Starting a Beacon Hill

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Hi all. I'm just starting on a Beacon Hill, and have started with the staircase. As it seems is often with a Greenleaf kit, a lot of the wood is "less than ideal".  Does anyone have a good solution for making the panels less "rough"?  Sanding only seems to make it worse, and I want to be able to stain these, rather than paint them. Thanks. 

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I sometimes get thin sheet wood and trace the original pieces onto it and then use the sheet wood instead.  The wood is usually fairly soft and can be cut easily with an Exacto knife or a utility knife.  It's not very expensive, and you can find it in most online dollhouse stores.  I also use it for paneling instead of staining the walls and having that same "rough" look.

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Basswood from Hobby Lobby, far right corner or Michael’s. Stains very nicely.

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Thank you Khadi and Sable. I used this in the past. I actually used it to cover the underside of the stairwell. I was just hoping to not have to cut out all the openings, but I think ill have to go that way to make it look high end that I want. 

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Brian, if it's the baluster part of the stairs you don't like, why not cut them off and replace them with turned toothpicks or Houseworks balusters?

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1 hour ago, Brian H said:

Thank you Khadi and Sable. I used this in the past. I actually used it to cover the underside of the stairwell. I was just hoping to not have to cut out all the openings, but I think ill have to go that way to make it look high end that I want. 

You can use real wood veneer from Lowes, or Home Depot. (If there is cabinet shop you can get their drop offs probably for free....gotta call and find the shop foreman and see if they are willing)

It is a little messy to apply with spray adhesive to the original wood, but you might be able to find some nice cherry or maple. Oak is really common too.

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Iron-on wood veneer is also lovely; I cut it into scale "boards" and iron it directly onto the floors.

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Hi Brian, I understand what you mean as I also tried to use as many plywood components from the kit as I could. I guess it depends on how "rough" the surface is and what kind of finish you are going for. In the staircase luckily most of edges on the steps won't be visible after assembly, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. I've stained mine, it was a dark color so the rougher edges on the gothic rails hopefully won't be too visible. I've replaced the top of the rails and bannisters completly thou, I didn't like the look. I'm thinking about perhaps adding a friese around the pannels too. If you are painting them a solid color this shouldn't be so much of a problem thou, as you can fill in any gaps with a mix of plaster or sawdust and paint them smooth. I did that for the window frames, I also found it easier to paint before assembling the components but it's a personal choice. The alternative of using basswood is of course better, specially for the rails they will have a better finish all around. I've tried to avoid that to cut on costs, hope I won't regret my decision later :p 

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FYI a recipe for wood putty: sawdust + woodglue  + stain to match what you're filling.

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On 1/2/2018, 6:48:00, Brian H said:

Does anyone have a good solution for making the panels less "rough"?  Sanding only seems to make it worse

You might try "sanding" with a crumpled piece of brown paper bag. It will smooth the surface without raising any fibers.

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On 1/3/2018, 11:05:13, wormwoodz said:

Hi Brian, I understand what you mean as I also tried to use as many plywood components from the kit as I could. I guess it depends on how "rough" the surface is and what kind of finish you are going for. In the staircase luckily most of edges on the steps won't be visible after assembly, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. I've stained mine, it was a dark color so the rougher edges on the gothic rails hopefully won't be too visible. I've replaced the top of the rails and bannisters completly thou, I didn't like the look. I'm thinking about perhaps adding a friese around the pannels too. If you are painting them a solid color this shouldn't be so much of a problem thou, as you can fill in any gaps with a mix of plaster or sawdust and paint them smooth. I did that for the window frames, I also found it easier to paint before assembling the components but it's a personal choice. The alternative of using basswood is of course better, specially for the rails they will have a better finish all around. I've tried to avoid that to cut on costs, hope I won't regret my decision later :p 

Thanks Ashley. I threw on a coat of stain just to try it, and it actually came out pretty good. I'm going to put another coat on, and several coats of polyurethane. I think it's going to be pretty good. But, I agree with your thoughts on the railings. I will probably buy pre made railings and will be beefing up the newel posts. 

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On 1/6/2018, 11:50:07, Brian H said:

Thanks Ashley. I threw on a coat of stain just to try it, and it actually came out pretty good. I'm going to put another coat on, and several coats of polyurethane. I think it's going to be pretty good. But, I agree with your thoughts on the railings. I will probably buy pre made railings and will be beefing up the newel posts. 

I am also on the stairway for Beacon Hill. I am using mahagony stain and a satin poly. I stained 2 coats...haven't added the poly yet because I'm still adding more details/trims to dress it up more. I had to recut one piece because I didn't like how the "wrong" side looked stained....it is the first floor rail section that is near the front door. It was cut out with the smoother side facing toward the stairs rather than out where more people would see it. I don't know if this makes any sense. Lol 

Tamara

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I’ve found the wood quality on my laser cut Diana kit to be very nice. Is the wood quality on the other kits not as good? I wonder if Greenleaf will ever do a laser cut Beacon Hill? 

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Laser cutting allows for a firmer plywood than die-stamping.

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