1/12th scale 2x4 Hollow Wall Construction

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I want to create my own structure based upon real floor plans.  I anticipate editing some of the rooms out of the structure and making my ceilings higher, perhaps 14".  I think turn of the century, Colonial, Federal or Georgian would be first choice, and will make an edited Victorian too.  I have a Lawbre Shawdow Cliff shell that I will eventually bash or I'll bash it first; I am not decided.  I joined the Greenleaf forum as I found  mesp2k in this forum, and except for Dorie Krusz book,  Building Miniature Houses and Furniture, and the limited information from Helen Dorsett in The Scale Cabinetmaker,  Greenleef forum member mesp2k is the only person that I found that had posted about hollow wall construction, in our current time / place.  (Dorie's book was published in 1977, so I'm guessing I can't talk with her and Helen Dorsett passed away in 1990.)  I did cruise through mesp2k's posts / website online.

When doing hollow-wall construction, I see one of the advantages is running wires for electricity, but I also think this is nice way to visually layout a structure.  My plan is to finish the floors of each room first and the walls, before going to the next floor.  

I see that mesp2k is a sketchup fan, but of course I do everything too late, and sketchup is now subscription based or you post your files in the cloud.   I'm not a cloud fan, so I would like to hear from others about your experiences with sketchup and pros/ cons of the new config.  I prefer drawing software where I can store things on my computer.  I do own a legal student version of Corel Draw, too.  I could go to Office Depot and look at their home design drafting software - perhaps a good activity for tomorrow.

Has anyone else created a scratch build house with hollow-wall construction?  Will it support a slate roof?  A friend introduced me to some wonderful slate from the UK.  

Do you build the house like you build a real house?  Did you glue and nail the walls to the foundation board?  What did you use for your interior walls?  Did you always use mat board, or model airplane plywood? Do I need to route a space in my foundation board to give my vertical framing 2x4's more strength.  

About me: I am an experienced student of miniature arts for 20+ years; I have lots of equipment and tools for miniatures, so I think the only obstacle now is deciding the techniques used to build and software to create the design.  I have been a member of NAME for 2+ decades and a member of IGMA for 1+ decade, and can build furniture from scratch when inspired. I am studying roof lines and staircases, and trying to decide how to duplicate spindles for my stairs.  I work full-time and miniatures are my hobby, but I only work on miniatures May - September that require real concentration - the other months require real concentration at work.

Thanks 

 

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Hi, Tamra, I used to have Dorie Krusz's book and if I were going to do the walls and studs stick-build I'd follow her instructions.  I'd also use matboard for the "sheet rock".  I believe that Jeremy/ pdlnpeabody also stick builds his scratch builds.

I hope you'll find time to introduce yourself in the Newcomers' Forum.

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Welcome, you can’t go wrong with any advice that @mesp2k has to offer. I hope he sees your post. 

I only use real slate from Richard Stacey from the UK. A structure made with 2x4 wall panels should hold up your roof with no problem. Are you planning on creating trusses to support the roof or will gable ends support the plywood under the slate?

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Hi Tamra, 

Welcome to the forum:wave:. You have tons of mini experience and I hope you will share some of your creations with us. You can private message Mike or hopefully he will see I referenced him and see your post@mesp2k

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Holly, I just posted to the intro.  I will search for posts from Jeremy - thanks for the tip!

Sable, if I do a 2x4 build, then the plan is to build the roof properly with trusses.  We are fortunate in scale modeling that we can create an impression, but I think I need to do one real 2x4 / hollow wall build  and get this out of my creative system.  Perhaps I will only do this in the future.  I do not like using a life size table saw, so I am dependent upon my husband, and while he is supportive, he is slowing me down, so I am thinking if I rip my own 1/8" x 4" x 24" basswood boards into scale 2x4's I won't be dependent on my husband to get some of these ideas out of my head and actually into a building stage.

Carrie, thanks for the welcome... the neverfinished ID is an accurate name for me; I don't finish much as I am easily distracted by real life distraction disorder (4 generations of family within a 4 mile radius and work)... but if I get this build off the ground I will try and share photos of the progress.

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When you have made five posts you can start albums in the Gallery here.

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Tamra - there's an older version of Sketchup -  Sketchup 8 that does things the old way. (Not sure if its compatible with your computer tho - but check it out.)

In CorelDraw you can draw all your framing & print it out at one inch scale or whatever scale you want.  I use - I think its called - billboard printout to multi pages - then you piece all the pages together.  I use plastic wrap tightly stretched over the printout & glue the frames together over it  - if any glue leaks out it comes right off the wrap instead of sticking to & ripping your printouts.

The image below has a frame with matboard glued to it -

then I'm figuring out the placement of the windows -

then I'll add the rest of the studs & glue them in & trim out the windows using the studs as a guide.

Img_1514.jpg

Click here to go to blog

I'm currently using 1/8" luan plywood instead of matboard.  Its cheaper & its local :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello...question, the tabs on the sides, do you use those to lock in the sides using a metal rod through the holes?

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1 hour ago, Keifer said:

Hello...question, the tabs on the sides, do you use those to lock in the sides using a metal rod through the holes?

Yes, but I've abandoned the metal rods, they're an eye hazard:  While you're working on the house - say you're wallpapering 2 walls & you want to align the design of the wp - you place the rod part way down (lazy) to lock the walls - if the rod is sticking out the top it's very difficult to see it!

I now slide a corner molding over the grooved exterior corner of the walls & roof ridge to lock them together. The corners are screwed together & the slide-over trim hides the screws. :)

 

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Mike, I am really happy about being able to use an old version of sketchup.   One less obstacle for the build!

I like your tabs... did you glue them onto the vertical 2x4(s)?  The metal rod through the holes is nice engineering touch to the assembly, but I can see how a metal rod might be a safety concern and imagine an accident.  I can't imagine the toolpath for a CNC router bit that would result in a square cut - must be a really small cutter if you did use a CNC.

I have some really large paper to play with, and I also bought 1" grid paper from Office Max many years ago, so when I want to use a pencil and ruler, doing a final design on huge 1" grid paper is still an option. https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/671657/Office-Depot-Brand-Flip-Chart-27/ I like the idea of printing billboard, as I have never heard of this option before in Corel Draw -- genius!  

I can never find 1/8" plywood that isn't warped, so I purchase 1/8" plywood from the model wood suppliers.

I went through my TSC mags today, and pullied Georgian room build (Peter Wescott) and Helen Dorsett's info on building a store, so I will read those too.  

Off to dream!

 

 

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6 hours ago, Neverfinished2005 said:

Mike, I am really happy about being able to use an old version of sketchup.   One less obstacle for the build!

I like your tabs... did you glue them onto the vertical 2x4(s)?  The metal rod through the holes is nice engineering touch to the assembly, but I can see how a metal rod might be a safety concern and imagine an accident.  I can't imagine the toolpath for a CNC router bit that would result in a square cut - must be a really small cutter if you did use a CNC.

I have some really large paper to play with, and I also bought 1" grid paper from Office Max many years ago, so when I want to use a pencil and ruler, doing a final design on huge 1" grid paper is still an option. https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/671657/Office-Depot-Brand-Flip-Chart-27/ I like the idea of printing billboard, as I have never heard of this option before in Corel Draw -- genius!  

I can never find 1/8" plywood that isn't warped, so I purchase 1/8" plywood from the model wood suppliers.

I went through my TSC mags today, and pullied Georgian room build (Peter Wescott) and Helen Dorsett's info on building a store, so I will read those too.  

Off to dream!

Correction: The link for this build should be here > CLICK

The tabs were one long 4' strip made in 2 halves, each having a groove, then glued together to create the hole for the rod.  Then the strip was cut into 3/4" pieces. And yes, glued to the vertical studs in a staggered fashion. So no CNC.

In (my old CorelDraw 9) to print an image in TILES (not called billboard), you need to make the on-screen page width & height large enough to fit the framed wall, floor or roof.

Then choose FILE/PRINT & tab LAYOUT, etc.

Check this out first > click

5b03f5c86cf9e_tilecoreld.png.bc64ec99062

A few ebayers sell 1/8" X 12" X 24" Baltic Birch Plywood (20) sheets.

As long as you keep them stored flat & dry - they should be fine.

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It takes some doing, but the hubs & I have occasionally found non-warped sheets of 1/8" luan plywood at Lowe's.

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Holly, Murphy's law of miniature building says only Non Warped plywood at Lowe's, Home Depot or Menards is on the bottom of the pile when I am in the home improvement store. 

The stack of 1/8" x 12" x 24" plywood on ebay for $56.99 would give me 14" and 10" ceiling heights less the saw kerf, so this a great possibility at $56.99 with free shipping.

I also like the Rockler option  Baltic Birch Plywood - 1/8" thick, 24" x 30"  $9.99 (they commonly give free shipping at $35. order)  It seems that I could get an entire 2 walls out of one piece of plywood, so I will probably try this option, and yes, I am much aware that plywood for miniatures must be stored flat, dry and in appropriate climate controlled setting if I want it to remain flat.  A long time ago, for reason I'm not sure of today, I purchased a 1/8" piece of cherry plywood from Rockler.  I wonder where that is and if it is still flat, uh oh. I also purchased a bunch of birch dowel rods, should I get inspired and wanted to make tiny, tiny spools of thread.  I know where the dowel rods are, and they are stored flat too.

I texted our son to help me download and update my laptop with sketchup, so this is on my task list for this week; I don't know if it will make it to his list, as he is expecting friends to visit and is doing some home improvement stuff on his real life home.  I actually wanted my laptop off the internet, as connectivity to the internet forces so many upgrades when you are connected online, that I didn't buy one with a hard wire connection, and now that is the only thing I regret about my computer decision last year. 

I have all my design stuff on the laptop as I bought a touch screen to help with all my designing efforts, and then wanted everything to be mobile so when I meet friends at Chicago, I could demonstrate what their crazy friend was doing.

Thanks for the corrected link to the build.  I will study soon.  

Your kindness is much appreciated to the new forum member!

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, mesp2k said:

The tabs were one long 4' strip made in 2 halves, each having a groove, then glued together to create the hole for the rod.  Then the strip was cut into 3/4" pieces. And yes, glued to the vertical studs in a staggered fashion. So no CNC.

Yep, I understand.  I haven't had time to study my construction techniques yet.  The one framing book that I found in our home library for life size projects is so old that is talks about asbestos siding (oh goodness)... so I  will have to make a decision about construction.  

I have qty 17 1/8 x 4 x 24" basswood boards to cut into 2x4s - but want to draw the plan before I start cutting wood.  This is going to take some time, and this weekend I am hoping with 3 days off from work to get back to the lathe... it calls me.  Next week I hope I will have time in the evenings to start a floor plan.  Must have floor plan and elevation drawing first before i start ripping wood into scale 2x4s!

 

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27 minutes ago, Neverfinished2005 said:

I am hoping with 3 days off from work to get back to the lathe... it calls me.  

 

I have aspirations of working on a wood lathe.  I just haven’t found a way to make that happen just yet (financially).  What specifically do you do on the lathe?  Anything you can share (pics) 

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4 minutes ago, Keifer said:

...What specifically do you do on the lathe?  Anything you can share (pics) 

I turned kitchen table legs:

large.P3150069.JPG.823c0232e34b65d4046ea

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I turned those on a full-sized lathe using full-sized turning tools.

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Just as an FYI, balloon framing would be “period”, not today’s stick framing. 

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Genevra, thanks for the tip! 

My old Practical Carpentry Book (cloth bound) Copyright 1963 has balloon framing  description on drawing on page 51.  I was already considering the framing techniques too... so at least if I do this properly, vs today's Modern Braced Framing techniques, I will know one miniaturist who knew I did period specific framing for the home.  I was looking at images of Georgian Structures last night, I am having difficulty making decisions - I think the Victorian is going to win.  The issue is that I love Victorian exteriors, but want a Georgian interior - (sigh) it may end up being a time consuming muddled mess.   I do have enough discipline left in my last little toe to pretend I can control this!  I supposed I could just call it a turn of the century home, eh... and build to my heart's content!

 

 

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I find this interesting; as a kit builder it's my experience that the kit dictates what it wants (including bashing).

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16 hours ago, Neverfinished2005 said:

Genevra, thanks for the tip! 

My old Practical Carpentry Book (cloth bound) Copyright 1963 has balloon framing  description on drawing on page 51.  I was already considering the framing techniques too... so at least if I do this properly, vs today's Modern Braced Framing techniques, I will know one miniaturist who knew I did period specific framing for the home.  I was looking at images of Georgian Structures last night, I am having difficulty making decisions - I think the Victorian is going to win.  The issue is that I love Victorian exteriors, but want a Georgian interior - (sigh) it may end up being a time consuming muddled mess.   I do have enough discipline left in my last little toe to pretend I can control this!  I supposed I could just call it a turn of the century home, eh... and build to my heart's content!

 

 

Well, the Federalist revival was big in the US after this centennial. As long as it’s American, you have plenty of revival stuff to choose from. Of course,stick framing was also an American invention. The Brits were still doing structural masonry construction (with facing bricks over common) into the 1900s. 

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3 hours ago, Genevra said:

The Brits were still doing structural masonry construction (with facing bricks over common) into the 1900s. 

Actually the 'Brits' were doing structural masonry construction from roughly the time they dropped the timber framing of the Tudor period and are still doing now! The practice of using facing brick over common was very regional and mainly in London where to save cost during the rapid development during the Victorian era builders would often use the poorest quality brick on the lower floors covered by stucco.

It is thought by some that your 'Balloon framing' was thought to have originated in early 1830's Chicago. It grew and remained popular because it allowed the relatively unskilled to build their own structures being free of the dovetail, mortise and tenon joints that make up the 'Stick Framing' which ultimately replaced it.

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Balloon framing was a way to use wood much more frugally than timber framing without the various issues of structural brick buildings.  It really had little to do with talent/skill and more to do with speed and resource frugality.  In regions without transportation infrastructure and lots of wood, timber techniques remained for much longer, into the 1940s.  The areas with the longest use of timber has the least level of labor specialization.  Ordinary people with no construction training could use both English and Scandinavian timber techniques quite well.

Brick buildings also sank in Chicago’s mud flats.  It was a perennial problem.  Lighter construction techniques were desperately needed there.  The superiority of balloon framing made it spread rapidly across the country.  Massive timbers weren’t widely available by the 1800s in most of the country—the remaining huge trees were very expensive in the East and simply didn’t exist in the plains.  Bricks were expensive to transport, and raw new towns hardly had the infrastructure to create brickworks.  Standard framing members were relatively cheap to transport by rail.

We also were much more enthusiastic about plumbing and central boilers and then gas and eventually electricity than in the UK—our poor were much richer than UK’s poor, so there were severe shortages of domestic servants from the earliest ages, and so we were enthusiastic adopters of every labor-saving device and convenience.

This meant providing for the appropriate mechanical infrastructure, which was much easier in a home with wall voids. The British love of masonry construction was much like their affection for open fireplaces long after all of the rest of the developed areas of Northern Europe moved to efficient and clean enclosed stoves—nostalgic but irrational, and aided by a weak labor market.

The introduction of insulation in the first half of the 20th century ensured that modern stick framing (which is superior still to balloon framing, offering better fire resistance, smaller standard members and so a better use of resources, and more modularity) would remain standard in the US.  Factory engineered W-trusses are an even more recent cost-and-resource-saving technique that make attics (or lofts, as I suppose you’d call them) less useful for any other purposes and changed the slope-roofed attic bedrooms from a cost-saving measure to an architectural indulgence!  Weather is much more extreme here than in the U.K.—my home, for example, gets considerably colder than any place in the U.K. and also has weeks at a time in the high 90s F each summer—so the cost of cooling and heating the same amount of space is higher, making insulation far more important.

London was a brick city partly because much of the stone that became so fashionable in the countryside after the 1760s was eaten by terrible smog and acid rain in London.  Other cities weren’t inherently that much cleaner (except for their more efficient heating technologies) but were smaller or had better wind patterns. Common brick isn’t—or shouldn’t be—weaker than face brick; it’s just not as attractive.  It isn’t like rubble-filled stone walls, where width makes up for a lack of strength.

Here, structural masonry construction (vs facade construction) is now saved for commercial and larger multi family residential buildings, unless people are doing SIPs or similar or are in a place like Florida, where the poor energy performance doesn’t matter as much as superior wind resistance.  Solid brick was once preferred in very hot desert climates before air conditioning was common because brick walls acted as big heat sinks and would equalize the day/night temperature swings, but AC is better for comfort now.

I’ve not made a systematic study of current U.K. building practices but what I do know baffles me. There is a complete lack of respect for the dangers of water heaters (expansion tanks not required????) and an irrational terror of electricity near water while also not showing an understanding of GFCI outlets—and some places still have separate hot and cold water taps, so you must fill a lavatory basin with water to wash your face instead of using a quarter of the water while running out of the tap at the desired temperature. And then there is the bizarre continuing popularity of the wasteful AGA stoves and the disdain for dishwashers and clothes dryers and decent-sized refrigerators that make weekly shopping convenient for two-income families—and new houses without adequate bedroom closets! US building patterns have some absurd elements (floor plans so “open” that everyone wants a bigger house when really what’s needed is a few walls so that people can do different things at the same time, and reach-in closets with enclosed upper parts that are virtually unusable), but not as many that seem to be a stubborn rejection of the 20th century, never mind the 21st!

Of course, I’m saying that as someone using nanotechnology to make cleaning surfaces easier, who has cleaning robots to do 90% of the floor cleaning, and who has a washing machine with 2 compartments and a dryer with an extra compartment for dry-flat items. :)  I’m even experimenting with electrostatic methods of repelling dust from horizontal surfaces to make dusting a less frequent task, and cleanability is a major factor in all my remodeling decisions, so I may be at the other extreme!

The absurdly impractical British houses of the late 1800s do make deliciously fun dollhouses (or doll’s houses, I suppose) though. 

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I won't even take the time or waste the space to reproduce the above rubbish. You really do need to brush up on your history......particularly that of your own country. 

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