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This is the second model of a Berger guillotine I built in the summer of 2005. After the initial amazement that I could actually build such a model sunk in, I realized I had a long way to go to build an accurate copy of the machine. For this one I added the first spring stops for the mouton, a functioning lunette release-and-lock mechanism, the photographer's shield and bolted blade tracks. I designed it so it could be completely disassembled, using threaded aluminum bushings for all the bolts. The model was later upgraded to add a three-sided C-brace, a better lunette release and a more historical bascule roller assembly.


The model below is the third Berger replica I built in the fall of 2005 of red oak and various metals. The mouton is made of steel and travels on steel rollers in the blade tracks which are cut from solid aluminum bar stock and screwed into recess slots in the uprights. The blade stops use heavy gauge springs and steel plungers to arrest the blade fall. The blade assembly rebounds 3-4 times after the initial impact for a realistic effect. On this model the lunette is lined with a plain copper plate (No screws or rivets). The braces that support the uprights are made from 1/2" steel angle with cut & bent ends. They are attached to the uprights and to the base with standard 4mm hex-bolts screwed into aluminum bushings that are embedded into the wood. The head tub is soldered together from flat steel plates unlike newer models where I round the corners to more closely emulate the design of the real tub. The base brace fitted around the posts is made of two pieces rather that a continuous C-shape brace as I use on newer models. The main mechanism is a simplified version of the original using a single coil spring pushing the two lever arms together.


This model was built in early 2006 for the Henker Museum in Sissach, Switzerland. It includes a lot of new features not found on my earlier models such as: the riveted lunette liner, the hinged mechanism door, the brass pulley, the hollow spike, a more accurate mechanism design, a blade properly recessed in the front of the mouton and a curved head tub. It also got the first body basket and the unique red paint treatment. Among the pictures below note the one with the wine bottle for scale and the one with a copy of full size mouton in the background. This model is exhibited at the Henker museum and even showed up in a 15-minute interview of Guido Varesi on Swiss TV. Click here for a short Video Clip showing the operation of the model.


This is one of the best models I have built to date. The material of construction is Cocobolo wood with teak oil finish but no stain. Cocobolo is a very heavy South American wood with a high oil content making it impervious to water and very resilient to all forms fungus and insect damage. Unfortunately, the oil is also somewhat poisonous and can cause allergic reactions when sanding and sawing suspends the fine sawdust in the air. I managed to get both skin rashes and sustained respiratory track irritation in the course of building the model. Don't ask me to build another model like it again! Because of the high density of the wood, this model weighs 5 Lbs more than a identical oak model. The body basket ("malle" or "panier") is made of stained oak with natural hemp weaving around a steel frame. The hinges are brass and the liner is zinc-plated thin gauge steel soldered at the corners. The lid structure is copied from the Algerian guillotine where the cane was woven around the reinforcing slats, rather than having the slats attached on top of the cane. The hemp is stained dark brown and varnished to simulate the appearance of the cane used on the real basket. I completed this work in the Spring of 2006. The photo gallery below shows various design details.


The pictures below may just look like another 1/6th scale Berger model, but they are not. This model is built in 1/12th scale, half the size of all the other models on this site. It is only 15 inches tall and the base measures 8 x 8 inches. I built it in the fall of 2006. The miniature scale presented some very unique challenges and was more difficult to build than most of the other models. In particular the release mechanism, the blade tracks and the bascule were extremely difficult to design. The T-shaped braces are made from two 1/4" brass bars tin-soldered together. Due to the small scale this is the first of my models that cannot be taken apart.


I built this first Berger model in the summer of 2005. At the time I was pretty proud of it, but it now seems rather crude. Note the mechanism door on the wrong side of the chapiteau, the steel braces at 45 degrees, the lack of lunette lock and spring stops. The bucket is made of soldered tin but came out so rough I had to spray it with cold galvanizing compound. I got very few pictures of this one before I sold it to my friend Guido Varesi at the Henker Museum in Sissach, Switzerland.