Category: "Watson Mill"

Watson Mill - Books

by brae  

I drew the circle library with tall shelves, but I want to make sure this will look good before spending the time on construction.  I also want to make sure I build in enough depth to the shelves for realistic books.  To that end, I need to have my supply of books for the mock-up process.

When I first made books, I printed covers and wrapped them around pieces of balsa or basswood scraps and painted the edges.  This effort is great if they will be seen laying on their side so the pages show.  My first batch had hardcovers since I lined the paper covers with cardstock.

The batches for the Heritage have just the plain paper covers since they sit mostly on bookshelves.  One thing I think is key for realism is to have varying widths, heights and colors.

I have also used cardboard for the mass produced paperback variety.  Easier to cut and it gives the look of pages without painting.

I thought the Cricut would be a great help in making the books I need, but I do already have a stash of cut covers to start.  I usually sort my cut covers by thickness needed based on the spine.

I took those sorted stacks and divided them into batches per height.  I'm using up the stash, but the next time I print book covers, I will print in batches of the same height to use this method.

I made long rectangles in the Cricut Design Space based on the heights needed.  I estimated how many strips I would need figuring I could always cut more.   I'm using a block of cardstock I got on sale at either Hobby Lobby or Michaels.  Obviously, larger paper would mean longer strips but again I am using up some stash materials.

The Cricut cut the long strips faster and more accurately than cutting inserts by hand, and I marked them with a pencil.  The markings won't show in the end and the notes will keep me from having to keep re-measuring.

I then bent the covers and cut the inserts to fit width-wise, cutting as many as needed to fill the spine.  I didn't cut individual rectangles with the Cricut since it would have been very time-consuming to measure the requirements of each book.  If I create batches based on the same height and width in the future, I can certainly cut the individual inserts on the Cricut and simply assemble.

Color variation in the cardstock saves on painting as well, though these are meant to sit on the shelves and the page edges don't matter much.  I will use mostly brown since the edges won't be seen on the shelves but I made a few in cream for books to lay around the house.

They have good page texture.  :]

I'll cut and make a few more variations of height so I can plan the final bookshelves.

Watson Mill - more on layouts

by brae  

I liked the dumbwaiter so much, I wanted it closer to the circle library so it could be more easily photographed.  I can't swap it with the ladder, since there would be no adjacent floor upstairs to step onto from the ladder.  This, my friends, is why my houses are in dry fit for months.  :D

There are two options left for the ladder.  On the far side of the circle library.  That eliminates the large sliding window due to lack of space.  In its place is a traditional working window purchased from Hobby Lobby.  The advantage of this is I could keep it fairly narrow since your eye would not see its width head-on.  (Foam core board is an excellent mock-up material since you can cut away and add right back in to try various layouts with minimal effort.)

Upstairs, this layout is limiting and awkward.

The remaining option is on the front wall.  Things fit well here, even with the micro mill back on the side wall.

Upstairs, the modest ladder railing would be hidden behind the bed and therefore in essence have minimal impact on the layout.  There would be more floor space toward the open back to better feature the furniture and accessories, but I would not have a bedside table.

On the outside, the window is still balanced.  I think we have a winner.  :D

What'd you call me?

by brae  

A dumbwaiter, that's what.  :D  As I mentioned previously, Gustav will have only a ladder leading to the upper room, so it would be cumbersome for him to bring up late night milk and cookies while maintaining safe practices on the ladder.  I rigged up a bucket on a rope for the purpose of mockups, but the final setup needed to be more elegant, like a functional dumbwaiter.

I've had dumbwaiters in my idea file for some time now.  There's a great example of the mechanism here at Old House Online.  The basic premise is relatively straightforward with just a lot of wood construction.  I was planning to put the ladder to the upper room near the open back, so I'll construct the dumbwaiter beside the ladder toward the open back so I can operate it without having to reach in through the house.  Parlor tricks are so much better when there's no fuss.  :]

The problem is, a fully enclosed dumbwaiter would block a significant part of the modest back opening, especially on the upper floor.  So, I shall make a compromise between the bucket on a rope and an enclosed dumbwaiter.  I'll have an open dumbwaiter car running on a track along the wall with a pulley system.  This way, the car will move smoothly up and down to carry milk (or Scotch) upstairs and yet take up less visual space overall.

I started with the car measurements.  To carry milk and cookies, the tray needed to be roughly 1 1/8" deep x 1 1/2" wide.

The car should rest at counter height when on the lower floor, so I bashed a 1 1/2" Houseworks base cabinet by cutting down the depth.  This also gives Gustav some storage in his small home.

I built a fancy car from tiny turnings and basswood.

I added a slider bar to the back of the car.

The track was formed from strip wood to make two channels facing one another.   When I install the tracks after decorating, I plan to leave space enough at the top so I can slide the car off the track for cleaning, repairs or replacement.

The plate doesn't quite fit anymore, so I'll just use a slightly smaller one.

I love the way it looks so far, though.  In fact, it's such a nice element, I will try one more time to move the ladder so the dumbwaiter can be more easily photographed away from the open back edge.

Pulley rigging and final stain finishes to come later, but it's already better than just a bucket on a rope.  :D

Weedwacker Mill

by brae  

Thank you for your suggestions and comments on the windows and interior layouts.  Again, good to sleep on it.  I've put in some shrubbery and the window layout I wanted originally.  I think we have a winner since the landscaping balances it all out and the circular window doesn't compete as expected.

This puts everything back to the circle library on the side wall where I wanted it originally as well.

Watson Mill - layouts, revisited

by brae  

Always good to sleep on things.  I wanted to try out the look of the window options on the front with the sails.  None of them appealed to me at all since they detract from the sails and the shape of the structure.  So, no windows on the frontside.

That means I need to change up the interior since I will still need some light on the main floor.  Here is the layout from yesterday for comparison.

I moved the circle library to the front wall, so I will eliminate the mirror at its center since it will always reflect me when photographing the interior.  That moves the window to the side wall with the ladder and bucket.  Additionally, even though I love the idea of a mill within a mill, I think Gustav's Mill is out for the Watson Mill layout.  It just takes up so much floor space and blocks other items.  Pushing it to the back doesn't help much since that squeezes the circle library.

I took the micro mill out and put in a small desk and painting.  The white shelf is just a stand-in for shelves above the tea trolley.  This layout is much more open.

Upstairs, I think a smaller stand is in order for washing.  It's the plant stand from Arjen Spinhoven, built but not yet stained.  I also tried out a thinner black railing, which is likely the type of railing I'll use.

Now, back to thinking on it. :]

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