Makers Replicate Jurassic Park’s Mosquito in Amber

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design
Makers Replicate Jurassic Park’s Mosquito in Amber

If you remember the original Jurassic Park movie, you have to be impressed, even looking back, at how good the special effects were. Naturally the dinosaurs got most of the attention, but some of the smaller props were also outstanding. These included the cane that John Hammond, the creator of the park, walked around with, which contained an insect fossilized in amber on top .

Maybe you have not thought of it since the movie, but with Jurassic World 2 coming out in 2018, Peter Brown of the Shop Time YouTube channel, along with “Pocket” of the Pocket83 channel, decided to put their talents together over the course of two years in order to make an amazing cane replica.

Brown, who is perhaps best known for combining woodworking techniques with non-wood materials, naturally took on the amber/mosquito topper portion of the replica. One of the biggest challenges was trapping the mosquitos that he used for his amber centerpiece. Trapping them was not the problem, but Brown had to struggle finding them as they only show up in his area for a short time each year. In Brown’s words:

I worked on the process until May of 2015 and then the bugs were gone. I ended up waiting till April 2016 for them to show up again and I re-started the process in earnest. From April to June of 2016, I probably made 12 casts and had just as many failures. Mostly with keeping the bug all in one piece or having them explode from too much moisture. Since I know some of your fans will care about the bugs, I will admit that some bugs were captured alive and I used a cotton ball soaked in lacquer thinner to quickly kill them. I wasn’t cruel and didn’t let any of them suffer.  Some were found already dead, but they were normally missing bits and looked less convincing in the resin. I also killed three ants this morning at my desk. I’m a monster.

As for the build itself, Brown notes that:

I would say I’ve got about 50 hours invested in the toppers. I could easily make one now in a shorter time frame. Most of that time was in the trial and error of the casting process. The actual turning and polishing of both was done in an afternoon.

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After that video intro, perhaps he will be up for the role of John Hammond in the Jurassic Park VR brain implant movie remake in 30 years. Stranger things have happened.

After Brown’s task was done, Pocket83 then had the “trivial” task of actually making the staff portion. If you are interested in the work whatsoever, it watch the video below to learn a few tricks of the trade.

One of the more interesting bits was his process of drilling the very long cane-to-be and inserting a threaded rod, which he calls his “first design challenge.” He successfully accomplishes this feat, using a very long drill from a junk tool outlet and wooden guide blocks.

He says that:

I don’t know how many labor hours were in the cane project. I could probably build one in under 10 hours (forgiving drying times) now that I know how to make it so well. It’s not easy to guess at that, though, because my experience with making it involved making two of them and an associated video, so where one ends and the other begins is difficult to discern.

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Pocket, who initially contacted Brown about this project idea, says this about his inspiration for it:

As for our ‘Jurassic Park’ cane project, the idea came from a picture frame that I made for my Grandpap a few years back. It was this old pastel print of a schooner on a calm, misty sea. And so, I colored the frame to match, using a kind of whitewash that was yellowed by a touch of polyurethane. I was thinking of sunburned driftwood at the time, but I noticed right away that Tulipwood treated this way sort of mimicked bone. It was just a natural extension to contact Peter Brown about making the jewel for a Bone cane. I figured it was only a matter of time before the number of requests would eventually twist his arm into making one anyhow, and [at the time], ‘Jurassic World’ was about to be released. I think there was even a top comment with a few hundred thumb-ups about it on one of his videos. We were trying to keep it hush-hush for the whole two years!

Hopefully we will see more awesome stuff from both of these makers. Be sure to check out both of their channels linked above for even more neat builds!

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


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