I stumbled on the striking and fun wooden toy sculptures of Pennsylvania-based Josh Finkle and wanted to learn more about them.
I’m a senior industrial design student at Carnegie Mellon University and I was able to do a project of my choosing for one of my classes this past semester. I worked at Radio Flyer this past summer where I learned the value and fun involved in making toys.
After seeing the work of Take-g (a Japanese woodworker) I decided to learn how to inlay and sculpt wood through the creation of toys. After researching preexisting toy forms and themes I decided to choose a theme rich with information and meaning, hence, the theme of recently extinct animals, rich with interesting forms.
What was your work process in making these?
Step One. I chose four extinct mammals I found interesting in terms of form, pattern, and information about the behavior, habitat, reasons for extinction, and so on.
Step Four. I sculpted a foam model of each toy to evaluate size and form helping me to make changes to the wood ones to come.
Step Five. I made the wood toys first as block elements cutting (table saw) and gluing different types of wood together.
I cut (band saw) front and side profiles out of the block elements. I drilled (mill) holes for heads, arms, tails. I sculpted (rasps) the wood into final shapes. I sanded, oiled, and steel wooled all pieces.
Step Six. Packaging: I purchased different size glass display domes and turned (lathe) a base to fit each one.
â“’ Josh Finkle, 2009
What are you working on at the moment?
This is my last semester of school. I am working on exhibits for the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and more furniture for my furniture class.