Maximalist Victorian Wood-Toy : Toy-Train

The Maximalist Victorian style can be best represented by this photo below. An illustration that depicts a man in a toy-shop in the middle of making another of his works. Next to the toy-maker there are numerous representations of other creations they have made, ships, trains, stuffed-animals, jack-in-a-box etc. All of which were in inspiration to what I wanted my upcycle project to be, something that this toy-maker would have made in the world of Dean Morrisey. Much of Morrisey’s works include some element of maximalist detailing, where the observer can sit with Morrisey’s work to absorb and contemplate the details no matter how small they may be. Each addition give more story and depth to the world that the artist was trying to represent. The time period itself, is often represented in a Victorian era, where much of the apparatuses are shown to be in an industrialized technology mixed with the technology of the old world. Included in this photo, because the toy-maker would need wood working technology, a large engine belt and line shaft system can be seen in the background. Which was a common piece of technology in the industrialization of shops to provide power to multiple pieces of machinery.

The Magic Door, Dean Morrisey


Finally, I reached the decision to create a wooden toy train that could look like it could fit right on the table of the toy-maker. It is also a good representation of what could have be depicted as a toy in the Victorian era, the steam engine being both a prominent and awe-inspiring piece of technology. The cuts and materials required to create a toy wouldn’t demand much skill from me, apart from the patience that would be needed for painting. This is due to wanting to add some sort of painted detail to the surface of the train, to add that maximalist taste. For for the front-end and exhaust of the train, I knew I wanted to add a spiral effect, Then for the rest of the boiler to be painted with some ornamental design, But as we will see in the final product. I Improvised .



For The final product, the painted design was changed to a hot-air balloon. This was due to the realization that more often than not, Dean Morrisey would add some additional element of atmosphere-power component to the illustrated apparatus. Though some sort of sail would have been cool to add to the toy, a painting was the next best thing. To create this wood toy, A band-saw as well a milling machine was needed. The band-saw was used to cut all major components such as the boiler, cab, smokestack and its base. This for the wheel’s a mill was used to cut wheels using a saw-drill. Then to connect the smokestack to the boiler, a dowel rod was fitted into both the smokestack and boiler as a connector.

For the finish project, I was sort of satisfied. The paint itself required more layer to really make the color pop without any noticeable fading into the wood’s grain. Some more additions to the decorations would have been beneficial. I was thinking maybe adding some riveting to the ends of the boilers and something to represent some sort of roofing on the cab. One thing I wanted to add to the decoration would be some ornamental swirls above the hot-air balloon and the corners of the cab. Then I would say it would be worthy to sit on the table of the Dean Morrisey’s toy-maker.



Final design of toy


Morrissey, Dean, The Magic Door, 2000,


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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Hey Benjamin, I think you did a great job matching the aesthetic and the woodwork looks good. This makes me want to look into more work by Dean Morrisey. I was wondering what other objects you would make if you had to do this project again to fit the theme?


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