Topographic map of the United States

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Project by noahhl posted 04-17-2016 03:45 PM 2605 views 16 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m not sure what originally triggered the idea, but I decided a few months ago that a large wooden map would fill up the wall in my living room nicely. The end product is about 7 feet wide and 4 feet tall for the continental US, and sticks out from the wall about 3-1/2”.

It was a ton of work, but also a lot of fun, and I’m pretty happy with the end result.

In total, I used fifteen species of wood: oak (red & white), birch, ash, poplar, walnut, maple, butternut, cherry, cedar, mahogany (African and Honduran), pine, and two mystery woods I can’t identify. I wrote up more about the process of making the map here.

14 comments so far

View BB1's profile


3190 posts in 2302 days

#1 posted 04-17-2016 04:01 PM

Wow…this is great. Love the various types of wood.

View Andy's profile


240 posts in 2282 days

#2 posted 04-17-2016 05:58 PM

You know what, you know what wow. You made the mountain chains, never seen that before. Very impressive piece.

-- Andy Smith

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4321 days

#3 posted 04-17-2016 07:54 PM

That is a beautiful map. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4475 days

#4 posted 04-17-2016 08:54 PM

I really like what you built. Any one should be proud to have that hanging on a wall in their home. I like the choice of woods since they look like mountain ranges in places. I should send you a map of Hawaii…there are 7 main Islands not connected.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View noahhl's profile


5 posts in 3281 days

#5 posted 04-17-2016 09:26 PM

Larry, you caught me. I decided it would be too hard to get the placement of the islands correct, so I let them hang out on top of a base layer. In the continental US and Alaska, I didn’t include any islands (no Manhattan, for example).

View Hawaiilad's profile


3386 posts in 4475 days

#6 posted 04-17-2016 10:12 PM

OK, I can live with that. In the first pictures I couldn’t see the detail. I know what you mean, I have cut them out before and hanging on the wall becomes a pain….good save!

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Paul Lajoie's profile

Paul Lajoie

141 posts in 4558 days

#7 posted 04-17-2016 11:27 PM

Nice job! It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, how did you get the look of the mountains in the states that have them? Carve them in? Thanks for sharing.


View Darren's profile


65 posts in 3781 days

#8 posted 04-18-2016 04:11 AM

That’s a nice little project, well done.

-- Darren, KCMO,

View Ivan's profile


17282 posts in 4322 days

#9 posted 04-18-2016 09:58 AM

Realy nice,challenging project. My country is only one state so it’s not project for me to make.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View ronstar's profile


739 posts in 5165 days

#10 posted 04-18-2016 11:26 AM

Awesome work! Thanks for the write-up.

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View Notw's profile


1241 posts in 3208 days

#11 posted 04-18-2016 01:45 PM

wow, that is amazing!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12595 posts in 4883 days

#12 posted 04-18-2016 01:56 PM

WOW! What a lot of exacting work. But, the result is stupendous. It’s just beautiful. Great job!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View DocHamm's profile


120 posts in 4145 days

#13 posted 04-19-2016 04:51 PM

Really nice job. Impressive. Makes me want to make a similar one, although smaller and with islands. Thanks for sharing!

-- "The Noblest Art is that of making others happy." ~ P.T. Barnum

View Will Merrit's profile

Will Merrit

89 posts in 2348 days

#14 posted 04-21-2016 01:34 PM

You know something that would make this type of project really really cool. If you know your way around mapping software you could create a scene around a river. The river would be made using this procedure called Lichtenberg see it here . Then design your mountain and such around it, you could use a existing mountain range and in QGIS clip the range so that your burnt area sits inside it. Just a idea…If I could just get my head around how to make a good CNC…

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