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.

Bedroom stairs

by brae  

As you may recall, I raised the ceiling in the parlor on the first floor to accommodate the new narrow staircase but left the kitchen the original lower height so I wouldn't have to alter the swinging windows of the upper floor.  This means the hallway floor is higher than the bedroom floor.  I've been in old houses where doors open to reveal the bottoms of staircases.  I've also seen a set of two to three steps leading up a wall to a door.  So, I figured this was the way to go for the Heritage.

When Lyssa and I went to the Art Institute when she came for a visit this past October, we naturally saw the Thorne Miniature Rooms first.  In one of the fine bedrooms, there was just such a setup.  :]  I already had a vague image in my mind, but this helped solidify the idea.

I like how the top step is even with the door...as though it were a continuation of the floor on the other side.  This makes sense to me, so that one doesn't open the door and immediately fall down a drop off.  :O

I didn't need to make up that much height between the floor and the bottom of the door, so I used pieces of foam core board to build two steps.  I chose this material mainly because I had scraps and it is easy to cut.  I cut two pieces 2 3/4" L x 1 1/4" W, and two pieces 2 3/4" L x 1/2" W.  It wasn't quite high enough, so I add a shim of 1/16" thick balsa.

I then added risers from 1/16" thick basswood.

I cut treads from 1/16" thick basswood but didn't glue them to the assembly since I wanted to stain them to match the floor.

I cut side pieces from 1/16" thick basswood that will enclose the entire unit.

I stained the treads Minwax English Chestnut and painted the remaining pieces Vintage White by Folk Art to match the trim throughout the house.  I was impatient for the stain to dry, so I've assembled the stairs for a quick photo shoot.  No more floating door.  :D

When installed permanently, the door will open into the bedroom, but the photos look better with the finished frame showing.  The door is also in need of final finishing.

Bedroom wallpaper - the real deal, completed

by brae  

The wallpaper pieces had to be glued in place in a particular order for the tabs to work.  I started with the two side triangle pieces and then added the pieces for the left side angled wall and the front window wall.

Next, the right side angled wall.  The darkness of the paper made it hard to work with but it also helped mask any issues with the fit.  As you can see, the outer wall is rather rough in texture.  I didn't smooth it because any modest bumps that show under the paper should work in my favor for an old house and it's not as rough as it looks in the photo.  :]

I had to wire the two bedside lamps and the vanity lamp before I could proceed.  I used my usual faux outlet technique for the wiring: a bead for the plug and a handmade wooden outlet to disguise where the wire enters the wall.

I used masking tape to keep the wires in their respective channels and then painted it black.

Since there was a lot of work left to be done in and around this room, I encased the lights in protective wraps.

The bedside lamps were both plugged into the same outlet, which will be behind the headboard, but I didn't wire them to work as a set.  I thought it would be nice to take photos with only one or the other lit.

The pattern didn't end up matching on the outer wall where it was pieced, but it doesn't bother me enough to cut a new piece from the reserve sheet.  Once the ceiling, baseboard and furnishings are in the room, I doubt it will even be noticeable.

I used tape to suspend the wrapped lights and glued the flooring in place.

The interior window trim and door aren't glued in place just yet, but we're getting there!  (Yes, I plan to address the floating door.)

I love these lamps!  :D

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