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.)
Copyright MESP 2011
The panels are glued together with 1/8" x 1/16" splines.
Copyright MESP 2011
The top & bottom of the glued assembly is grooved. Then the wall / floor connectors are glued with splines.
Copyright MESP 2011
The walls for each floor are assembled & glued in the same manner.  The base / foundation is left off for now.
Copyright MESP 2011
 After the (side) wall is dry a groove is cut up the exterior facing - on each end.
Copyright MESP 2011
 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.
Copyright MESP 2011

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.)
Copyright MESP 2011
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.  
Copyright MESP 2011
Front & side wall fitted together.
Copyright MESP 2011
Base locked together. Uses same corner trim thats used for the exterior corners.
Copyright MESP 2011
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.)
Copyright MESP 2011

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...