Monday, 27 April 2015

The area and pavement is done

The instructions with this kit are OK but not simplified with diagrams so you do need to read carefully a couple of times and look at the accompanying photographs.  As with any instruction it is best to fiddle around with the pieces, if you can, and see if what they say seems to work. For example, at one point in this build, you are told to glue on the pavement and then fit the front.  The front is very slightly over-large so if you did it this way it would not go on under the already glued in pavement.  The only way to actually know this is that you dry build first which was doable with the basement.  this isn't possible with the house so I am just hoping I don't come across a similar experience when building.  Who is a worry maggot?

I am deliberately writing this as the build goes along so if things occur to me as I go, I can share them........

Here's one .........This may well be stating the obvious but I admit to it not being thought about by me on my first build.  It is pretty much essential you have a good, clear, level surface to work on.  My previous builds have all been done on a piece of the packing cardboard on a kitchen work surface and this has been fine as I had the luxury of a space I didn't have to use so the work could sit there for days as the build/painting went along.  This time I am working entirely on the trolley that the house will eventually inhabit.  This too is fine.  Flat and strong and big enough is what's needed.

Another thought is, if you can, scrounge up (or buy) very large clamps that carpenters use they would really help the process.  I don't have any, or access to any, so I manage best I can by holding joints together (applying pressure) until they 'tack up' or weighing down with books.  Now and then the occasional bit can be clamped with the few puny clamps I do have.  Being a bookworm always helps!

couple of apologies for clamps and some books to add pressure while drying

The tips/thought will be pretty random - here's another.....  remember to move your pieces around as soon as they will allow otherwise you could find you have just unintentionally glued two pieces to the surface you are working on!

Here are some more thoughts and pictures of the pavement being built.

square up as you go
Every time you glue a vertical, keep putting a well cut right angled piece of wood against it to make sure it is at ninety degrees as the glue sets.  In a couple of minutes it will have tacked up enough to keep it in the right position while it dries.  Don't trust to your 'eye', you will definitely be 'out' of kilter.

best tool in the box

Without a doubt the best tool in my toolbox is a toothpick - well hundreds of them actually.  They do too many jobs to list them all here; right now that little soft point is clearing out excess glue.

extra wall (right side)

needs one here? (left side)
Simply because this isn't real life there has to be a sort of extra wall beside the steps/entrance as this is the side of the right hand swing out piece.  I did consider just not using it but decided that doors of any kind need all the strength they can get, so in it went.  Now, when I look at the finished front as if it were a real area and pavement I am left wondering why there is a wall there on the right but not on the other side.  This can be easily cured if I (or my gofer) can cut a good clean square piece the same size - I will just add that to the left side.  Only doubt is the adding weight aspect as this frontage(steps etc) is already fairly hefty.

front piece a bit too tall

As I said earlier, the front pieces are a bit too tall so its not a perfect finish or good contact between the pieces.  It could be planed or sanded off but, again, I don't have the kit or requisite skill, so the bump-up remains.

The final thought for today is:  Try your very best to stop being a perfectionist.

You are dealing with a mass produced, machine cut, MDF doll's house and it will not be perfect.  By all means be fussy and, later, remedy what annoys you with wood-filler, sanding down and paint.  The only person viewing your house that will pick at microscopic faults will be you, try to be like them and just enjoy it.

all done

Eh, Voila! a pavement front to the basement all finished......  now for the big one!


  1. Even though I have read all of your posts I am going back and re-reading them again. Thank you for that last piece of advice about trying not to be a perfectionist. When I saw your picture of the step I immediately noticed the gap and was frustrated on your behalf for the kit not being cut properly as I know this wasn't anything that you had done "wrong", it was just poor cutting on the manufacturers part. Then you said "it's OK, calm down." Luckily for me my Dad made the house pretty perfect. I'm struggling with what I call the "bones of the house"....flooring, molding, wallpaper, etc. I believe that you have to get that right. I, like you, enjoy that part of the process more. I love Dalton House and these educational posts. So thank you again!

    1. Hi Beth, hope you are getting these replies (I always acknowledge comments). You are absolutely right, I think that dressing a botched house with the finest things won't ever make it look right. The setting has to be as good as you can do do. I can see the finish of Dalton House drawing near now am fidgeting as to what I shall do next. As I keep saying collecting isn't my bliss, building is.... Marilyn