Topographic map of the United States

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Project by noahhl posted 04-17-2016 03:45 PM 1576 views 15 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m not sure what originally triggered the idea, but I decided a few months ago that a large wooden map would fill up the wall in my living room nicely. The end product is about 7 feet wide and 4 feet tall for the continental US, and sticks out from the wall about 3-1/2”.

It was a ton of work, but also a lot of fun, and I’m pretty happy with the end result.

In total, I used fifteen species of wood: oak (red & white), birch, ash, poplar, walnut, maple, butternut, cherry, cedar, mahogany (African and Honduran), pine, and two mystery woods I can’t identify. I wrote up more about the process of making the map here.

14 comments so far

View BB1's profile


678 posts in 455 days

#1 posted 04-17-2016 04:01 PM

Wow…this is great. Love the various types of wood.

View Andy's profile


233 posts in 434 days

#2 posted 04-17-2016 05:58 PM

You know what, you know what wow. You made the mountain chains, never seen that before. Very impressive piece.

-- Andy Smith

View helluvawreck's profile


25355 posts in 2473 days

#3 posted 04-17-2016 07:54 PM

That is a beautiful map. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Hawaiilad's profile


2998 posts in 2628 days

#4 posted 04-17-2016 08:54 PM

I really like what you built. Any one should be proud to have that hanging on a wall in their home. I like the choice of woods since they look like mountain ranges in places. I should send you a map of Hawaii…there are 7 main Islands not connected.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View noahhl's profile


5 posts in 1433 days

#5 posted 04-17-2016 09:26 PM

Larry, you caught me. I decided it would be too hard to get the placement of the islands correct, so I let them hang out on top of a base layer. In the continental US and Alaska, I didn’t include any islands (no Manhattan, for example).

View Hawaiilad's profile


2998 posts in 2628 days

#6 posted 04-17-2016 10:12 PM

OK, I can live with that. In the first pictures I couldn’t see the detail. I know what you mean, I have cut them out before and hanging on the wall becomes a pain….good save!

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

135 posts in 2711 days

#7 posted 04-17-2016 11:27 PM

Nice job! It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, how did you get the look of the mountains in the states that have them? Carve them in? Thanks for sharing.


View Darren's profile


50 posts in 1933 days

#8 posted 04-18-2016 04:11 AM

That’s a nice little project, well done.

-- Darren, KCMO,

View majuvla's profile


10099 posts in 2474 days

#9 posted 04-18-2016 09:58 AM

Realy nice,challenging project. My country is only one state so it’s not project for me to make.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View ronstar's profile


324 posts in 3317 days

#10 posted 04-18-2016 11:26 AM

Awesome work! Thanks for the write-up.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View Notw's profile


500 posts in 1360 days

#11 posted 04-18-2016 01:45 PM

wow, that is amazing!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8822 posts in 3035 days

#12 posted 04-18-2016 01:56 PM

WOW! What a lot of exacting work. But, the result is stupendous. It’s just beautiful. Great job!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View DocHamm's profile


89 posts in 2298 days

#13 posted 04-19-2016 04:51 PM

Really nice job. Impressive. Makes me want to make a similar one, although smaller and with islands. Thanks for sharing!

-- "The Noblest Art is that of making others happy." ~ P.T. Barnum

View Will Merrit's profile

Will Merrit

65 posts in 500 days

#14 posted 04-21-2016 01:34 PM

You know something that would make this type of project really really cool. If you know your way around mapping software you could create a scene around a river. The river would be made using this procedure called Lichtenberg see it here . Then design your mountain and such around it, you could use a existing mountain range and in QGIS clip the range so that your burnt area sits inside it. Just a idea…If I could just get my head around how to make a good CNC…

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