Sunday, April 22, 2018

Shutters and Stairs

This was one of the weekends when I didn't feel like I got much done.  What I was doing seemed to take forever and I'm still not completely done.

You'll recall I wanted to make shutters and get them attached to the interior window frames.  I had gotten them cut and glued last week.

So this weekend I worked on getting them stained and the hinges on them.  The hinges were very fiddly work.  The screws that come with the hinges don't have a flat or phillips head, they're just blank, so I couldn't use any of my little tools to screw them in.

While drilling holes two of my mini finger drills broke.  So now I need to order a new set.

But after a lot of frustration I got the first one done.




I wanted them to fold back in half and then away from the window, to take up less wall space when they're open.

I wish I could say that after establishing a process for the first the other three were easy but that would be a lie.  I did eventually get them done.



Since I was making myself crazy anyway I decided to put the handles on the windows while I was at it.  Fewer holes to drill but putting the handles on the Houseworks casement windows and the bay window was not easy.

I did however triumph in the end.





I also sanded down, glued, reinforced with some strategic toothpicks and re-spackled my stairs.  I painted them with a base coat of Folk Art's Thunder Grey.



Since I had more waiting (drying) time I stained the center post for the stairs.  I used ebony and mahogany and then put dark walnut over it.


I'm still a bit undecided on this.  Part of me wonders if I ought to wrap it in wide strips of egg carton so it looks like stacked stone cylinders.  Suggestions?

And I put the stone floor to the tower in.


Then grouted it.


Lots more to do obviously.  But this is as far as I got this weekend.

How are the rest of you doing?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Tower Progress

So I've been having a little trouble figuring out how to make the third floor of the tower.

I wanted to have it extend outward over the main stairway tower, by about an inch on all sides, just like the cottage second floor.  But hinging that part was stumping me.

Then I figured out that I could hinge the third story by itself.  Keep the third floor stationary, which would add stability.  The lower part would hinge on one joint and the third floor on its own.  If that makes sense?  I still need to work on the roof, which I think I might make similar to the floor, just the walls hinged.

So with that in mind I made a mockup of the floor, and figured where I'd need to cut the hole for the stairs.  I had to tape my stairs into place before I could do that.  Styrofoam is slippery and kept moving around on me.  But I finally got it.





The third floor will have a casement window, one of the Houseworks ones.  I'm debating if I want to add a little offset window, like this.




I'm not sure.  I'd like to have one if only because it would be such a nice place to put a telescope.  And it would be very pretty and fairytale like.  Have to think about it.   If I bought two and cut one so joined together they made three quarters of circle it could work.

What do you think?

I also got a couple of light fixtures to go in the tower.  Figured out where to put them today.  I marked the outside of the tower with black dots so I wouldn't forget.


They're pretty looking candle sconces which will give off a decent amount of light inside the tower I think.


Since I got that figured out I decided I was safe putting up some of the finishing for inside the tower.  I got some brick paper a while back that has a good texture to it.  Since we won't be looking too hard at the inside of the tower I thought it would be perfect for the walls.


I got some cardboard cut out for the window and door frames and started making the egg carton stone to cover them.



I'm also covering the Styrofoam stairs with spackle and waiting for it to dry.  Lots of waiting for things to dry.


I'm really glad that stuff turns white when its dry or I'd be messing with it forever.  Mine is old and isn't bright pink anymore but it still works pretty well.

I got the center post for the stairs and my dremel and used a sanding head to rough it up so it would look like a tree had been cut down to use as the center post for the stairs.  It's not easy to see but here it is.


That was as far as I got on the tower.

The other think I did took up a lot of Saturday but it was worth it.



I used the Dark Walnut stain and then went over the knotwork with Ebony to make it show up a bit better.  I have a few pieces that I'll add to give it a half roof while the other half will be covered by the second floor extension.

I also cut down the balsa in the side windows so they would fit the windows properly.




I also got out my jigsaw and made more dust.  Otherwise known as cutting the MDF walls for casement window openings.



They're a bit deeper than the walls so I'll have to add some wood to the sides to level everything out but that's very doable.

The balsa filler isn't glued into place its just wedged in to the old opening while the glue holding its pieces together sets.

The last thing I did was start on the shutters.  I want to get them hinged and on the frames before I put the frames in the house.  I had to order more hinges and pulls for the windows so that they'll have some handles on the inside.


I need to make shutters for the Houseworks Casement windows too but I haven't figured out just how I want them to look yet.

It feels like I got a lot done, despite waiting for things like spackle and glue to dry.  That could just be because I've been working on it constantly the whole weekend and I feel like I've got something to show for it.

How is everyone else doing?


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tudor Casement Windows

You guys are going to be sick of hearing about windows by the time this build is done.

I did what I rarely do and I actually worked on the dollhouse on a couple of weeknights.  Usually I'm too tired from work to do anything with my hands but for some reason I felt up to it this week.  Maybe I was just impatient to finish.

I bought three casement windows from Miniatures.com and fitted them with the blackened mesh as well.  I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.  One will go in the third level of the tower and the other two will go on the large gables on the second floor.  So I need to do more cutting of the MDF this weekend.




Anyway.  After the glaze dried on the front of the windows I decided I did want mesh on the inside as well.  So I got more of it blackened and fitted to the back of the flat glass.  And added glaze once the glue had dried.

I got glue in my hair but it was worth it.

I also made the window openings smaller.  Too small as it turns out but that's what I get for not paying enough attention.  It's only balsa wood so it should be easy to sand down or cut out.


Once the glaze had dried I then began my process of getting the windows fitted into the casements and the pin hinges working properly.  I ended up using pieces of paperclip cut up because they were thicker than pins and fit the holes I'd drilled.

All in all I'm fairly pleased with how the windows have turned out.





I braced the side wall windows in the openings to give you an idea of how they'll look once they're in place.  I like the effect.  I think once the stone is up and there's some contrast of the dark with the grey/taupe stone it'll look even better.


I can't show you much of how the tower windows will look at the moment.  But I'm hoping to do some more work on the tower this weekend after I finish the bay window.

The other thing I really want to do is fit the inside trim with shutters to close in bad weather.  I might try to figure that out this weekend if I can't get my mind around how to do the tower.

How's everyone else's week going?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Windows, windows, windows

This weekend has been all about windows.  I realized that all the nice little frames I'd made by cutting down the kit windows would work for the inside of the cottage but that Tudor styles don't have 'trim' as such on the outside.

So I had a bit more work in store for me.  But before I got started with that I did a test of my aluminum mesh.  I bought some Aluminum black from Amazon and tried it out.


That's just one coat.  It works pretty well I think.  I cut out the shapes I'd need for all my planned windows and blackened them.  Woo... windows had to be opened because that puts off fumes when you do it in quantity. 


There are still a few bits that gleam silver but I honestly like how everything looks so far.

That problem off my mind I started to make the frames for the casement windows.


They're basically little boxes to hold the mesh and 'glass'.

I stained them with a Dark Walnut before I added the mesh and glass and put another strip of wood around the back edges to hold everything in place.  Then I coated the mesh and glass with Americana Triple Thick Gloss Glaze.  It takes a day to dry completely so we'll see how it looks afterwards.


The windows here will go into the bay window at the front of the house.  I got it all glued together and stained.  Once the glaze dries I'll put the pins in for the casement windows and add the interior trim and 'floor' of the window.  I think what I'll end up doing is a small band of wood above and below the windows to add some interest and make it look like an addition to the cottage rather than something that is original.

Here's my bay window so far.


I also made up the windows for the tower stairs.  I had the shape I wanted already, but I knew if I used wood cutting it would be tricky.  So I traced it onto cardboard and made window sandwiches.  I'll layer more cardboard on top to add some thickness to the frames and when I add brick to the tower I'll surround the windows with stone which will give them more depth.


My last step was making frames for the casement windows to sit in.  I tried to make them look less like machined lumber and more like axe cut wood.


Hard to see here but I used my dremel to roughen up the edges and round them a bit.  I got that done for all of the side windows and that was it for my weekend.  It doesn't feel like a lot of progress but it was a ton of work.

I have the mesh cut for the Houseworks Casement windows which I'm planning to use for the second floor windows and the tower.

I haven't figured out what sort of windows I'm going to have for the dormer yet.  I might end up making more casement windows.  At least I have a process now.

We're chilly down here, seesaw temperatures, up to seventy one day down to low thirties the next.  So we're on the lookout for tornados.  We don't have snow, though we've gotten some lovely thunderstorms.

I hope everyone else is having a good weekend and making progress on your various projects.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Tower. Stairs, Windows & Doors

Once again I find myself in that age old conundrum.  What do I do first?

Before I can put finishings on I need to determine where my wiring for electric lights will go.  Before I can rout out wiring channels I need to know furniture placement and where the windows will be.  Also what are the most likely light sources for my cottage.

Window placement gets tricky since I need to adjust the windows I have or build them from scratch.  I've figured out it'll probably be a mix of the two.  For the tower, since the walls are pretty thin, I'll make some windows out of thinner wood, card board or mat board.

But I needed to cut out my doors and windows in the tower and the back walls.  I finally got up the nerve to do that this weekend.



I'm going to end up with a slight 'tunnel' effect for the upper wall door, but I don't really mind.

I got the stairs glued together completely. 



They came to the right height which is pretty good.



Then I got up the nerve to cut out the doors and verified that they would work with the door placement so I won't need to redo them at least.  I checked the ones for the ground floor to the second floor first.


Then I cut out the door for the second floor. It won't be directly above the first simply because the roof angle of the cottage won't allow for it.  The door would end up four feet high.  Not quite realistic.



 While I was waiting on the glue for the stairs to dry I got my sandpaper out and gave it some layers of paint and a coating of satin poly over it to keep it from getting too messed up once I put it on the tower.



Since I have to make the tower windows from scratch I made a template with the same Tudor arch to the top of them.  Since I got the stairs done I was able to place the windows and cut them out.


Then I got really brave and put the hinges on the tower.


I decided I wanted my windows on the ground floor and the second floor to be at least four feet from the floor.  That makes them smaller and a more reasonable height for a Tudor cottage.

Rather than build all the windows from scratch I'm cutting down the frames for the kits windows.  I'm not exactly thrilled with the windows for the kit, they seem a little haphazard to me.

I've got enough cut down to do the windows on the first floor, including my bay window in front.  I'll build up the window openings and cut out larger ones for the second floor later on.


The windows are odd, they'll only fit halfway into the walls, then the inner frame fits in the other half.  I guess the 'glass' goes in the middle?  Weird.  I'll build casement windows inside these frames which will make them look a bit more Tudor-like.

Not a bad weekend all in all.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend and a Happy Easter as well as a good Passover.