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April 2021 · Woodworking · For: Myself

Animali di legno

→ During the lockdowns, I sat down at the scroll saw and worked with Lucy Li to create some animal patterns, in the style of the designer Enzo Mari.

Wooden Anteater in a vice
Wooden anteater


Fascinated by the 1957 "Puzzle Animali" by Italian designer Enzo Mari, I collaborated with Lucy Li to create my very own wooden animal toys. I would like to briefly summarize how to get from a simple design and a chunk of wood to the finished wooden toy. The starting point is a planed piece of solid wood which can be selected according to your taste. The static properties are negligible and the respective grains can give the animals quite essential character traits. When the material is ready, a design can be printed or drawn on a piece of paper and applied to the wood using wood glue.

Piece of brich wood
Piece of brich wood
Anteater Stencil
Anteater stencil

Start Sawing

The shape can then be sawn out using a fretsaw or scrollsaw. Now you can drill out the eye with the appropriate drillbit. When the shape is cut out, the now created figure can be sanded. To do this, it is best to clamp it between two wooden strips in the vice and begin to sand the surface with somewhat coarser sandpaper (200, for example). Then work your way up to a silky-smooth surface with finer and finer grit (Until 1000 worked fine for me). If you want it very fine, you can use a damp sponge to let the wood fibers rise up in order to remove them with a fine sandpaper.

Wooden Anteater in a vice
Sanding in process

Surface treatment

Finally, you can finish the surface as desired. I have chosen Büffel Glanz, a wax formulation with natural aromatic-free oils, kerosenes, special waxes and Carnauba waxes, to give the surface a soft and matte finish. Simply take an old cotton cloth and rub it thoroughly over the surface. Allow to dry and then rub a second time. After the second coat has also dried, the surface can be polished with a fresh cotton cloth.

Finished wooden anteater
wooden boxfish
wooden gorillas
wooden gorillas


This Project was co-created by Lucy Li.