Beacon Hill: Dormer Windows

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The first tip I have for the dormer windows is to put them in before you shingle or otherwise finish the roof. They won’t fit otherwise.

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The jumble of parts that will become the dormer window.

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The front (left) and front trim (right). The trim has the thicker arch. Above those are the half-circle trims (which will be glued one on top of the other), and the window sash.

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Trim glued on top.

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This is the back. The window sash will fit exactly in the little groove.

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Like so. (This is what it will look like from the front.) Don’t glue in the sash yet! This is just an example of what it will look like. The sash will be the very last piece glued into the window.

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Sill / base. The two sill / base pieces are glued one on top of the other. The piece with the tabs on its sides is the bottom (I’d show you, but this sill was already glued in place, which I did beforehand so I could wire the lamp through it).

The sill goes all the way through the opening, with the narrower sill on the inside wall, the larger sill on the outside.

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The side slides down beside the sill, the notch at bottom hooking up to the tab on the bottom of the sill (which you can’t see, but it’s down there).

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The side in place–it will be flush against the inside wall.

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With both sides in place, I added the front. The feet of the window front fits (in theory) into the notches of the window sill. Notice I had to take off shingles to get everything to fit.

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The L-shaped pieces. They’re glued together so the inside edge is flush.

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I’ve added the L shaped pieces to the tops of the front. The short sides of the Ls face inward.

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What the Ls look like from the top.

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Now for the arch. There are eight pieces that will be glued in around the window’s arch. The first piece is in position here.

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What the first piece of the arch looks like from inside. The end is flush with the inside wall. (The piece should be more on top of the side, but it slipped.)

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Put the pieces in on alternating sides. Here you can see I’ve done the first pieces on both right and left sides, and the second piece on the left side. Note that the end of each piece rests on the window’s top. The edges will be covered by the half-round trim.

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As you go, you’ll see that the pieces start to angle. That’s ok. The last piece will be trimmed to fit. Note that I’ve put the “good” side on the inside. That is because I knew I’d be sanding and repainting the outside once done, but it will be much too hard (and messy) to repaint the inside. So the other side of these boards are finished and varnished already.

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The last piece, sanded to fit. These sand down easily with coarse sandpaper (say 100) on a sanding block.

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Once I had all the pieces in place, I sanded then spackled the whole arch to smooth out the edges and make it rounder.

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Next, I glued on the top trim (which I sandwiched together earlier–the feet should be flush and the smaller piece centered on the larger).

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I glued the plastic window to the sash (I’m using Alene’s clear tacky–little dots around the window sash). Now the sash can be glued, from the inside, to the grove in the frame.

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And there you have it. I’ll have to put in the shingles and add trim around the window a bit, but it’s done.

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Both dormer windows now in place.

Next, the tower window! Good. I’m getting tired of windows! 🙂

Beacon Hill: Kitchen Bay Windows

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Because the single windows were fairly easy, I hoped the kitchen bay would be more of the same. No!!

Mostly because the pieces for the kitchen bay window are on the sheet that disintegrated on me when I pulled it out of the box.

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As you can see below, the pieces were warped or broken, making this step a challenge.

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I managed to pull everything out and sort it.

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A tip–mark the pieces of the sill and top trim before you lose track, because unlike in the single window, the pieces for top and bottom are NOT the same size. In my photo below, the pieces for the sill are at the top of the picture–large, medium small.

Next comes the kitchen shelf (the straight piece with no notches).

Then the 3 top trim pieces for the window: large, medium, small.

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Basically the sill pieces will look like this–large on bottom, medium and small on top.

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The sill and trim pieces did not easily fit around the window openings in the house. I had to file the notches to make them bigger.

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The largest sill piece more or less wrestled into place. The medium and small will be stacked on top of it.

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All three set in place.

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Because of the warpage, I had to clamp these when I glued them in. You can see that I had the warpage problem with the top pieces as well.

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In fact, the top pieces were even worse.

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Per the instructions, we are supposed to put the window sashes in after the sills (like the single windows), then the outside trim, then inside.

Because my inside trim was so warped and broken, and I knew I’d need to clamp it, I decided to put on the inside trim first.

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Inside trim clamped in place to dry. Note I have glued the broken piece on, on the right (you can see the glue line).

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The sashes are a little warped as well, but I managed to put them together and weight them while they dried, so it wasn’t too bad.

But then–Argh! Two of the three sashes would not fit inside the window openings!

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Therefore–sanding, sanding, sanding the openings in the house before the sashes would fit. (I did this before I glued on the interior trim. A good reason to do a dry run!)

Above I have the windows finally fitted in. You can see the upper trim is still very warped despite the clamping. I will have to fix that later.

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Now I’ve glued on the exterior trim, clamped with tape. When I glued the trim together (thinner on top of thicker), and weighted it, the warpage was reduced enough that all I needed was tape to hold it in place.

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Inside, the kitchen shelf fits across the sill and just under the ends of the interior trim. I didn’t glue it in place yet–will do that later when I start trimming the interior and figure out where my furniture is going.

I will have to do some fixing and touch up to this window, but it’s done for now, and I’m moving on!

Next time, the dormer windows, which present their own challenges.

Beacon Hill: Single Windows

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The single windows of the Beacon Hill are pretty straightforward. I remember when putting together the Fairfield, I couldn’t make the windows look decent, so I purchased Houseworks windows, but I like how they designed the Beacon Hill ones. They’ve made them so you can paint the parts different colors for a nice contrast.

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The pieces: 3 sill parts (the short, horizontal ones), 3 top trim parts, two window sashes (the ones with the crosspiece), two exterior trim pieces (side by side on the left), the outside sill trim piece, and the interior trim (on the right).

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I labeled the sill and top trim pieces to keep them separate. They are actually the same size, it turned out, so if you get them mixed up it’s ok–as long as you have a small, medium, and large of each.

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The sill pieces ready to go in on my dry run (I highly recommend a dry run before you start painting and gluing!) The pieces go in this order: 1) small 2) medium, 3) large

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The smallest sill piece in place on the bottom of the window. I had to enlarge the notches a little with a needle file.

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Medium sill piece goes on top of small.

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Large sill piece on top.

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What it looks like edge on.

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The top trim pieces are the same, except they go on 1) large, 2) medium, 3) small.

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The large top trim in place.

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Edge on so you can see large, medium, small.

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Sashes. The clear window plastic will go between these.

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Taped together for the dry run.

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Sash set in place (not glued yet).

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The narrower exterior trim piece goes on top of the thicker one.

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The exterior piece taped together for the dry run and put in place over the window sash.

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The sill trim piece goes here.

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The whole thing.

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Now to paint. I decided to paint the exterior sash the red to go with my color scheme.

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The exterior trim painted and glued together.

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The edges of the trim are rough, so I spackled and sanded to get a more even surface.

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The plastic sheet of window panes. The amazing thing is that in all the years of this kit sitting in my closet–I didn’t lose the plastic sheet! It hasn’t been inside the box for ages. A miracle.

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I’ve glued in the painted sills and top trim pieces.

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The two sash pieces are glued together with the plastic sheet sandwiched in between. The sash is now glued into the window opening. It should fit exactly–if not, sand the opening (another reason to do a dry run first).

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The exterior trim on the window, and the sill piece glued below. It needs a little sanding and finishing (this kit has many raw edges), but the window is complete. (I will do the interior trim when I finish the interior).

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First window complete. The red of the sash picks up the red in the porch trim.

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The tower window done as well.

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All three front windows in place. This is starting to look like a house!

Next post–the kitchen bay window.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

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MiniChristmas2 Christmasfull

Merry Christmas!! May there be many minis under your tree!

Beacon Hill: Mansard Roof Trim

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The mansard roof trim is pretty straightforward. First it’s best to punch out and label all the pieces according to the schematic sheet. (There is both horizontal and vertical trim.) I used a sharpie to write the names on the back–the backs won’t show once the pieces are glued on.

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Notice the each of the curved mansard trim pieces form a pair, one curved right and one left. (These look like cartoon palm trees to me :-))

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Also note that there is a definite top and bottom to each pair. The top has a more square angle, the bottom is more angular. The squarer end goes at the top against the top roof trim.

First, the straight pieces go horizontally across the top of the roof on the right side of the house, and vertically on the front against the tower as here:

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The horizontal top trim piece on the right side of the house and the vertical piece on the back.

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Now for the curved pieces. Note how the squarer end goes against the horizontal trim from the last step and ends at the bottom trim.

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I used plenty of tape to hold these pieces in place until the glue set.

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You’ll see I have an ugly gap. This is because the pieces don’t compensate for the thickness of the shingles. I have a layer of shingles and a layer of thin cardboard beneath it, which has distorted the dimensions of the roof.

I could have 1) compensated and only shingled to where the trim piece would fall; or 2) used sandpaper or paint to simulate shingles instead of using real ones.

Live and learn. I came up with a solution to fill the gap, which I’ll show later.

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The tower top horizontal pieces. Notice that two are longer–those are the side pieces. The front and back are the shorter ones.

Below you can see the tower top piece in place and the curved pieces.

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The front with the curved pieces in place.

I pondered a lot about how to fill the gaps. Tear the shingles off and do it again? I’m not that diligent. This house is a learning experience more than anything else.

I rifled through my supplies and found some wood veneer strips I’d picked up from Cascade Miniatures (http://www.led-n-minis.com/) I lined them up in the gap and they don’t look too bad. Almost like that’s what I was supposed to do!

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Hopefully others will find a better solution or not screw up like me!

You can see on the last picture that I’ve started putting in the windows. That’s next time!

 

Beacon Hill: Putting on the Exterior Trim

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The next step in the Beacon Hill after the roof is to add the horizontal and vertical trim. First let’s get the rest of the roof on.

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Shingling the front tower piece on lightweight cardboard before gluing to house.

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The rest of the shingles set into place on the tower. Done!

Now for the horizontal and vertical trim. I had to pay close attention as there are no good photos or diagrams to follow in the instructions. But I got there.

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These are the horizontal pieces. From top to bottom we have right wall, right front wall, right front tower wall (the small one), and the tower back and front and tower sides. Note that the tower sides are each longer than the back and front pieces.

Note 2 The kitchen bay trim is also with this, but not in my picture, because I forgot about it. But best to paint those at the same time. There are 3 pieces for the kitchen bay horizontal trim (one long, two short).

I painted everything in my trim color (ivory).

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The pieces are glued on in this order: 1) right side.

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2) right front; and 3) right front tower (the small piece)

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4) Kitchen bay long trim

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5) Kitchen bay back and front horizontal trim (ignore the vertical for now). The back piece is longer than the front piece.

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6) The tower sides; then 7) the tower front and back.

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While that was drying, I decided to complete the roof. I’m using a piece of brown handmade paper here, tacking it in the corners. There is wiring on the roof, so if I need to fix anything, I can lift off the paper. It’s cheap paper so easily replaced.

Vertical Trim

Lots of pieces of these. I highly recommend finding them on the schematic drawings, punching them out, and labeling them with a sharpie on the back (make sure it’s the back! The back will be much rougher wood than the front).

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This photo is of all the vertical trim (plus the kitchen bay horizontal trim in the back, which I’d forgotten to paint with the others; hence it’s in this photo).

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I started with the right back trim–it’s a long piece that goes on the right edge of the right wall.

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Another piece goes on the left side of the right wall. Note: I skipped this for now (this is a later photo), because I needed to finish the copper on the kitchen bay roof–the vertical trim piece is cut at an angle to fit with the kitchen bay roof.

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The right front right trim has a notch that goes over the porch trim.

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Then a piece on the left side of the right front wall (with me so far?).

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Next the tower right trim.

Note–Because I cut the house in half, there is no vertical trim piece for the left side of the tower. If you put together the whole house, like a normal person, there is a short piece that fits on the left side of the tower and up against the mansard roof of the left wing.

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Vertical trim also goes on the right front wall bottom (on the porch), as does the right tower vertical trim. (Still with me?)

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When I asked, what about the right side of the porch? That’s covered by the Kitchen Bay Front vertical trim. Here’s the Kitchen Bay Front glued in place (taped until dry). Kitchen Bay Back goes on the same way, just in the back.

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Another shot of the kitchen bay with all trim in place.

Let me stop and cover the kitchen bay roof with copper. I bought copper sheeting from miniatures.com. Used the kitchen bay roof itself, unfolded, as a template.

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Tip: It’s best to glue the roof on the house first then glue the copper sheet to it.

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Tip 2: Pre-crease the corners of the copper.

Tip 3: Use kleenex or wear gloves to handle so the oils in your skin don’t stain the copper.

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The copper roof in place. Now I can glue the vertical trim on the  wall above it.

Next, the corner blocks! The corner trim blocks are all on sheet 23, and for me, that’s the one that shattered.

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So, here I am back in the box / bags of the remnants of sheet 23. Amazingly, I found all twelve corner blocks.

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Notice that each of these make a pair. Run the grain the same way on each part of the pair.

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Painted my trim color.

The instructions say that these go in the “intersections of the horizontal and vertical trim on each wall.” Um. Ok. I stared t the house a while until I got it (no photos!)

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You can see the corner blocks at in place where horizontal and vertical trims meet.

I’m a bit puzzled why there are twelve. I understand where ten go: right wall, right front, tower front, left front (when I put the other side together), and left wall (when I put the other side together). That’s five walls, two each, equals ten. But two are left. Hmm. The photo of the house on the box doesn’t show me any other place to put the trim (and that photo only shows a limited view).

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More of the corner trim in place.

Because my house walls are warped, I have gaps in my trim. I’ll be filling that in later (trimming the trim).

Next time–The mansard roof trim.

 

Beacon Hill: Roof and Tower

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Mansard Roof

Now that I have most of the lighting done, it’s time to tackle the roof. Looks complicated but is not.

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I notice that the kitchen side of this dollhouse is rarely photographed, so I’m trying to put out as many pics of it as I can, in case this helps other builders. This is the kitchen side with bay window on, bay window roof temporarily in place (I’m going to cover it with copper). Ready to put on the main roof.

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The mansard roof pieces are very thin, and bend back into place. The instructions with the kit are pretty good on this. I put glue all over the roof supports (see pic above for the supports), and on the bottom of the mansard piece and the top. Masking tape helps everything stay while the glue dries. (The window sill is there because I had to wire in the lamp before I put on the roof).

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Putting the mansard roof piece on the front. Tacks help a little, but tape is best.

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Finished mansard roof on the kitchen side (there are only two sides to the roof on the kitchen half of the house). The brown stripe on it is me testing whether the color of stain will work (it’s Early American from Minwax).

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I’m using shingle strips for this house. Best to stain first.

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Before I put the roof pieces on, I traced them onto very thin cardboard. I’ll shingle the cardboard then glue the whole thing to the roof. Marked where the shingles strips will fall.

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Shingling begun. I found out (the hard way) that it’s better to cut the shingle pieces to length first than to try to cut out the hole in the middle for the window after gluing. Live and learn.

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The finished shingle sheets glued to the mansard roof. The ugly edges will be covered with trim.

Now for the Tower!

The tower is, in the kit, enclosed on four sides, but open on its bottom, so you could hang a chandelier from the very top and have it hang down to the third floor hall. Cool. But, of course, I wanted to change it.

I am interested in astronomy, so decided I’d create a little observatory up there. That means I need a floor for the tower and also to open one of the walls so we can see in. Already found a telescope for it.

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This is the back wall, which I will cut for the opening into the tower.

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The piece cut.

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The four tower walls assembled–the walls each have a large tab on their bottom edge that slide into the large square opening in the tower base (ignore the small slots for the moment).

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Because I want this to be a room, I had to put a floor back in. I took the piece that I punched out of the middle of the tower base and trimmed it down to slide it back in. You have to take out that piece at first, because the walls fit inside the opening it leaves behind.

 

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This is the underside of the tower. I have to cover the crease of the fitted-in floor piece and also support it. I cut four strips of 1/2″ wide wood and glued it on the seam of the floor on the underside of the tower (which will be the third-floor ceiling), using the decorative squares to make it look pretty.

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Here is the underside of the tower painted and ready to go.

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I went ahead and wallpapered the inside, because I knew I’d never fit the paper after finishing the tower. The floor will be covered with flooring later.

 

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I also wanted to hang a light in the third floor hall. This is an old light I had in the Big House, in the attic. I worried that it would be too long for the lower ceilings of this house, but the tower pokes up above the ceiling height of the third floor. Perfect!

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The tower on, ready to be glued in place. The instructions have you finish the roof first, but I wanted to wire in the light, and I couldn’t put the trim piece on until the wiring was done, but you have to put the trim piece on to support the roof sides. Clear? (Took me a while to figure out the sequence–cut wall, glue tower together, insert floor, support floor, put in light, glue tower to house top, run tape wire to tower, wire light, put on trim, do the roof … whew!)

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Here, I’ve extended the tape wire to the tower room and wired in the lamp. Then I glued on the trim (a solid piece that goes around the four sides), which I painted first.

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Let there be light! It works! Yay!!!

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Here’s another departure. I didn’t want to put on the tower roof, because I want to be able to look down into the room–plus the tiny telescope users will want to tilt their refractor high and look at Orion and the Pleiades and find the Andromeda galaxy (I can never see that thing).

I wanted to use the roof trim, but not the roof top. The problem is, though, that the roof sits down on tabs, and if I didn’t use the roof top, the trim didn’t have a smooth surface to rest on. Rather than try to cut off the tabs, which would be difficult at this point, I used 1/8 square strips to even out the edges.

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Now to put the roof pieces on the tower, which is exactly like putting the mansard pieces on the house. I have lots of tape and clamps to help out.

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So, now the tower and its roof are on.

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I am now in the process of putting on the shingles, again gluing them to very thin cardboard pieces, which will then be glued to the mansard roof.

Next time–trimming!! We’re getting there!

 

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