The Scale



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A list of the TSC writers
and their projects

Under Construction...
this may take awhile...

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 1964--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.

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Appleyard to Cosgrove
Bill Allen                                        
Barry Appleyard                                        
Ruth Armstrong              
Al Atkins                                        
Wallace Auger                                    
Jane Bernier                                        
Bill Birkemeier                                        
Barbara F. Blauman                                      
Glen Botto                                        
Tamara Brooks                                
Herb Buckingham                                        
C. Edward Chapman                                        
Jeanne Chapman                                        
Charles David Claudon                                        

Madelyn Cook

Harry Cooke                                        
Horace Cooke                                        
Kenneth A. Cooper                                        
Barbara Cosgrove                                        


Bill Allen

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

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 (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

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

Case-bound Bookbinding in Miniatures: 1:4 (56-60)
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, WinterportME, 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 (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

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 recognizeable 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 (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 preceeded his own. If that is the rule, then Harry Cooke, whose exceptiona1 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

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, stuent 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.

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