JBM Miniatures was established in 1999 to market a small range of miniature furniture handcrafted by a local artisan. The interest in this rather small enterprise and the enthusiastic support that we received from retailers who had access to these first items encouraged us to investigate ways in which the company could create beautiful high quality pieces of miniature furniture, and produce them at prices that would appeal to all miniaturists.
It was at this stage that John Baker, a qualified, professional cabinet and furniture maker, decided to use his impressive woodworking talents to enter the world of miniatures.
John began his highly successful career as an apprentice to the well known English furniture shop Bowmans Ltd. In retrospect, thinking of his first years, he talks about his main responsibility being to keep the cabinetmakers supplied with of pots of tea from a local café.
Few manufacturers of miniature furniture can claim such a stringent apprenticeship in the construction and finishing of fine furniture. He worked on museum pieces, on antiques from stately homes and on the manufacture of reproductions. This at the time rather tedious exposure as an apprentice gave him the opportunity to learn not only the construction of furniture but a historical knowledge of each era in furniture making. It is not unusual even today to walk through a museum with John and have him point out secret drawers, dated handles and what to others might seem to be insignificant and often unrecognised attributes of a piece of furniture.
His experience is not limited to furniture making in England. He has worked in Canada and in Australia, always in cabinet shops recognized for excellence in the unique designs and quality of their furniture. His commissions have included reproductions of furniture for an old courthouse in Missouri and of a Tudor room for a museum in England.
It is easy to see the influence this experience has had on the designs of the miniature furniture offered by JBM miniatures, famous and not so famous furniture, made by well known and respected cabinetmakers authentically reproduced in miniature.
Each design is carefully chosen, a scale drawing is produced and then a proto-type developed. Every stage of this process is monitored and checked. When a finished sample is eventually approved, it can be forwarded for production.
JBM miniature furniture is manufactured in a special production line in China, The Chinese craftsman have for centuries being accepted as being among the best artists. Even so, finding and training people to work on the miniatures can take months. Each process from the drying of the wood that is to be used, to the staining or painting of the finished product is done by hand.
To make quantities of the same item to fill our orders the artists work in groups, each being responsible for one part of the piece of furniture. One group does the carving on the legs, another may make the drawers and fit them. Another group will do the hand painted designs.
Seeing the skills employed in making the small hand carved pieces and combining all the work from the different groups to make one piece of miniature furniture is amazing. It is only through this process that we can offer such beautiful hand crafted pieces at affordable prices.
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