The CAN-TIN Shop

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

              Can-Tin Shop

The “CAN-TIN Shop” carving inside a glass block window is kind of like a ship in a bottle, only not as intricate. This is a commission from a person who wanted a sheet metal worker working at a sheet metal machine carved inside a glass block window. This carving is a simplified interpretation of that concept where the viewer uses imagination to tell the story. This project was an assembly of parts that had to be small enough to fit through the oval opening. Epoxy and super glue were used to build up the assembly. The five inch tall man is wearing a “skull cap” that old time metal workers and mechanics often wore to cover the top of their head. The simple interpretation of the machine is to imply that it is bending the sheet of metal (tin) – once again imagination reads more into the scene than is actually there.


The photos above depict the progressive steps in the test assembly of the carved scene inside a Hobby Lobby craft glass block window. The first photo shows the floor base already inside the block and the primary floor with wall attached being inserted through the oval opening in the side of the block. The second photo shows the primary floor with wall in place resting on the first floor base. The floor base was necessary to have a level foundation for the primary floor. The floor base was secured in place with epoxy glue that filled in the voids caused by the unevenness of the interior glass walls in the final assembly.

The next two photos below continue the test assembly with the primary floor in place with the metal work bending machine being inserted in the oval opening. Note that the primary floor has slats or side rails for the bending machine to slide into proper alignment for the later gluing process. In front of the rails are several pieces of thin sheets of basswood whittled to imply sheets of tin lying on the floor in front of the bending machine. The second photo below shows the bending machine in position inside the positioning side rails. The bending machine was assembled with thin strips of basswood with the bending lever assembled to imply that it was bending a sheet of metal held in place on the top of the machine with guide blocks. This machine is a very simple and imaginative design of a metal bending machine that includes a tin snips and framing square hanging on the side of the machine. Often in a carving project the interpretation is to offer the suggestion of an object while relying upon the viewer’s imagination to fill in the gaps between the suggestion and reality of the object depicted.



The two photos above are of the test assembly and unfinished carved pieces in the first photo followed by the second photo of the finished and complete scene of “the Can-Tin Shop.” Between the test assembly and the final assembly the various parts were glued into their predetermined locations using either super glue or epoxy glue which had to be done inside the glass block, piece by piece.

The two photos below depict the close up view of the metal worker wearing a skull cap, chomping on a cigar while one hand is on the bending lever and the other hand is holding a vise grip pliers in the first photo. The second photo is a close up view of the machine, the sign, the pieces of tin on the floor and the man standing on the sheet of tin. In order to glue the man in position, the first step was to whittle a thin strip of basswood to imply a sheet of metal, then two holes were drilled into the legs of the man and the sheet of metal basswood strip to receive two cut off thin nails inserted from the bottom of the basswood strip into the legs during the epoxy gluing process. When that assembly was cured, the basswood strip became the base to be epoxy glued into position. The sign lettering was wood burned and the back of the sign was grooved with a ditch like trough to rest on the corner of the base flooring at an angle while being glued into place.


The final two photographs below begin with a view of the back of the scene followed in the second photo with a view through the oval opening. Both views give the viewer another glimpse in how this project was assembled in a simplified manner and not as elaborate as doing a ship in the bottle creation.

Can Tin                  Can-Tin

What’s in a name is also a use of one’s imagination with a play on words and fill in the blanks. When one thinks of metal working the common “tin can” comes to mind. So in the case of naming the imaginary metal working shop, “tin can” was reversed to read “Can-Tin” to imply that this is a shop where the metal worker “can” work with “tin” making “tin”  to become a verb rather than a noun.

The Can-Tin Shop was a challenging and yet fun project to do and like any carving project becomes a learning project by allowing one’s imagination to be as creative as possible to accomplish the final presentation of the carver’s art.





This entry was posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2015 at 1:47 pm and is filed under Carving Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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