Repairing an old Van Buren

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Hi! Working on restoring my Van Buren and hoping someone is working a mini that can advise me on repairing holes. 

Thanks,

Rebecca

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What kind of holes and where are they located? When you have made one more post, you can open an album in the Gallery to post photos. It's easier to give a useful answer if we can see the issues.

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Hey Kathie! Unfortunately they are holes that goes through the ceiling on 2 of the 3 floors. After reading a few posts on here, I’ve attempted to use wood glue to piece together the parts and still have pressed weight on both floors. Once that’s dry I’ll decide if it looks like I can use them still. Then I was thinking of patching what I don’t have pieces and parts for -to fill in with wood filler. I’m going to try and get pictures up today. I know it’s hard to offer help without pictures!

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If your mother used hot glue to build it originally you can take it apart carefully with a blow dryer (I use a heat gun and make new doors and windows when I rehab hot glue-built dollhouses) and reassemble is with a good carpenters' wood glue.  I prefer spackle or drywall mud to fill gaps, rather than wood filler.

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I’m not sure what she used. But I’ve managed to get all the wallpaper off, sand the inards but not outside walls yet as they are all off. The bottom is not sturdy and will need to stabilize that before going much further. So even if the holes are say 1-2in you still recommend spackle over filler? 

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If there are holes that big you can either cut patches from 1/8" scrap wood or foam core to fit and glue them in, because IMHO that's too big for wood filler.  I don't care for wood putty because I have problems trying to sand it and the "stainable" isn't.  I make my own wood putty from sawdust and wood glue and stain it whilst mixing.

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I know this is a dumb question but where do I go on this site to start a new thread and post pictures? 

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25 minutes ago, Rebecca Williams said:

I know this is a dumb question but where do I go on this site to start a new thread and post pictures? 

Post the photo in this thread. See on the bottom as you write a comment it says “click to choose files”?  Do that to post a photo here.

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There are two places to post photos. The first place is here in this thread. This is where you can ask specific questions about the photo but you are limited to the number of photos you can post. The second place is a gallery, it’s unlimited. That’s where you can show off your accomplishments. I’d start posting photos here first until you become more comfortable with the site.

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1 hour ago, Rebecca Williams said:

I know this is a dumb question but where do I go on this site to start a new thread and post pictures? 

1)  There is no such thing as a dumb question if you don't know the answer!

2)  At the top right side of each forum's page listing the topics there is a button to start a new topic.

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Okay... trying to attach a couple of pics. This is the middle floor as you can see the floor/ceiling is in bad shape. This is after trying to glue in pieces. They just wouldn’t flatten unfortunately. t

668B8B6E-F3FF-4566-9CCC-256E00F65F43.jpeg

5EC17B7D-2153-422F-BB85-6344E01354CB.jpeg

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Hi all! I’m a newbie restoring my first dollhouse- one close to my heart because my mom made it for me along with furniture back in 1978. I’ve moved it around with me all these years and know that my kids are off in college and it’s cold outside I decided it’s time to tackle this project. It’s a big project as my ex husband smashed it. I’ve got as many parts and pieces as I could salvage. I’ve learned it’s a Van Buren! I’ve removed wallpaper and sanded the insides but the foundation needs reinforcement. There are quite a few holes that I’ve attempted to glue but not looking so good. I’m uncertain of tools for cutting, replacing... the front panel has been crushed somewhat into the door frame. Ugh... 

74C7A967-DBEC-4F92-93DD-6C2EFCEFC264.jpeg

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Rebecca - With out seeing the holes hard to say how to fix then if not all the way through a wood putty will work then sand it down seal and either stain or paint, Take your time and ask questions you will receive great help from wonderful people on this site. You will get it done..

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Thanks Ken. I posted a few pics of the holes on my profile? I don’t know really where I posted them hahaha. Still learning the site. Can I post a lot of pics on this forum?

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  I'm not sure how many you can post, Quite a few I believe, I have been away for awhile so am figuring all this out again myself, Someone will answer that for you. I will go and find the pictures,. lol

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Rebecca, this is supposed to be a fun hobby. The pictures tell me it is going to be one large headache to get these components anywhere near back in shape, and you probably won't be happy with how they turn out. Have you considered replacing them? If you don't feel handy up to it, etc., you might find someone comfortable working with wood to trace the broken pieces to make new ones. You really want the basic construction elements to be sound to ensure a sturdy building.

I was going to suggest purchasing a new kit and use components from it to replace the damaged bits or consider the original house totaled and start over completely, but the Greenleaf Shop only offers a 1:24 scale version. I believe yours is an older version in 1:12 scale, although there isn't anything in your photos to give a sense of scale. I don't know where you might find a 1:12 kit. Perhaps someone else here will know.

I don't think replacing the damaged parts (or rebuilding completely) will interfere with your goal to rehab the house in the same spirit you mother put into it, as that will be reflected in how it is finished inside and out and furnished with her handiwork. The basic construction pieces will not be seen.

Good luck with your project, however you proceed. :) 

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 OK found them, The holes are repairable use wood putty , if the hole is all the way through use tape so the putty doesn't go all the way through, fill let dry, sand and stain just get it close that will be fine. . Now the other is broken, BUT all is not lost, take some yellow wood glue squeeze quite a bit in behind the cracked area use a brush or thin stick to work all the way in.. lay the whole thing on a flat surface put wax paper over that area and stack weights on. let it dry overnight. This is just from pictures but it does look repairable. If not a new floor would have to be made, I personally would prefer to keep all the original parts if I coulsd, considering where it came from. Just my thought.

 

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21 minutes ago, Ken said:

  I'm not sure how many you can post, Quite a few I believe, I have been away for awhile so am figuring all this out again myself, Someone will answer that for you. I will go and find the pictures,. lol

Hi Ken ... welcome back! :wave: 

The number of photos included within a message is limited. The number of photos posted in a gallery is pretty much unlimited. Links to gallery photos can be posted in a message. 

Despite Ken's good suggestions, I stand by my suggestion in another thread to replace the badly damaged pieces. Even in historic real buildings, parts must be replaced due to termites, dry rot, natural disasters, and any other of a number of factors. Good maintenance doesn't negate the historic value. Besides, when you look at the finished house, with all of the dedication and heart that you will put into it, would you rather see a strong, sturdy house filled with your mother's spirit or a house shattered in its bones from a brutal act of destruction?

FYI ... you may want to choose one thread for all questions and comments about your Van Buren. That will keep everything about the project in one place, so it will be easy for you and other member to find quickly. You might contact fov or Minis on the Edge, our moderators, and ask that all off your Van Buren posts be consolidated into one thread.

 

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Hi Kathie, I agree it hurts my heart to see this mess. I’m up to trying  to replace these key parts if possible to keep the rest. What tools are needed and used to cut these pieces once traced? Or is there someone in the community that does this work maybe on the side of their own projects? 

Ive looked all over to do what you suggested in replacing parts but no luck. The sizes are different. 

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Rebecca, the 1/8" plywood can be cut with a utility knife, a cork-backed steel ruler and lots & lots of new, sharp blades for that knife.  I like a Stanley utility knife/ box cutter that can retract the blade and store extra new blades in the handle.  For large cuts I prefer a table saw or bandsaw and fence.  I agree with Kathie about making new parts for the really badly trashed ones.  Your ex sounds like a real beast and you are well rid of someone like that.

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 Pretty much a table saw and a scroll or jigsaw will do. If your local schools still have shop programs a wood shop could do them in just a few minutes. Or a neighbor that does woodwork can do it as well.

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I merged the two Van Buren threads. Apparently this kit is hard to find, there aren't any on eBay. If you can find a replacement kit, I think the best thing to do would be to use that for parts.

If that's not possible, cutting new pieces out of plywood is one way to go. Another thing that might work would be to sandwich the old pieces between two pieces of matboard, which is sturdy but relatively thin and can be cut with a sharp utility knife. Cut pieces of matboard to fit over the entire piece that's damaged. Don't overlap the tabs or the slots on the side where another piece gets inserted to it; do overlap the slots on the opposite side. This way you'll be able to put the house back together but will have full coverage over the slot holes. The matboard "sandwich" will add stability and cover up the damage.

Then put the house back together and add flooring and ceiling paper (or paint) over the matboard. You'll end up with thicker walls and floors this way but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Thin cardboard could work in place of matboard, but the thinner it is the less stability it will add. Add strips of basswood (available at dollhouse or hobby shops, or online) to the exposed edges and you'll never know that the original wood is sandwiched between other pieces, it'll just look like a thick floor/wall.

 

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