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Custom Rehab Week 01

This upcoming project is a little different from my usual ones. This is a rehab. This custom dollhouse belongs to a neighbor and she was ...

Tuesday, May 12

The Gloucester Dollhouse Day 5

I finished installing the windows and the front door to the front wall panel. I then proceeded to hinge the front panel.

Here’s some advice on this process. First, you want to make absolutely sure that you know how the hinges will go on each wall you have to screw them into. Dry fit them to the front wall panel and open and close the panel to see if they are in the correct direction. Look at the picture link of the dollhouse very carefully so you can see where the hinges are positioned.

Apply the hinges to the front wall panel first. After you know which way they have to be positioned, mark where the screws will go with a pencil onto the wall. Use a nail to start a beginner hole on the pencil marks. Add glue to the back of the hinge and position it on the hole you just made. Apply glue to the screw and screw it into the holes. Don’t tighten too much or you will break the wood around the screw and it will become loose. A damaged hole will not hold the screw properly and your panel will come loose over time. If you damage the hole for the screw, you can use broken wooden toothpick pieces to fill the hole so the screw has new grab. So remember, screw only until the screw doesn’t turn anymore and that’s it. Glue is necessary because it reinforces the screw and hinge. Make sure you don’t apply your hinges over wallpaper or any texture. Apply them directly to the plain wood wall. You will have to wallpaper or texture around them.

Hold the panel to the side wall and do the same process to this side of the hinge. Make sure you keep the hinge as flush to the side wall as possible and you will need someone to hold the panel for you to keep it straight while you screw in the hinge.

After the panel is hinged on one side, you have to apply the eyelet and hook to the other side. Apply the eyelet first by tapping it with a hammer on the edge of the wall panel and then screwing it in with your hand. Make sure you added glue to the screw part. Position it so the hook can go in it when your done screwing it in. Now keep the panel closed and dry fit the hook so you know where you have to screw it so that it’s the right distance from the eyelet. Mark with a pencil where that is. Open a starter hole with a nail. Put the hook into the screw and screw it into the starter hole but don’t screw it in all the way, only half way so the hook can move and you can put it in the eyelet. Remember to apply glue to the screw like you did to all the others before screwing it in.

Now keep in mind some important things. This plywood is very thin and it warps easily. The warping can always be straightened when your gluing walls to floors and to other walls but when you have a loose wall panel, like this hinged panel, there is nothing holding it straight. So chances are that your warp will not go away. You can see clearly how on the top edge and bottom edge of my panel, it's slightly gapped when closed. This is because the panel is warped. Even in the Greenleaf picture of the dollhouse link, you can see there is also a gap on the finished model at the top of the panel. There’s nothing you can do about this. It's not really an eye sore or anything. The most important thing is for your panel to open and close smoothly and for there to not be gaps around the hinges or between them. You also want your panel to fit squarely on the opening of the dollhouse.

To minimize warping, I suggest you use heavy weights on your front panel, after you laminate them together, so they dry flat. Leaning it vertically up against a wall to allow drying time is a big no-no. You must lay it flat and with a weight on top. Preventing the warp before it happens is the best solution to this problem. If you wallpaper your front panel, again, lay it flat with a weight on top so that the wallpaper pastes moisture does not warp your panel as it dries. If your painting it, paint both sides at the same time to avoid warping.

I added another basswood strip between the front legs, like I did to the back ones. This gives the legs more stability and they are very sturdy now.

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