It’s hard to say why a particular work of art affects you. For example, I always find myself moved when I’m in front of a Mark Rothko painting, but if I had to literally describe what the painting was, it would hardly make sense. Oddly, this wooden, hand-made air-cooled Volkswagen engine, while about as different from a Rothko as humanly possible, I also find astounding. Sure, it’s for remarkably different reasons, but the intensity is still powerful. I mean, look at this thing.

The engine is being built by Wood Art Finland, which seems to be one guy named Tommi Rajala. The only description of the project is this:

“This Bug engine will only leak the sawdust. Scale 1:1. No CNC. One man’s project.”

This is not just some wooden sculpture of a Volkswagen flat-four; this seems to be a complete wooden reproduction of the engine, inside and out. He’s carved the rotor inside the generator, and the brushes. He’s carved each individual, removable spark plug. There’s a real crankshaft and camshaft and valve train. He’s made wooden piston rings and everything is 1:1 scale, and it looks like you could bolt the real parts right to the wooden parts, everything is so accurate.

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This is insane. Insane and beautiful and stunning. He’s carved the interior of the oil cooler! who would do that? Again, this is astounding.

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Holy crap—look at the inside of this distributor!

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I’m losing it, here.

Look at this—he’s able to bolt on real parts from an actual engine before he re-creates them in wood. Here’s an actual fuel pump, and then its wooden replica, both installed on the engine:

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It’s got dual-port cylinder heads, and a generator—my guess is that this is based on a ‘71 or ‘72 1600cc engine.

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I don’t even know exactly what to say here. I feel like if you could somehow keep it from catching fire immediately and break some rules of physics, this thing could run like a normal VW engine.

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The amount of time and skill and care that this project requires is humbling to me. I’m amazed.

I reached out to Tommi to find out more details about what he’s doing, but I didn’t want to wait to post this. If he gets back, I’ll follow up with more information, and hopefully find out what drove him to take on this project.

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In the meantime, I encourage everyone to just flip through these pictures and marvel.