View Full Version : Maps is Metal!

02-16-2014, 09:49 PM
I just found this site today and made an account, I've always thought maps were pretty cool, and secretly have always wanted to have an archaic occupation, such as cartographer or blacksmith. Alas, no one does these things anymore. I would know, as a BIM Drafter by trade, I draw houses on a computer all day, but I sort of wish it was still done by hand.
A few months ago I started the rather mega project of carving a map of Westeros (A Song of Ice and Fire) out of wood. It measures about 28x56", and is basically my coffee table. This site seemed like the perfect place of people who could appreciate such commitment. I've already seen some cool things and have learned a lot and would like to know more about making maps by hand, sort of like tapestries, or wood carvings. Art pieces, y'know?

Few things about me, I have a degree in computer graphics, with a construction focus, and metal music is the best!

02-16-2014, 10:11 PM
Woah, that sounds like a cool sculpture project.

02-16-2014, 10:44 PM
I saw your map in the other thread and it is quite interesting. Not many people carve maps is the wood here.

02-16-2014, 11:22 PM
Welcome to the guild - fantastic sculpture project!

Ahh - maybe few people do those things nowadays, as their day job.... in an industrial vein. Plenty of artist-blacksmiths *do* bash metal as their trade though. And there's professional mappers who work with traditional media rather than digital means. Your house-drafting trade ... maybe you just have to cater to sufficiently discerning customers, who would appreciate their home starting with as much art as science :-).

As for archaic occupations - do you live near any historical reenactment sites? Would you work well in full public view? I can imagine someone using period tools, in period dress, crafting period maps, which would be on sale in the attraction's gift shop - big bucks, framed, for the originals; 9.98 plus tax for rolled poster versions. Not just art, but performance art. I've SEEN blacksmiths doing just this.

02-17-2014, 12:03 AM
I saved up to buy a "world map desk" just cause I thought it would be cool to have a map carved in the glass... I was mad when it was a paper map slipped under the glass. I'd buy a wood map-table, or probably a big metal map for the wall, too, just cause when I get an obsession, I get obsessed...

And if it could be MY VERY OWN MADE UP WORLD? I'd use my rent money :P :P :P

(well okay, maybe not the rent money, but yeah)

I think it's a really great combination of skills!

and... yeah what jbgibson said too :P

02-17-2014, 01:14 AM
An amazing carto-artist in my home town makes maps on wood where the grain lines are contours. (http://www.artimaps.com/maps_on_wood.htm) So not 3-D like yours, Kegs02, but a nice riff on the wood-instead-of-paper thought.

And don't send David Nuttall your rent, Jalyha - instead go shopping for some nice pieces of plywood you could try your hand at lumbermapping with. Mind you, he deserves a print purchase, as inspiration. :-) He *does* do commissions though... rather more a modern style than is our norm here, but AmAzInG stuff.

Kegs02, are you thinking you want to do more of this, or do you want this Westeros table to be a one-off?

02-17-2014, 07:04 PM
I was hoping to continue the wood maps after this one, however maybe not always at this size. So far it's been easier than I imagined, which is good. I do have three pieces of wood leftover from the original boards that I glued for the table. They are 9.25x16", So I've got that going for me I guess. Honestly this table map is the first thing I've ever carved, I just thought it would be cool to try.61516

02-19-2014, 02:06 AM
Okay, that's pretty damn awesome. Now I want to try one.

02-19-2014, 05:03 AM
Welcome to the Guild Keg. And you should totally create a WIP thread to show the progress on this, because yeah, this is very cool.


02-19-2014, 12:10 PM
Okay, you're cool. :) I started a two-ring map (taking the seas down to the second ring of sapwood) on a piece of firewood with an exacto knife tip a couple months ago but haven't gotten around to finishing it. It's much less awesome than your table.

If you don't mind (because I'd like to try something like this in the future, and I'm curious)... What have you found to be the easiest and most difficult aspects of carving this?

Are you going to label it at all or leave it blank?

02-19-2014, 08:19 PM
The easiest part sort of depends. Certain spots in the wood carve better than others. If you're near a knot, good luck. The smaller chisels definitely work better, cause you can apply more pressure more easily to one spot, so I've done this whole table with my 1/4" chisel. The chiseling though has been pretty smooth. I have slipped once or twice though, and let's just say there are 2 or 3 minor islands that are no more.
The hardest part is probably the fact that I'm carving it on top of a coffee table, and it's like 18" off the ground. Being 6'3", it's kinda weird. If I had an actual shop of sorts and could stand while working, that might make it easier to work for long periods of time.

02-20-2014, 01:04 PM
Work height could be jury-rigged easily enough... padded milk crates under the edge of the table or somesuch, or perhaps lean it against a wall and chisel the top half? But the knots. Hmm... Do you think it would be worth drilling shallow pits in them with a small drill bit to soften them some before chiseling? I guess I'll try it on some firewood and find out. Anyhow... Thanks for indulging my curiosity! I've used rasps and planes a bit but not chisels so that gives me a better idea of how to go about it. And what tools to use; I have an old set of large chisels but now I think I'll find some smaller points to start with.

02-24-2014, 09:06 AM
This is awesome. I need to try it, I've done some carving and wood working before but I've never made a map. This summer I think I will try it out! thanks for the epic idea. :)