It's spring!  We've been having gorgeous spring weather here in Holland so I've been spending a lot of time in my garden the last few weeks.  The daffodils are flowering, the apple trees are about to bloom and several vegetable seedlings are starting to grow.  

In my miniature garden the seasons don't seem to matter.  Flowering daffodils at the same time as apples ready to harvest,  fresh radishes and flowering magnolia, no problem! In the miniature garden everything is possible.


At the DHN fair in Arnhem (yes, it's back in Arnhem again!) a few weeks ago, I found this wire mesh crate (a kit from Art of Mini).  These crates are used by bulb growers to store flower bulbs, but are also used for sprouting potatoes, drying or storing flowers and fruit, etc.  Or in this case, harvesting miniature radishes.  


Ilona Kraassenberg (MiniMumLoon) made this amazing dried sunflower.  
Ilona makes wonderful flowers and plants, mostly very pretty and looking very fresh ;-) But this one drew my attention immediately and I knew it would look great in the Hall of my first Canal House.   


In the Hall I have a bit of an autumnal theme developing, so the dried sunflower is perfect here.  As with many miniatures, it is even better when you can see it up close.  The back and underside of the flower are so good!  Below is a better photo taken in daylight conditions.  Perfect.  Love it!




As I was going through some old files, I found photos of the dining table I made two years ago.  I believe I promised to show you how I made the table, but for some reason I never did.  

The table was made after an older and much bigger example.  It has an ebony frame and legs, silver feet and a mahogany top.  The table top had to be quite big to hold a lot of miniature silver items.


I started with the ebony, which I bought at the lumber yard.  I planed the ebony and cut it to size.  Despite all of the stories I had heard I found it surprisingly easy to work with.
The pieces of wood I made for the legs are 8 x 8 mm (about 5/16 inch I believe).  


The legs had to be tapered on all four sides so I made a sophisticated jig to cut the tapers.  The first and second side cuts are easy, but the next two cuts are more tricky as the leg is now resting on a tapered side.  So I made another sophisticated jig to balance that.    

         

I think I ruined one or two piece already at this stage, but I ended up with 6 pieces which I could use  for the next step.  The drawing shows what the table will eventually look like.  The legs are too long at this stage but I did that so they would be easier to handle.  They will be cut to size later.  


The next step was routing the fluting on all sides of each leg.  As you can see in the drawing, the fluting is wider at the top than at the bottom and there are two of them next to each other.  The first cut for the fluting is parallel to the edge so that was fairly easy.  


The other cuts, for tapering the fluting, were far more challenging.  Of course I also made a jig for that, but even with the jig it was tricky.  I used round head burrs for all of the routing.  For the top of the fluting I used a burr with a bigger diameter so the fluting would have perfectly rounded tops. 


  I finished the fluting by hand using my carving tools.  When I finished the routing I ended up with four legs I could use.  Lucky then that the table needed exactly four legs!  As the four legs had taken so much work to make I was quite nervous cutting them down to size, a job which normally would be a matter of routine.  


The feet on the legs are silver.  I made a wooden model and had them cast in silver.  After a bit of filing they were ready for polishing.  I enjoy polishing as it brings out the beauty of the silver (and your nails become nice and shiny as a bonus!)


Fitting the feet to the legs was much harder than anticipated.  Even though I used jigs and the silver was cast from the same model, there were slight differences in size due to the work I did to them.  We're talking fractions of millimeters of course, but still...


I don't have any photos of how I made the rest of the table, but that was all fairly straightforward.  
The top was made from beautiful old mahogany which I got from Hubert Boom.  I finished the wood with some French polish.  Not too much as it wasn't supposed to look brand new, but just to give it a bit of shine.  


I also aged the top very subtly so it didn't look like a brand new table.  
So here it is, the finished table!  I was happy with it and I learned a lot during the process.


                                                 

The photo of the roombox complete with silver has featured on my blog before, but I am showing it again to illustrate how perfect it looks with all of the beautiful silver on it.  


First and last photo by A.Aardewerk Antiquair Juwelier