The Scale Cabinetmaker

by brae  

The Scale Cabinetmaker was a periodical printed from 1976 - 1996 on fine miniature making.  I've perused the occasional volume here and there, but there are 80 issues in total so collecting them one at a time seemed rather daunting.  You can find them in digital form from Dorsett Publications (there is a free download there for you to sample), but I prefer the physical booklets.  As luck would have it, during one of the online shows there was a gal selling her mother's estate.  Included was a large selection of The Scale Cabinetmaker booklets.  She was asking a good price, so I bought the lot.  I found a smaller lot of 10 booklets on eBay, so I now have 61 of the 80 volumes.  :]  I still hope to collect the remaining 19.

I set out making a list of the projects that I wanted to try and noting the volumes with general instruction.  I admit many of the projects are either over my head or are from eras I don't plan to build.  However, there is a wealth of information on techniques and tools as well as plenty of items I do want to make.  The metal fire screen, jeweler's saw and drill press classes opened up the possibilities as well.  More things make sense to me now, so the classes more than pay for themselves.  :]

I bought a triangular architect's scale since most of the drawings are in full size measurements, though they do list the thicknesses of materials to be used.  I understand the appeal of true to life measurements, but it will be a learning experience for me.  It is great training for taking other real life projects and transferring them to mini.

Of course, the project that really appeals to me is a double black diamond.  It's a combination wardrobe, desk and Murphy bed.  I never do things halfway.  :D

But, I shall start with smaller projects like a coffee table and magazine rack to get a feel for the scale measurements and instruction.  Then I can move on to the Big Cheese.

Watson Mill - Vintage Lundby and pulleys

by brae  

I've been mainly working on books behind the scenes, though no more are fully assembled beyond what I did last time.  I've been doing batches of each part of the process in the evenings so I can then have a few marathon assembly sessions. :D I borrowed a whole bunch of movies I've already seen from the library for the task.

In the meantime, I also de-cluttered my mini stash and searched for items to add to the mill.  I ran across this vintage Lundby piece I picked up a few years ago.

Being a slightly smaller scale, it has never worked well in any build to date.  The mill, however, provides a perfect spot for it.  So, I think the trunk is out and the cabinet is in.  I was planning to use the trunk elsewhere besides.

Its hinge pins show on the top surface, but I can cover that well enough with a runner.  And, this would provide a surface for displaying items whereas the trunk would have been uncluttered to show it opens.

I also received the model ship single sheave blocks I had ordered from the UK from Maritime Models.  Yep, they actually work.  These will be perfect for my dumbwaiter pulley system.  :]  So wee.

At the 3 Blind Mice show, they always have a tray of inexpensive little items to choose from with your entry fee.  I thought this was perfect for Gustav.  :D  Always so much to do!

Ever feel like you're being watched?  hmmph.

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.

Citroën DS19 1/16 - part 3

by brae  

After applying putty to even out the body panels and letting the Citroën DS19 sit for a few days, I came to the realization that I don't need this kind of stress.  pffft.  If there's one thing I do well, it's making junkers.

So, let's have some fun and aim for making this a rally car.  :D  I sanded out the mini bondo, and I'm still glad I put in the effort.  A better overall fit makes for better realism, but a rally car can get away with an ill-fitting hood.  It's likely a replacement anyway.  Thus, I move on.

First order of business, perhaps a dent or two.  This is done by heating the plastic with a candle and using the rounded end of a butter knife to push the plastic into shape.  You do have to take care not to cause problems with the fit later.  Only a tiny bit of heat and soft pressure with the knife are needed.

Fenders are a good place since there aren't usually parts inside.  I'm being modest with the damage, just a little road wear for our experienced trophy winner.  I can't recall what we hit that dented the hood.

You can melt a corner and let it sink in for a realistic back up collision.  Just wait for it to cool completely before touching or sanding since you can tear the plastic or leave your fingerprint in the finish.

Sometimes branches fall on the roof.

The candle heat can raise the plastic around the dent.

Just sand to get it smooth again so the dent takes center stage.

Next up, priming the various engine sprues for assembly, painting and aging.  I'll still follow the assembly instructions from the modeler who made the closed door new Citroën, but I will have different painting and aging techniques along the way.  I already feel more relaxed and ready to enjoy the build.  :]

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

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