For more than 25 years, Bridgeport, Conn., carpenter Dalton Ghetti has been carving pencil lead into miniature sculptures, working mostly with razor blades and sewing needles, which he sometimes modifies on a sharpening stone to form tiny chisels or gouges. The work demands a light touch, a sharp eye, and lots of patience. The one-piece chain pictured here, for example, took Ghetti about two years to complete. “I don’t work every day, and I can’t carve for more than an hour or an hour and a half at a time,” he says. “If I have a little bit of dust on the table at the end of that time and didn’t break anything, that was a good day.”

Jon Vara is a writer in Cabot, Vt. This article first appeared in JLC.