About My Sundials
As far as I know, I am the only professional stone sundial maker in the United States. I also make colorful porcelain on steel sundials, painted wall sundials, and stained glass sundials. Working closely with each client, often just by email, I design their sundials with their input until everybody is happy with the design. We ship them all over the world to home owners, schools, parks and businesses. Additionally, I create designs for people who wish to make their own sundials, and I often work with architects and contractors who build them. Some are so big passengers can read them in passing aircraft!
Mostly, I make several different types, shapes and sizes of large stone sundials for placement on garden pedestals. I spend many hours meticulously cutting, shaping, carving and polishing them entirely by hand from individually selected slabs of thick, beautiful flagstone from Arizona and Utah. I carve and engrave the stone with diamond tools and chisels to make all sorts of different artwork and useful scientific markings. I paint the engraved portions of the stone and seal and polish the stone to a beautiful, mirror-like and weather-resistant finish. I won't go into the countless steps it takes to make one of my dials, although I can tell you that it takes a minimum of four weeks to make each one. Gold plating of brass work is available upon request, and special stones are sometimes available too.
Unfortunately, with the perfection of mechanical clocks, precision sundial design and construction has nearly become a lost art and science. Few people have seen a well-made sundial that keeps accurate time. They are rare since there are only a handful of sundial makers in the world who understand all the math required, and who are able to design and manufacture them. Astronomical laws demand that sundials be designed specifically for the location where they will be used or else they will not function correctly. Using the client's exact sundial location, I calculate and draw precise computer aided designs (CAD) which I use to custom-make the sundials. However, I still do all the artwork and fabrication by hand. Most of the typical garden sundials for sale today are mass-produced from castings which are sold everywhere and are therefore usually inaccurate. This has contributed to the erroneous reputation that all sundials are unreliable. My sundials are so accurate that you can set your watch by them! Many do much more than just tell the time - some also tell the date, sunrise and sunset times, solar azimuth, altitude and declination, and compass points. People are amazed that they can even tell time at night on my dials by using the shadow from moonlight! In The Sundial Owner's Manual, You receive detailed instructions on this and other useful information such as sundial history, theory, installation, operation, maintenance, basic astronomy, and sundial references - along with a weather-resistant copy of the Equation of Time.
I began making sundials in 1992 after an artist friend gave me an old book on sundials. Born into a family of teachers and artists, and interested in astronomy and nature, I was amazed to find out that it was possible to design accurate and beautiful sundials of all shapes and sizes. I saw them as the perfect combination of art and science. So with time on my hands, I began designing and constructing sundials as a hobby that quickly turned into a business. I was awarded The Sawyer Dialing Prize in 2002: "In recognition of (John Carmichael's) efforts to bring dialing to the high tech world of a leading solar Observatory (Kitt Peak, Arizona), and his demonstration that it is still possible in the modern world to prosper as a traditional craftsman of high quality heliochronometers." I constantly strive to improve my sundials' accuracy, legibility, artwork, and materials, and I'm always developing and offering new sundial types for purchase.
Please contact me personally to order one.