 2:4 (18-24); (Part 3) 3:2 (47-51)

  • Dressing a Bed With a Miniature Maker’s Workshop Flair: 3:4 (4-7)

  • Profile of a Craftsman: Judee Williamson: 3:2 (50-51)

Glen Botto

  • Regulated Power Supply for Miniature Settings: 8:2 (49-56)

Tamara Brooks (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

  • Arts & Crafts Piano Bench and Music Stand: 18:4 (38-41) 

  • Arts & Crafts Mirrored Hat Rack (Beginner’s Workbench): 16:4 (20-21)

  • Arts & Crafts Umbrella Stand (Beginner’s Workbench): 16:4 (22-24) 

  • The Berbice Chair: 17:2 (25-30)
  • Butter Paddle (Model in a Minute): 19:2 (42) 

  • Cross Based Pub Table: 18:3 (20-24) 

  • Early Canadian Washstand: 15:3 (29-32) 

  • Hanging Spool Rack: 16:3 (14-15)

  • Hobby Horse Riding Stick (Beginner’s Workbench): 16:3 (39-40) 

  • Irish Pub Chair: 17:4 (21-24) 

  • Niddy-Noddy: 17:1 (48) 

  • A Sabathil Clavichord Dolce: 15:1 (13-20) 

  • Shaker-Style Quilting Frame: 18:1 (21-24) 

  • Sharpen Your X-Acto Blades: 19:2 (33) 

  • Three Simple Wall Boxes (Beginner’s Workbench): 17:2 (40-43) 

  • Upper Canadian Kitchen Table: 16:2 (21-24)

Tam Brooks was a long time subscriber to The Scale Cabinetmaker, a regular participant in the TSC workshops, and a member of the extended family defined by their connections to TSC and to Jim and Helen. During her visit to Virginia (from British Columbia–she also has the distinction of holding the “travel record” for the workshops) for the Fall 1990 “master class” workshop, Tam proposed photographing her project (the Sabathil clavichord dolce) as she built it with an eye towards turning the project into a TSC article. It was her first foray into writing for TSC. Over five years, Tam produced a wide variety of articles, mostly centered on Canadian furniture and domestic accessories. She also helped carry on Helen’s tradition of creating “Beginner’s Workbench” articles to encourage new modelers to try new projects and learn new techniques. In addition to her work for TSC, Tam was an avid and talented carver, working on both her own carvings and helping with the restoration of (full-sized) merry-go-round horses in the Vancouver area.

Herb Buckingham

  • Improving the Microlux Table Saw: 14:4 (20-24)

C. Edward Chapman

  • Adapting the Bell Copy Cat to the Unimat Lathe: 11:3 (19-24)

Jeanne Chapman

  • Basic Power Tool Jigs (Beginner’s Workbench): 12:1 (15-19)

Charles David Claudon (NAME Academy of Honor)

  • Becoming a Momenticist: 5:4 (10-15)

  • Empty Rooms: 5:2 (4-8)

A theater arts and English teacher, David Claudon brought his theatre and teaching skills to the fore in his articles for The Scale Cabinetmaker, especially in terms of his use of lighting and figures. At the time, he was one of the up and coming new crop of miniaturists, a new crop who have since refined and redefined the miniatures industry. Two years before his initial appearance in TSC, he started the Butterfly Cat Studio. David was active in the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME) and served as the organization’s president.

Madelyn Cook (NAME Academy of Honor)

  • Ch’iao-t’ou: The Chinese Side Table: 10:1 (14-17) 

  • Chinese Armchair: 9:4 (29-32) 

  • Kits & Pieces: (Part 1) Chest & Mirror Kit Bashing with X-Acto’s Laser Cut Parts: 5:4 (37-39); (Part 2) Lattice Bed and Screen: 6:1 (10-14); (Part 3) Side Chair & Hanging Shelf: 6:2 (33-35) 

  • Master of Disguise (column): 4:2 (23); 4:3 (40); 4:4 (39-40); 5:2 (40); 6:1 (21-22); 6:2 (21); 7:1 (16-18); 7:3 (19-21); 7:4 (24-25)

  • Master of Disguise: Creativity and Miniatures (Excellent Essay): 5:3 (26-27)
  • Master of Disguise: Glitches and Twists in Needlework: 6:3 (22-24) 

  • Master of Disguise: Planning for Ins and Outs: 7:2 (9-12) 

  • Master of Disguise: Some Rules to See By: 5:4 (35-36)
  • 
A Desk in the French Mode (Beginner’s Workbench): 4:3 (29-32)
  • 
Two from One: A Side Chair and Wicker Shelf from X-Acto’s Chippendale Shelf Kit: 5:1 (35-38)

Probably one of the most recognizable names and prolific artisans in 1/12th scale modeling, Madelyn Cooke was one of the early pioneers and benchmark setters in the early days of the dollhouse miniatures hobby and 1/12th scale modeling in the early 1970s and has continued to encourage high standards throughout her career. She was a regular contributor to the Scale Cabinetmaker from 1979 to 1984, as well as contributing individual articles in 1985 and 1986. In addition to writing for TSC, Madelyn was also a regular contributor both Nutshell News and Miniatures Collector. Unlike many craftsmen, Madelyn Cook was more than willing to share her knowledge and her love of scale modeling with others, not only in her written work but also as an instructor at the College of Miniature Knowledge. For good reason, she is a member of the National Association of Miniatures Academy of Honor.

Harry Cooke (Hanover, New Hampshire; NAME Academy of Honor)

  • Building a Philadelphia Dressing Table: 2:2 (4-16)

How does the average husband become involved in building miniatures? The safest odds are that his wife’s interest in the field preceded his own. If that is the rule, then Harry Cooke, whose exceptional craftsmanship is featured in this issue of TSC, is no exception Visiting Harry and Thelma Cooke in their home atop a wooded ridge south of Hanover, New Hampshire, it was our first question: ‘When and how did you get started in miniatures?” The answer should have been plain to us for we had already seen samples of Thelma’s fine needlework.

When Harry retired three years ago after a career at Kodak, he began casting about for a retirement avocation that would keep pace with his restless desire to be productive. A model ship that was built in 1932 and now rests on the Cooke mantle, suggested one direction, and he began studying books on sailing ships. After a life time of scale modeling interest that includes a boyhood fascination with model airplanes and eighteen years as a model railroader, the prospact of building ships was a natural course. At that point Thelma stepped in with a suggestion that places the rest of the miniatures world in her debt: why not explore miniatures as an avocation in which they could share their interests and activities?

With a thoroughness that characterizes his work as a scale cabinetmaker, he began by stuying the subject through books on furniture (especially 18th century styles), museums, and visits to antique shops. After he had produced his first miniature piece, a 17th century blanket chest, an article in the May 1975 issue of Antiques Magazine caught his eye: an article on the Pendleton collection of early American furniture at the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design.

As his fascination grew, he called the Museum and through the cooperation of Mrs. Valarie Hayden, Assistant Curator for Decorative Arts, received permission to visit the museum and to examine and measure some of the pieces in the Pendleton collection. This exceptional act of cooperation between the museum and a miniaturist, coupling the resources of the collection with the talents of the craftsman, has resulted in the pieces displayed in this issue of TSC. While Harry Cook has displayed several of his miniatures at Boston, Ashland, and other shows, a special exhibit at the Pendleton Collection in Provience, Rhode Island is now being planned, featuring side by side displays of the prototype and the miniature pieces.

Thanks to Thelma Cooke’s suggestion and to Harry’s willingness to share his knowlege of the craft, we are all the wiser.

Horace Cooke

  • Empire Clock: 4:2 (4-8)

Kenneth A. Cooper

  • Carving on a Curved Surface: Building a Tea Poy: 7:3 (15-18)

Barbara Cosgrove (Indian Rocks Beach, Florida)

  • A Rug With Few Peers: Graphing and Working a Late 19th Century Sarouk: 3:1 (27-32)

Barbara Cosgrove as craftsman brings to the hobby of miniatures a skill in needlework that is shared by many, but Barbara Cosgrove as designer, artist, student of the history of carpetmaking, and proprietor of Needleworks in Miniature brings to the hobby a skill that is shared with many but equaled by only a few. Whe she counsels others to observe the designs and patters of rugs and carpets in books, museums, and elsewhere, it is only the expression of the student’s itch to know that we hear an expression that is as wide ranging as are the designs in her catalog.

Needleworks in Miniatures, began in 1974 in response to requests for the designs of rugs she had made for her own childhood 1930’s house (13 rooms), started with ten rug designs, distributed by mail order. These have grown in four year’s time to 44 fug designs in various size options and available in both kit and finished form, a line of high quality needlework supplies, and the recently introduced 14 new designs for chairseats, pillows, stools, pictures, and firescreens (40 mesh silk). The newest addition to this list is the Sarouk, adapted to 18 mono canvas. We admire her talent as an artist and welcome her skill as a craftsman to TSC.

Helen Dorsett (Co-Publisher, The Scale Cabinetmaker; NAME Academy of Honor; IGMA Crystal Award)

  • 1920’s French Provincial Chaise Lounge: 7:2 (46-52) 

  • 1920’s Modern in Half-Inch Scale (4 Pieces): 11:4 (29-32) 

  • 1920’s Unfinished Furniture: 13:3 (22-24) 

  • 1929 Artificial Christmas Tree: 8:1 (8-10)

  • A Sitting Room in Summer (Essay): 5:4 (4) 

  • A Thoroughly Modern Tuxedo Sofa: 2:4 (26-31) 

  • Accessories for an Early American Family Room (Model in a Minute): 3:3 (13-14)

  • Accessories Found and Made: (Part 1) 6:4 (51-52); (Part 2) 7:1 (27-28)

  • Arts & Crafts Bedroom Set (Mission Panel Bed, Bedside Stand, Chest of Drawers, and Princess Dresser): 14:1 (25-32) 

  • Blond or Dark: Modern Classic: 4:4 (35-37)

  • The Broom and Dustpan (Model in a Minute): 13:2 (23-24) 

  • Building Furniture with Commercial Turnings: Low Back Windsor Arm Chair: 8:2 (16-18) 

  • Building the 1930 New England Shed: 9:2 (7-13)

  • Built-in Gardening Cabinets: 9:2 (14-17)
  • 
Caning: An Introduction to Hand-Woven Caning: 1:3 (35-38) 

  • Caning: Contemporary Bamboo Headboard: 1:3 (42-45) 

  • Caning: Late Empire Couch: 2:1 (55-59)

  • Caning: Victorian Factory Side Chair: 1:3 (39-41) 

  • Changing Times: A 1930 American Kitchen: 9:1 (4-22)
  • 
A Child’s Empire Rocker: 5:2 (9-11)

  • Child’s Rocking Horse Chair: 11:4 (17-18)
  • 
Child-Size Vanity Dresser & Bench (c. 1929): 8:1 (6-8) 

  • Chippendale Commode Chair: 5:3 (8-11) 

  • Chippendale Federal Sofa (c. 1795-1805): 7:2 (26-28)

  • Chippendal Tea Kettle Stand (c. 1770): 14:1 (23-24) 

  • Christmas on the G.I. Bill: 4:1(29-35)

  • A Combination Folding Bed: 4:4 (4-16)

  • A Connecticut High Chest of Drawers: 6:4 (9-12)

  • Contemporary Built-In Bookcase (1/2″ scale): 11:1 (10-13)
  • 
The Cotswold Cottage: (Part 1) 10:4 (25-32); (Part 2) 11:1 (36-50); (Part 3) 10:2 (12-20) 

  • Country Kitchen Cabinet (c. 1890), The Beginner’s Workbench: 3:4 (46-51)

  • A Custom Kitchen in Record Time: 8:6 (4-11) 

  • Cutting Dado & Rabbet Joints (Beginner’s Workbench): 19:3 (5-11) 

  • A Danish Modern Sideboard (Beginner’s Workbench): 6:1 (15-17) 

  • The Democrat Rocker (Empire Style, c. 1850-1860): 5:1 (28-31)
  • 
Detailing A Federal Period Row House (Part 1): TSC 2:4 (4-17) (Part 2 is listed as Planning a Kit-Bashed House in TSC 3:1)

  • A Doll’s Folding Chair (c. 1900): 6:1 (18-20)
  • 
Dyeing with Natural Dyes: 1:4 (20-22)
  • 
Empire Clock: 4:2 (4-8)
  • 
Ethan Allen Arm Chair: 10:3 (21-28)

  • French Canadian Table & Armchair: 12:4 (14-17) 

  • From Kit to Modern: Americana Chest: 1:2 (35-36) 

  • From Country Store to Home: Accessories For an Early American Family Room (Model in a Minute): 3:3 (13-14)

  • From Kit Shell to Painted Lady: (Part 1) An Italianate Row House Front: 9:3 (7-13); (Part 2) Interior and Exterior Stairs: 9:4 (10-18); (Part 3) An Approach to Wiring and Interior Finish. 10:1 (34-37) 

  • Furnishings for a Rustic Shed: 9:2 (18-22) 

  • Half Inch Bed Step (c. 1810): 6:3 (25-26)

  • Half-Inch Overstuffed Furniture for Couch Potatoes: 12:3 (6-12) 

  • Half-Inch Queen Anne Lowboy: 7:4 (50-51) 

  • Half-Inch Windsor Side Chair: 7:1 (11-12) 

  • The Hall Tree: A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery: 3:1 (15-20)

  • High Style: A New England Fancy Chair (1800-1820): 8:3 (36-38) 

  • How I Built the Store: A Jack-Carpenter’s Guide to Frame Construction: (Part 1) 6:4 (29-37); (Part 2) 7:1 (29-37); (Part 3): 7:3 (4-10) 

  • How to Fill Your China Cabinet with Cardstock: 2:2 (38-43) 

  • Hunting the Victoria Cabriole with Knife and Dental Burr:1:1 (16-18) 

  • An Improvised Eastlake Couch: 5:4 (28-34)

  • John Hall Legacy: Pedestal Centre Table: 13:4 (7-11)

  • John Hall Legacy: Scroll-Cut Couch: 13:4 (12-17)

  • Knee-Deep in June: Leisure Furniture in the Early 1900s: 1:4 (23-32)
  • 
The Late Great Empire of John Hall. 4:1 (19-25)

  • Lazy Susan Apartment: (Part 1) 13:2 (25-35); (Part 2) 13:3 (7-11) 

  • A Little Girl’s Dream: 1938 Fiberboard Dollhouse: 6:1 (23-28)

  • Loop Back Windsor Chair: 12:3 (33-38) 

  • Louis XIV Arm Chair: 11:4 (13-16)

  • Marble Wood Finishes: 14:1 (33-36)

  • Marbled Fireplace Mantle (c. 1872): 14:2 (35-42) 

  • A Mid-Victorian Mixture: 4:2 (29-38)

  • Miniature Rooms: A Point of Reference: 1:1 (44-47)

  • A Mirror Image by Half: Modern Sofa in One Inch and Half Inch Scale: 9:3 (25-30) 

  • Modern Dining Room Set in Half Inch: 9:4 (37-40) 

  • Modern Pedestal Table: 10:4 (12-16) 

  • Modern Swivel Chair (1/2″ scale): 11:1 (14-16) 

  • Modern Table & Chair (Beginner’s Workbench): 5:4 (40-45) 

  • Modern Walnut Folding Chair: 1:1 (11-13) 

  • Modifying an Early American Secretary Kit: 1:1 (6-10) 

  • Music in Their Homes: A Piano Stool and Embellishments For a Scientific Kit: 3:2 (42-46)

  • The Next Collectibles: 1949 Haywood-Wakefield Modern Bedroom Suite: 7:4 (29-39)
  • 
Nineteen Forties Federal: End Tables & Coffee Tables: 6:4 (48-50) 

  • Oak & Artful Clutter: The TSC Cover Room: 11:3 (5-7) 

  • Oak…from Wards: Art Nouveau Parlor Cabinet: 1:2 (37-41)

  • An Oak Coffee Table (Beginner’s Workbench): 4:1(26-28)

  • Oak Dining Set in Half-Inch: 13:2 (36-39) 

  • Of Castles and Kitchens: (Part 1) 1:4 (33-48); (Part 2) 2:1 (45-53) 

  • Painted Empire Settee (c. 1840, Beginner’s Workbench): 13:1 (13-20) 

  • Parson’s Table: Easier by the Dozen: 1:2 (17-19) 

  • The Pawn: An Eastlake Nursing Chair: 9:2 (29-31) 

  • Plain & Simple…Colonial Kitbashing: 11:2 (30-39) 

  • Plastic Pipe Patio Furniture: 2:4 (54-55) 

  • Room for Growth: A Beginner’s Stenciled Room Setting: 5:3 (4-7) 

  • Scientific’s Secretary: the 2nd Time Around: 1:2 (13-16) 

  • Shaker Cupboard Desk: 11:1 (22-28) 

  • Shaker Pedestal Stand: 1:3 (29-30) 

  • Slaw Bed: 1:2 (1-9) 

  • Smithfield Plantation Round-About: 1:2 (26-30) 

  • A Spanish Daybed Frame (New Mexico c. 1850): 4:3 (16-18) 

  • Stenciled Floor Cloth: 8:2 (7-8)
  • 
A TV for Hand Tools: 6:3 (29-35)

  • Trickle-Down Furniture: A Chippendale Canopy Bed (c. 1770-1785): 7:3 (39-43) 

  • A Touch of Grace: Queen Anne Cabriole Leg: 1:2 (23-25)
  • 
Tudor Swiveled Bookcase: 8:1 (34-36)

  • Two Occasional Pieces in Half Inch: 12:4 (39-40) 

  • The Useless Presents of Christmas Morning: 2:1 (4-12) 

  • Victorian Factory Chairs: 1:3 (49-52) 

  • Victorian Settee: 1:1 (19-22) 

  • Whats New? Not Much! American Standard Bathroom Fixtures (c. 1930):(Part 1) 8:3 (29-35); (Part 2) 8:5 (22-24) 

  • When Less is Better: Modification of X-Acto Lowboy: 2:2 (17-21) 

  • When Pedigree is Important: Modifying a Realife Wing Chair: 2:4 (32-36) 

  • Where Simplicity is Virtue: Two 19th Century Country Kitchen Pieces: 1:3 (55-59)

The creative force behind The Scale Cabinetmaker, Helen began her modeling career through active involvement in model railroading in the late 1940s and 1950s, before turning her attention to dollhouse miniatures in 1960. She founded Dorsett Miniatures in 1960, drawing on her experience in model railroading and as a graduate student at the Chicago Art Institute in the early 1950s.

Initially, Helen specialized in Victorian miniatures, building primarily mid-Victorian furniture on commission for individual doll collectors, like Emma Poe, and dealers, like Miriam Peniston. In 1963, Emma Poe suggested that Helen write a book on how to build miniatures. The result was the first Cabinetmaker’s Guide for Dollhouse Furniture, published in 1964–the first “how-to” book for dollhouse miniature published in the United States. Between the publication of the first Guide in 1964 and her death in 1990, Helen Dorsett built an impressive body of work in miniatures, including 11 books and many of the major articles in TSC. She had an equally impressive impact on the development and growth of the miniatures hobby.

The same passion for social, decorative, and architectural history, also drove her interest in historic preservation. Helen was chiefly responsible for the preservation of the Historic Cambria Depot, an 1867 Tuscan Italianate depot (the only wooden depot of its type)  in Cambria (Christiansburg), Virginia in 1984 and the Lee-Surface building (across the street) in 1986. The depot, which was a charming old derelict, now serves as the corporate headquarters of Dorsett Publications.

Jim Dorsett (Co-Publisher, The Scale Cabinetmaker; NAME Academy of Honor; IGMA Crystal Award)

  • 1920’s Kitchen Cabinet: 18:3 (35-40)
  • 
1- & 1/2 Scale Conversion Chart: 6:4 (28)
  • 
The Allure of the Antique: 18:4 (5) 

  • Art Nouveau Revisited, Essay: 14:2 (25)

  • Arts & Crafts Bungalow Furniture: 20:2 (8-9) 

  • Arts & Crafts Library Table & Chair: 20:2 (13-19)

  • Arts & Crafts Spindle Sofa: 20:2 (20-22) 

  • Blue Line Oven/Stove: 13:3 (12-16)

  • Brass-Tube Casters: 15:2 (19-22) 

  • Building a Simple Bookcase (Beginner’s Workbench): 3:3 (43-52)

  • Case Construction with Hand Tools: 19:1 (25-28) 

  • Casual Reminiscence: An Early American Family Room (Essay): 3:3 (4-5)

  • Chair Leg and Rung Assembly With Hand Tools (Beginner’s Workbench): 8:2 (12-15)
  • 
Children’s Furniture (Upholstered Club Rocker and Transitional Side Chair): 18:1 (44-49) 

  • Chippendale Basin Stand: 16:3 (21-24) 

  • Chippendale Comb-back Corner Chair: 18:4 (12-17)
  • 
Chippendale…With Some Changes (Essay): 8:3 (4-5) 

  • Christiansburg Depot: Elevations (Scale 1/4″: 1′): 9:3 (cf1-4)
  • 
Christmas in the Kitchen (1914): A TSC Cover Essay: 12:3 (5) 

  • A Connecticut Colonial: The Whitman House: 1:1 (27-43); 1:2 (42-57); 1:3 (17-28); 1:4 (3-19) 

  • Contemporary Mexican Cabinet: 17:2 (31-36)
  • 
Cottage Garden Suite: 10:2 (5-9) 

  • Cottage Spindle Sofa from Kansas: 8:2 (29-35) 

  • Country Living: Assembling the Realife Country Living Room Kit (essay): 8:2 (4-6)

  • The Craftsman Furniture of Gustav Stickley: 15:4 (5-21) (Includes Celandine Tea Table, c. 1900; Library Table & Chair, c. 1905-07; Hanging Book Shelf, c. 1905-07; Magazine Cabinet, c. 1910) 

  • Craftsman in the Kitchen: A visit to Bill Miller’s Workbench): 8:3 (26) 

  • Curvilinear Measurement (Cabinetmaker’s Shop Manual): 1:2 (31-34) 

  • Decorating for a 1929 Christmas (essay): 8:1 (4-6) 

  • Eastlake Caned, Swivel Office Chair: 17:2 (5-13) 

  • Empire Extension Pedestal Table: 7:1 (36-44)
  • 
Empire Period Card Table: 16:2 (25-31) 

  • Empire Twins: Clocks by Helen Dorsett and Horace Cooke: 4:2 (4-8)

  • English Gothic Library Table/Ladder: 15:2 (5-11)
  • 
Ethan Allen Heirloom Bedroom Set (1/2″ scale), including Arrow Spindle Bed and One Drawer Commode: (Part 1) 15:4 (25-30); (Part 2, including Triple Dresser & mirror and a Chest on Chest) 16:1 (17-21) 
Faking a Sideboard: 6:3 (13-15) 

  • A Feast Made for Laughter: The Christmas Cover Kitchen (Judee Williamson): 5:1 (4)

  • Federal Drawing Room Furniture (Federal Sofa, Easy Chair, and New York Sofa Table): 16:4 (5-13) 

  • Federal Period North Carolina Hunt Board (Banding & Veneering): 13:1 (5-12) 

  • Fold-Away Metal Bed: 13:3 (17-21)

  • For the Southwestern Room…Gate-Leg Table and Low Joined Stool: 16:3 (33-38) 

  • Furniture of the American Colonial Period: 14:1 (5-6) 

  • French Art Nouveau Cabinet: 14:2 (31-37) 

  • French Bed Side Table: 10:3 (5-11) 

  • French Canadian Armoire: 12:4 (5-13) 

  • French Chest: Part 2 French Bedroom Suite: 10:2 (29-36) 

  • A French Paneled Bed: Framed Bed Panels From a Scratch Tool (Part 1 of French Furniture Series): 10:1 (5-13) 

  • From Desert to Miniature: Victorian Renaissance Center Table: 5:3 (44-47)

  • A Garden House for Summer: An Introduction: 9:2 (4-6)

  • George III Library Ladder: 14:4 (5-15)

  • Greene & Greene Living Room Table & Chair: (Part 1) 16:1 (25-30); (Part 2) 16:2 (38-41) 

  • Green & Green Fern Stand: 20:2 (23-24) 

  • Harmonious Confusion: An Oak Roll Top Office Desk: 3:4 (23-38)

  • Haywood-Wakefield Modern Dining Set: (Part 1–China Cabinet, Side Board) 19:1 (25-37); (Part 2–Dining Table and Dining Side Chair) 19:2 (5-12) 

  • Historic Preservation in Quarter Inch Scale: The Christiansburg Depot (c. 1868): 9:2 (18-24) 

  • The Hollins College Lady’s Desk: 8:4 (20-23)

  • The Home Workshop: Ted Roubal Talks About His Multi-disciplinary Shop Facilities: 8:4 (44-45)

  • House Power…in a Coal Shed: 8:6 (25-33)
  • 
In Search of a Face With Skew & gouge: Hand Carving a Canadian Art Nouveau Rocker: 9:1 (28-34)

  • An Introduction to Hand-Woven Caning (Revised from 1:3): 17:2 (14-16) 

  • Jacobean Chest with drawers (c. 1680): 14:1 (12-18)
  • 
John Hall Legacy: John Meeks’ Chaise Gondole: 13:4 (18-22) 

  • John Leonard’s High Density Workshop: 15:3 (25-26) 

  • “Just Leave them in the Rack…” Making a Wire Dish Rack (Beginner’s Workbench): 9:2 (40-44) 

  • Knee Deep in June: Leisure Furniture of the Early 1900’s (essay): 1:4 (23-24) 

  • Late 18th Century Connecticut Chest-on-Chest: 19:4 (5-14) 

  • Late Empire: A Neglected Era in Miniatures: 13:4 (5-6) 

  • Like Two Peas in a Pod: A Contemporary Commode: 3:2 (22-26)

  • Linear Measurement and Tools (Cabinetmaker’s Shop Manual): 1:1 (23-28)
  • 
Mahogany Campaign Bed (c. 1810): 15:1 (34-40) 

  • Making and Using Mortising Chisels: 15:1 (21-24) 

  • Measurement Conversion: 3:4 (Insert)

  • Metalworking With Hand Tools: A Popcorn Popper from the Van Horn Collection: 4:2 (24-28)

  • Mid-Victorian Renaissance-Style Cottage Bedroom: (Part 1) 17:3 (25-32); (Part 2) 17:4 (5-20)
  • Mudejar and the Southwestern American Room: 16:2 (5-6) 

  • Multi-Display Workhorse Transformer: 7:3 (22-28) 

  • New Lebanon Shaker Sewing Room: 16:3 (5-6) 

  • A Period Room from the 1940s (Photo Essay): 6:3 (4-9) 

  • Philadelphia Chippendale Sofa (c. 1750-1780) 

  • Philadelphia Spice Box on Frame: 14:2 (11-15)

  • Profile of a Craftsman: Don Buttfield: 1:1 (4-5) 

  • Queen Anne Corner Table: 12:2 (19) 

  • Regency-Style Double Gate Leg Table: 13:1 (40-48) 

  • A Retrospective: Helen Dorsett, 1927-1990: 14:2 (5-10) 

  • Scratch-built Window Assembly with Northeaster Materials: 12:1 (30-35) 
  • Serpentine-Front Corner Cabinet: 11:4 (7-12) 

  • Setting the Crooked Straight: The Morris Chair: 6:4 (13-18)
  • 
Shaker Sewing Desk: 16:3 (7-10)

  • Shaker Swivel Sewing Stool: 16:3 (11-15) 

  • Sharpening Carving Tools (The Beginner’s Workbench): 10:3 (51-55) 

  • A Sitting Room in Summer (1875) (Essay): 5:4 (4)

  • Stickley Paneled Fireside Bench: 20:2 (9-12) 

  • Table Saw Beveling Jig: 16:2 (44-47) 

  • Table Saw Safety (The Beginner’s Workbench): 10:4 (35-39) 

  • Thinking in Scale (Beginner’s Workbench) Essay: 11:3 (35-37) 

  • Traditional French Canadian: An Introduction: 11:4 (5-6) 

  • True or False? The Shooting Board: 10:2 (21-24) 

  • Using the Dremel Drill Press (The Beginner’s Workbench): 8:2 (23-28)

  • Victorian Folding Yacht Chair: 18:4 (6-11) 

  • Victorian Italianate Architecture: An Introduction: 9:3 (4-6)

  • Victorian Renaissance Secretary (c. 1870): 11:3 (25-28) 

  • Wainscot Arm Chair (c. 1690): 14:1 (6-11) 

  • Whitman House: A Retrospective: 1:4 (16-19) 

  • Why Scale? 1:1 (1-3)

  • Why Scale…and The Scale Cabinetmaker (An Editorial Essay): 20:2 (5-7) 
  • William and Mary Lowboy (c. 1710): 14:1 (19-22) 

  • Wooden Toys for a 19th Century Christmas: 7:1 (7-10) 

  • Working with the Dremel Moto-Lathe (Cabinetmaker’s Shop Manual): 1:3 (31-34)

Jim (James) Dorsett was not only the editor and publisher (and writer and draftsman and photographer and janitor) of The Scale Cabinetmaker, he was also a craftsmen in his own right and was known for creating precision models, including a model of an 1880 Eastlake Rolltop desk in cherry, the only miniature to appear on the front cover of Fine Woodworking. Unlike Helen, who’s professional career was built around miniatures, Jim’s career was built around language and writing, both as a Sociologist & Social Historian (History of Social Thought) and as a Presbyterian minister, which goes a long way in explaining the number of social history essays woven into the fabric of The Scale Cabinetmaker.

Jim and Helen Dorsett (see, also, indiviual listings)

  • Basic Furniture Joinery with Hand Tools (Beginner’s Workbench): (Part 1) 8:5 (16-21); (Part 2) 8:6 (18-24) ; (Part 3)
  • Locating & Preparing Dowel Joints: 9:1 (23-27) 

  • Building a Simple Bookcase: The Beginner’s Workbench: 3:3 (43-51)

  • Building Furniture with Commercial Turnings: 8:1 (12-17) 

  • Can Tom Chippendale Find Happiness in Suburbia: 2:1 (33-43) 

  • Chippendale Easy Chair from Newport (c. 1740-1750): 14:2 (13-22) 

  • The Country Look in Furniture: 1940 Cushman (Chest on Chest, Panel Bed, Bedside Stand, Dresser, Mirror, and Bench): 12:1 (5-14)
  • 
…Next to Godliness: A Sheraton Night Table: 2:2 (22-27)

  • On the Margin of Respectability: A Mission Billiard Table and Davenport: 3:2 (4-10)

  • Planning A Kit Bashed House (Part 2): 3:1 (5-10) Note: Part 1 is listed as Detailing A Federal Period Row House in TSC 2:4)

  • Queen Anne For the 20th Century: A Realife Dining Room Kitbash: 8:6 (34-39) 

  • Riding Toys From the Adult World: A Bent-wood Sled (c. 1877) and Pedal Car (c. 1914): 3:1 (33-44)

  • Table Saw Blade & Fence Adjustment: 8:4 (13-17) 

  • Table Saw Safety (Beginner’s Workbench): 8:3 (12-16)

Meghan Dorsett

  • And Now This…Adirondack Chair: 19:1 (48) 

  • Carving Miscellany (Cabinetmaker’s Notebook): 19:1 (22-24) 

  • A Glossary of Cabinet Joints: 18:4 (25-29) 

  • Linoleum Rugs from the 1920’s: 18:3 (41-49) 

  • Stalking the Electronic Mouse: Computer Generated Single & Speckled Tile Floors: 18:2 (5-16) 

  • Using the Internet as a Source of Scale Images: 20:1 (25-34)

A former long-range land use planner, Meghan is the current publisher, editor, and chief janitor at Dorsett Publications. 

Don Dube (IGMA Fellow and charter member)

  • A Sliding Miter Jig for the Dremel Table Saw: 8:5 (43-45)

Joan Elliot (England)

  • Ince to the Foot: 4:1 (4-9)

Colin Farrer

  • Miniature Marquetry: Geometric Inlay on a Table Toy: 19:3 (12-18)

Marcy Fisher

  • By the Chimney With Care: A Petite Petit Point Stocking: 3:1 (22-26)

Christopher W. Futer

  • Tricycle Baby Carriage (c. 1870): 7:2 (29-40)

Edward and Helen Gehrke

  • Building an Antique Trunk (c. 1672). 4:1(10-14)

As with many of contributors over the years, miniatures was a family affair for Edward and Helen Gehrke, of Lewiston, ID. Both loved building miniatures and their passion showed in their one article for TSC. Edward Gehrke was a machinist by trade and his precision in his machine shop showed in his miniatures as well.

John Gray

  • Andirons, Fireirons, and Accessories: 10:4 (47-48) 

  • Clothes Wringer (c. 1900): 6:4 (25-26) 

  • Electric Hand Drill Lathe/Sander: 7:2 (13-19) 

  • Fireplaces & Fireboxes: 10:3 (29-35) 

  • The Franklin Fireplace/Stove: 6:3 (10-12) 

  • The Friendly Machine: A Shop-Built Belt Grinder-Sander: 8:5 (36-42) 

  • The Pot Bellied Stove: 6:2 (14-16) 

  • Sears, Roebuck Kitchen Range (c. 1905): 8:3 (47-55)

John Gray has the distinction of creating some of those most beatifully drawn plans for TSC and for creating power tools from existing tools on the average garage workbench. Like many of the contributors in TSC, John approached the construction process from the view of someone who was intimately knowledgeable about tools and was willing to share his wide-ranging expertise with beginning and advanced modelers alike.

Hillman R. Grosse (Green Bay, Wisconsin)

  • Spinning Wheel: (Part 1) 7:4 (4-13); (Part 2) 8:1 (40-52)

Among other things, Hillman R. Grosse holds a patent on centering fixture for wood turning lathes.

Joseph J. Gura

  • Dremel Drill Press Improvements: Horizontal & Vertical Adjustments: 9:2 (38-39) 

  • Micro-Adjusting Scale Rip Fence: 10:1 (38-41)

Carol Hardy (IGMA: Buttfield Award; IGMA Fellow; Guild Administrator)

  • Firescreen Desk: 4:4 (29-34)

Donna Henricks (Phoenix, AZ; IGMA Fellow; NAME; Owner: The Greenhouse Miniature Shop)

  • Antique Bird Cage & Stand: 8:5 (4-8)

John Herzfeld

  • Miter Gauges for the Preac Saw: 12:4 (23-24)

Don Heuer & Marie Heuer

  • 1905 Bathroom Fixtures (Chrysnbon kitbash, w/ Don Heuer): 19:4 (25-32) 

  • 1920’s Breakfast Nook Display Boy: 15:2 (42-48) 

  • 1920’s Library Table (w/ Don Heuer): 20:2 (46-48)
  • 
1927 Sears, Roebuck High Chair: 15:1 (41-44) 

  • 1927 Sears Tudor Dining Room Suite (Extension Dining Table, Dining Side and Host Chiars, Dining Room Buffet): 18:2 (5-19)
  • 
Built-in Kitchen Cabinets: 18:2 (25-39) 

  • Candle Shelf (Model in a Minute): 8:1 (11) 

  • Colonial Baby Tender: 8:3 (17-18)

  • Colonial Corner Cabinet (c. 1740-50): 9:2 (32-37)
  • 
Colonial Dresser (Beginner’s Workbench): 5:3 (18-21) 

  • Colonial Penguin Table (Beginner’s Workbench): 4:4 (17-19)

  • Colonial Rachet Candle Stand: 8:6 (12-13) 

  • Colonial Reflector Roasting Oven (w/ Don Heuer): 19:2 (13-18) 

  • Colonial Swinging Cradle: 8:4 (18-19) 

  • Colonial Wooden Wash Tub & Water Bucket: 8:5 (14-15) 

  • A Cross-Base Candlestand (Beginner’s Workbench): 5:1 (40-42) 

  • Eastlake Fireplace Mantle: 16:2 (32-37) 

  • Eighteenth Century Upright Grand Piano: 19:3 (32-38) 

  • Empire Oak Diningroom Buffet: 20:1 (35-39) 

  • Folding Bathtub & Hot Water Heater (w/ Don Heuer): 17:3 (15-20)
  • 
Infant Walker-Trainer: 17:2 (17-19) 

  • Hanging Desk: 10:2 (39-40) 

  • Lincoln Table (Model in a Minute): 13:2 (40) 

  • A Mail Order Lawn Swing: 14:4 (31-37) 

  • Mayflower Stool: 7:3 (36-38) 

  • A Modified Four-Poster (Beginner’s Workbench): 5:2 (41-43)
  • 
Open Wall Box (Model in a Minute): 8:2 (18)

  • Operating Cabbage Cutter (w/ Don Heuer): 12:2 (23-24)
  • 
A Queen Anne Desk: 11:1 (17-21)

  • Queen Anne Corner/ Handkerchief Table: 15:4 (31-34) 

  • Queen Anne Tuck-Away Table: 16:1 (22-24) 

  • R.F. Stevens Folding Reed Organ: 16:3 (17-20) 

  • Sea Captain’s Desk: 11:4 (19-24)
  • 
Sears Elite Gas Kitchen Stove, c. 1925 (w/ Don Heuer): 18:4 (42-48) 

  • Sears Truphonic Phonograph: 19:1 (38-42) 

  • Scalloped Top Chest on Frame: 15:3 (38-41) 

  • Sewing Box with Spool Rack: 13:4 (23-24) 

  • Table Saw Mitering Jig: 17:2 (24)
  • Three Wall Shelves (Model in a Minute, w/ Don Heuer): 12:4 (21-22)
  • 
Two Colonial Accessories (Model in a Minute): 8:3 (56)
  • 
Two Regulator Clocks (Vienna Parlor Clock and Octagon Drop Clock): 16:4 (39-42)

  • Wall-Hung Miniatures Display Case (w/ Don Heuer): 18:1 (5-10)

Marie Heuer: teacher of the craft at one of the hobby’s best known shops (Wee “c” Shop in the Chicago area), student of the history of interior design and style, self taught craftsman whose pieces have benn known to Chicago area collectors throughout the 1970s and avid miniaturist who says of her own involvement “I find miniatures to be very exciting, rewarding, most enjoyable and something wI will never be able to stop; I am hooked for life.” The author of this issue’s “Beginner’s Workbench” yet admits that her interest and abilities in miniatures and scale modeling came as something of a surprise to her.

While recovering from an illness in 1972, she happened to read an article on making miniatures and, thinking that it might be fun, began to test her skill in the craft with an upholstered chair. Much to her surprise, it didn’t turn out too badly. But that was only the beginning. Needing some pieces for a Victorian room she had strated, Marie visited Donna Cantwell’s Wee “c” Shop. But failing to find what she wanted, she turned to leave, mumbling to herself “I guess I’ll just have to make it myself.” Overhearing that and always on the lookout for talented craftsmen, Donna invited her to bring the finished pieces by the shop when they were done. The orders from the shop which resulted from those first furniture pieces when they were shown several weeks later launched a career as a commercial craftsman.

Within a year’s time, the author’s talents were challenged to a further extent when Donna invited her to begin teaching classes in the craft at Wee “c.” Since early in 1973 that additional dimension to her involvement has brought classes on furniture, houses, roomes and even how to make a Christmas tree from lycopodium to Chicago area miniaturists. …

As is true of most scale modelers who are “hooked for life,” Marie Heuer describes herself as self-taught. By that she means that “you learn by doing and profiting by your mistakes.” And her oing of the craft is evident in teh ten vignettes, eleven rooms, five houses, and uncounted items of miniature furniture which crowd her home. It is evident as well in her continuing historical background research for a series of 18th century homes she has planned, in her lectures and talks promoting the hobby through the Chicago Public Library, miniature club activities, and I believer, her contribution to the “Beginner’s Workbench.” I hope that the penguin table will be only the first opportunity for TSC readers to benefit from Marie Heuer’s multiple talents.

Jim & Shirley Hillhouse

  • An Introduction to Stenciled Decoration: 2:3 (5-6) 
Norwegian Bride’s Chest: Rosemaling–Decorative Painting on Wood: (Part 2) 7:1 (4-6)
  • Norwegian Bride’s Chest: The Mystery of Early Antique Joinery: (Part 1) 6:4 (4-8) Part 2–See Shirley Hillhouse. 
Three Drawer Cottage Chest: 2:3 (7-10)
  • The Stenciled Cottage Chest, Circa 1840: 2:3 (4-16)
  • 
Stenciling in Miniature: 2:3 (11-16)

Have you ever heard of a “closet collector” of miniatures? I suspect that most of us began as Jim and Shirley Hillhouse describe their beginnings, as “closet collectors”: fascinated by miniatures and scale models but somewhat uneasy about what the neighbors would think. But what the neighbors did think of the early furniture made by this delightful and talented couple in Holden Massachusetts convinced them to begin their talents and craftsmanship out of the closet and into the view of the hobby at large. It began with the furnishings for their grand daughter Beth’s house in 1974. And today, Hillhouse Handmade Miniatures–a full line of 19th century cottage furniture, produced by Jim and decorated with stenciled designs by Shirley–appear regularly at craftsmen’s shows throughout the northeast.

Their respective backgrounds and interests are evident in their work. Trained at the School for the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum, Shirley has worked as a fashion and book illustrator, and until recently as Public Relations Director for the YMCA. Before resigning her positions at the Y to enter the field of miniatures full-time, she took a course in stenciling and furniture decorating. But those skills, reinforced by her artist’s talents, have never been used on a full-scale piece of furniture, for she turned them immediately to the field of scale modeling. The decoration on each of the pieces produced by the Hillhouses is researched, designed, and hand-executed by Shirley. 

Jim’s approach to miniatures also reflects his background. Currently the Chief Engineer for Coes Knife Company, he has spent his life as a products and production engineer in industry. Even in miniature, he tends to think “big” and, by his admission, not always with the best results. With plans from Craft Products for Shirley’s first miniature house, a chalet, he built five! Components for their first commercial piece, a grandfather clock, were cut in sufficient numbers to assure an ample supply,; but two hundred clock-base blocks still remain in their basement shop. (“They make fine cushion blocks, when pounding,” says Jim.”) And they are still working their way through the better part of 10,000 medical applicators that Jim purchased for use as spindle material in deacon’s benches. But these are errors of enthusiasm for miniatures: an enthusiasm evident in his current projects of designing and building a model of 18th century Wareham-Williams house in Connecticut and of developing a pie-crust table top that wil not warp.

Their skill and wit are evident; their enthusiams infectious; and The Scale Cabinetmaker is delighted to share the talents of the Hillhouses with its readers.

Jim Jedlicka (TSC Tool Editor)
(w/ Harriet Jedlicka on articles in Volumes 1-4)

  • A $10 Workbench Magnifier (TSC Tool Project): 11:4 (46-48) 

  • Adapting a Shaper Table for Curved Work: 6:2 (47-49)

  • An Awl for Scale Modeling: 11:3 (45-47)
  • 
A Build It Yourself Wood Surfacer: 4:4 (20-28);
  • Build Your Own TSC Sanding Thicknesser (Redesign of 4:4 Wood Surfacer): 14:2 (25-34) 

  • Build Your Own TSC Power Dowel Maker: 14:2 (38-44) 

  • Cam-action Bar Clamp: 11:2 (40-42)

  • Combating the Burned Out Lamp: Voltage and Resistance in Miniature Lighting: 3:2 (11-15)
  • 
Combating Workshop Sawdust: (Part 1) Building a Portable Sawdust Collector: 7:2 (20-25); (Part 2)
  • A Built-In Sawdust Collector: 7:3 (50-53) 

  • Copy Attachment for Your Lathe: 3:3 (15-24)
  • 
Cross-Cutting & Ripping with a Scroll Saw: 13:3 (40-43) 

  • Curved Molding: 5:2 (28-33) 

  • The Cutting Edge: 10:2 (42-46)
  • 
A Disc Sander for the Miniaturist’s Workbench: 4:3 (44-52)

  • A Dial Caliper for Your Scale Projects: 8:6 (40-42) 

  • Fine Adjustment for the Shaper Table: 7:1 (23-26) 

  • Fine Adjustment for the TSC Wood Surfacer: 6:4 (21-24)

  • Grinding a Profiling Tool for Wood Turning: 7:4 (26-28) 

  • Helical Fluting with the Copy Attachment: 4:1 (39-47)

  • Hidden Wiring Update: An Improved Wiring Channel Router: 8:2 (43-48) 

  • Improving the Microlux Drill Press: 10:1 (42-46) 

  • Installing a Small Fluorescent Light: 4:3 (33-38)

  • Knocking Out Scroll Saw Vibrations: 13:4 (43-44) 

  • Lathe Copy Attachment: Turning Slender Spindles: 4:2 (9-19)
  • 
Making Flutes With the Copy Attachment: 3:4 (17-22)

  • Making Your Own Scale Dowels: 3:1 (51-52)

  • Making Your Own Scale Lumber: 5:4 (5-9) 

  • Micro-Lux Table Saw: 3 Simple Improvements: 10:4 (40-46) 

  • Modifying the AMT Scroll Saw for Scale Work: 9:3 (42-47) 

  • Modifying the Chopper: (Part 1) 6:2 (36-41); (Part 2) 6:3 (16-21) 

  • Modifying the Micromark Scroll Saw: 14:1 (43-45) 

  • Mood Changes in Scale Lighting: 17:3 (21-24) 

  • A Mounting Table for the Dremel Moto-Tool: 5:1 (22-27) 

  • Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Hidden Wiring in the Pre-Fab Miniature House: 2:3 (30-36)

  • Operating Ceiling Fan (written with J. Dorsett): 7:3 (29-35) 

  • Operating Tinplate in One-Twelfth Scale: 6:1 (45-48) 

  • Pedal Operated Dohzuki Saw: 12:2 (33-38) 

  • Pin Driver for Miniatures: 7:4 (21-23)
  • 
Power Wood Carver: 8:4 (31-35) 

  • Scale Drawing From a Photo: Making and Using Proportional Dividers: 8:5 (29-35) 

  • Scale Nuts and Bolts: 5:3 (38-39) 

  • The Scratch Tool: 6:3 (48-52)

  • Shaker Drawer Knobs: The Form Tool: 16:1 (31-35) 

  • Solving the AMT Blade Holder Problem: 13:2 (41-44) 

  • The Table Saw Taper Jig: 12:3 (39-43) 

  • A Tool Rest for Small Lathes: 9:4 (26-28)

  • Tools and Costs for the Modeler’s Workbench (Beginner’s Workbench): 9:4 (49-56) 

  • Twelve Times Projector: 15:3 (33-37) 

  • Twenty Foot Extension Ladder: 18:2 (21-24) 

  • Two Pedal Saws You Can Make: (Part 1) Jeweler’s Saw: 12:1 (36-42)
  • 
Ventilate Your Work Area: 14:4 (16-19) 

  • Workbench Power Controller: 16:2 (42-43) 

  • Working Draw Drapes: 17:2 (44-48) 

  • Wrestling with Plywood: 12:4 (25-28)

(Editor’s note: In February. 1978. I spent several afternoons with the Jedlicka’s at their home in Los Altos, California, discussing the content of several articles on house wiring and scale lighting that will appear this year in TSC. Later, they responded to a series of questions that I had posed. The following excerpts from their responses tell us not only about these imaginative miniaturists but about the hobby of miniatures craftsmanship as well. – Jim Dorsett)

Q. How long have you been involved in miniatures?

H. Actively, three years. I saw miniature furniture for the first time five years ago and was enthralled with the possibilities for it as a hobby. I began making Realife kits d e n Jim and I retired four years ago.

J. When Harriet says “actively,” she means with a burning, all-consuming interest which youth today would describe as “turned on.” 

Q. But why miniatures?

H. I simply love creating room senings in miniature.

J. Prior to our involvement in miniatures, we were antique restorers (just for ourselves). We would go to the flea market and buy for a few dollars an old chair, perhaps missing one leg, covered with several coats of paint. and with a piece of plywood maliciously nailed over the seat portion. which was once covered with hand caning. It was great fun to restore it to a mellowed but ohenvise near original condition. Many antiques were beyond our pocketbook, to say nothing of our house. when we see an antique now and are struck by its lines and its overall artistry, we are inclined to ask permission to photograph it from two directions and take a new principal dimensions. Then at home we can construct drawings and reproduce it to scale. The antique may be one of a kind with a price tag in the thousands. but we can enjoy it at 1/12 scale in our home. And at 1/12 scale, we will new run out of room in our small house.

Q. Are there background interests or life-long vocations or avocations which make this an appropriate hobby for either or both of you? 

H. Both of us have always worked with our handa As a teacher in elementary school. my favorite subject was art. Each year I had my students create a shadowbox scene, usually historical.

J. I worked as an engineer for NASA for 25 years, and much of the time was concerned with models and problems of scale. In the laboratory, it is uneconomical to make tests on full scale airplanes or space ships Instead, models or portions of models are tested, and I spent much of my time wrestling with fluid scaling laws. Each time I had to ask myself “What are the most important scale effects? and then design experiments to measure them. 

The same sort of question can be asked in the miniature field. What are the most important considerations in producing a 1/12 scale replica? I think realism is what we’re after. Imagine a Governor Winthorp secretary done in glazed ceramic. For the sake of argument, assume that all the dimensions were preserved at 1/12 scale, and that the correct color of wood was achieved. It would not have the texture and light reflectivity of wood. The hardware would not have the appearance of brass. Whether or not he is aware of it, each miniaturist makes scaling decisions in the direction of maximum realism.

Q. What are your views of the miniatures field? Where is it headed?

H. The miniatures field is headed toward greater realism and historical accuracy. Many of us refer to the buildings as miniature houses, rather than as doll houses, which they are not. At least we don’t call them baby houses!

Mass manufactured miniatures, which I eagerly bought five years ago, would embarrass me to display today. The gap between miniatures and child’s play furniture is growing. I think that’s good. I hope that the two, so widely varying in their requirements, become even more broadly separated. As time passes, the miniatures field is steadily gaining respectability as a serious adult hobby.

J. The field is moving toward more research, planning, and more directed effort. The total effort to build one display is increasing. For the majority of us who have limited artistic talent, say compared to a good writer or painter, we are beginning to express ourselves in miniatures. The scale clock says not only that I put a great deal of work into it, but also that I believe the original is worth noting. An onlooker can hopefully appreciate it as I do by looking at my miniature. In fact, I can direct his attention to it better by displaying it in miniature than in full size.

Q. Why is scale important to you? 

J. First, the truer the scale, the lesser the amount of imagination demanded of the viewer to project himself into the room setting. Second, the truer the scale, the more precision by whih the miniaturist can convey to the viewer the mood he has in mind for the room setting. Thus the miniaturists goal is identical to that of the writer or artist, the only differencebeing the tools of their trade.

H. Perhaps an example will help. When I first began in miniatures, Jim was supportive but not impressed. He was always spurring me on to achieve greater realism. I would tell him of a miniature setting that I had seen, or we would see one together, and his usual comment was “humph!” Until we saw Guy and Tom Robert’s French bakery kitchen. “Now, that’s a true miniature,” was his opinion. The door was scuffed, cobwebs were in the corners, the pots were smudged, the floor worn in the right places, and all was accurately scaled and authentic.

Editor’s note: Jim Jedlicka became the Tool Editor for The Scale Cabinetmaker early in 1982 (TSC 6:2) and remained in that position through the published issue of the journal. In his closing essay in the final issue of The Scale Cabinetmaker, Jim Dorsett wrote of Jim Jedlicka’s contributions to TSC:

No single individual has had a greater or more lasting impact on TSC’s continuing content than its Tool Editor (contributing since 1978), Jim Jedlicka. An engineer by profession and retired from NASA, Jim began contributing articles (2:3 ff) on electrical wiring (designing in the process a routing jig for the Dremel Moto-tool, that would cut channels for hidden house wiring) and the use of resistance to produce different lighting effects. From those beginnings has treamed a torrent of tool ideas that are now standard on hundreds of miniatures workbenches. When a needed tool has not existed, Jim has filled the void with his own creations that have been within reach of those lacking his design and tool skills. The hallmark of his uncommon talent has been common sense solutions to vexing problems, a gentle and straightforward capacity to teach complex things with clarity and without condescension, and a limitless, patient willingness to share his knowled with others. 

In 1978 there was no such thing as a lathe copier or duplicator commercially available, so starting in TSC 3:3 Jim designed one. And then he went on to add indexing, fluting, and helix-cutting capacities to it. When it became clear that (with the exception of basswood) no scale hardwood lumber was being supplied to the hobby by vendors, Jim adapted an old tool idea (the use of a tapered disc to create the hobby’s first scale lumber thicknesser (TSC 4:4). (And he accompanied it with an article on cutting scale lumber.) From this cornucopia has emerged shaper table designs, jigs of many varieties, tool modifications for hand and power tools, and sawdust collectors. Mixed in has been the whimsy of a 1″ scale toy train and operating pull draperies in a miniature setting. He has taught us how to use a hack saw, a bastard file, and a center punch. And in a host of other ways, he has made the daily round at the workbench easier and more effective.

He has certainly helped to amplify TSC’s tool review policy. It had been decided at the outset that, while we had no intention of setting ourselves up as a consumer goods testing organization, we would not ransom our judgment as scale modelers for the sake of advertising revenues. All the tools to which we made reference in TSC or which were evaluated in the product review have been tools that were purchased from a vendor (not accepted as gifts for promotional considerations) and then used on the workbench until we were familiar with them. As scale modelers, we remembered how many times we had purchased hobby tools that looked great, offered much but delivered little, and ofte at a cost. In many cases, drawing from Jim Jedlicka’s expertise, we have reviewed a tool and then devoted additional space in the same issue to the modification of the tool in a way that corrects its design deficiencies. In these matters, we have tried to remember that TSC’s client is its reader, not the product’s manufacturer. (This standard, coupled with TSC’s small readership, seldom promoted advertising revenues, but it tried to keep faith with those who depended on us for reliable information.) (JHD, TSC 20:2)

James B. Johnstone

  • Finishing Mini’s is Different: (Part 1) Tools for Holding and Preparing the Surface: 4:3 (4-15); (Part 2) Coloring: 5:1 (10-15); (Part 3) Staining: 5:2 (16-20) 

  • Modeler’s Third Hand Vise: 5:1 (39) 

  • Variations on a Theme: Ideas for the Lathe Duplicator: 4:2 (46-49)

In addition to  writing articles on finishing miniatures, James Johnstone was perhaps better known for his books on full-size woodworking, including carving, furniture finishing and repair, and upholstery. 

 

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