Tag Archives: trying things out

Jumping back in

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Dining Room – working on the missing furniture

Bought three Jane Harrop 1:12  furniture kits from her 30s – 40s era range; the drop-leaf table, the fireside chairs and the dining chairs, and thought I ‘d better start with the ‘simplest’ one.

Experience with kits?

I’d used one of her kits before for the cooker and personalised it to bring it more into the 50s with four metal burners and covered it with stick on shiny self-adhesive coloured film from Elf Miniatures rather than painting it.  I’d found the instructions very easy to follow as they included colour photos of various stages as well, so, before starting out on the first kit I have some idea of what to expect.

The dining chairsparts for two provided in the kit

Marked as ‘for beginners‘ in her book “Thirties and Forties Miniatures in 1:12 Scale(Amazon and Abebooks ) I set out to follow the kit instructions as carefully as I could.  (And yes, I’ve found these costs quoted for a copy of the book to be quite common, but if you look out for it, and are not in a rush, it occasionally pops up on auction sites at a less breathtaking price – which is how I recently acquired mine.)

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Thirties and Forties Miniatures in 1:12 Scale

If you’ve got the book why buy the kits, I hear you ask?

The book has the same instructions and photos as the kits but I’m afraid there was no way I could produce the excellent and uniform cutting of strip wood to the required sizes listed in the book for the furniture and expect to produce anything like square sets of uniform lengths, whereas the kit has it all beautifully machine cut.

In the kit

Preparations

Fool-hardy and somewhat cavalier in attitude regarding my craftwork I may be, but not yet so silly as to attempt to do two chairs at the same time.  I like to work on the principle that if I make a disappointing mess of it with the first one (a) I’d have experience of how it works and what to watch out for and (b) one chair done more of less adequately would be better than two messy ones.

Items required and some to add

Tacky glue is advised on the packet of the kit.  I use a Bostik white glue (semi tacky) and a minute droplet of PVA – I find that, as long as you don’t keep moving the joint around, they make a very good set together and are not too immediately sticky to clear up any excess from the joints.

Shoe polish for colouring and finish of wood. We only have black and what is labelled brown but looks more like ox-blood colour so I went for Georgian Oak wood stain and a finish of Scratch Remover for Light Wood which adds a pleasant woody glow to the stain which remains even when burnished up.

Square drying needed

Next needed is a square jig of some sort.  I needed to try out the metal bars (see “Passing on the Word”) bought recently for use as a square jig.  Great weight and speedy delivery after ordering, my only disappointment is that the ends are not cut quite as square as I’d have liked so they don’t sit right.  I made sure of how I’d set them out with a set square each time I moved any of the bars.  I’d bought four so that gave me two jigs to work with, handy for sticking the first pieces to each of the two sides of a chair so that they could be drying at the same time.

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Have to be careful which end I use and at what angle it’s placed

Marking and cleaning

I’ve added a propelling pencil for marking distances and centres, a thin stiff-ish bristle brush for removing excess squishy glue and a damp cloth for cleaning brush between times and my fingers all the time.

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What is provided

theinfill art deco dolls house blog, theinfill dolls house blog, theinfill 1930s-50s Deco House, Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - Medieval Tudor Jacobean dolls house blog - Jane Harrop 1:12 dining chairkitIn the pack, along with the necessary lengths of wood for the frame and the seat, there is

  • a fine piece of sandpaper
  • a beautiful and amply sized piece of glove leather
  • plenty of wadding for the drop in seats

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Laying out the pieces

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Of necessity some pieces are similar to others. For instance here I’ve put the seat pieces on the wrong size checking squares as they differ by only a small margin. Also watch out for The top rail/stretchers and the three back slats and keep everything separate till you get to know the pieces better.

First chair – two halves drying

Never sure that the table I’m using is as flat as it should be, I used a thick-ish piece of MDF as a surface and placed a plastic mat under the metal bars so that any excess glue escaping under the kit pieces wouldn’t stick themselves to the MDF!

All the instructions have been incredibly clear and the only juggling is has been with my fingers and small pieces of wood.

As drying is now the thing, that’s probably as much as is going to get done today I reckon.  As all the joints are flat butted and not pinned I must be more than usually careful (me being pretty clumsy) not to knock it as I go along.  Once the seat is in place it should be much stronger but there’s two more pieces to be squeezed in before I reach that.  And then there’s the second chair …

‘Listening’ a little more

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Building a fantasy model or writing a tale?

The answer, I realise more than ever, is both.  By now this house has its own character and it’s been fighting to get a word in edgewise and write its own story over the whole roof/chimney/cupola thing.

I failed to listen.

It told me it wanted cupolas.  I tried three and decided probably not to use any.  Now I find I’m back with one, central(ish) as the building insisted.  (I’m still not convinced!)

How long did I put off building this roof?  Years, I think.  The need, or rather the demanded was for a complex hill and vale arrangement and I’d no idea how to go about it.  But here we are with so many valleys and flat sections that it’s just as well I use paper or card for the leads.

theinfill Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean 1:12 dolls house blog - the infill dolls house blog – brickwork detailing on chimney pots in place

Now, the chimneys were entirely my fault.  The house hadn’t established itself at the time the first chimney arrived and I was totally overcome by owning some of those lovely Tudor pots.  But it was not to be.

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It’s just possible that the house and I may be working together more over these three contentious areas.  Loads more to do still, but I’m ‘listening’.

Bring out that drawing board

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Following a chain of thought

Yes, I know, I’m working around the left side doing chimneys and balustrade but I can’t stop the little hamsters in the treadmills of my mind working can I?

A sudden light bulb

The original design ‘plan’ for the frontage roof slope(s) had more variety than the three in a row gable ends I’ve been sort of working on.  I say ‘sort of’ because I keep turning away and doing something different because of discomfort with the whole idea of the three gables.  There are many buildings of around this period and after with three gables or more but the frontage as built so far is busy in its ornamentation and detailing and I wanted to give an opening out feeling to the roof-line here that didn’t seem to come with a row of gables.

I’d had this fancy that the central section of roof might be a forward traveling slope with a bit of a box-shaped dormer at the front edge.

Then the top of this flat-roofed dormer could carry a balustrade which would repeat along the sides (hence the left side balustrade at present under construction).  The shape of the central roof slope itself would be trapezoidal, wider at the top and narrower at the bottom as it travels down the valley of the left and right gable.

Having lost count of the number of times I’ve tried to get my brain to wrap around how to go about the shape I fancied and all its allied beams; how the individual room ceiling heights would work out where they each would meet their front-facing window; how the beams would work at left and right of centre etc, I was getting nowhere and I’d chickened out going for the worrying compromise.

But like all such silly ideas it haunted me a little and now I’m thinking “what the heck?” let’s have a go.

The light bulb (or do I mean duh) moment

  • Do all the structural beams really matter?
  • Is this a doll’s house 1:12 model or isn’t it?
  • Why not work at it backwards and build the thing and add what woodwork seems necessary to represent the beams that might be visible and see what happens?

Bad plan of attic frontage

theinfill Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean 1:12 dolls house blog - the infill dolls house blog – very rough mock-up of across attic frontage

Keeping in mind this is a very rough plan of a possible frontage for the three rooms of the attic, I think I’ll have a go.

Been doing …

At present I’ve yanked out some of the middle gable beams and added the missing side wall to that room, have prepped the height but not the width of the dormer and am half way through making a mini window for this upper section; have added some of the gable to the right side double bedroom, ready for its roof slope and am pondering whether I will, eventually, be able to make a removable frontage to the attic in a ‘oner’ or will it have to be two or three sections.

I’ll let you know if I’ve really lost the plot this time or whether there’s going to be a way through after all :/

Dreaming of attics

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and the choices still to be made

My mind has been full of thoughts of roof shapes and dormers for the big model – all the time I’m doing air-drying clay.

I’ve put up bits of card and balsa ‘sticks’ so that, each time I turn around from the workbench I can see and consider the angles and implications for the building.

Some dream of attics

(reached through the false door by the steps’ turn in the Long Gallery)

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The attics have a room for the boys of the Guild Master’s household, possibly a ‘school’ type room and a room for the monk/clerk who lives in and teaches the boys.

Towards the back, a good lump of space will be taken up by lighting sockets for each side of the house, as once again, I’ve taken the wiring up instead of down.  The arrangements are roughly divided between left and right of the model (when facing the front) so there are two lots.  I’ll run the two mains cables down the chimney that is placed on each side.

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From the kitchen end of things (except the rest of the kitchen has yet to be built), ie the back face

What are am I looking at?

  • That’s the stone bit of the Great Hall at the left
  • Grey card sections are where walls should be and the large white area of wall has yet to be covered in stone, brick or plaster colouring etc
  • The dog-leg shape is where a chimney has to be indicated by the stone and brick yet to be added (and will be slightly raised so that can run mains cable down)
  • The two pieces of grey card with a dormer point on them represent the closure to the Long Gallery (nearest) and the girls’ bedroom
  • Some element of the dormer, and room walls mentioned above, are envisaged sliding in and out from the roof-line above
  • Both removable walls are planned to have largish windows in them
  • Am not yet sure whether to have pointed or flat dormers
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and from the front face – dining room at btm, sitting room above and girls’ bedroom above that

And what’s to see here?

Same as from the other end but with the addition of balsa bits taped in place to give an idea of possible height of ridge and angle of slopes at this point

Next?

Well, it’s sat like that since before Christmas and some decisions are ripening.  I think I might put up similar balsa bits elsewhere to get a better all round view and to see if I can fit in the ‘odd’ bit I want centrally and the changes in slope directions.

Meanwhile

In the land of clay, I’ve prepared three starter heads, one in each material and letting them rest a little before going on with them.

Each was meant to be on a wire armature but only the Mr Porridge (Art Mache) would smooth out on the wire, so the other two are shaped and then reshaped a little more once a kebab stick piece has been inserted.

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All having a well-earned rest