The On-line Craftsmanship Museum—Quick Links
The Physical Museum in Carlsbad, California
List of Craftsmen
|3D Art Gallery|
...and another win for 2016
The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship Presents:
The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
Our 20th Anniversary, 1996–2016
Use the navigation bar at the top or scroll down to visit our site featuring the best craftsmen from around the world and their miniature projects in metal and wood.
Introducing the Birk Petersen Collection
Including 150 engines, guns, clocks, toys and more built by a single extraordinary craftsman.
Honoring America's Armed Services Members
Above: Exhibits you can learn more about in the on-line museum. (Click on any image to jump right to that section.)
or continue to scroll down to learn more about the museum and the how we support craftsmanship
FEATURED CRAFTSMAN! 2017 Metalworking Craftsman of the Year, Cherry Hill
Visit Cherry Hill's web page, which is linked from the Model Engineers section to see her work. Cherry specializes in obscure but highly detailed models of Victorian era steam tractors, road locomotives and road rollers. Her work has won the top awards available in England and has now also won our own top prize. She is the 21st winner of this award and the first woman to earn this honor.
FEATURED PERMANENT EXHIBIT! Louis Chenot's 1/6 scale model 1932 Duesenberg SJ.
• Without doubt, the finest automotive model ever made
• 10 years, 20,000 hours and over 6000 custom made parts
• Now on permanent display at the Carlsbad Craftsmanship Museum
ALSO JUST ADDED—10 engines by famed craftsman Phillip Duclos
AND MORE...A prototype supercharged rotary auto engine by Peter Grunstra
AND EVEN MORE...Check out the Birk Petersen Collection--over 150 items built by one extraordinary craftsman.
FEATURED ENGINE EXHIBIT! The Paul and Paula Knapp Internal Combustion Engine Collection on loan from the Miniature Engineering Museum
• Over 230 world-class miniature IC engines are now on display at the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, CA
TEMPORARY FEATURED EXHIBIT! The Miniature Arms Society miniature weapons collection
• Over 90 highly detailed and functional miniature guns and knives by some of the world's best makers
• On display for at least one year starting in March, 2013—Don't miss seeing it in person.
NEW VIDEO...See a "Flame Licker" External Combustion Engine in Action
Click on the photo at the left to see shop Master Machinist Dave Belt explain and demonstrate a "Flame Licker" or "Fire Eater" engine. The vacuum engine has the flame outside the engine and works on a vacuum principle rather than internal combustion. The engine was invented in the 1800's and actually powered very early vehicles.
|HAVING A MEETING?||RENT OUR CONFERENCE ROOM—Looking for an interesting place to hold a small meeting? CLICK HERE|
Click on the photo above of the Challenger V8 by Paul Knapp to see a 15-second video of it being started and run.
The photos below show a small sample of the kinds of projects you will find in the museum. Click on any image to see a larger version.
CLICK HERE or on the image of the slide above to view a PowerPoint® slide show featuring projects by some of the Foundation's Craftsman of the Year award winners.
(Don't have PowerPoint®? CLICK HERE to download a free PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft®.)
Welcome to the On-Line Craftsmanship Museum!
Our on-line museum is not the kind of museum you actually walk into and wander around...
This on-line version is open 24 hours a day, and you can visit it while sitting at your own computer at home from anywhere in the world. Click here or on the underlined words at the top of the page to start your tour of the museum. Our goal here is to collect and present as much information as we can about craftsmen from around the world and the projects they build. Our interests are not to just show the projects themselves, but to present everything we can find out about the builder and the project. Most museum web sites start by documenting what is in their own existing museum. While some of the pieces shown here belong to the Joe Martin Foundation, many do not. This collection exists only on the Internet and is presented for your information and free enjoyment as part of the goal of the Foundation to make better known the accomplishments of individual craftsmen. What is featured here is craftsmanship in many forms. This site is not the work of one person, but rather a collection of the work of many craftsmen and contributors giving freely of their time and expertise. We hope you enjoy your visit.
One of North San Diego County's little known jewels—You can also view many of these fine projects in person at our actual museum in Carlsbad, California. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 AM to 4 PM (Closed holidays). Admission is free. Call 1-760-727-9492 during regular hours if you have any questions about holiday hours or group tours. See the Facility page for more about the Carlsbad museum or view a MAP of our location.
The "Art" of great craftsmanship
"A person who works with his hands is a laborer.
A person who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.
A person who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist"
Joe Martin was the president and owner of Sherline Products Inc. for over 40 years. The company is one of the few remaining American manufacturers of precision machine tools. Joe was also a model builder and toolmaker. As such he had much experience with precision tools at both ends of the size range. The quote above, recalled from the shop wall of Joe Martin's uncle, sums up his belief that craftsmanship goes beyond mere technical quality. While good machinery can produce parts of great consistency and accuracy when properly operated, without the craftsman's touch the results will be acceptable but not noteworthy. Pieces that truly grab our attention and admiration go beyond the minimum of what is required to add what we can only call the “craftsman's touch.” Anything from furniture to a stained glass window to a clock to a model steam engine that is made by a master of his craft is worthy of a special kind of admiration. This museum features works that represents the spirit and skill of individuals; not committees or manufacturing companies. These projects were built by people with skilled hands and brains, but, most importantly, they were built for the love of doing it. Coming from the hands, the brain and the heart, they should be judged not just as a collection of parts, but rather as art. Other forms of art, such as dance, painting, music and so on are sufficiently represented elsewhere, so we are concentrating here on small things made by hand by an artisan using the tools of his trade.
The craftsmen represented here have devoted many hours over a period of years to develop the skills to produce these projects. The most worthy candidates are those who have contributed a significant amount to the body of work in a particular field over their lifetimes. This is not just a showcase for any particular project, but rather a place where you can see the work of the people who are acknowledged to be the “the best of the best” in a particular field. We also plan to add a “projects” section where the work of up-and-coming craftsmen will be featured, as often many innovations come from enthusiastic newcomers to a field. The featured rooms, however, are from those who have “paid their dues” and truly deserve to be called not just laborers or even craftsmen, but artists in their field.
What is Craftsmanship?
Joe Martin's main reason for establishing this foundation is to attempt to make the average citizen aware of the beauty of great craftsmanship. An object that exhibits outstanding craftsmanship has a quality to it that inspires beyond the object itself. For most trades, competent work is good enough. It’s simply a case where standards are met and doing the work any better would be a waste of time, effort and money. The type of craftsmen we honor here are the few who use the skills of the trades to produce a form of art. Their level of work rises beyond what is needed to complete the job with competence to a level of perfection that can be recognized by many but achieved by few. Often their work will be building exact scale models of something that interests them, and they do so simply for the love of doing it. Their satisfaction comes from attempting to achieve perfection. Auto modeler Michael Dunlap* sums up the mindset it takes to produce work of this quality as follows:
GM's take on Craftsmanship in 1932
The General Motors Corporation used to run a contest for young people called the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Competition. The challenge was for students to build a copy of the Fisher Body coach, a Napoleonic era coach used as the symbol on the Fisher Body logo. They supplied the plans and offered several 4-year college scholarships as well as prize money in gold to the winners. Their opening statement in 1932 had some interesting advice to the contestants regarding craftsmanship. Here is a partial quote from the introduction:
"Learning the art of fine craftsmanship
...The desire to excel in craftsmanship should be uppermost in your thoughts. So, while you are building your model coach, think only of making it the finest piece of work you have ever produced. The praise of your friends and recognition by the Guild will take care of themselves if you have done your work like a real craftsman.
If you adopt this attitude toward your work, you will be surprised how much easier it will seem and how much more pleasure it will bring you. Think of the fun it will be to make each little part of your model a masterpiece in itself, and then to fit each into its proper place and watch the solid, handsome coach gradually take form.
The surest way to get the greatest rewards from your work is to keep the ideal of fine craftsmanship always before you."
Click on the linked title above by William Gould to read a thoughtful study of what craftsmanship is and what you can do to help it survive and flourish in this age of wanting it "right now" rather than wanting it "right."
Walt Harrington has written a book detailing his experience in exploring the thoughts of fourteen fine craftsmen. Click on the title above to read a review of the book, Acts of Creation—America’s Finest Hand Craftsmen at Work.
CNC Machines vs. Craftsmanship
A current ongoing argument among craftsmen concerns whether the use of computer controlled machines can possibly produce what we think of as fine craftsmanship.
If you would like to submit an essay on your thoughts on craftsmanship, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Essays should be thoughtful and non-confrontational—no vitriol please.
Teaching About Manufacturing in Our Schools
To read an article from Manufacturing Engineering by Michelle Bennett on re-introducing to America's students the process of thinking about how things are made CLICK HERE.
by William Gould
"Craftsmanship is a marriage between the hands and the soul" —Motto, Mark Adams School of Woodworking
Organization of the museum and how you can contribute
The Craftsmanship Museum is not static. It is constantly growing and evolving. The ease with which information can be communicated electronically makes it possible for submissions to come from anywhere in the world. There are no crating, shipping, display construction or space limitations here—just the transfer, organization and storage of data. As new qualifying projects are submitted they will be added. If they do not fit a present category, a new category will be started to accommodate them. These photos cannot crack or fade. Properly maintained, the electronic information found here will be just as good a thousand years from now, perhaps long after the projects themselves are gone. Come back often to see what is new. If you would like to contribute to a section or have information about a project or builder that would be appropriate for a new section, please contact craig (at) CraftsmanshipMuseum (dot) com or craig (at) sherline (dot) com. (Please note that you must change the address in your e-mail program's "to" window to replace (at) with an @ symbol and (dot) with a period to send the message. This is done to reduce junk e-mail by making the address unrecognizable to programs that scan web sites for e-mail addresses. Sorry for the inconvenience.)
This project exhibits mastery of metalworking skills, yet nobody knows who made it. (Click either photo to view a larger image.)
Who made the above project and why?
The project shown above exhibits mastery in metalworking. Each hand-fitted piece is machined and filed to such close tolerances that you can barely see the joints when assembled. Gale Wollenberg notes that it may have been part of an apprenticeship program in order to qualify to be hired for a particular job. Because it resembles the cross-head of a connecting rod on a steam engine, it may have been made by a machinist in that industry as long ago as the 1800's. The sad part is, it was purchased for fifty cents at a swap meet in Clairemont, CA by museum machinist Tom Boyer's wife and given to Tom as a curiosity. The name of the original craftsman is no longer identified with the project, and his family obviously had no appreciation for its history or the high level of skill needed to create it. It was sold off as so much junk. This is one of the reasons the Joe Martin Foundation was started; that is, to honor this type of work and the craftsman who created it.
Don't let this happen to your work
If you have projects that exhibit a high level of skill, don't assume that members of your family or your friends understand or appreciate what went into making it. It may end up on eBay or at a swap meet like the above piece. We ask that you consider donating all, some or at least one of your best pieces of work to the Craftsmanship Museum while you are alive and can take advantage of the tax benefit for the value of the donation, or add a codicil to your will specifying it be donated to the Foundation upon your death. That way, a record of your skill will be preserved to inspire future craftsmen, and your name and your story will be forever identified with your work. Do a search on eBay for "steam engine" and see how many projects that are for sale there identify the builder. The answer is, almost none. It is our goal to reverse that trend and to honor the most skilled and creative people in our society—the craftsmen.
Tax deductible donations to the Foundation or to the museum
In May, 2003, the Joe Martin Foundation was initially accepted by the Internal Revenue Service as a publicly supported non-profit organization under regulation 509(a)(1) and has now been accepted under section 501(c)(3). This means that any donations to the organization starting in 2003 are fully deductible from your federal income tax. If you request it, we will be glad to provide a letter with our federal tax ID number for your records. In the case of the donation of a project for the museum, you should first obtain an independent appraisal of the value of the project in order to be able to deduct the full value for your contribution. The IRS requires specific documentation on donations valued at over $5000.00. Monetary contributions can be made by credit card by contacting the foundation at (760) 727-9492 or checks can be mailed to: Joe Martin Foundation, 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010, USA. CLICK HERE for a list of contributors, or CLICK HERE to learn how to write a bequest into your will or trust to leave a donation to the foundation.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support craftsmanship in your own community.
Read Joe Martin's on-line book on starting your own business
Click on the link above to read Joe's book on how to start your own business out of your garage. He did it and so can you, but there are many potential pitfalls along the way. Get some straight talk and solid advice from someone who's done it. It's free. If after reading it you feel you got some advice that could someday save you a lot of time or money, we ask you to help support craftsmanship by making a small voluntary donation to the foundation.
"He's an old-fashioned craftsman—he works hard to make things look easy."
—William Finnegan, from his book Barbarian Days—A Surfing Life.
“Recently I toured the Joe Martin Foundation Craftsmanship Museum (located 3190 Lionshead Ave, Carlsbad) showcasing assembled works of mechanical art produced by craftsmen from around the world. On display: some of the most amazing examples of three-dimensional engineering ever assembled outside the Smithsonian! The museum explains the technology behind many life-changing innovations we take for granted as consumers today. Visitors receive a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at such ingenious inventions as steam, combustion and solar-powered engines, and more. The museum is right in our backyard, a must-see for first-time visitors and well worth repeat visits. It's a great education resource and the admission is free.”
—Wayne Neilson, Vista, CA
For more visitor comments on both the on-line museum and the physical museum in Carlsbad, CLICK HERE.
Your comments are welcome too. Just e-mail them to craig @ craftsmanshipmuseum.com (remove spaces before and after the @ symbol). Please include your home town, and specify if we can use your name or just your initials.
Joseph H. Martin, Founder
December 3, 1934—February 12, 2014
It is with great sorrow that we announce that Joe Martin passed away February 12, 2014 at the age of 79 due to a heart condition. Joe was the owner of Sherline Products Inc. and the founder of the Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. Through his legal trust agreement he has assured the continued operation of the foundation. Joe’s goals for the foundation can be found at http://www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com/jmfound.htm. The foundation’s on-line museum as well as the physical museum in Carlsbad, CA will continue to grow and bring recognition to the craftsmen around the world who developed the skills to build the things that make our world work. We will honor the goals he established and to see that they are carried on into the future as he intended.
Copyright 2016, The Joe
Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. All rights reserved.
No part of this web site, including the text, photos or illustrations, may be reproduced or transmitted in any other form or by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise) for commercial use without the prior written permission of The Joe Martin Foundation. Reproduction or reuse for educational and non-commercial purposes is permitted.
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