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