Maarten Meerman (or Max) has been designing high-tech satellites, space missions, and rocket trajectories around the world for almost three decades. At the same time, he enjoys working with wood and refining his woodturning skills. By combining design precision with a love of wood, he creates custom solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had. Often using one of his lathes, but equally at ease carving, he creates exact micro-miniature copies of real-life satellite designs, furniture and complete rooms, as well as larger-scale items for practical use. Much of his work can best be viewed with a magnifying glass, as his specialities include 1/144 scale and smaller scale reproductions. His hand-nanoturned items are almost invisible to the naked eye – since they are down to only a few tens of microns in diameter.
Maarten is a member of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). In 2017 he swapped his local chapter from Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild, where he was originally inspired to rise minutely to the challenge, to the Santa Cruz Woodturners, which in 2019 saw him in the role of President.
He has published several articles about innovative woodworking and nanoturning, and his work has been covered on CBC radio, CTV’s The Last Word, and in the Ottawa Citizen and Surrey Now newspapers. Here’s a preview of the 4-minute OhMore documentary shown above. Maarten is in regular demand to demonstrate his microminiature skills on the nanolathe.
The original of this finger-top silk-upholstered historic Canadian chair can be found in Rideau Hall’s Pauline Vanier Room in Ottawa. Here’s a link to Maarten’s version of the entire room.
If you’re curious about what I do, just ask!
So as a rocket scientist you design spacecraft?
My day job includes designing space vehicles and figuring out orbital dynamics so in my spare time I build models of the spacecraft that have gone into orbit or that live in my imagination.
What’s your connection to the ballet world?
My daughter introduced me to the world of bun heads and barres and the rest is history!
Here’s a selection of free-standing wooden ballet barres which combine function with form.
Your miniature woodturnings come in all sizes, ranging from dollhouse to invisible?
I was challenged to turn something small and I’m still refining the word “small”. However, some of my furniture is life size (and not just for ants)!
Who do you create your miniatures for?
Some of my work is on display, some of it is commissioned and there’s always someone in the family who has a birthday coming up!
Can we see you in action?
There are some videos here and check the events for live demos.
How can I contact you?
Feel free to email me or join in the fun on:
All images and text on this site are (c) 2010-2021 maarten meerman
Thank you for sharing your creations with us! It is so amazing to learn more about the ‘micro miniatures’. I’m inspired to try the Dremel lathe.
Love to see what the Maarten man is up to! I don’t want you to get a big head but you are amazing. Max. Why didn’t I ever know this? My dad was Max. Keep me in the maxloop!
Thanks for the fine comment, Jan. Don’t forget to click on the ‘older entries’ link near the bottom, where you will find your roller skates.
Happy Birthday and keep on turning brother!
My name is Vic Leach & I am with Sapperton O.A. Pensioners. On Sat., Oct. 22 at Sapperton Hall, we are having a fundraising evening of entertainment, dinner and silent auction beginning at 6 pm. I have spoken with you and seen your work at the Hall, which is unique. I am wondering how much it would cost to have about a dozen or two small goblets made. I have made a slight error in suggesting that we would have a complimentary digestif available for our guests, which is apparently a bit of a no no. If, however, we show that it is your goblets, I think that this has an opportunity to get us, and you, some publicity. You did a splendid job on CBC radio when I heard it in August.
Regards Vic L
Thanks for the comments, and thanks for the plug at the CBC: many people have heard it and commented on it.
I recently made a batch of small goblets, small but not quite invisible, about 0.8 mm (1/32″) diameter, which makes them 1/144 scale, the same as the chess set. They were for a miniature convention, but I guess I could make some more.
How would you serve them? Glued to people’s name tags?
Max- your goodies are fantastic! I was wondering how much you charge for scissor cases. I’m thinking of some for standard sized scissors and my wee scissors. I would like a darker wood (like cherry or close to that color).
Scissor cases have to matched to the actual scissors: the hole must be such that it just grabs without getting stuck. Another option would be to glue a magnet inside it, and then make the hole a little larger for easy fit. Can you measure the diameter of the scissors at the hinge (for the hole size into which it would fit) and the depth of the hole?
hahah. “he creates exact microminiature copies of furniture and complete rooms…for practical use”
I think they are very practical: easy to take along, pull out of your shirt pocket and show on a whim 🙂
A very happy you to you!
I didn’t realise that you had gone so miniature with things in wood. I’ve been looking at some of your projects, listening to a radio interview, I think in Canada, and even the Spanish one, which was very good practice for learning Spanish. Thank you very much!
Now, how about really big things?
I’m wondering if you have a piano in your house? Well, if you don’t, this could be a very nice new project for 2013, and if I were able to, I would plan to come over and play it!
I think that would be a really excellent challenge for you and I would be delighted to hear and read all about it…!
Lots of love,
Jilly-Piano-Player! Thank you for stopping by. The biggest piano that’s come out of my workshop is this one: https://nanotray.com/2010/08/15/raising-the-barre/ Looking forward to hearing you play again…