Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 4

by brae  

Continuing work on the main room furnishingsElizabeth suggested measuring the table height with Gustav in the seat, so that's where I started in determining whether to cut down the table legs.  I put the cabinet in the scene as well, since counter height and table height should have a slight difference.  With the original legs, the table seems a tad high.

Since you can't put the wood back on after cutting, I opted to place wood samples under the cabinet and chair to see how a 3/16" reduction in the table legs would work.  It seems a better proportion, and a modest 3/16" reduction at the top of the legs would mean the table keeps its appealing tall, skinny profile for the most part.

I needed to prep the table for whatever process I ended up using for the enamel tabletop design, which is likely to be delicate once applied.  The less I have to handle the table after, the better.  I started by wet sanding the top and discovered this is a very porous material, almost like cast plaster.  I primed the entire piece with white craft paint and tidied up the glue spots from the manufacturer.  The primer showed the flaws and air holes, so I filled and filed before giving it another coat of white.

I masked and painted the apron with Zinc by Americana to coordinate with the chairs.   I cut and painted the table legs, too, but left them separate so I could work on the tabletop without fear of breaking the legs.

Time for the enamel tabletop.  The material I opted for was water slip decal, using Testors Decal Bonding spray since I had that on hand.

Because my design is so small, my intent was to cover the entire table with the film since there would be no way to cut around the tiny details.  This should provide a uniform surface without a halo around the border design.  It's not easy to place a large decal.  You have to give it a little more time in the bowl to loosen from the backing paper.  Here it is on foam core board.  It has a lovely gloss sheen on its own, but I wasn't sure how delicate it would be without sealing.  I opted for Testors Gloss Lacquer Overcoat since it had worked so well evening out over the Model T paint.  Overall, the test sample was a success.

I then moved on to the final table.

I probably should have sanded the surface more beforehand, but it was too late.  Even after the gloss sealer, the cross-hatch painting imperfections showed through.  I guess it's just an old, well-loved tabletop.  I always trust the happy accidents, and the surface is not very noticeable in photographs unless you try to capture it.

I glued the legs on with white glue supplemented with super glue gel so they would grab fast but remain movable for a few minutes.  I lined up the feet on graph paper to help keep the table straight and square.

Once dry, I touched up the paint between the apron and the legs then tried out the final table with the chairs and Gustav.  I think we have a winner!  :D

Estate minis from Barbara

by brae  

Barbara is a very generous friend and has excellent taste in minis!  :D  She sent me a beautiful box of estate minis.  The four books are four fewer that I have to make for the library.  The two turnings are gorgeous and would fit well in The Brownstone.

I love this little side cabinet.

It's not signed, and there's no manufacturer sticker.

The washstand is signed G. Goltz, King-Ontario.  This is a beautiful piece, but I think I will save it for a later build instead of replacing the one I have for the mill.  The bowl Barbara sent will likely end up in the mill kitchen.

Here the washstand is shown with the large pitcher and bowl set from the mill.

The final piece is a lovely dresser with some interesting lines and details.

It is also signed, but I can't read the name.

Thank you so much, Barbara!  :D

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 3

by brae  

Continuing work on the main room furnishings.  I painted the kitchen chairs Zinc by Americana.  What I like about this dark grey is the blue cast to it, which should go well with the enamel tabletop.  I've been trying out processes for the tabletop, so more on that later.  In case that doesn't work out, it will still be a lovely color with a plain white tabletop.  :]

I finished with Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish and upholstered with a cotton print from my stash.

I replaced the damaged foam from the kit with two layers of white felt.  The seats aren't glued in since they fit well enough with tension alone.  I can easily clean or replace as needed.

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 2

by brae  

Continuing work on the main floor furnishings.  I tried out some new Minwax stains I picked up at Lowes.  This is Natural, Fruitwood and Driftwood (left to right) used on basswood scraps.  Natural gives the grain a lift and a slight warm tone.  I might use this on the circle library since it will seal the wood without changing the aspect much. Fruitwood is a lovely light color that coordinates well with Natural, so I will likely use this on the dumbwaiter and its cabinet.  Driftwood has a green grey cast and works well with the grain.

I cut down the depth of the Houseworks 2" kitchen cabinet by 1/4" since it was a tad too deep and used Driftwood stain with satin varnish.  The knobs are wood painted black.  A beautifully rustic cabinet.  :]

The pitcher and bowl are from my stash of minis.  It's a favorite that I had been hoping to use in the mill but it wouldn't fit upstairs.  Problem solved.  It's now a kitchen wash set.

I stained the red oak flooring with Minwax Dark Walnut.  I love the grain of this flooring but not the pink cast, and the dark walnut was able to highlight the grain and tone down the red.

Watson Mill - foundation, part 2

by brae  

Continuing work on the foundation.  I had egg carton bricks on hand, so I didn't bother to reinvent the wheel.  Most of the time, I will measure my board and determine how many bricks across I need and adjust the measurements accordingly.  It's a small foundation, so I didn't think it would matter much once landscaping is in.  Since my bricks didn't end well at the corners, I opted for corner stones cut to fit.

I chose brown based bricks instead of my usual brick red.  :]

I started with an even brown base.

I then stippled on the other colors to create variations before sealing with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish (which always dries shiny with how thick I put it on).

After it dried, I grouted with spackling following my usual water clean-up process.

I added a couple of dark brown and black washes to tone down the grout, then finished off with a spray of Testors Frosted Glass to dull the finish.  There will be more aging during the landscaping process, but I love how it looks so far.  You can still see the subtle color differences.

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