Category: "The Artist's Studio"

The Deck - part 3

by brae  

Continuing work on The Deck.  To finish the outer edges of the side deck, I used dark trim wood from my stash.  This is definitely Dura-Craft wood, but I am not sure from which kit or if it is walnut (I think it is).  It's close in color to the wood I plan to use for the leaf portions of the deck and using existing materials will keep the cost down.

I love the play of light and dark, and it was such a simple design element.  I didn't trim the main deck yet, since I want to finish the leaf sections first.

The leaves.  After a lot of deliberation, I decided to use the same reverse approach I did with the main and side decks.  I would form the surface boards first and then work on a supporting framework.  Beyond that, I thought developing the walnut outlines and center veins, then cutting the individual boards for the interior portions would be the simplest approach.

I started by redrawing my leaf shapes.  My mockup had used rough sketches and cutouts.  I used a 5 7/8" diameter lid, which was close to my original mockup size, to make one end of the leaf.

I marked a point the length of my original mockup (9 1/4").   Digging into my old art supplies for a flexible curve, I created a gentle curve first on one side and then the other.

I cut the leaf out and made two more leaves from this one.

I marked the outline 3/8" inside the outer edge.   Since my deck is smaller in proportion to the original and this will be my first major scroll saw endeavor, I kept the center veins soft -- just enough to give a sense of movement without overly complicating matters.  :D  They are also 3/8" wide.

On a new sheet of paper, I measured from the bottom and marked 7/16" intervals.  I was planning on 3/8" boards for this portion as well, and 7/16" allows for some room between each plank.  I drew lines to make a base guide.

I positioned the leaf template over the lines so there would be a good layout of whole board widths.

I taped the leaf in place and traced the lines onto the template.

I did the same for the other side, varying the angle of the lines.

I darkened the boards that would be walnut, repeated the process for the other two leaves and tested the fit again.

Hooray!  :D

The pencil makes these very messy, so I will make photocopies to work with going forward.

The Deck - part 2

by brae  

The framing under the main deck and side deck won't show much, so I used some leftover Dura-Craft 3/16" x 1/4" strip wood to keep costs down.  The wood isn't nice enough to use for building or finishing anyway.

I started with the side deck since it requires the longest part of the framework.  I transferred the top boards to a work surface, this time keeping the back side facing up and lining up the ends using a T-square.  I used double sided tape again to keep everything in line.

I cut two long pieces and two short pieces of the Dura-Craft trim, gluing them to the flat boards and to each other at the corners.   I cut one additional long piece for the center of this box and glued it in place.  I had to use the glue sparingly so it wouldn't bleed through between the boards.  I left more leeway on the uneven side, which I'll explain in a moment.

But, when I lifted it off the tape, some of the boards separated.  :\

Ah, well, it wasn't a total loss.  I glued the boards back in place.  A good, solid assembly.  :]

As mentioned above, since one side had been aligned with the T-square, that left the other side uneven.  I marked the boards 3 3/8" across (down from the original 3 1/2").

I slid a piece of plywood under the edge and cut off the excess.

I repeated the process for the main deck, adding two inner lengths for support.  This time, after putting the double sided tape on my work surface, I tapped it with my fingers to reduce the hold it would have on the flat boards. I had only two boards come loose when I flipped the assembly over.

I also cut the boards down to 4 7/8" from their original 5" to align the uneven edge.  I will keep the two portions separate so there is no strain at the corner.

It's a clean fit.  :D

So far, it's working!  :D

There is enough of a gap under the door to require a step.

I think Cora likes it.

Walnut firewood box

by brae  

Building a firewood box for the Studio served two purposes.  It will hold the wood stove switch so I don't have to reach into the structure to operate the flickering LED fire, and it gave me the opportunity to work with walnut using my scroll saw.

I followed a pattern in the book How to Make Shaker Furnishings for Doll Houses or Miniature Rooms by Pat Midkiff.  What a long title!  :D

Here's the living area photo from the book.  Unfortunately, there is no pattern for the stove included.  There are three pegs on the side of the firebox in the photo.  I didn't add them to the one I built since I didn't have a walnut dowel.

The pattern was very simple to follow, and my two cut curves came out very close!  :D  I did change the dimensions slightly, because the sheets of walnut I had on hand were narrower than the largest pattern piece.  I finished the box with one coat of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish to bring out the beautiful color and grain.  I added a light wash of black and brown to make it less shiny and new.

I will finish the side deck before drilling the hole in the bottom for the battery and switch.

The Deck - part 1

by brae  

Before I can finish the front wall of windows, I need to work on The Deck.  This is going to take some serious engineering.  The deck will fit into the slope of the landscape and be only partially supported by firm ground around the building itself.  You might recall my previous mockup.

Image from Trex

I'm going to do a bit of reverse engineering here since while the deck needs to be solid, it doesn't have to support actual weight other than a mini chaise or easel.  I figured the simplest approach would be to build the surface of the main and side portions first and then create the framing that would support this surface.  From there, I would create each leaf separately and attach those to the main deck.

I bought five sheets of basswood by Revell measuring 1/16" x 3" x 24" for the lighter boards.  I will use walnut for the vein detailing and outer accent.  I bought the sheets to cut my own boards instead of the precut strips because I find that the brand of basswood the stores around here carry is always so fuzzy.  These sheets by Revell are less so and easily sanded smooth.  And, I have a good eye for measurement when cutting by hand.  :]

I cut lengths of 5" and then measured 1/2" intervals.  I put an X on the back so I would know which side to face up.  These Revell stickers came off the wood easily, but I didn't want to risk having future finishes react differently due to any glue residue.

I applied a length of double sided tape to the landscaping board for planning purposes.  Without some sort of adhesive, one small bump would lead to resetting every board.  Using a T-square, I lined up my individual boards and pressed them to the tape.

There are 35 boards for the main deck.

The main deck can be shifted to the side in either direction depending on the fit needed to join the side deck.

For the side deck, I had to add a small piece of cardboard to support the boards during the mockup phase.  It won't be part of the final framework.

These pieces measure 1/2" x 3 1/2" and begin at the forward edge of the main deck.  There are 37 of these boards.  I continued them far past the door so there is room for the firewood box that will hold the wood stove switch.  Plus, that means I can use scraps of landscaping materials instead of buying new.

You can see the space between the top of the boards and the lower edge of the door.  This will allow plenty of room for the framework, and I may or may not need a front step under the door.  We shall see.  :D

With the leaf mockups in place, it's starting to look like something.

There will be steps in the open area in front of the side deck.


Next up, building the frame for the main and side decks.  In the meantime, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the framework for the leaves.  :O

image from CFC Fences & Decks

Progress on the windows and doors

by brae  

I painted the living area window Warm White by Americana.   Before painting, I added trim to the window since it was built for a depth of 1/2" but the walls are only 3/8" thick.  Before installing the window, I sanded the siding and added satin varnish.  It's a subtle change, but I like it!

I added a corner trim sill to the interior since the precut interior trim never seems to fit right and I wanted a place to display a good Scotch after a day's worth of painting.  :D  Ahhhh....

The window handle is by Houseworks and was originally brass.  The window sash lock is by Realife Miniatures - vintage stock purchased from another member on the Greenleaf forum.  This was also brass now painted silver.

They are wonderfully detailed.  I had to look one up to see how it worked since I have different mechanisms in my home. The locks come in pairs - just like the real deal - here I'm showing the tops and bottoms of two pairs.

Since this is a working window and there's not enough room on the window to install both pieces, I used only the one with the round lever.  I glued it so that it would not interfere with the window operation while still looking like it might just work.

The exterior door is painted Slate Green by Americana and won't be installed until after the siding is up.  The door knob and keyplate are chrome pieces from Clare Bell Brass.  I wish I could find more of these.  I used satin varnish only on the exterior door (inside and out) and the exterior door trim.  I didn't like the matte finish on the green, and I thought the exterior door frame should match in sheen.  I liked the matte finish on the remaining windows, interior door and trim, so I left them as is after painting.

I had added trim to both doors to block out the light around the inside.  It's a simple and subtle change that makes for a more realistic door jamb.

I had to flip the direction of the bathroom door.  This door has a simple white knob.  The removable wall is papered on the bathroom side with Canson Ivory paper.  I added the door trim to the interior side but still need to finish the top edge of the wall.

Since the left wallpaper seam is larger than I had hoped and will show when viewed through the window or skylight, I'll add a length of trim from floor to ceiling.  This will also help align the removable wall when it is in place.

I installed the octagon window technically backward.  Considering one wouldn't be looking at the back of the Studio most often, I thought the routed detailing would be best served sitting on the interior.  :]

With the addition of the siding, the wall was thicker than the depth needed.  I added a cardboard octagon cut to fit.

I glued this piece to the now exterior trim, then painted it to blend.

Now there's a seamless fit for the trim on the exterior.

I'm still working on the clerestory windows and skylights.  Doors and windows take a lot of time, but I think it's starting to really come together on the inside.

Can you feel the cool breeze coming in through the window?

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