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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chapter 59 - Left Hand Porch Awnings


Masking tape to hold in place for fitting.
Sanding down one piece for fitting.
September 18 - 27th 2012

This chapter came with the awnings which needed to be fitted onto the outside of the porch.  Fitting was necessary because during the build, the porch is not quite perfectly lined up around.  The instructions had me using double sided tape to keep the pieces in place while I measured and sanded the pieces down to fit.  Course the tape wouldn’t hold so I just used regular masking tape which leaves less damage and holds the pieces on while I sanded then fitted, sanded and refitted etc.


One piece in particular needed some heavy sanding.  It was off by quite a bit.  The trick was to sand to fit the front without distorting the back end.  I had to use the power sander for this one but in the end it seems to fit fairly well.

Next part was adding the underside beaming.  These needed to be spaced about 18mm from each other.  Since the corners need to line up underneath with larger corner beams, I had to leave some spaces on the end to be attached once the awnings are actually installed.  After that, it was just a matter of staining, varnishing and adding in the white tips for the overall decoration. 
Spacing the beams....

Painting the ends of the beams with white.














See through wood!













 In this chapter they gave us a sheet of thin wood paper (for lack of a better word).  The wood was so thin you could see thru it.  First I had to apply the double sided tape to the back, then measure out 1 cm lines where I would cut the wood.  Next was to actually paint some of the pieces darker so I just painted half the board with darker brown paint.  The first awnings on the ground floor we were given white wood board a little thicker than this one.  Consequently, I ended up with quite a few pieces of white shingles.  Something that this piece doesn’t have.  Luckily I saved all the other shingles as well as a sheet of the wood unstained.  Also because in the instructions, they say to stain the cut 1cm strips.  But I learned that this tends to bow out incredibly and I ended up with most of the shingles bowing out (and I still don’t know how to fix that) on the first floor awnings.  It looks rustic and I may play with that look more but I figured if I could get these shingles to lay down flatter it would be better.  Hence painting before and then flattening it under the cutting pad until dry.  Then cutting up the shingles into individual pieces.  It seems they were less bowed so this will be the procedure from now on.
Double sided tape underneath.

1cm height measured out for cutting.
Stained and then.....
...flattened.

Cut up strips around 1cm each, then irregular sized shingles.
Sorted by color for easier application.

















































































Placing the shingles.  A little uneven is nice.
Finished awning.


After painting and cutting them into various width pieces, I began attaching them to the awnings.  The time consuming factor was simply peeling the tape off the back.  It was a total pain in the ass.  The tape never came off cleanly.  So, after a week of peeling, I managed to complete the 4 awnings.  Since they met up sort of off (with too much space) I decided to actually apply a few shingles over the junction of the awnings.  A little glue and masking tape to hold it in place over nite and the trick was done.







Masking tape to hold the awnings in place overnite.

Glue to hold the filler shingles.
Filler shingles did the trick.  Much cleaner.










































Clamping the larger underside beams overnite.





 The underside just needed the larger beams and fill in small beams (with painting the tips) and this chapter was complete.  It really was hard to match up the awnings - I even have them off a bit on the right - but instead of unattaching everything that is the way it’s gonna be!

Finished port awnings! Only took a week!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chapter 60a - Attaching the Porches to the House, Attaching the Floors, Intermediate Additions

September 8 - 18th 2012

Finally! As much as the attachments like these stress me out, I’ve been looking forward to attaching these so that the front of the house of the first floor is nearly complete.

Having attached the lower “rooms” with the hinges, I was able to experience a few problems that needed solving for this important stage of work.  Different from the first floor, the porches are more or less hanging free whereas the bottom floor rooms were sitting on a flat surface which made them easier to attach.  Not only, I discovered that the screws they give you for the hinges are very small and strip quite easily.  A few extra are included but a solution had to be found for the probable occurrence of ended up with no screws that would screw anymore...so to speak.

I went with drilling holes with my dremel tool then screwing them in.  As the screws got a bit tight, I had seen a trick in my travels using a rubber band over the screwdriver which “fills” the stripped area and forces the screw into place.  Worked like a charm.  In any case, the real solution was just to purchase more screws, which I did.

The hinges were a tight fit so on the left porch I actually had to sand a little to get them to fit in.  Once in, I used a pushpin to make a starter hole, then drilled to the right depth (once I went a little too far - but pretty much invisible on the outside) then screw in the tiny screws (with the help of the elastic if they got hard to turn).  The porch screws went in pretty quickly I must say.  Much more quickly than the downstairs as I needed Gianluca to give me a hand to give me leverage.  Now the house was heavy enough to be immobile.
Hinges in the package.

Hinge and drill bit.

Pushpin as a hole starter

First set of hinges in.


















The tough bit was the attaching the porches to the first floor rooms.  First I emptied fragile items out of the rooms.  Then I opened the lower room so I could use the ceiling of those rooms as a base while I marked where the hinges had to go in the top floor above.  That went pretty well and I figured I could line up the right hand beams and as long as these two beams lined up perfectly, the whole porch would swing closed and line up with the rest of the house.  WRONG.  The porch beams and the house beams are all a bit off so by the time I swung the porch closed, it was not matching up by nearly an inch.  Ugly.  So I had to figure out a way to fix it as much as I could.
Using the lower floor as a gauge

Clearly off but couldn't match it up otherwise the doors don't meet up in the middle.

Only solution was to unattach the top hinge, then using double sided tape, I put a piece on the first floor beam, then one on the hinge, then closed the porch.  The hinge stuck over to the beam and I could see how far off I had to reattach the hinge.  It was crooked looking on the beam but it would still make the porch close somewhat even.  Now I’m only off by about 1/4 inch.  I attached the other porch using the same method of the double sided sticky tape and it worked a charm.  This porch isn’t off at all. 

Closing the two porches together and clearly they butt up against each other a bit. Not really a big deal as I will sand down each lower side beam to be sure they would close.  I am now trying to think how I can attach some little magnets or something so the porches will stay closed.  I have some leftover magnets which I used in making a curtain once but they may be too thick.  Well, I can wait till I get more built then decide.
Porches attached even if the right one is still a bit off.
At this point, I printed off a few pics to put into the bamboo bedroom and the porches.  I choose a geisha print for the music room porch (staying in a colorful theme), and a bamboo painting for over the bed as well as a bamboo kind of painting scroll for inside the bamboo room porch.  The colors seem well suited to the not-so-comfy-chair and table.  I may add the little lantern or some kind of light fixture in the porches - not enabled for actual lighting tho.
Added a pot hanger in the kitchen.

Addition of the bamboo picture over the bed.

Bamboo painting on the porch.

Another colorful geisha for the music room.















I then tried to tackle the issue with the back of the house.  Clearly this wasn’t meant to be looked at so I think I can get away with some of the additions I want to make here.  First I had to unattach all the cross beam wooden decorations because I am adding two metal plates to permanently fix the floors together.  I’m doing this mostly because I have a fear that as I continue with the build, the stairs in the house are going to get ruined or unattach simply when I move the entire house.  This is due to the fact that the stairs are attached between floors and with floating landings.  To insure stability if (when) I have to actually move this house, I think these little plates will make the difference. 


After removing the beams, attaching the left hand metal support
Drilling left side was no big deal as the wooden sides allowed me to make holes directly into the walls.  The right side was a bigger problem.  The spa was since the beginning severely warped and as a consequence, the back wall jutted out over a quarter of an inch.  I had to sand this down so that the metal brace would lay somewhat flat against the house wall.  The upper screw went in fine but the lower had to be drilled and screwed in at an angle.  Luckily it’s not visible on the inside. 

Right hand side was more of a challenge.  But got it in.















The last part was to reattach the wooden beam decorations cutting and sanding to make them fit in between the new metal supports.  I eventually am going to cover those with some kind of brick patterned paper to simulate exposed walls.  But It’s not as bad looking as I thought it would be. 

Replacing the wooden embellishments.
Sawing off the excess.
Refitted. Now just need to add the last floor and hide the wiring. :-)
 Onwards and upwards (literally).  Next adding the porch awnings and the stairs to the 2nd floor !

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chapter 58 - The Ceiling to the Right Porch, the Sliding Windows


September 6 - 7th 2012

The ceiling was the same old installation.  As usual, the pieces to never fit to perfection so I had to coax and glue them in in some ares.  Overall it wasn’t that bad a fit.  Consider also that the external top of the ceiling is actually hidden when the porch (which is the “door” to the dollhouse) is in the closed position. 
Painting the pieces.
Spacing out the beams for the inside of the ceiling.
Glueing in the internal "wainscotting".
Positioning the ceiling....
...clamping it down into position with the wooden trim

As for the sliding windows (construction of which you’ve just seen recently), I had to actually insert them in “backwards”.  This porch area had me building a little against logic.  The other porch section went better because I actually had to install all the windows and shōji before I put in the railings.  That way I could manipulate the porch while installing the wooden window tracks and fixing the final pieces.  So, I ended up having to install the piece that fixes the last two sliding windows in place from inside the porch room.  Tight to work on since the shōji were already installed and I was afraid of damaging them.  Got everything in tho...in the end.  Where there is a will there’s a way.
Wooden piece, had to slide it in between the installed shoji and position it without glueing the actual sliding windows to it.  So far, all my windows and shoji slide !

Finished porch

Skipping chapter 58 as it has me putting on the awnings and I’d prefer to actually attach the porches first, then put on the awnings.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chapter 56a - The Shōji to the Right Porch First Floor

September 6th 2012

This next chapter had me starting on the stairs to the second floor.  Since I hadn’t even finished the porch areas, I decided to jump ahead and finish the two porch areas, get them attached and then circle back and attack the stairs.

So, in the chapter, I am only installing the shōji.  I realized before when I had screwed up the sliding windows that the sill was attached in a permanent manner.  This time, I was lucky because the two ends attaching the woven upper window spaces was not actually continuous and could be swung out to accommodate the back shōji.  The front ones just need to be placed on top then a long wooden piece is glued over the top to keep them in place. 
So lucky it actually could swing outwards.

The shoji just had to slide in.




























I had also decided not to do the window within a window since I just wasn’t able to execute the last time the way I’d like to.  So, I’ve left the center shōji with the little window and the side ones without.  I don’t think it takes away from the overall look of the porch room.
Glueing up the wooden board that holds the other shoji screens in place.

Finished shoji. 
Skipping chapter 57 as it’s the installation of the stairs.  Will get to that later. I still have to attach the first and second floor to each other by supports on the back of the house.  Once that is done, then I can go back and start working on stairs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chapter 55 - Railings to Right Side Porch First Floor, The Comfy Chair

September 3rd - 5th 2012

Started off with the Comfy chair since it was a new object to make and I had been thinking of how to change it a little.  I wanted it to have some upholstered look buttons on it but not on the seat.  I had drilled some holes hoping to be able to force the material thru it and simulate buttons (which I’d glue on).  So, after cutting and trying to get the material to stick (using adhesive tape and glue) I realised that this wasn’t going to work so well because the structure of the chair is all wood (even the seat and back) and just was too rigid to give a sort of soft comfy look.  The only thing to do was to put a little bit of stuffing into the backrest to take away from the wooden stiffness.  I had a pretty tough time getting the fabric to fold around the rounded edges.  But it eventually went in as best as I could manage.  I painted the legs with a little gold to simulate metal capped peg legs and added also a coffee ring on one of the arms.  I then used some old green eyeshadow to make the chair look used and “sat in” - just shading the seat, back and where someone’s head might lean. Not too shabby looking but looks used none-the-less.
The seat cushion is a piece of wood! Ouch!

Once covered, it looks like a cushion.

Some extra glue around the seat and back to keep the fabric attached.

Attaching the back to the seat. I had to hand drill open the holes a bit to allow the legs to fit.

Finished chair, coffee ring but too clean...

...some old eyeshadow in the right shade...

...did the trick.  Bit filthy.

The railings were pretty fast and easy since been there, done that.  I had to sand down some areas for the curve on the end of the railings.  Then just painted and varnished them up.  Ready to go !
Putting the railings together

Final pieces sanded with slight curve

Right hand porch nearly completed.