Friday, May 2, 2008

Trim piece prep

When I first purchased the Garfield, from Goodwill, it was obvious that someone had attempted to build it and stopped, dismantled what had been put together with hot glue, and crammed it back in the box. Many of the pieces had already been punched out, but not marked. It took me some time to take an inventory of what I had available and order what was missing. I did not have the luxury of all the pieces being on their numbered sheets. I now have everything arranged in some semblance of order. Once each sheet was identified, I lightly sanded all of them on both sides. This removed most of the tiny splinters.

Building the foundation was pretty confusing. Not only did I have to find all the right pieces, I had to clean off the hot glue from most of them, sand each piece and then assemble. After finishing the foundation, I glued the floor paper for the entry, parlor, and dining room. I will be doing something different for the kitchen. I then worked on the first and second floor staircases. Each piece was sanded and stained first and, then, glued together according to the directions in step B. After assembly was complete, I stained one last coat ( Cabaret by Varathane ) and applied 3 coats of varnish. I have not added the newel post caps yet. I am waiting until it is time to install the staircase. I plan on using some ornamental touch. I will, also, be adding a baseboard around the staincase and a final varnish of the staircase after installation.

Right now, I am stopped from assembling any parts, due to my own home redecorating. My building space is full of boxes and other things from the lifesize living room. I am able to do prep work, though, and only require a small area for the parts.

After labeling each part, I carefully punched out the pieces from sheets 1,8,9,10,11,12,13,14, and 18, according to the directions in part C. These pieces are the walls and partitions of The Garfield. I am now in the process of sanding each of the many, many pieces. I first use a coarse sandpaper and then a finer sandpaper for a neater finish. It's long and tedious work, but it's something that can be done while watching a favorite show/movie. Once the walls and partition pieces are sanded and cleaned of dust, I will move on the door and window trim.

I must THINK ahead here. The rooms have to be planned, at least those that will be difficult to reach in the depths of the house; colors, stains, and designs have to be decided. I will have to decorate some parts before assembly or not be able to reach them after the staircase is installed. There is plenty of time to do that thinking as I continue to work on the sanding.

Any comments, questions, ideas, and hints are more than welcome. This is truly a think as you go project and I will not apply glue until I am sure it is time.


smehreen said...

I wish I had your patience when it came to would certainly prevent all the splinters I suffered through :( ... I think you said you are not about to electrify the house. But have you considered using non-working lamps for the rooms, just for the fun of it? Or even better, candle holders...if you prefer to stick to the pre-electricity period. Sometimes beads and jewelry findings make excellent miniature lighting fixtures.

Kathy Calhoun said...

You're correct in remembering that I will not be electrifying my house. Building this beauty is costly enough and I prefer to invest my money in the Victorian decor. I've seen too many homes lose their electrical ability after years of use. My little home is from around the turn of the 19th century and electricity was just being installed to the private homes. I love the architecture and decor of this period. There was gas lighting then and my home will have fixtures on the walls and ceiling, plus the oil lamps and candles that had been used.

Anne said...

Kathy, I'm so happy you are blogging about your experience making this dollhouse. I know I'll enjoy seeing your progress. I had a lovely dollhouse in a box under a bed for years but every time I drug it out all I could see were too many splinters. You have my profound admiration for sanding all of them away. I think it's something you must do especially if you are going to all the trouble to build such a huge house - you want it to be gorgeous and perfect.

Kathy Calhoun said...

Thank you, Anne, for your kind words.I learned with my 1st dollhouse-some 20+ years ago- that sanding is my friend, especially with painting walls. Those tiniest of splinters pop out of the paint and make it look bad, not to mention all the splinters. The first thing I do with every kit is sand both sides of the part sheets with a palm sander. Then, after I punch out the pieces, I sand each individual piece. Granted, it's a pain, but it provides quiet time watching TV or listening me music ( or, my favorite, "A Prairie Home Companion") plus provides me with thinking time that too many of us don't otherwise have to ourselves.
"Perfection" is something I strive for, even though it doesn't always happen. And, I look at my little homes and know that it is good. I am on step C, sanding away, if you need to find me.