Sheep Shearing Man Automaton

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Project by ChuckM posted 05-01-2010 07:13 AM 3198 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Finally I completed this project which I planned to begin two years ago but never got to it until recently!

A 1995 ad for this mechanical sculpture reads:

This has been a favourite in the shop since the shop was a small boy. It’s designed by Ron Fuller and made by Matthew Smith. The sheep is shearing the man who bobs up and down, just avoiding the scissors. Until the fateful ninth turn when he is decapitated (to put it politely). Luckily, his head is on a string. 23cm high, 21cm wide. Price £375.00. (Source: CMT News No. 20 Dec. 1995)”

Mechanically, this piece is no less complicated than the Lion Tamer and has four mechanisms, one of which is a slow motion cam. I studied all the pictures and video clips available on the sheep shearer before I began but ran into many teething problems to say the least. I did benefit from the many close-up pictures received from the generous Matt Smith, who had made hundreds of this automaton in the 90s or so. Like many woodworking ventures, patience was critical in this one.

To see the piece in action:

P.S. My initial “M” is represented by the driving gear in the logo.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

5 comments so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3053 days

#1 posted 05-01-2010 05:39 PM

Now you did it. Great little puzzle, I can see why it took you a couple of days to figure it out and make it. I know
a few of us are going to have to take the challenge and mutter impolite incantations as we attempt to repeat
your work, and to top it off you had to casually mention the Lion Tamer ( whatever that is). Between these
two items I am sure much sawdust will be spilled. No reason to spend money buying one when we can whip
one up in a year or two. Great work and inspiration. This will keep me out of trouble and out of my office at the corner of Walk and Dont Walk for a few years. As ever, Gus

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ChuckM's profile


606 posts in 3634 days

#2 posted 05-01-2010 06:07 PM

Thanks for your comment, Gus. I should’ve included a link to the Lion Tamer:

The L.T., too, was designed by British automata artist Ron Fuller.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View mafe's profile


11643 posts in 3057 days

#3 posted 05-01-2010 10:07 PM

I laugh.
Thank you.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View hunter71's profile


3158 posts in 3154 days

#4 posted 05-02-2010 01:00 PM

What a HOOT.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View KnifeL's profile


86 posts in 2919 days

#5 posted 05-06-2010 06:49 AM

Nice work. Would like to see you add the decapitation to the lion tamer as well.

-- Will in Boulder, CO

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