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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Chapter 89 - The Awnings to the Left Side Porch Second Floor, Attachment of Porches


2nd August - 9th August 2014

Shingle time.  Not too pleased but, like the last chapter, these will be the last time of doing  something tedious.  So, I really can’t complain.

I started out by having to dry fit the awnings and sand down one of them to fit between the left and right awning.  The last porch they fit without much trouble.  This one was very much off and required quite a bit of sanding.  Anyhow, with that done, I measured out the underbeams, glued them in place and trimmed the corner beams to fit the larger diagonal beams - just like last time.  I then painted the awnings and beams plus half of another sheet of shingle and left them to dry.  I decided to paint the top of the awning a little too since sometimes the shingle peels off a bit and you can see underneath.  Since that was where the shingles would be applied, I had to be sure the awnings were bone dry before I started to apply any shingles.  So I left them for quite a while before embarking upon the dreaded shingling.  Courage. The last ones.

I cut up another sheet of wood into shingles and began application on a Sunday night. Just this first row on the longest piece takes approx. 15 minutes.  I completed the shingling on Tuesday morning.  I then mounted the awnings over the porch (the one side I trimmed had a pretty massive space but it would be covered with more shingles anyway so I wasn’t too stressed about it) and left the pieces to set for a while.  Once they were well set, I added the underside beams and the top corner shingles to finish the porch. Now on to the next big hurdle - attaching the porches!
This row took me 15 minutes to create.
Finished awnings.
Finished (and final) porch.
The first thing I had to do was to empty the second floor rooms of all non fixed objects (objects not glued in place).  Then I had to fix the hinges to the two porch sections.  The pre-made spaces were not wide enough (which was strange since all the other porches the hinges fit into the space without problems - as far as I remember anyway) so I had to find a way to sand down the inside edges without damaging the rest of the internal porch walls.  I ended up scratching one a bit but I suppose it was minimal.  I then retouched up the surfaces that were sanded and installed the hinges.  I drilled holes first with my dremel type drill (as I remembered from experience that the wood screws provided with the kit were crap so pre-drilling was a necessity if I wanted to be able to screw into the wood without much effort) and attached the hinges.  It took me around 15 minutes since, for some reason, my hands were shaking more than usual that morning and I had a tough time lining up the tiny screws into the holes (when will someone make a tiny magnetic screw driver?! They make full size ones dammit!). 
The next step was to clear off my table so I could remove the second floor and place it there for easier attachment.  I used my cutting matt to even out the bottom (since the underside of the floor had the insertion pieces attached which accounted for a few mm difference between the actual flat edge of the floor and how it sat on my table) and checked the edges with the hinges.  The left porch seemed to match up better than the right.  I applied some double edged tape to the facing side of the hinge, lined it up with the left room’s left edge beam and made some marking with the drill bit.  I then removed the porch and drilled the holes.  The only mishap was that the vibrations from the drill caused the left room awning to detach, the back wall to detach (along with the pit support beam) and the “glass” in the bathroom to detach.  So, I got hung up reglueing and leaving things to set before I embarked on the actual porch attachment.
Sanding the hinge space to fit.
Drilling the porch holes.
Screwing in the hinge.

Adding a bit of double sided tape to help line up the floor with the porch

Drilling the holes in the fire pit side for the porch attachment.
Damage and repair caused by drilling vibrations for the holes in the side beam

More repairs and waiting for glue to dry.
In the meantime, I worked out how many LEDs I had left.  I wanted an extra one in case I couldn’t get the 12v LED in the outside area to work and I ended up with two extras.  I needed to drill some holes in the hallway ceiling (contemplating putting two LEDs in there together as it’s supposed to illuminate the entire stair well) and a hole for the fire pit room’s ceiling lamp.  The down time also gave me a moment to cut out a small lamp to put in the buddha room (behind the screen - I just didn’t like the naked LED behind there).
Once things were dried, I attached the left porch.  I used some wooden pieces placed under the porch to help match up the drilled holes.  Then, with a ton of patience, I screwed in the screws.  While I was doing that, the right hand wall of the buddha room unattached.  So, I had to reglue that wall and wait for it to set too.  The porch attachment was turning into a two day job.  The next day, I attached the right hand side porch with a lot more difficulty.  The double sided tape to help the hinge attach and give me an idea of where to drill was not working out that well.  But since the entire floor was on the work table, I was able to estimate where to drill.  The last time vibrations caused a lot of damage so I drilled these four holes with the floor actually sitting on a pillow.  Nothing came unattached.  Now to place the floor onto the dollhouse!

My husband had come up to see what I was doing and gave me a hand in getting the floor onto the first floor and trying to level it out.  No matter what I did, the floor wouldn’t lay flat.  There were large spaces that just weren’t there when I attached the first floor to the ground floor.  I blamed it on the mm pieces that the kit had me attach under the buddha room and the fire pit room.  I think the ceilings from the floor underneath should have fitted a few mm into the actual space but they tended to be flush.  Since they weren’t going to go in any further, I decided to move the floor (and porches) back to the table and try to remove those slats from underneath when....

DISASTER!!!

Holy crap on a cracker!!!
That’s what you get from moving the entire floor structure too often.  It wasn’t meant to be moved as a whole piece so having manipulated it as much as I did it was only inevitable that the whole center piece would give way.  My husband was there and thank god because had he not been there, the buddha room and the attached porch would have fallen on the floor.  As it was, the porches were unscathed and I just had to reglue again where walls and sections had come away.  I also had to rebuild the bathroom.  But this gave me the opportunity to reglue the landing section which had become warped a bit, cut off the mm slats on both the left and right sides (leaving the ones in the middle) and to test fit just a room to see where the actual problem was and why the floor was not lying flush.  Needless to say, I lost more time in completing the final phase of the build.  Best laid plans.....
In the afternoon, I managed to glue the fire pit room into place, re-attached the remaining small door awning and attach the second floor landing to the buddha room.  While that was drying, I finished drilling holes and installing the LEDs in the fire pit room ceiling, the bathroom and the stair well ceiling (which I did in fact end up doubling up on).  I also cut out a another small paper lantern to attach to the bathroom light fixture.  I then (carefully) added the landing and buddha room with ample glue and weights and clamps.... ho hum. Lots of spaces which will have to be “filled” somehow later.  And again left that to set up sufficiently. 
Working on removing the slats the inhibit the floor from laying flat.

Repair work.....
Gluing the landing and the buddha room in place.
Next was to re-attach the bathroom.  The back wall had moved a bit so the bathroom front wall didn’t quite match up flush to the right side buddha room entrance wall.  That meant I had to add some small strips of leftover laminate (from the shingles) to cover the gaps.  I really didn’t want so much light to show through when the light is on inside. 

Positioning the bathroom.
Hiding a gap...will be my legacy.
I think the biggest problem I had with this build was what I noticed from the start.  I purchased the kit and put everything in plastic bins but the heat from my attic and the attic room caused a lot of pieces to warp.  I just don’t have all the tools to fix pieces that aren’t going together smoothly.  One thing I have learned tho is that kits are nice but I suspect very few of them fit together like a perfect puzzle.  I still don’t think the house is too shabby for a first time project!!

Anyway with the bathroom done, the attachment of the second floor was pretty much complete.  I put lots of the objects back into the house keeping the landing free as the next hurdle was getting back to the finishing the steps!!
Opened.  Ceiling pieces will be installed once I install the hanging lamps.
Closed.  Still need to make the bamboo shades for these porches.