For Christmas this year, my husband crafted this Noah's Ark set for our son. Each year he plans on adding a few pairs of animals, and will continue to add to it even when our boy has outgrown playing with it. Our ark is now one of our family's treasures, and I hope it will be an heirloom that will be passed on for many generations.
This is the ark before it was assembled. After looking at a lot of handmade arks, he designed this one using Tom's Arks as inspiration. Tom was even kind enough to respond to questions.
Here it is assembled, ready to be painted.
This ark has a one-story cabin attached to the deck. The deck and cabin lift off the ark to make it easier to access the inside of the ark, and the cabin's roof also lifts open.
Each animal's rough shape was cut using a scroll saw, and shaped using the sanding sleeve on a rotary tool. The figures were then shellacked and painted using acrylic paint, then shellacked again. I love the detail and character he was able to carve into them.
This Christmas he focused on the traditional African large mammals, and carved a pair of African bush elephants, Rothchild giraffes, plains zebra, and African lions. Yes, we are biologist nerds :), and the patterns of the giraffe, length of tusk and ears on the elephant, and width of stripes on the zebras mimic these species and subspecies. I can't wait to see what animals climb aboard the ark next year!
I must admit the zebras are my favorite!
The ark was a hit Christmas morning, and though we've needed to make a few repairs because of rough play, I think I like a well-loved ark much better than one that is just a nice piece of art.