23 January 2013
Kevin Jackson shows us how to finish off the external timber trims, connect the wiring for lighting, paint the roof and position the chimney... But before we do that we check the plaster work for any patching up. ...
If you have difficulty in finding any of the materials required, Kevin is happy to provide a quote for supplying everything including the MDF cut to size and the Burbridge mouldings. Also, please note that since completing the project the CD42 twisted rope moulding by Richard Burbridge is no longer available. As an alternative, we recommend that you use the FB200 instead.
The overall dimensions of the finished dolls house are approximately 110cm wide x 120cm high x 72cm deep. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for links to the previous and next parts of the project.
This project is suitable for the advanced miniaturist with good wood working and machinery skills. For the less experienced, we would recommend you work with someone who can help you with the more technical aspects.
Step 1 - Checking the plaster work
You have probably noticed a few cracks in the plaster, mainly on the chimney, but sometimes along the ridge of the roof too. Don’t worry this is normal and depends on the conditions of where you’re building it. Mix up a little more plaster in water with a little more PVA in it, keeping the mix quite sloppy, and use your finger to smooth it into the cracks.
Step 2 - Timber trims
Next we finish some of the timber trims around the house, including the bargeboards, ready to start painting the plastered areas. Firstly use FB180 stripwood and fix along the exposed edges of the 6mm floor panels, across the back at every level, and beneath where the triangular access panel sits in the roof room.
On the back gable of the house use FB407stripwood to trim round the junction between the roof over hang and the wall. At the back of the house at each corner on all levels use FB366 stripwood fixed vertically, notching out behind where necessary to accommodate wiring.
On the four gables of the house, (this includes the dormer window) fix FB366 stripwood to the edges of the MDF, with mitred joints at the top and horizontal angles at the bottom. The bottom edge should be about 10mm longer than the gable itself. On the two gables with the access panels it is critical that you keep the bottom edge of the FB366 stripwood bargeboard flush to the underside edge of the painted MDF, to avoid it obstructing the panel when it is taken on and off. These pieces of trim can be glued and pinned, but be careful not to let the pins come through below. See 1st photo below.
With the gable timbers fixed, cut pieces of FB407 stripwood about 60mm long and for safety reasons round off the ends on the sander. Glue these into place over the mitred joints at the top of the gables. Use pieces of CD42 twisted rope moulding (or FB200) as a decorative trim butting up against this piece of FB407, and finishing flush at the bottom of the bargeboard. You can position this trim anywhere you like on top of the FB366 stripwood. It is quite useful to fix it off centre so that it helps cover pin heads. See second photo above. Trim around the edge of the first floor balcony with FB407 stripwood.
In preparation for painting the paved areas, use a knife to remove the masking tape around the brickwork. Do not just pull it away because it can damage the paving. Use a slightly larger pointed screwdriver to clean out the joints in the paving, following on with a vacuum with a brush attachment.
Re-mask around the chimney, including the paving and the roof tiles, paint with three coats of magnolia emulsion. Don’t forget to paint the chimney stack.
Step 6 - Connect the wiring
To connect all of the wiring at the back of the house you will need to get everything you need together, and make yourself comfortable as it’s a fairly slow job and a very important one. It’s also very satisfying seeing all of the lights and fires working at the end. Start from the top floor of the house and work your way down. Firstly measure how much wire you need to extend the chandelier wire, to reach the bottom of the house where you intend locating the DE074 connecting strips. Extend the wire as required and in line with your DE074 position drill holes through the FB180 stripwood at each floor level. Thread the wire through and connect a DE054 plug to the end.
Set up a transformer and test the lights, when satisfied label the wire. It is a good idea to buy some spare DE093 fuses, so that if you blow any while you are fiddling around with connections, you have some to hand to carry on with.
I have connected all three fires together on one circuit to minimise the number of wires I am running, but you may wish to run them individually. To test these you will need to put a plug on the end of each red fire bulb and plug them in, inside the house.
Its now a matter of patiently working your way through each floor, connecting the lights up a floor at a time, extending individual bulbs as you go, working from each side of the house towards the point where you have drilled the hole to bring the wires down. Test each connection as soon as you have made it. When you have completed a floor and tested it to make sure it is fully working, label the wire and neatly tape the wires across the back of the house.
When you have completed all of the connections, set both of the DE074 connectors up, along with the DE005 transformers. Plug roughly half of the lights into each, to evenly divide the load, and leave on test for about an hour.
To get the roof ready for painting, use a small screwdriver, brush and vacuum with a brush attachment to clean out all of the vertical and horizontal lines in the plaster. It’s at this time that you can carefully clean up any of the rough edges that were caused when you had to use the end of the ruler to form the lines between the valley and the dormer. It’s important to get as much of the loose particles of plaster out as possible, or they will affect the quality of the paint finish later.
Step 10 - Painting the roof
To mix up the colour for the roof, use a plastic container and dilute some of the Daler Rowney Burnt Sienna acrylic paint along with a touch of black, and a good squeeze of Burnt Umber. There is no set formula for this mix; I make up a new batch every time I build a house so it’s always different. If you want your roof to be redder, use more red, if you want it more of a brown hue add more black and burnt umber. Before starting to paint the roof, use plastic to protect the house and masking tape to cover the cheeks of the dormer window.
It is a good idea to make up a sample patch of roofing and paving on a flat piece of MDF, and play around with the colours until you are happy. If you do make enough to use later, always stir it thoroughly before using.
Apply the paint liberally, making sure that you get in between the joints and up into the lines formed beneath each row of tiles. Complete one section at a time, then, with a damp cloth randomly wipe over the top of the tiles, to create an uneven weathered effect. When you have painted the complete roof, do not throw the paint mix away; seal it for use again later. When you have painted the complete roof, glue the chimney in place and leave to dry.
When dry, use the same mix and take a very small paint brush and go over the whole roof touching up areas of bare plaster.
Step 13 - Chimney
Mix up a little more plaster for around the base of the chimney. When you have got enough plaster on, use a spreader or palette knife to smooth and shape around the chimney. Don’t forget to try and get into the angle between the back of the chimney and the roof angle. When you have smoothed the plaster off, use a small screwdriver to clean out the tile lines, and wash off excess plaster from the roof with a damp cloth.
With the same plaster mix, glue the Little Homes Of England chimney pot in place and plaster around the base of it, filling the top of the stack to conceal the MDF edges.
Add a bit more burnt umber to the paint you mixed for the roof, stir it in well, and paint a coat of the slightly different colour over the whole roof. Only do this to the surface of the tiles, don’t worry about getting into all the nooks and crannies. Gently wipe the surface with a damp cloth. This is another process to weather the roof.
Step 15 - Paved area
Re-mask the brickwork, the steps adjoining the paved areas and the base of the chimney, then mix up the paint by adding very small quantities of black to magnolia and water.
Paint all of the paving, and use a small brush to make sure you get to all of the bare plaster in the joints. When finished, keep some of the mix back in case you have to do any repairs later.
Step 16 - Touching up the stain and paintwork
Use a 50/50 mix of PVA and water to seal the taping over the wiring on the back of the house.
Work your way around every bit of the house carefully touching up the stain work, taking care not to flick stain on to the paint work. If this does happen you can paint over it by stippling with a brush to give the same surface finish as the roller. Whilst doing this you need also to stain the timber fixed to the outside edge of the base.
You will also need to touch up the stain and paintwork on all of the access panels. The difference between the bottom panel which hasn’t been re-touched and the upper one that has, is quite stark so is worth doing. You also need to stain the edges of the access panels.
When the plaster has dried around the base of the chimney, give it three coats of magnolia emulsion, and carefully touch up any of the roof that may have been affected. It is very difficult to get to but make sure you paint behind the chimney at its base, as well as around the bottom of the pot.
Step 18 - Woodwork
Now use FB180 to the ceiling of the balcony at first floor level to fit joists in line with those inside the rooms, then fit FB464 decorative brackets to the ends of the joists, against the FB189 ceiling beam. Cut the brackets down to suit the overhang. Work your way around the house fitting FB464 support brackets wherever you have an overhang that you haven’t already fixed them to. As a general rule either line them up with joist ends, or directly inline with vertical beams above.
You now need to trim around the two stairwell openings inside the house. For the second floor opening fix a beam across the front of the opening, then cut a beam and fix in line with joists at the back of the house, fit spacers between the new joist at the front of the house. The first floor opening is very similar, but depending on your joist spacing you may have to line up two additional joists.
Step 20 - Balustrade
To make the balustrade to go around the top of the two stair openings, measure the width and depth of the openings, which should be about 75mm x 95mm. For the second floor balustrade which needs to go round three sides of the opening, cut two identical mitred sets of FB366 stripwood, and two sets for the top floor opening, which will be a two sided L-shape. Glue the mitred joints together, then cut a total of seven pieces of FB189 stripwood at 60mm, glue and clamp them in the corners and ends of both balustrades. Cut pieces of FB180 stripwood at 60mm to glue and clamp as intermediate posts.
Once the glue has dried, remove the clamps, give them another coat of stain, and put them aside for fitting later. Do not fix them yet as it will make it difficult when you have to varnish the floors.
Using a clean cloth and fresh water clean all of the wooden floorboards, including the first floor balcony, along with the internal wood panelling. When the surfaces have completely dried give them all a coat of the clear polyurethane varnish. Pay particular attention to the wood panelling and keep an eye out for runs and drips, brushing them away as necessary. Don’t forget to varnish the inside of the two panelled access panels.
While you have the varnish in use, dust off the paved areas and give them a coat too. When the varnish is dry remove the masking tape. Glue the internal balustrades in position weighting them down until the glue dries.
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Telephone: 01769 560962
Email: [email protected]
If you have difficulty in finding any of the materials required, Kevin is happy to provide a quote for supplying everything, including MDF cut to size and Burbidge mouldings.
For materials and suppliers, please take a look at the Directory section of this website.