Custom toy chest–part II

In our last post we shared the initial process of creating such a detailed piece as this toy chest.  You were able to see how Martin scales up his drawings on a simple piece of grid paper and how the end result compares to the original drawing.  But how does this:

martin pierce toy chest in progress

become this?

Martin Pierce Hardware

Martin Pierce Hardware

This toy chest is crafted of cherry wood as it has a vibrant and lovely red character and is an excellent carving wood.  The dancing animals are carved directly into the wood with a variety of chisels, a labor intensive process to be sure.

Beatrix Bear, Oly Owl and squawking geese by Martin Pierce Hardware

Beatrix Bear, Oly Owl and squawking geese by Martin Pierce Hardware

With this drawing the design is outlined onto the wood and the correct chisel is chosen to begin the carving process. For example, a curved chisel for the back of the bear and a flat, straight chisel for the legs of the geese.  You “set” the chisel and hit the top of it with a heavy mallet that results in a clear cut into the wood where you can begin the carving process.  The “raised” animals are then carved with a variety of chisels to give them fur, muscles, and wings.   Some of the animals were covered with casein plastic so they could be gilded while others were left in natural cherry tones.  You can clearly spot the animals in the drawing in the finished product shown above.

The work involved in creating this amazing toy chest is what sparked Martin’s interest in painting.  While he has not painted much lately,  he does like to create fantasy scenes involving very large beetles and wasps.  Until he begins painting more, I guess we are stuck enjoying his insect designs  in our Animal collection of custom hardware.

To view our entire collection of bespoke furniture and hardware designs, please visit us at

also show swallow pull


About martinpierceblog

Martin and Anne Pierce live in Los Angeles California with their beloved rescue dog, Iris. Martin's custom designs reflect his love of nature and include beautiful vine and fern drawer pulls, a realistic yet whimsical collection of bugs and other critters on door hardware and charming floral designs on everything from door levers to bathroom accessories. He also enjoys creating sculptural contemporary pieces that are easy to access for those with limited physical capabilities. All of Martin's designs are hand carved and cast in their Los Angeles studio where there is truly something for everyone. Please contact us with any questions or custom queries
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