Tongue Blades and Scalpels
When visited my family doctor for a follow-up and I was sitting in the examination room, waiting for her to make her appearance, I noticed a glass jar with a metal lid. Inside was a bundle of tongue blades. The sight brought back memories. Not the tongue holding, throat gagging kind, but of my enlistment in the Navy. Like many others, there was often little to do in the off duty hours. To pass the time, I began to whittle the thin wooden arm boards and the tongue blades.
From the arm boards, I created wonderful things like a hand with one finger pointing skyward and a pair of elephants wearing crowns. Don’t ask me why. It was something to do. My most energetic project was a storage box, six inches, by three and a half inches by four inches with dove tailed corners. On the lid I carved a bunch of grapes, with leaves and tendrils.
Using the tongue blades, I would attach the repurposed blades onto model HO gauge flat cars I purchased to create box cars and even a caboose with its raised cupola. The doors on the box cars were moveable, sliding to the side and the inside of the caboose had beds, chairs, and a pot belly stove.I constructed a trestle bridge, an engine house, a water tank with a moveable arm, and tunnel portals. My largest and most intricate undertaking was to create a train station. Long hours went into shaping the many tongue blades into a shingled roof, scored walls, and floors. To furnish the inside that could be seen through split tongue blade frames, I built benches, made teller windows, trunks, hand carts, and the other various things that were usually found inside. I made a clock with its painted face to hang on the wall