Diary of a Dummy Board- Approaching the Winning Post.

We are now approaching the final stages of the making of our Edwardian dummy board rocking horse.

Shall we call it…Approaching the Winning Post? Well… it is Cheltenham Gold Cup week!

Here is how she looks when we make the first pass with the blade of the tiny saw.

1.The wooden horse is laid flat on the saw bed. The wood on which the dummy board is painted is known as the 'table'.

1.We cut the bottom of the rockers first as this is the longest single pass.

Pressure is exerted on the flat bed. This activates the blade and causes it to pass up and down through a tiny hole in that bed.

2.The rockers are cut.

2.More than one pass with the blade is need to allow for the curved shape of the rockers and a steady hand guides the blade around the tip.

3.The blade is a black blur! Rounding the end.

Care must be taken to cut within the lines, of course. When you are working in this scale, the features of the figure are so small, that even a tiny fragment lost spoils the look.

3.It isn’t possible if you think about it, to cut ’round’ with a flat and fixed blade and so several cuts have to be made at angles to turn the blade through 90 degrees.

The chest of the horse and the front legs, one of the longest runs of the blade, are done first.

4. Here the blade is turned carefully into Belle’s hair. The figure is then adjusted and a v shape cut into her curls.

4. Belle Begins to emerge!

5.Detail of the cutting of Belle's curls.

5. The V is gradually narrowed until the whole area is cut out.The finishing of her hair will be done with a small file, later.

6. Belle's head is free.

6. Here we have cut down to the reins.

It won’t be safe to cut out between them as the remaining wood would be too fragile. This must remain white….but it’s only a tiny piece.

7.The blade is held securely against the horse's ears

7. This is rather a dangerous moment! Here the ears of the horse are cut. You can just see the blade passing over the top of his head. Stephen has to hold the wood tightly to prevent any juddering.

Here – we are against the grain….driving the blade through it and not with it.

It’s quite a small piece to cut and could easily break off. Sticky out bits see… πŸ™‚

8.Two horizontal cuts are made towards the horse’s nose, the blade ‘turned’ gradually and the v shaped piece slides off.

8.The ear of the horse- nearly free from the back board and his nose emerging.

9.The last cut of the horse's ear

9.Here the last tiny piece of the ear emerges. Hold your breath……………..

10. The chin of the horse is cut

10. The v shape of the chin is released.

11. In the next picture we see the largest white piece of the backing board being removed.

A small hole is bored into the wood with a file tip or a bradawl and then the process is repeated for the other white spaces.

11.Cutting the largest white space

12.The rockers nearly free.The process is repeated for the other white pieces.

Again the blade has to be turned and turned again, through various angles to change direction.

12.The blade is pushed against the rockers time and time again to cut the tiniest sliver from the inside.

13. The last hole is bored in the last white space. The blade is inserted into the hole and the process starts again- this time inside the figure. Oh..sorry…. πŸ™‚ you can all breathe now!

The last and smallest piece of white is taken out of the middle of the rockers. And Hey Presto!…

13.A hole is bored in the white wood space.

14.The last white space goes........

15.Belle is free!

The figure is free from the backing board! 15

She is already throwing good shadows, just laid against a piece of paper!

There is still a way to go before Belle is finished though. She now has to be filed, in the places where the blade could not cut finely enough. She will then be sanded smooth and the edges will be painted with PVA ( Positively Valuable Adhesive) to prevent furring of the basswood.

The back will then be finished.

But that’s another story…. and the other side of the table…!

Nearly there…..Julie!

6 Responses to “Diary of a Dummy Board- Approaching the Winning Post.”

  1. julie Says:

    Oh My Goodness Sue ! I actually did hold my breath LOL
    Steady hands are definitely the order of the day here but all the work is most definitelty worth the effort.
    Belle looks beautiful on her trusty steed,
    julie xxx

  2. pastmastery Says:

    This was the most difficult post of the whole blog!

    It took me hours to get right and even so, the d**n thing won’t let me mesh the pictures with the text…I shall have another go today to make it sychronise!

    But I’m glad it was interesting and that the final resulting Belle is looking good for you Julie!


  3. Debbie Says:

    Thank goodness your other half has a steady hand. I’d be terrified I’d chop something off. Looking forward to seeing the next instalment. xx

  4. Bon's Mots Says:


  5. pastmastery Says:

    `yes… he has very strong hands…Debbie….comes of all that shovel shifting I suppose…but at the same time delicate.. I couldn’t do it without him.

  6. pastmastery Says:

    Just realised how ‘naughty’ that last post sounded! πŸ˜‰


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