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Retired teacher creates a masterpiece

California resident, Robert Biehler is an 87 year-old retired teacher who has engaged in craft activities since elementary school. Over the years he has done wood carving and furniture making, made about a dozen ship models and half a dozen miniature stage coaches, among other things. A couple of years ago he was looking for a different project. Robert's wife is an artist who painted a series of watercolors of carousels they had seen when we were on a European trip. He obtained a set of plans for a miniature carousel from a woodcarver's supply but they were not very complete so Robert went on the internet. He discovered the web site and saw and admired the photos in the "Builder's Corner". Robert was particularly impressed by the work of Bernie Evarts and after contacting her, he ordered one of her kits. Bernie supplied her beautifully machined parts, plans, patterns, and dozens of emails offering advice and photos.

When Robert looked through books about carousels he decided the one he liked the most was the Dentzel Carousel at Kiddieland in Cedar Park. Ohio, and that became his guide.

Robert modified the rounding board castings he purchased from Bernie and added other castings of his own for other parts of the structure. The Kiddieland Carousel has paintings of German scenes on the drum panels, so he used photos of scenes of Nurnberg taken from a tin of gingerbread. Robert carved and painted the 30 animal figures (trying to imitate Daniel Muller as much as possible), and since he lives in the Western part of the USA included a wolf, a bison, and a burro. Bernie generously included the brass fence posts to her kit which gave Robert the idea of adding an entrance arch and the base extension for one of Eddie Evarts band organs (decorated with more scenes of Nurnberg from a different gingerbread tin).

The ten-sided base of the carousel is 36 foot in diameter. The platform is 32 inches in diameter and there are ten sweeps and three rows. There are about 500 clear lights. A pull-out drawer in one of the base sections holds the speed control and the drawer under the band organ holds the MP3 player control. The "drum" table supporting the carousel is a variation of a similar table Robert saw in a furniture magazine.

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