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#1 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:46 PM

I hate it when this happens. Usually I don't have any original or different ideas. The Tudor house was just a mix of things I've seen and wondered if they would work together. It's also one of the few ideas I had in the past 3 or 4 years.

Now I have so many different ideas for minis that I'm not sure whether to be excited that I won't run out of things to build, or that I'll never get to build them all. Some are already off the table due to the size of the finished piece and my limited work space, but others have potential to become reality someday.

This happened a number of years ago before I started building scratch-built houses. I had a rush of about a dozen ideas for plastic model kit dioramas. The one I might actually be able to build now is the tower from launch pad 39A. For those not familiar with Florida's space coast, that's the pad they launched the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions from. When I was a kid, Revell made a model of it, but I was so young I didn't think I had the skills to build such a complex kit. Now it's been discontinued for more than 20 years, so I won't ever find one. My plan was to build it, but use wires and cotton balls for the massive steam cloud that forms under the shuttles when they launch. Just a few inches above the launch pad, a model of the shuttle would be resting on "flames" made from tinted epoxy pourd in layers creating a rippled effect.

Now I'm bursting with 1" mini ideas. The first 2 are most likely to happen. The rest, we'll have to see.

1. A 1/18 scale Harley Davidson dealership, with a 2-story eliptical window at least 14" wide as the front centerpiece. The floor of the window area would be a faux quartz, amber and black marble H-D logo. The show room / store would be full of bikes, clothing racks, accessories, diamond plate, etc. It would also have a service area with several bikes in various states of disassembly. The only hold-up would be getting the Trademark license to use their logos. If I can't get one, I could try another brand (less likely to find a buyer) or I could build a sterile building without any logos or brand markings. I would take a photo at the time of sale and give the new owner the locations where they could get a Harley bumper sticker and they can brand the building themselves. It's a legal but underhanded way of avoiding a trademark infringement suit. If I were mass-producing these things, it would be a different story, but I'm only interested in building one.

2. A replica of an entire house in 1" scale that splits into several sections and has removeable walls held in place by magnets. It would be a modern house with a 5 or 6 room master bedroom suite, a bar, garage, backyard deck, etc. I'm already talking with the President of the National Builder's Association (he lives here in Gainesville) about getting copyright clearance on a house.

3. A yaht "dollhouse". It would be a luxury yaht around 8' long, but with the hull cut away on one side, with the various state rooms, crew quarters, bridge, pool, etc. showing. It would probably be built in 1/2" scale, but I'm still not convinced I could work with the electronics in that scale. The other option would be to make it a "starter yaht" in 1" scale. Setting it in an epoxy "ocean" at the waterline would be a possibility too.

An alternative would be to step away from the dh thing altogether and just build a scratch-built model of a yaht in a scale that would be managable for most collectors.

4. The previous idea, only 200 years earlier. A 3 masted ship of the line (battleship) with the cannon decks, living quarters, officer's & captian's quarters all visible on the one side with the hull removed. Due to the height of the masts, they would have to be cut short, but the deck and interiors would be the main feature anyway.

5. A Gothic mansion. It would have a two story music room with a full pipe organ, a two-story library, and other various rooms. Not sure about the final size, but building it as two parts isn't out of the question.

6. A castle dollhouse. My daughter loves castles, trains and princesses (she's going to love Disney World). She would probably thoroughly love a castle dollhouse. Something between the Disney castle and the one at Ron's in Orlando would be a possibility.

7. A New York Brownstone. It would be built so that the owner could put it up against a wall and still display it. The house would be open from the side, so it could be 5' long, but only 2' wide. The side against the wall would just be brick anyway, so there's no reason to see that side. It could even have enough space to build the street's edge with a car parked outside. Another option would be to build the corner building, with a diner or book shop on the ground floor and an apartment on the upper floors.

If someone really wealthy wanted a block, you could literally build a half dozen of them, build them on rolling tables, and hinge them on the back end. The would all line up, but open like 2' thick pages of a book, each house decorated and furnished completely differently.

Sorry for such a long post. I'm hoping maybe it will inspire someone to try one of them since I'd be almost as happy just seeing it built.

#2 havanaholly

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:06 AM

Oh, Jeremy, I go through that idea surge from time to time. The yacht isn't a bad idea, when I saw the movie I thought a 1:12 or smaller version of the boat from "Steve Zissou and the Life Aquatic" would be a hoot.
My mother divorced my father when I was four and we had already gone to live with her parents, who lived in a brick row house in Cleveland, OH. I think about that one as a dollhouse. I used to watch my grandpa build furniture and make Christmas train accessories in his basement workshop. DH & I went by there mini years ago and the row houses were still standing.
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#3 Jo Med

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:14 PM

I love the idea of the New York brownstone Jeremy and the gothic mansion. I know what you mean about having too many ideas all at the same time - almost as bad as not having any at all.
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#4 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 06:48 PM

I'm used to not having any ideas at all. I have an eccentric side I usually keep in check, but still have trouble "thinking outside of the box." I now have loads of ideas.

Another came to mind this afternoon- a modern R.V. With the need for wheels and many other moving parts it would be both the smallest and most complex project at the same time. I once built one with expanding sides, kitchen, everything- out of legos for my nieces. Wish I had taken a picture of it.

Holly,

You know they built a life-sized cut-away of the boat for the movie, right?

#5 havanaholly

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:27 PM

Yes, Jeremy, I did know that, having seen that particular movie in the theatre and enjoying it so much we rushed out & bought it when it came out on DVD. When one of the Cousteaus was interviewed in Outside magazine DH & I laughed so hard the tears nearly ran down our legs! Talk about dysfunctional! I had thoughts about bashing the Houseboat kit, but the stack of unbuilt kits stares reproachfully at me and this move has even put a halt on Mildred's rehab.
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#6 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:09 PM

I have a small TV, so I had to rewind several times to confirm what I thought I was seeing. That must have been one expensive set.

The local contact I have for Harley-Davidson says there's no way I'll get permission to use the Logo, but I haven't given up yet. I might even tell them my plan if they say "no". They can't sue me if the customer puts a bumper sticker across the building! If they decide to be unreasonable, I will probably build a really large, very busy service area to feature their sub-par, overpriced junk of a product. :/

#7 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 10:45 AM

Besides my daughter's castle dollhouse, I've been thinking about the cut-away yacht. It would probably have to be built in 1/2" scale or be scaled down to a "beginner yacht" of less than 60ft. to scale. My only concern with building in 1/2 scale is the size of the lights & wiring. I know it can be done, but I have enough trouble with 1" scale wiring. I'll produce a concept sketch of that one too soon.

#8 drjones

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:33 PM

Jeremy,

What great Ideas! Sometimes I have days (or more likely nights) like that. I now have a book that I keep by my bed for all these ideas that come to me.

I love the castle idea.

I also love the idea of removable/movable walls. I was thinking about doing something similar but not with magnets. I was thinking of trying something like sliding walls (as opposed to sliding doors). I have no idea how that would work. I got the idea after seeing a video on you tube (). I don't think his kind of movable walls are possible, but who knows?

-Dawn
-Dawn

I'm glad dollhouses are small...that just means I can have more.

#9 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:52 PM

Dawn,

That was an amazing video. Glad I don't have to move walls to fit where I live. My 1,235 sq. ft. apartment is a mansion compared with that guy's place.

I had thought about moving or slide out walls, but base and crown molding could be a problem. I can include a plug hidden within the wall and the eyelets for it in one of the permanent walls if I use magnetic strips. That way the wall plugs into the electrical system when its attached.

My Tudor house I'm working on now does have a sliding wall that conceals the secret wine cellar, but it is a simple wall with a brick vaneer.

#10 drjones

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 07:07 PM

My Tudor house I'm working on now does have a sliding wall that conceals the secret wine cellar, but it is a simple wall with a brick vaneer.


I agree about the molding being tricky. I think the magnetic idea is awesome! I can't wait to see what you come up with.


I was thinking of putting in a simple sliding mechanism for a "secret room" in my next house. I love those old movies with the secret panels and hidden passage ways. For the one you made does it slide within a groove or on a hinge? I am thinking of a grove made by base and crown molding but I've been trying to figure out how to make sure all of the elements are 'hidden'. The prototype I was working on had gaps which made it obvious that it's a sliding door.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
-Dawn

I'm glad dollhouses are small...that just means I can have more.

#11 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:36 PM

My houses are always built using woodframe construction, so there's usually ample space above and below each wall (at least 3/8"). The sliding wall in my Tudor house is in the basement, which has a 1/4" foundation with an additional 1/8" of flooring. I used a 1/8" x 1/2" wood strip sanded very smooth with 1/4" x 1/4" rafters on running along each edge, creating a squared off "U" shaped groove. The sliding wall was also sanded smooth with the edges rounded slightly so they wouldn't catch on the track. The "bricks" that cover the wall are only 1/8" X 1/18" wood cut at 3/4" intervals. The only real element was the mortar. The wall weighs a fraction of a real brick wall and the bricks line up perfectly with the fixed rows above.

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  • Secret Room Entrance 1.jpg
  • Secret Room Entrance 2.jpg


#12 drjones

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:10 PM

Jeremy,

Thanks for the info and the photos. Your hidden room looks great! The alcoves are amazing, and I love the brick work. I can't imagine how long it took you to do all those cuts.

I've been looking into woodframe construction for a while. It seems like there are a lot of advantages to using that method (such as projects like this). I think it might be a little more than my experience level (I'm on house 4 right now), but I am toying with a small project like a cottage to warm up.

Thanks again!
-Dawn
-Dawn

I'm glad dollhouses are small...that just means I can have more.

#13 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:12 AM

Dawn,

Go for it! My first house, the Victorian B & B in my gallery was woodframed. I haven't built any houses in any other method. The key is to have a jig. I posted a detailed tutorial on how to make one in my blog. With it you can cut consistent studs and spacers without a table saw. The only real challenge is patience. It does take longer to build in this method, but wiring options are almost limitless and if you don't use too many bricks, the house will weigh less than a traditional plywood house. Another advantage is you can build one room, see how you like the building method, then build the entire house and simply connect the first room to the rest of the house. The entire kitchen in my Tudor was built, wired and finished completely separate from the house. Once the room was finished, I simply glued it down onto the already tiled foundation and soldered the 2 main circuits to wires that were installed in the foundation earlier. I was able to build the kitchen in any room of my apartment without lugging the entire house with it.

I also have pics of the secret room and alcoves being built in my Tudor Project gallery.

#14 havanaholly

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:16 AM

I passed along my copy of Dorie Krusa's book, but among other things she demonstrates stick-building using 1/4" square stripwood for studs & joists and matboard for drywall. She also suggested building each room and then assembling the rooms as you wire them.
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#15 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 09:06 PM

I haven't seen her book yet, but I am aware of it. I usually only use 1/4" studs if one side of the wall will be covered in bricks. I think the electrical may still fit in 1/4" framing, but I like the additional strength that 3/8" gives and it is slightly closer to 1" scale. 1/4" would leave more floor space for furnishing/decorating.

I came to the sad realization that my builds take at least 5 years on average to complete, so 10 projects would take 50 years. I'll be close to 90 before I finished them all (if I live that long). I gotta get a table saw. :p

#16 drjones

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 09:17 PM

Hmmm... now I am intrigued. Anything that would make wiring easier sounds good to me. I think less weight is great too. I looked at your blog for the jig. That's a great idea! I can see how that would save you tons of time and help with squareness.

So you build one room at a time? I like the though of being able to change plans midway though. Although that tends to get me in trouble.

What do you use for the walls? Holly said there was a book that suggested matboard but I don't know how that holds up over time.
-Dawn

I'm glad dollhouses are small...that just means I can have more.

#17 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:03 PM

In the case of the kitchen (it is on the end of the 1st floor) and individual walls, yes, you can build it completely separate from the rest of the house. When building rooms that are in the middle, its slightly different. Each wall is constructed separately or attached to the front exterior wall before installing it to the rest of the house, but the floors are a single deck. You would have some leeway on where you install each of the interior walls, but keep in mind that exterior windows and the overall visual balance of the house will cause some limitations on where you ultimately install each wall. I build each floor as a joist assembly and install wood sheets to the underside only at first. I pre-wire as much as I can and hold off on installing the sub-floor panels until the deck is installed onto the house. Its hard to describe, but I plan out each step of construction and plan as much work as possible on each section to be done before installation to the main house. In fact, the photos of my Tudor house with all of the framing completed was kind of a trick. All of the individual walls had been framed, but none of them were glued together. The weight of the components above each floor and a few strips of duct tape were holding the entire house together. That's how I transported it to Chicago last April.

I would not recommend matboard for the walls. It is only a rigid stack of paper applied in layers and I doubt it would hold up if it ever got wet. I use 1/16" thick bass wood sheets. Midwest Wood sells the sheets in 4" and 6" wide sheets at 24" long, but Magnum Wood will cut to order. They cut 10" x 40" sheets for my houses. All I have to do is cut each sheet to the desired length and cut out any doorways or window openings for each wall. The wood is thin and a combination of masking tape and heavy objects (paper weights or paint cans) will be needed to keep the wood from warping while the glue dries.

#18 drjones

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

Wow! It sounds like the same construction for a RL house. I can see how it would take you so long to do one house. I can't believe you doit all without a table saw! I admit I don't have one either but I do use my Dad's. I was actually looking into getting some more tools but since I am a realative newcomer to working with wood, I am trying to pace myself. :)

I am only half way done with my current house but I am thinking about my next (and next). I think stick built will definately be the way to go with the next one. I think I'll start looking for some deals on lumber.
-Dawn

I'm glad dollhouses are small...that just means I can have more.

#19 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

One of the advantages of building without using thick plywood or MDF is the ease of cutting all the parts. I do plan to add a table saw to my set of tools, but with young kids it will have to wait a few more years. I don't want to think of what might happen if they got into my workshop again with something like that within reach.

In theory it would only take a year or less to build a house IF I didn't have a full-time job and 3 kids. I could easily put 10 -14 hour days working on the houses if the circumstances were different. For now I'll have to settle for a couple of hours a night if my wife is working. The nights she is home are all hers.

#20 pdlnpeabody

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 11:28 PM

I'm not sure how I'll get it to fit in my current residence, but I'm just about set on building a replica of the Bellagio II (on the Arthur Rutenburg Homes site). Of course this will have to wait until I have built my daughter a house first. When I do build the Bellagio, I'm going to build it on a slope, and add a finished basement / man cave (maybe with working movie theater?). A swimming pool, maybe with real water and working waterfall, and surround the pool deck with a multi-level wooden deck and trees all around. I will also modify the living room with a gothic arched, cathedral style window and vaulted ceiling. Not sure if the link will work, but I added it anyway.

http://www.arthurrut...g=N&state_id=FL




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