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I always encourage people to make their workbenches longer. But in the case of David Brookshaw, I’m just dead wrong on that point.

Brookshaw of Gloucester, England, makes 1/12-scale miniatures of tools and workshop equipment. Have you ever seen the book “Tools Rare and Ingenious” (Taunton Press)? Those are his tools on the dust jacket.

Right now, Brookshaw is building a fully equipped Gentleman’s Victorian Workshop, which will be on display at The Kensington Dollshouse Festival on May 15 to 17. He sent us some of the photos of the pieces he’s building, and they are extraordinary.

For starters, he built a scale model of the Roubo-style workbench we have in our shop. Brookshaw’s version is 6″ long and is made from boxwood, which takes fine detail. The vise screw, which features a 1/8″-diameter shaft, is fully functional.

Even the holdfasts work. Brookshaw says a hammer blow will shatter them, but thumb pressure alone makes them work.

You can visit Brookshaw’s web site at to see more photos of his work, including a complete tool chest, a 17th-century Italian brace and two recreations of famous handplanes.

Brookshaw promised to send more photos of his progress in building the shop as it progresses.

– Christopher Schwarz

Brookshaw’s fully functional drill press.

The wheel lathe for the workshop. Note the turning tools laid out on the folding rule.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Shannon Brown

    Absolutly awsome. Amazing. I don’t know what else to say. David is a genius.

  • Chris C

    I am always curious about this type of work. What types
    of tools are used at such a small scale? Where do you get
    these tools from?

    One of the most amazing works I’ve seen of this type was
    on a fairly recent back cover of Fine Woodworking magazine.
    In a large case piece that was commissioned for a famous
    author(whose name escapes me) there was a secret "room".
    The room was complete with a door, parquet floor,
    wainscoting, the works. It was so detailed and so real
    looking that would the designer’s head have not appeared in the
    picture to shatter the illusion, you would have never known
    it was a miniature. It even had the writers initials in
    the parquet floor and a lit painting of a famous playwright
    the author was a fan of. It was almost creepy in a way.


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