Safety First : This may seem like a "Duh!" moment, but your sander will remove skin easier than it removes oak. Keep your hands away from the moving sandpaper.

Wear sleeves that won't get into the sander. I wouldn't recommend using a portable sander for this kind of base. As with any project where you use power tools, you do so at your own risk. Follow safety practices recommended by the manufacturer of the tools you use to help avoid injury.



If you just need a few
bases and you don't have
tools to make your own,
these bases work well.

 

Create Custom Oak Bases at Home for
Under 25 Cents Each

Cajur's Shop-made Bases

For those miniatures which don't come with a base, I make my own. If you have a sander and a saw of some kind, you have all the equipment to make these bases. The miniature shown in the picture of the G'nort Dire Wereboar on the right uses one of these bases.

All you'll need to buy is a 1" diameter dowel. I use oak, which is durable and attractive.

You can pick one up at Home Depot for around $4 for a three foot (approximately 1 meter) oak dowel. Each base only takes about one centimeter of lengh off the dowel, so you get a lot of bases for not a lot of cash.

If you don't have a sander, you can still make these bases. You just won't be able to round the top.

Review the safety tip to the left before proceeding.

miniature painting moss creature
This G'nort Dire Wereboar miniature by Reaper uses one of my shop-made bases.

Round the Top of the Base

To create a rounded "button" profile, you need a sander (or sandpaper and a lot of patience). Hold your dowel at about a 45 degree angle to the moving sandpaper and touch the top edge of the dowel to the sander.

Rotate the dowel at a steady pace, so you're rounding the top of the dowel as you go. As you rotate the dowel, try to maintain the same angle of the dowel against the sander.

Proceed all the way around the circumference of the dowel, keeping even pressure against the sander. Naturally, uneven pressure against the sander will produce uneven removal of wood during sanding. The harder you press or the slower you rotate the miniature, the more wood you remove.

Depending on how rounded you want the top, you may want to go around once or twice more. There's no "right" amount of wood to remove. It's your mini, so you only have to please yourself.

shopmade oak miniature baseTop View

Sanding Beveled Miniature Base Edges

These first passes over the sander create a beveled edge, which you may like. If so, don't sand any more before slicing the miniature from the dowel.

Sanding Rounded Miniature Base Edges

If you'd prefer a rounded, "button" look, change the angle of contact between the dowel and sander to around 60 degrees from perpendicular. Sand all the way around the circumference of the dowel again, as you did before.

Now change your angle to about 30 degrees from perpendicular and repeat the process.

miniature base home madeSide View

Use a Saw to Slice Off the Base

I use a bandsaw to slice away the thickness I want for my bases, but you can use a handsaw. I tend to slice mind about a quarter of an inch to a centimeter thick.

Hold the dowel with a vise while slicing off a miniature base. As with any other project where you use tools which can cause injury, use safety best practices suggested by the tool manufacturer.

 

Remove Burned Surface

Depending on the type of sander you use, the kind of dowel, and how aggressive the sandpaper you use, you may see some amount of burn on the surface of these bases.

To remove this, either use a less aggressive sandpaper in your sander or you can remove this by hand with sandpaper.

If you will cover the top portion of the base, you probably won't need to remove the burn marks.

miniature base home madeSanding can burn the wood. Remove by hand with sandpaper.