Saturday, November 12, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system


I cut out a few pieces of the slate for the top of the porch & here we are a week later?!  I haven't done much since.

I did notice on the new container of Water Putty that you can add a small amount of vinegar or milk when mixing it with the water to slow down the hardening time.

Another thing - I buffed the faux slate with a piece of brown paper bag (it has wax in it), & this created a shine on the higher surfaces, leaving the recessed areas matte.  This helped to define the texture of the slate.

Close up (about an inch across) of faux slate after buffing.  (I held a lamp to the side of the faux slate when I photographed it.)  Notice what looks like brush stokes or wood grain - nope - thats because I used 80 grit sandpaper when I sanded the dried water putty  - creating flat tops.  Next time I will go over it with 220 grit. The 80 grit sandpaper would work well for an old wood surface - painted shades of brown.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system

Making the slate for the top & treads
I (scribbled) the water putty on to a piece of mat board - using a eye-dropper (see previous posts for details.)

I let it dry - then sanded it...

I painted it shades of grey with blends of red & blue...

Next I'll cut this into tiles, then round off & paint / touch-up the edges & corners...

I'll use this configuration for the slate that will go on the top (or floor) of the porch...on the treads I'll just use 3 tiles across the steps...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system

River Rock (again)
New front porch:
The Plan.

The Parts

Glue & Assemble

I rounded off the corners of the steps so the water putty rocks would flow smoothly around 
the corners. The parts on the right will be glued in after the river rocks are completed.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system

Note: To see all the posts about 'New System', under Labels click New System

River Rock (or Fieldstone)

The eye-dropper idea works great!  I used Water Putty, as the can says, "Sticks, stays put, will not shrink."  I poured some putty out & added water with the eye-dropper, while stirring.  Found the consistency that worked for me was like pea soup.  I placed the putty filled eye-dropper on the wood sample & pulled the eye-dropper in a whirling or zigzag motion.  If you get too close to another "stone" they will blob together.  Not a pretty sight, but you can just scrape off the mistake & try again.

When you're done put a bit of hot water in a can or some disposable container & squeeze the eye-dropper in the water repeated to clean it.  You could run it under a faucet but I don't know if you want plaster clogging up your drains...

Now I'll watch the stones dry...or 2nd thought maybe I'll go do something else...they might collapse or something as they dry...?

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This was my 1st attempt which includes all the air bubbles & blobs.  So I thought I would sacrifice this one 1st by painting it.  Some of the stones are flat on top because I had to sand off the little whipped cream wavy thingys (this batch was too thick.)  The next step would be to seal the rock color then fill in with  the mortar.  I'll use the "Water Putty" again, but this time mixed with a warm medium dark gray acrylic.
I'm using water putty because that's what I have on hand...
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system

Note: To see all the posts about 'New System', under Labels click New System

Red Front Door

Scratch-built cross-buck door.  The cross & the triangles are glued onto a 1/16" wood panel (about the same thickness as the plastic window,) & the panel is fitting into the grooves of the door rails & stiles.  I sanded the triangles for a rounded edge.
I got an idea for the river rock foundation & front porch...I thought I might use plaster & with an eye-dropper drip the shape of the rocks - kind of like making pancakes.  Cross your fingers : )

The Staircase

Stair construction - the treads & the railing will be walnut, the rest will be white or cream.  I'll be using Housework's balusters as I can't seem to make exact duplicates on my wood lathe. 

Exploded drawing - the construction is similar to a real staircase, with some modifications.  The risers are dadoed for strength & to make it easier  to attach to the stringers (see next drawing.)  The risers are on top of the treads - on a real staircase the riser rest on the stringers.  I changed this because it was easier to round off the tread all the way so it returned back to the open stringer (see last drawing.)  The riser has a decorative edge as not to show the end grain.  The stairs have a 45 degree angle which makes the balusters easier to cut.  I'll probably use toothpicks for the dowels.  The railing has a groove on the underside to accept the balusters & (spacing) fillets.  The stringers are all cut at the same time by setting my mini table saw to 45 degrees & cutting the stringers stacked & taped together on edge using a stop block... 

Dadoed riser, also showing decorative end grain.

Showing tread bullnose wrap around returning near decorative end of riser.  That's a nice looking staircase : )

Monday, October 3, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system


The Windows:

Parts of the window: Old CD jewel case cut down, the rails & stiles of the sash, & the grilles interior / exterior.  The sash is grooved to accept the glazing & dadoed for the grilles.  The wood is maple.

The sash & grilles are glued together.

The top of the sash is grooved & the grilles are glued in place.

...then I slide the plastic glazing into place &  just repeat 4 more times : )

Interior view with (pop in/out) poster board cut-outs.  Need to do the interior casings/half frames.  Then figure out the partition placement so I can paint/wallpaper the walls.

Exterior shaping up.

I think I've found my construction method. Building one wall at a time is less overwhelming & much more gratifying.  I can see each wall evolve to some sort of finished state - which in turn gives me the incentive to keep going : )

Next I have to tackle the door...not sure what design to use. Although its a 3" door it looks narrow to me.  I think its because of the wide casing & large flanking windows.

Googling door images....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system

In a drawing program I create lined paper then print & slice the page into about 1" pieces. I tape them to both ends of the wall then draw connecting guide lines. Then I remove the paper.  The metal strip is a deck frame tie - they make nice straight edges - find at Home Depot etc. Ask for decking hardware. They come in different lengths & also 'L' & 'T' shapes.

Added the casings & corner trim (all inserted or clamped, not glued.)  The 1st strip of siding is fitted at the bottom left then marked using a utility knife (the blade creates a fine, accurate mark & unlike a pencil does not leave any smudges.)  The siding piece is then cut with a miter saw / box.  The edge is block-sanded to remove any splinters & fine tune the fit.  I dry fit the piece then place a very thin bead of wood glue on the wall with tiny droplets of super glue about an inch apart along the bead to hold the siding in place while the wood glue sets (about 20 minutes.) Thanks to Rik Peirce for wood/super glue technique!)
I hold the siding in place for about 20 secs, then move to the right side of the wall and repeat - moving up the wall from left to right.  With the shorter pieces I sometimes cut & fit a group of pieces all at once, moving straight up & gluing that section one after another.
Notice that the siding lines up with the tops & bottoms of the windows, & door.)
After I finish gluing the siding on I'll pop out the trim & paint it, while thats drying I can stain the siding the same color as the portco shingles (both the siding & the shingles are made of poplar.) ...still need to do the window sashes & interior window & door trim/frames, door, threshold, also the windows will have drip caps & tiny moldings under the sills to cover the siding gaps.  Then I can paint the interior trim.  Also need to do the foundation...whew!  Then the front wall will be complete & I can move on to the side walls.
Finished & painted door casing/frame.  Door dry fit, not sure I'm going with this style door?   Also, wish I'd make the door wider.  Window casings/frames painted. Window sash, glazing & grille dry fit. (glazing made from old CD jewel cases, coated with Future alias Pledge Floor Finish.)  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse - new system


I'm working on a new project.  Its the colonial doll house, but with a new construction system.
Once the project is finished the end result will consist of parts that will slide together w/o tools or glue.  The walls are held together with a tongue & groove connection with the corner molding.  The floors are held between the crown molding & baseboards.  And the roof (front & back) slide on to the gables, locked by a ridge corner molding. (the roof's pitch will be 45 degrees, which makes the peak angle 90 degrees.  So the same corner molding profile is used to hold the base, the walls & roof together.

Also because my attention span is so limited I can build one wall at a time to a finished point which in turn keeps me motivated.

If this dollhouse were made into kit it would consist of:

1 Back (open) frame/trim
1 Front roof
1 Back (open) roof
3 Walls
3 Floors
9 Locking corner moldings partitions, doors, windows, stairs & poster board wall inserts.

Interior (click to enlarge)

Exterior (click to enlarge)

Finished Portico - over front door

Interior / Front

Interior / Front showing pop-in poster board wall

Sample of kitchen floor.  Cut from Walnut & Maple.

Exterior / Front. Dry fit. 

Construction of typical wall:
3/16" plywood panels 9.5" tall x 3" wide, panel over window & door cutouts 2.75"t x 3"w, panel under window 2.0415"t x 3"w. All the panels have a groove going up both sides expect for the end panels - they only have a groove going up one side, (they will later be cut to a 45 degree angle.)
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The panels are glued together with 1/8" x 1/16" splines.
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The top & bottom of the glued assembly is grooved. Then the wall / floor connectors are glued with splines.
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The walls for each floor are assembled & glued in the same manner.  The base / foundation is left off for now.
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 After the (side) wall is dry a groove is cut up the exterior facing - on each end.
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 The wall is flipped over, base, crown molding, baseboards & base corner brackets are glued in place.  After drying both edges of the wall (interior facing up) are cut at a 45 degree angle.
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Closeup of 45 degree cut.  (The base has a wedged piece of wood instead of a crown molding.)
(Cutting all the parts at once keeps everything aligned.)
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Closeup of crown molding & baseboard where the floor fits.  The groove on top of the baseboard & underneath the crown molding is where the poster board fits into.  
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Front & side wall fitted together.
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Base locked together. Uses same corner trim thats used for the exterior corners.
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Exterior view showing corner trim locking walls in place.  (the corner trim is slid into place from the top of the two walls, it slides into the two tracks.  The walls / trim can NOT pull out in any direction.)
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This sounds more complicated than it is. But once the parts are cut & stacked (like an assembly line process) they can be used to construct many different individual dollhouses.  This technique would not work for stucco, stone or brick clad dollhouses because of the corner moldings.  But if 3/8" thick walls were used a hidden bow-tie type spline could hold walls together instead of a corner molding...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Colonial Dollhouse 2

 ...well, I've merged my Visual Basic with Sketchup/Ruby and I've come up with the Dollhouse Shell Designer.  Now all I need to do is program everything in Sketchup!  :D

But I can at least create a materials list & see a 3D viewable shell.  Here's what I have so far:

I designed a Visual Basic program a while back and since then I have learned a bit of Ruby programming.  Ruby programming can be used with Sketchup a 3D drawing program - to automate your drawing & speed things up to instantaneous!

The details for the dollhouse are entered in to the VB program along with the size & placement of the cutouts, then a Ruby script is generated...
(someday when I get a bit better at Ruby programming I'll enter everything in to Sketchup & also create a plugin that anyone can use!) 

...Sketchup is started and the Ruby Code Editor is loaded...
(you could also load the code into the Ruby Console [ under the Window menu] )
...the saved file from the VB program is loaded...
...then the script is run...

...and Ta Da !  ...all the parts from the VB program's materials list are put together in viewable 3D !

If you look back at the first image (VB program screen) you'll see the following data: 18"D x 24"W, attic 9.1875"h, base = 2", 1st flr = 9" & 2nd flr = 3", all solid walls, walls & floors are 3/8", roof is 1/4", roof angle = 45 deg., etc.  All this is in the Sketchup image above - and you can interact with it in 3D or add more parts or edit any aspect of the house.

(my Ruby coding would make programmers cringe, but it works for me !!  My programming method is trial & ERROR ! :D

This dollhouse has the same size base, but the roof pitch is 30 degrees instead of 45.  Its one story with an attic & the cutouts are in different locations, the over hang is 2"...

This house has three floors & a 60 degree pitch, etc.
...and this example is 30" long instead of 24", it has 3/4 2nd floor, etc.

If your dollhouse floor plan is rectangular this program can create it.  You can change the wall, floor & roof thickness, the floor to ceiling heights, base height or skip the base, the program calculates all the measurements & angles for you.

..almost forgot the Colonial...

Still need to create partitions & supports. Also a hollow wall/floor option, which creates much more parts, so you can see why I started with the solid wall/floor.
...more to come...