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10 posts from May 2013

a good weekend's work

I got the roof put together...without the directions I misplaced.  I want to put an big oak beam down the center, so I found a suitable branch in the yard then hacked it down, removed the bark and sanded it's still too thick, I have to hack it down some more.



I stained the roof inside and out with a dark brown water based stain.  The bottle says walnut but it looks like brown paint to me..can't see wood grain through it...I'm not a fan.  Then, because MDF is easily chipped, I slathered the edges and the thinner trim with a few coats of wood hardener.

While I was waiting for the wood hardener to soak in and dry I started the fireplace.

I fixed the hole in the wall to be the size I need for the firebox, then started on the chimney.


This house is going together quickly.  I may have time this summer to do the Spring Fling contest after all.

HOM dry sink kit bash, step by step

I have a House of Miniatures dry sink kit that missing is one drawer front.  I kit-bashed it into a slate farmer's sink, to match the slate countertops I have planned.

First I dry fit the kit to see how the parts went together and examine what I needed to do to turn it into a sink.  I determined I needed to shorten the center vertical support and cabinet door to make a shorter base to build the sink on top of, replacing the short horizontal piece above the middle drawer with the long horizontal piece above the top drawer.  The pretty pieces that form the top and front of the dry sink went into my wood scraps box for use somewhere else, later.

At this point I also compared the height of the sink against my other cabinetry, since this will sit under the same's perfect, no alterations needed.


I marked and cut the center support and cabinet drawer.  I cut a piece out of the middle of the cabinet door instead of off the end to keep the shape of the front panel intact....I cut it at an angle instead of straight across because after I glue it back together the seam won't be as noticeable.


I glued the base together in its new configuration.  After the glue dried I used wood filler to fill in the empty square at the top of the center support piece, then glued on the back piece.


While the glue on the base was drying I assembled the drawers.  The sides stuck out a skoosh further than the bottom piece, so I trimmed them down.  When I did the dry fit I noticed a gap between the drawers and the base of the order to have that gap be the same width on all four sides of the drawer I put the front on a little high instead of flush with the bottom, using two pieces of plastic something as a spacer (I measured the gap to be four pieces of plastic something wide).


Now the gap around the drawers is distributed evenly, but because I trimmed the sides of the drawers down they sit back in the base a wee bit too far...which most likely won't be noticeable when the piece is finished, but...


...a couple of pieces of cardboard glued in place on the base behind the drawers fixed this problem, bringing the fronts of the drawers flush with the front of the cabinet base.

I decided, because of the way my sink will sit in front of the windows in my kitchen, to make a one basin sink with a drainboard instead of a two basin sink.

I cut and glued in supports for the drainboard, and started sanding grooves into the top of the piece I cut for the drainboard.  In retrospect I shouldn't have made the whole drainboard slanted, just the grooves....but I can't change that now.  I've also started painting the sink area black, in preparation for the finish it will get, and I've marked and drilled holes in the cabinet door and drawers for their handles.

I painted the area under the drainboard black because if I don't have something lined up just right and end up with a sliver of a gap somewhere you won't see wood through the gap.  It's easier to address that issue now, just in case, instead of later when I can't get a paintbrush in there.  The finish I'm using will cover any gaps, so for this particular piece it's not really an issue, but this step is a habit.


The drainboard is finished and glued in, and the piece that forms the front of the sink has been cut and glued in.  The front of the sink is not flush with the front of the cabinet because I've left room for the finish it's going to get....if I were only going to paint it I would have glued it in flush to the front.


After the glue dried I painted the rest of the sink pieces black then gave them a light sanding.  I also drilled a hole in the bottom of the sink to inset a grommet as my drain..the hole doesn't go all the way through the bottom, it's just deep enough to set the grommet into.


I taped off the base then applied a thin layer of JB Weld epoxy all over the sink as my slate finish.  I could just as easily have used paint to get the same effect, but I'm experimenting.  I inset the grommet before the epoxy sealed.


After the epoxy dried I sanded it smooth then applied a second coat to the front.  I ended up applying three thin coats, sanding between coats, to get the front the way I wanted it.


After the sink was done I taped it off and gave the base three coats of paint, sanding between coats, then sealed it with a satin varnish.  Once the varnish was dry I put the handles on, using superglue to hold the nails into the holes I'd pre-drilled.  I didn't use the fancy Chippendale handles that came with the kit, I used others I had in my stash which better suited the look of my kitchen.


Here's a better shot of the top of the sink, with all the sanding dust wiped away.  The back and two sides will be inset under the countertop, which is why those edges look rough.


Because this piece isn't as deep as the rest of my cabinetry I have room to install a faucet on the countertop behind the basin, once I get to that step in the construction process. 


a little work here and there on the cottage kitchen

I turned a dry sink kit with a missing drawer front into a slate sink. I took pictures along the way so that I can write a step-by-step post this weekend, as requested.




I sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, then sealed one of the hutches.



Last night I cut new grooves to set the ceiling beams into, as I didn't like how low in the room they were.  They were at the proper ceiling height, but architecturally it didn't make sense to have them in middle of the wall instead of at the right height to support the roof structure....unless I was to use them as a base to build some sort of second story loft on, which I've no desire to do.  I couldn't move them to the top of the wall because it's cut at an angle for the roof to sit on, but I got as close to the top as I could.  Now they look right to me and don't block the view of the room.




Three Blind Mice Show and trip to Audra's

Friday morning I drove downstate to Audra's house.  After a warm welcome and some time in her miniatures room we went to the Three Blind Mice Show in Ann Arbor, then back to her house where she put me up for the night.  Saturday she took me to a doll house store in Plymouth before I came back home.  I had a fantastic time and was happy to be the recipient of her generous hospitality. 

I'm still exhausted; it was a very long drive in bad weather.   I'll quickly share a few pictures then I'm crawling into bed with the cats for a nap.

Audra's "trash" she sent me home with....




My loot from the show....





The dollhouse store Audra took me too, and my purchases...




my shipment finally arrived... remember, the shipment I wanted at the beginning of last week, while I was on vacation.  Oh well, I had fun tinkering with the furnace and water heater.

This is my layout (the box is a fireplace)...I'm trying to decide between a table and chairs or a reading chair and small end table.  I'm leaning toward the easy chair...the cook needs a spot to relax in front of the fire with a good book while her baking is in the oven.

You'll notice that the cabinets are done.  My painting test revealed a negligible measurement for two layers of paint.   There is one coat of paint on the sides of the doors and drawers, two coats on the faces and top edges.  I had to sand the paint back off the bottom edge of two doors, but no further finessing was needed beyond what was done prior to painting.  I sealed the faces and top edges with satin varnish.  I rubbed beeswax on the outside of one drawer body, expecting that it would make it slide more smoothly, but all it did was make it sticky, so I stopped.

I had intended the cabinetry to be a whiter off-white color, but I didn't have enough of my go-to Magnolia White so I used Warm White intead.  Warm White is a little too ivory for my taste, but it does pick up the ivory tones in the marble, and I promised myself I wouldn't buy more paint until I use up most of what I already have in my stash.

I'm going to work on the sink next..I have plans to kit-bash a House of Miniatures dry sink kit that's missing a drawer front.  Before I start that I need to peruse my accumulation of kitchen accessories to make a shopping list...I'm driving to Ann Arbor for the Three Blind Mice show on Friday.

cabinets started

I love the Houseworks cabinet kits I bought, it's so much faster and easier to assemble these than to make my own from scratch.  The bases went together quickly, with no prep work, the pieces were in pristine condition...the only parts that need to be finessed are the doors and drawers, which need to be sanded down slightly to fit.

I sanded the doors to fit, I am still working on the drawers.  It's a tedious process to do it right...sand, check the fit, sand, check the fit, sand, check the fit, sand...and it has to be done carefully to keep the lines straight and ensure the corners aren't rounded off.

I have a dilemma.  To look correct I need to paint the sides of the doors and drawers as well as the front, but if I do this they'll no longer fit, after all the work I've already done to get them just so.  I either need to paint just the fronts, which will look fine if they are kept closed, but will look funny if they're opened...or I need to measure a scrap piece, paint it, measure it again, calculate how thick a layer of paint is, then sand the doors and drawers again to allow room for paint.

Bugger.  I'm going to be sanding forever.

furnace and water heater done


Almost done, that is...I can't make the stovepipes until I know where the roof is going to be...and I might take some patina solution to the water pipes in spots, I haven't decided yet.

The utility room/larder/pantry addition will sit on the left side of the cottage.  I couldn't place the refrigerator anywhere in the kitchen that pleased me, so I'm putting it in the addition, since it's not uncommon in an old house to have the refrigerator tucked around the corner somewhere because there isn't room for it in the kitchen.

The labels on the water heater and furnace are from old foreign stamps...I got a ton of them for next to nothing at an antique store a few years's suprising the places they come in handy.  I didn't see the need to recreate the warning labels that are stuck all over my real ones...besides, little people who would move into my house have common sense.

I had the most fun creating all the levers and handles, burners and fiddly bits, all made from jewelry findings...I could have made more, put I ran out of copper head pins.

P5040013 P5040022
P5040025 P5040014
P5040021 P5040020

Here are a couple more shots, from different angles...because I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out...


...and my real-life utility closet, in case you were curious, since it served as my model.

I need to find a miniature flashlight and tool box :D

furnace and water heater in progress

I de-stashed a bunch of wood dowel by making pipes...unforunately it all went right into the trash can.  I concluded there is no glue in the known universe that will hold two tiny dowels together, glued end to end...there just isn't enough surface area for the glue to work.  I wasted the whole day Tuesday on it.

The proper way to make what I want is to buy small metal tubing, and cutting and bending apparati, from the hobby store, then cut and solder pipes together.  However, this involves not only spending money, but adding more supplies to my craft closet, which defeats the purpose of this build.  Not only that, but the furnace and water heater construct is an add-on project because I'm bored, it isn't an integral part of the build.

I couldn't give up, though...after a day of cursing at dowel, I couldn't let the pipes "win".

I knew I had some copper wire in my supplies stash, but that it wasn't enough (which is why I started with dowels in the first place), so I resigned myself to building just the water heater.  My husband came to the rescue with some copper wire from his stash in the garage.  His is better wire, too...slightly thicker, very rigid, and aged.  Once I get it all cut to fit he'll solder everything together for me.  I made some modifications to my plan to allow for more continuous pipes which I can epoxy in place, to minimize the number of soldered joins.

The stovepipe will be made out of dowels, because the only wire I have that is the right size is aluminum armature wire, which is too flexible and can't be soldered.  I didn't have any dowel the right size, so I'm using the handle off a sponge paint applicator.

This is how it looks so far...

Today I'm going to build the floor for the addition, because I need to set the bottom of the pipes into holes in the floorboards to keep them from moving around.

Hopefully the mailman brings my order today, so that I can start on the walls tomorrow.