Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Lower Level Interior Work

 I'm trying to get back in the habit of blogging because it's good for me to have something of a routine. If you follow my Instagram I apologize because the pictures will be reruns. 

But the blog is better for explaining how I did things.

Like adding 'plaster' to the interior walls.

It's not easy to see the texture of the 'plaster' walls but I used the same method of mixing pumice gel into my Ceramcoat Antique White paint and using a rougher brush to dab it on. I've found holding the brush straight up and down and repeatedly 'jabbing' the bristles into the paint gives me a nice texture.  

I also mixed in Americana's Buttermilk paint with the Antique White because I wanted a touch more yellow in the mix. It's not super obvious in the pictures but I like it and I don't have to worry about running out of paint.

I added the floor boards, with little nail holes drilled into each end. The floor is tongue depressors with the curved ends cut off. I bought cheap ones that are occasionally warped which lends an extra element of realism. (Which sometimes I could do without but every little bit helps.)

You can see how I left an area for the hearth. I'm going out of order because I built my fireplace before I laid my floorboards.

Balsa wood and chipboard, under 'stone', painted various colors.

And then with grout added and the back of the oven glued into place.

It looks sufficiently primitive I think.

If you'll recall I had some stairs made up and wanted to test the placement with the chimney. 

It's not terrible but its not great either. So I put them aside for a bit to rethink them and do some drawing on my graph paper to figure out the second floor layout.

I worked on my interior support beams, sanding the wood so it looked more like rough hewn walnut and stained them with my Minwax Dark Walnut. I love this color. It just instantly transports me to Tudor England.

As you can see, I also stained the floorboards. I used Minwax's Chestnut gel stain. I like the color and I think its just dark enough to be realistic without being so dark everything gets lost against it.

As you can see, the 'nail holes' show up nicely with the stain.

I was thinking about adding shutters to the exterior. Most shops would have shutters hinged to the bottom and top of the windows, to open like an awning and counter. People would stop and buy what they needed without even going inside because a lot of the time the 'shop' was also part of the living quarters. 

I forgot I'd intended to do that when I glued my back and right walls to the floor. It's still doable, just a little tricky. I need to find the right widths of wood too. We'll see how it goes.

Remember how I was thinking about changing the stairs. I decided that yes, I wanted to and spent wayyyyy too much time with graph paper and figuring out angles and it just reminded me of how I dislike geometry.

I also reversed the risers so they're higher and the stairs are steeper. It seems more realistic since it wasn't like they had building code inspectors checking up on them.

But the result is more space on the lower level, and a better layout for the upstairs. No more stepping off the staircase and turning right into the chimney.

It gives me space on the second floor for a 'cupboard' bed against the back wall, close to the fireplace, a railing (so no one falls to their death while half asleep) and maybe a chair or something. It's not a huge space.

The walls will extend out maybe an inch or so on the side and one and a half inches on the front, so as you walk up the stairs there'll be a little shelf for storage. And I'll play around with my cabinet I used for space testing so it fits under the stairs next to the side window. 

I've started work on a bellows for the forge, (and forgot to take pictures of my progress) and I've experimented with making ashes.  

I used spackle, black paint to loosen it up and then added Elmer's glue to keep it from crumbling once it dried. I smushed it into a vague pile shape and while it was still wet used sandpaper on black and grey chalks, then added some logs. 

If I like how it looks when its completely dry I'll do something similar for the arch under the forge. 

Looking at the picture you can see I mistakenly grabbed carpenters glue to hold the logs in place. That'll be covered when I add some more 'charcoal' dust to the tops of the logs and the flame effect LED lights.

As a bonus we have Miho sitting in one of my storage drawers, keeping an eye on me while I work.

I need to start making lists of things for this build or I'll forget what I'm doing. Ah the delights of a lousy short term memory.

I hope you're all doing well!

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Stone, Timbers, Glass and Stairs

 I spent a little time working on the style of build, because I wanted this to be more of a 'town' home and forge rather than one out in the country.

Most of the Tudor style buildings for which I've found pictures have wooden framing and stone or brick between the wooden timbers so I decided I wanted to do that as my style for the first level. It also fits in with the forge.

The framing is also how most of the windows and door openings are supported so I wanted to be sure to keep that element of realism.

I drew it out and then began to glue on my stone.

You can see the lines on my walls. I'm using wood with a layer of chipboard over it to give the walls a more authentic thickness.  The kit walls have mostly been used in the shop.

You can see my windows for the first floor as well. I also wanted a slightly different style of windows. 

While I added the stone to the walls and waited for the glue to dry I glued the three walls of the shop together. That's why the painter's tape in the first picture. I won't glue the furnace/forge into place until I've got my coal, embers and a few other things in place. 

The 'stone' is more of the molded cardboard and rather than the 'mortar' I used on the WQRC I got drywall spackle and added black paint to give it a deep grey color and make it a bit looser. It makes smoothing it between the stone a bit easier and as an added bonus I'm not wearing the skin off my fingers.

It does dry out your skin beyond belief so I highly reccomend moisturizing afterwards.

I won't add the windows to the walls until after I've finished the interior side. I really want to avoid getting 'plaster' all over the wood. I had to reapply some stain to the exterior timbers since some of the 'mortar' dulled the wood despite my painters tape.

And then of course, more waiting, for the glue and motar to dry. 

While I waited for that I worked on my staircase. Staining all the wood before gluing is always interesting if I'm trying to assemble on the same day. But I gathered up my patience and waited for everything to be completely dry before I glued.

Since a blacksmith really wouldn't have the werewithal to build a tower I didn't think a circular staircase appropriate for the build.  Instead I went with a quarter turn staircase.

I'm planning to have some wooden support posts to hold the stairs up, and cut a couple of them so I could see how the first set would look. 

I can't show you the second half of the stairs in place because they'll just fall down.  But you can see my outline of where they'll be on the back wall.

My next big 'project' for the first floor is the fireplace. I need something a little smaller than the WQRC but in a similar style.

I need to make sure there's room on the second floor with a small fireplace there for warmth but also due to how the stairs are positioned. No point in going up the stairs in order to crash into the chimney/fireplace.

I'm going to need to draw that out on graph paper I think.

How are all of you doing?