Sunday, 26 March 2017

Rose cottage update.

Just to show that even us experienced modellers can stuff and have serious problems with our work, with all the extra rain and humidity over the last couple of weeks, the floor boards started to swell. 😒😒😒😒. I wasn't 100% sure of the reason but obviously the glue wasn't holding properly. This is not acceptable so the only way to fix it is to rip it up and start again. I am glad it happened here and not after its delivered, sometimes things go wrong, deal with it and fix it. My words of wisdom for a Sunday morning.
Fortunately when I started stripping the floors I found that the glue used hadn't gripped the veneers like it should have. The glue used, I think was the end of a can which was then thrown out, so it must have just been on the end of its usability and it was an extremely hot day when laid (40+), which could have contributed. A new container of glue and both levels of flooring done. They are looking beautiful again.

But on a brighter note, the kitchen is starting to look like a room and apart from a couple of pieces of trim it and the smallest room in the house are done.The lower Half of the walls are tiled, the upper area painted and the ceiling is done as painted planked boards, it all adds character to a simple room.

No it's not the toilet but the space under the stairs.

So apart from skirting boards and lighting, the entrance, living room and  master bedroom are basically done.

Until next time.

yours in miniatures


Monday, 13 March 2017

The Grosvenor Hall has left the building.

The Grosvenor Hall commission has now left the building. This is just a short post as I'll do a more detailed post about this kit, my feelings about it and what we got done in the not to distant future. But for now I thought you'd like to see what we were able to accomplish to get this out. The house wasn't entirely finished as the film company only had funding for a weeks work, they got a bit more than that out of me and I also had assistance from Elizabeth Barnes (President of the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association) and my wife Elizabeth. Thanks for all your ongoing support.

We had determined to only decorate and dress 9 rooms in the available time and the house was picked up prior to all the furniture and dressings arriving so in the above photo the rooms are a little undressed.

Hope you enjoy. I'm now back working on Rose Cottage. Ceiling beams in the Living and Dining rooms, (a little hint to Rosie)

Yours in miniatures


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

"Grosvenor Hall" with Basement doll house kit

The second commission I'm working on at the moment is to assemble, decorate, light and dress a "Grosvenor Hall" with basement doll house kit for a film client in Sydney. Due to budget constraints we have had to cut back from decorating all 17 rooms to 9.

Sometimes constraints actually lead to a better solution, which is what has happened in this case. In the script there are a couple of actions requiring reaching into the main body of the dollhouse, the dollhouse is actually on display in an important location for the film. The suggestion I put to the set dresser was that if I left the basement and roof closed  and only have the main body open, the dollhouse would look more imposing and more like a dollhouse rather than a dressed bookcase. I assembled the photo below from a couple of photos off the net to show what I felt would work better, and this also saved time in decorating and finishing as well as the need to not dress 8 rooms.


The photo is only a proof of concept and it is not a guide to room layout or colour etc.

Unfortunately when the kit arrived, the basement had been glued together including all the doors, windows and trim, a litre of methylated spirits later and most of the trim has been removed ready to be sealed and painted.

Yours In miniatures


Monday, 6 February 2017

Rose Cottage: Craftsman Doors

The doors and door jambs for Rose Cottage have been made and have started being assembled ready for fitting into the walls. Their are 2 styles of door that I'm making for this house, a standard Craftsman door for all the room doorways and a planked door for the wardrobes and access to the roof cavity. I could have just used the Craftsman style for the whole house but I liked the idea of a different style for the wardrobes as it just gives a variation that is appealing.

Main frame pieces for Craftsman door.

Centre Rail after machining slots.

First all the pieces are cut from sheet wood, 4mm Kauri in this case with the insert panels cut from 1.5mm Kauri. Next all the frame pieces were machined to slot them to allow the panels to fit, Same technique as making real doors.

Test assembly of door.

The panels and frames are test fitted together to check fitments, I had to increase the depth of the slots on one piece of frame to allow everything to go together perfectly, after test fitting the pieces are disassembled and a fine bead of glue run down every slot and then reassembled. I then made a jig with small wedges to allow the door to keep square and tight while drying, in full size you would use long clamps to do the same job.

Door after sanding.

After drying, while leaving the door in the clamp (wedges removed) I block sanded the frames flat, turning over and doing the other side as well.

Door and Jamb in jig.

I also made a jig the thickness of the walls to hold the previously machined door jamb pieces together while drying and then used it to hold the door when aligning hings before putting the architrave around on the door opening side. It was important to make sure no glue got onto the jig which then allowed the hung door and frame to be easily removed before refitting into the correct hole in the pre-finished dollhouse wall. I used an 8mm x 8mm but hinge to mount the Craftsman doors and a T hinge for the wardrobes, again just to give a different look. Door handles hadn't arrived when photos taken, simple brass ones from England have now arrived.

Craftsman door to left, wardrobes to right, Skirting still to be fitted.  
A peek inside the wardrobe, Masonite wall covering, wooden shelf and brass clothes rail

A peek through the room door and up the stairs.

Before fitting the door to the house wall, they where stained and sealed with Scandinavian Oil, I like this Oil as it gives a light sheen but hardens up to protect the surface. I stained the timber slightly lighted than what would have been correct for the period, because when the house goes together it won't have as much light as the original and I feel this will look more correct than having darker stain, The other advantage is I can always darken it later but I can't make it lighter.

Until next time, yours in miniatures


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Doorways to where?

Its 9.40pm and its still 32.1 degrees sitting at my desk, another day of over 43 with another due tomorrow to look forward to. This has slowed me down a bit in the workshop as it's just not practical to work here when it gets too warm, as glues dry to fast and timber doesn't behave itself.

However this update is that the entrance has been papered and painted and all of the door architrave's have been machined and some fitted, I have gone with a standard Craftsman design that has some nice character to it. All the woodwork is machined from Pacific Kauri and stained to a colour I've made up with alcohol stains, I am keeping the timber a bit lighter so that when the rooms are enclosed and not as much light on them the woodwork doesn't look too dark.The skirting has not been fitted as yet, and the wall colour is nothing like the photo as it was taken under fluorescent lighting. But that is the correct colour on the wood work.

Until next time..........

Yours in miniatures


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Califoria Bungalow - Staircase and Colours

As mentioned last post I was working on the staircase, it has now been stained and temporarily fitted to the structure. It was assembled from Kauri over an mdf structure. Obviously this confirms there is a second story in the house 😉 or what they call a 1 1/2 story Bungalow.

I have also spoken with the future owner from Tasmania who has allowed me to share that her name is Rosie, so this is officially now called the Rose House as I like to name my buildings. This has also created the need to put roses into the design somewhere, 1 thing leads to another, have already got it pictured in my mind 😌 where and how that will work, (a Hint) if anyone remembers a Parlor room box I had at Sydney a couple of years ago, Hmmmmm Roses.

The next discussion was about colours, so I sent her a link to a suitable period paint chart   and asked her to respond.

I love the greens, blues and reds in the last three rows (everything except the purple, which I really dislike), with the colours in the fourth and fifth rows to balance things out a bit so it’s not too lairy, if that makes sense.  The greens and blues in row seven are probably my favourite colours from the chart. I’m not so keen on the top half of the palette (the pinks and mustards).

then 12 hours later

I've been thinking (constantly!) about the paint chart and am coming round on the pinks. I remembered I bought, years ago, a bedding set that I wanted to put in my dream house I was one day going to have. (it's Coming) I went digging in my stash and found it! it actually has pink as a tr

im, which I like.

Now I have a colour range that Rosie likes and I'm also happy with, I can start to create an Interior design. Until next time.......

Yours in miniatures


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 and hopefully better than 16

Hello all,

What a year, sorry that my postings disappeared for most of the year. Life got in the way and even though some good things happened, it was a tough year. Hopefully this year will be a lot better.

So to help keep me going I'm going to try and keep going with my blog, I have just started the construction of a 12th scale 1920s California Bungalow for a lady in Tasmania. The drawings were done last year and I plan (need) to have it ready for the Sydney Miniatures and Doll's House Fair over the weekend of 6-7th May at the Netball Centre at Olympic Park. However to keep it a surprise for the owner I am only sending her teaser photos as an entree so that she gets to unveil and enjoy the finished house ready for her to move in and make a home. I will continue sending her the Teasers before posting anything here.

The first teaser is the living room floor boards, the whole ground floor has been laid using individual boards with nail holes a scale 18inches apart to represent the floor joists below. This was a technique that I taught in a workshop at the AMEA Christmas meeting using wood veneer. Each board is cut to a length divisible by a scale 18inches and then glued down so that all joins would be on a joist, the nail holes are done again along the joist lines which give a very realistic look, The boards have only been stained at this point and will be sealed and waxed later. If you click on the photo to open the large version you can see what I'm talking about.

Apart from her choice of a California Bungalow and after some discussions over a few years, she has left the the choice of which design and details to me as part of the commission. I have chosen the design for the house and will be deciding most of the details, so in reality she has no more idea of what I'm creating than you guys. I will be sending her oblique options from time to time for some input but she will never be quite sure where I'll be using those options. I'll be sending her the link to this blog and if she approves I'll be able to say who she is and maybe some other details.

I have just assembled the staircase and will stain it tomorrow and maybe a photo shortly.

Sorry to keep you all in suspense 😈, well actually I'm not 😛, the journey and the house will well be worth it.

Yours in miniatures


Thursday, 4 February 2016

2016 and Life go's on

Happy New Year, February already and life go's on and I keep forgetting to write about what I'm up too, so here go's finally!!!!.

I have been designing a 1930s Queenslander house kit based on a house my wife and I spotted when we where in Brisbane last year. I had been asked to do a Queenslander as a workshop for the Linnwood House workshop over the ANZAC weekend of April 23rd - 25th, which is the weekend before the Sydney Dollhouse and Miniatures Fair in May at Homebush. Because I had already sold quite a number of the 1920s Queenslander kit I didn't want to teach that so created the 1930s version instead, which is in the next architectural style, being what the call an asymmetrical design.

The workshop is almost completely booked out and to assist over the weekend I have Elizabeth Barnes and Adelaide Cann learning the assembly and finishing with me to assist in teaching, as well as my wife Elizabeth and Marilyn Pride to assist on the Monday when we will be doing landscaping. It should be a great weekend and I have people coming from all over Australia as well as New Zealand to do it. Elizabeth and Adelaide are now looking at doing new 1/48 kitchen and furniture kits to dress out the house.

I will be supplying 4 paint selections from the period as well as 1 of 3 random interior wallpaper schemes in the kit. We have decided that the Instructions will be mailed out to participants a week before the workshop so people will be able to have a jump start on the weekend.

I have also been working on a series of other 1/48th houses and buildings including an Art Deco single story house with attached garage, not the promised house, but a new one, as well as a Spanish revival mission house, an Art Deco petrol station and a small restaurant with car park and drive thru. These will be on display as part of a larger display of street scenes at the May show.  I have also created roads and foot paths that connect to the front of the houses and will populate these with cars and people. The pair of Fire vehicles now have working flashing lights and I really am tempted to set fire to a house to park them in front of. O well, maybe not today ?

As well as the above I've started on pieces to use to hopefully attain Artisan status through the IGMA.    I am going for recognition in small scale structures and have to supply 3 structure pieces for consideration by the middle of April, which should be interesting. I am working on a pair of the same houses at the moment, but with some variation in execution, and will send off 1 of the 2 as well as a couple of other pieces. I have basically decided on the 2nd and 3rd pieces but I will leave details of these until after they have been considered by the committee in late April. I am taking what I do and giving them a twist forward. I look forward to showing you what I've done in May.

Until next time, hopefully not so far away.

yours in miniatures


Monday, 26 October 2015

Embassy Theatre workshop

 Class of 2015
We got started but we didn't quite get finished, but we will.
The Australian Miniatures Enthusiasts Association Convention over the October long weekend has been and gone and everyone seemed to have a mostly great time. Me, well I had my first miniature workshop as a tutor, It was a bit more intense than I had expected and we didn't get as much finished as I planned before hand, but considering the complexity of the project everyone seemed happy with what was learned and what we got done. A group of 4 are going to come up to my workshop a little later in the year to finish off.

The top photo shows the exteriors but the interiors were also mostly assembled and in the process of being decorated and wallpapered and not ready to fit inside the exterior as we were packing up when we took these photos. 

yours in miniatures