Sunday, 4 April 2010

Major structure now completed (touch wood)

Whew, another long day, fortified by frequent snacks of Easter chocolate as I worked away in the kitchen.  But I feel like I am getting somewhere.  And the weather cooperated and stayed dry so I was able to do my drilling and cutting outside, and sprayed on the sealer.

Modified roof pieces:  Here are the modified roof pieces I was talking about, which will fit over the attic rear bedroom.  You can see how I glued in new bits to fill in the outline so that I could cut the new shape (the black things are bits of plastic I glued on to give some extra strength.  Later I will make new internal walls to give a vertical back wall to the bathroom, and a vertical left wall to the master bedroom.

Staircase and balcony:  With my new side and front pieces cut, I could put the staircase in place and make some decisions about the staircase position, the boy's bedroom door position, and the cutaway for the balcony.  In order to prevent the boy plummeting to his death every time he opens his bedroom door (well, actually, I suppose he would only do that once...), I have filled in the staircase opening on the second floor (first floor in UK terms) by about half an inch.  This allows me to move the boy's bedroom door to the right., away from the back of the house.  Which means I can now cut back the second floor to start giving some double height to the living room.  I left the width of the door between the staircase and the edge of the floor, and dry assembled to see how it looked (picture where pencil is on the second floor).  I felt that it still wasn't a sufficient cutaway to give the sense of doubleheight space in the original Pickett Hill (PH) house .  After a bit of playing, I decided to cut the second floor even further back by giving it a flattened hexagonal shaping, which should make for quite a dramatic balcony.  You can see the effect compared to the ground floor in the next picture.  Meanwhile I have trimmed back the lower and upper railings for the staircase wall, and cut a new piece to be the back of the staircase (which you will see as you come in the front door).

Replacement doors and windows:
  In order to have the house look more like the PH, I am replacing the doors and windows.  I ordered all my additional components through Judith of 'In Some Small Way' here in the UK as a special order.
  • The original PH has larger gothic windows downstairs and smaller ones upstairs.  I am replacing the Fairfield windows with one size of Grandt Line window (3960) in 1:24 scale.  To insert these, I glued in the original Fairfield window punchouts, then centred the new window and lowering the opening by a half inch from the original window line (as the Gothic windows are taller) and cut the new opening out with an electric jigsaw. A future challenge will be that the Grandt Line gothic windows do not come with an interior frame, so I will have to try to cut one myself to cover the edges of the cutout on the inside.
  • I am replacing internal doors with the Grandt Line Victorian 4 Panel door (3947) in 1:24 scale which takes the same size cut-out as the Fairfield doors.  I re-cut the new opening for the boy's bedroom door by drawing around the old door before I glued it into the original opening.
  • To simulate the PH oval window in the bathroom, I am using Grandt Line Round window (3918) in 1:24 scale.  To cut the hole, I drilled a pilot hole, then used a hole cutter attached to my drill.  We have a hole cutter set which comes with various sizes of toothed circles, luckily one of them was the right size for the window.  A future challenge will be that this window is quite deep, more than twice as deep as the thin plywood, so I will have to pack it out somehow, or cut it down if possible.
  • For the French doors into the conservatory, I am using Houseworks H6011 Classic French Doors.  I glued in the original Fairfield windows on the back wall, then drew the new opening and cut it out with the jigsaw.
  • For a front door, I am going to use Grandt Line 3946 and build up side lights on either side of it from scratch.  I cut out one big opening on the new front wall, which will accept the new front door with the new sidelights.

Here is a picture of all the outside walls with their new openings.  I am not the most accurate cutter in the world, but I am fairly pleased with these.

In preparation for decorating, I smeared glue into all the cut-outs, tabs etc. that I am not going to be using, gluing in spare pieces of wood if required.  After those dried, I used Fine Surface Filler to smooth out the worst of the flaws, cracks, splinters from cutting etc.  I sanded the filler smooth with a palm sander, then took everything outside and gave it a spray with Plasti-Kote Clear Sealer.  This is a routine I got into when I was building the Willowcrest.  The Greenleaf plywood is not great, but with filling, sealing, priming and lots of sanding, you can achieve a fairly smooth surface for painting, papering etc.

1 comment:

  1. The PH has only the first few stairs of the staircase, the rest is just suggested and the hole for it is very narrow. You have the staircase which even though it takes up room, I feel is always a lovely feature in a house, It bothers me when the little people can't get up and down between floors! And I'm so pleased that the boy won't plummet to his death when he opens his bedroom door :) Not a happy household when that happens! I do the same with Greenleaf and other similar kits, LOTS of wood filler to smooth it out, LOTS of sanding. Probably spend more time on that than on any other part of the construction so I'll keep your tips in mind for my Fairfield - I'm sure that they will shorten the tedious process of getting a decent surface. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist I know, but that plywood is terrible!


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