Front bay window balcony

by brae  

I showed you these quarter scale widow's walk railings by Grandt Line in a previous post.  The railings are very delicate but look suitable in scale for the bay window.

I spray painted them flat black to start and then trimmed them to fit end to end, shown here unattached.

When I asked whether I should paint them aged white or make them look like old black wrought iron, it was unanimous in favor of wrought iron.  :D  I dabbed on some Bittersweet Chocolate and Terra Cotta by Americana and rusty old iron was born.

I attached them with a combination of super glue gel and tacky glue.  These are so delicate that I am certain they will need to be repaired or replaced at some point in the future.  I painted six to use three, so I'll store the extras in the crawl space along with the extra painted spindles from the stairs and balcony.

The plant on the left is from Michelle of Little Rabbit Minis, and I made for The Aero Squadron Lounge.

I added the final trim to the front gable as well as the trim between the main wall and the gable.

The lower trim has been added under the swinging window on the interior side as well.  Ophelia seems to be enjoying the view.

I get the feeling she spends a lot of time on the bay balcony.  :D

Pretty kitty.

Balcony railing

by brae  

With the stair railings installed, it was time to figure out the balcony railings.  I marked the floor where the spindles should go starting with the spindles adjacent to the stairs.  I thought those adjacent spindles should line up, even though you probably won't be able to see that once this room is enclosed.  This made the spindles on the straightaway 5/8" apart.  On the angled section, I just put a dot at the space between every pair of boards.

There was a gap between the foyer paper and the hallway paper.  I cut a scrap of basswood to hide this area and painted it Vintage White to match the trim.

I had to do some math to determine the angle at which the two railing pieces would meet on the balcony.  I took a piece of scrap paper (a wine gift catalog...how distracting) and folded it over the edge of the balcony.

I folded the point in half.

I lined up the fold with the end of the railing strip and marked it with a light pencil.  I had already cut this piece to length, with a 45° angle at the end by the wall.

I then flipped the paper guide over and marked the other side.

You can use an Easy Cutter even if the angle you want isn't one of the presets on the tool.  Just line up your blade with your guideline and cut using the tip.  The tip stays sharper longer because it doesn't get used as much as the lower part of the blade.

The three pieces are cut and ready for spindles.  I will cut the excess from the straightaway railing piece after I get the spindles in place and the newel post position marked.

The floor board is just over 1/8" thick.  I cut down the wires I had glued into each spindle to sit within this depth.

I taped around my drill bit to make sure I didn't drill through the ceiling.

As with the stair spindles, I didn't get the holes drilled in the bottoms of the spindles exactly in the middle, so there was some visual adjustment done for each one.

These are glued in place in addition to having the wire supports.  I also installed the remaining baseboard now that I had the finishing trim glued in place.

I cut a piece of railing with 45° cuts at either end to join the newel post at the top of the stairs with that of the balcony.  Took me three times to get this to work, and it's still not the cleanest cut.  :D  I also had to shave off a little from bottom of the stair newel post since the staircase extended above the hallway flooring.  I needed the two newel post tops to match relative to one another.

I did a dry fit of the railings, then it was time to glue it all in!  Once I had it all in place, I touched up the stain on the railing.   Success!!!!  :D

And, from overhead.  The angle join could be cleaner but with the stain touch-up and the low light in the hallway, the minor gap isn't really noticeable.

Overall, this part of the project was about as difficult as I thought it would be and turned out about as well as I had hoped.  Definitely a success all around.

Stair railing completion, balcony railing planning

by brae  

After getting the new spindles painted and installed on the stairs, I stained the replacement railing from Manchester Woodworks.  From there, I procrastinated...even breaking a new kit out of its box.  :D  I am now prepared to tackle the rest of this project.  Truth be told, I can't put the hallway ceiling on until I do...and that is holding up progress on the attic and finishing the house overall.  In simpler terms, I have no choice!  :O

I wish I could tell you there was a magical formula I used to get this railing on.  I was just winging it with some visual measuring and crossed fingers.  I have no idea if it is actually straight, but it looks it, so I suppose that is all that matters.  Here's what I did.

I used the back of my Micro-Mark gluing jig to hold the stair assembly in place.  I bent all of the spindles to make them as even as possible (they have wires in the bottom that were glued into each stair).  I dry fitted the railing onto the spindles to determine where the railing would hit the front newel post.  I also measured where the top newel post would hit the railing and snipped the end.

I marked where the spindles hit the railing with masking tape strips.

I added a drop of tacky glue and super glue gel behind each piece of tape.

I placed the railing onto the spindles while the stairs were still on the jig but immediately lifted the assembly off the jig and adjusted the railing quickly before the glue set.

The stair assembly fits so snugly that I didn't bother with glue along the wall.  I did glue the foyer newel post to the floor and the railing.

It works!!!  :D

Up next...the balcony spindles and railing.  I've seen a few treatments for joining a stair railing to a balcony railing. Pardon my rough mockups here, but I think you'll see what I am getting at.  :D

First, two newel posts side by side.

Second, one newel post with a regular spindle.  The railing would turn and meet the newel post at the top of the stairs.

Third, no newel posts at the top at all; instead, two regular spindles and the balcony railing would angle and meet the stair railing.

The easiest by far is the double newel post option, but the way the room is set up they would have to be literally side by side with no gap between them.  Not the most appealing aesthetic.  :\

My Dremel savvy friend and I were talking about this today, and he had a brilliant solution: offset the newel posts and have a small angled section of railing between them.  I think this will make perfect visual sense and it also eliminates having to navigate around a harsh corner on the way to the bathroom.  :D

Off to stain another newel post...

Dremel lesson

by brae  

Today, a friend stopped by to show me how to use the Dremel tool set I recently bought that included the Trio, a regular Dremel and a Multi-Max oscillating tool.  He showed me how to swap out the bits and did a few demonstrations on the things I do most.

We sanded with the Multi-Max oscillating tool to remove paint from a scrap.

We also sanded with the regular Dremel, first with rough die-cut scraps from the Heritage.  (Mutters to self about the time wasted on the shoddy Heritage wood I sanded by hand.  No need for any I told you sos about getting power tools sooner, thank you very much!)

I then tried the same bit on some laser cut wood.  It removed the black edge with little effort.  This will be so helpful for any future laser cut builds when I want to paint the wood a light color and need to remove this residue beforehand.

We cut off some strip wood with the regular Dremel using a cutting wheel.  We did try out the cutter from the Multi-Max oscillating tool, too...you can see the start of the cutting line in the above picture.

He had never used the Trio before, either.  :]  We cut a channel with the included bit, set to a controlled depth.  I can see this being so helpful with my wiring channels...at least the ones I put in before assembly.  The tool is rather large to use in small dollhouse rooms.

And, it all fits into this great bag that has plenty of room to also hold the additional accessories set from Mins.

Marvelous!!!  :D  It's good to have friends with know-how!

Bedroom swinging windows, part 3, plus baseboard trim

by brae  

After touching up any exposed wood that might show in the side tracks, I glued the window interior trim pieces in place.  I rechecked the fit of the front swinging window pieces previously finished and installed the window.  It doesn't close all the way without some tension, so I'll just leave it open.  I couldn't trim any more wood from the panes to make it fit without weakening the whole assembly, and I don't mind them open.  :D

I added the exterior trim to hold the window in place.  There's no glue here; it's all held together with tension.  That's probably not a bad thing in case I ever need to adjust or repair it.

I cut the baseboard trim to fit around the room after putting in the front window.  I still need to add trim underneath the window on the interior side.

I added another baseboard heat register (my bash of a tutorial by Kris at 1 Inch Minis), this time by the window.  Having it on the wall behind the bed would defeat the purpose of adding the detail at all, and the double outlet was already on the inside wall besides.  The mismatched seam is definitely less noticeable, too.  Hooray!

While I did cut the trim to follow the small outcropping on the left, I didn't bother to cut the trim around the corner post in the back on the right.  Cutting pieces that small tends to be more of an exercise in futility with limited results.  Besides, a big dresser is going there.  Cheating?  Smaybe.  :D  Less stress?  Definitely!

I am in the process of finishing up the side swinging window, which will finish off the trim for this room (well, other than the door).  Then I will be ready to add the new ceiling board.

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