Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How the Doghouses Turned Out

Thought you might like to see how the dog houses turned out. I was able to snap a few shots of what some of the miniature club members did with their projects. All of the photos below were of various members' houses. Mine? Well, I was busy helping others, and later when I tried to fix something I'd done badly, the little house split in half! Oops.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Club Project - a Front Porch

At our most recent meeting of the miniature club, we got to talking about what we might do next. I had an idea of doing a craftsman style house front porch, complete with a porch swing.

I've always liked the craftsman style houses - especially the gently sloping columns on the porch. Those should be interesting to cut out with my table saw!

Above is my PowerPoint "drawing" of what I proposed to club members. Based on the feedback I received, it looks like this could be our next project.

When I drew up the plans, my wife suggested that we make it a welcome sign. So, we will most likely cut out half-inch tall letters to set into the framed box below the house. We will make these so that they can be hung on the wall. I'm hoping they will be no more than about 8" deep.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Doghouse Details and Construction Instructions

Here are the instructions and dimensions for construction of the doghouse. If you want to use the picture from this blog as a template for cutting out the front of the house, copy it and paste it into a Word document (if you have Word). You can then resize the picture as needed to get it to where the dimensions print out exactly as drawn.

Here are the individual pieces you will need to cut out. The base is 1/8" basswood and the sides and roof are all 1/16" basswood. I have not sided my doghouse yet. I plan to do it with individual pieces of siding that I cut myself. I'll do a blog post for how to do that soon. If you use sheet siding, I recommend the siding that is ¼” rather than the ½” plank widths. You don’t have to side the house, but it looks really cute when it is.
2” tall x 2 ½” wide
Front and back
2 ¼” wide x 3 18” tall
2 ½” x 2 1/8” *
Roof piece A
3 ¼” x 1 1516” (1.937”)
Roof piece B
3” x 1 78
Inside supports
18” x ¼” x 1 78
Roof beam
316” x 316” x 2 ½”
Siding – sides
1 1516” x 2 5/8
Siding front & back
2 18” x (about) 1 78
Upright corners
116x (about) 18x 2 18” **
Sign for front
13” x 1 716
*This may need to be sanded slightly narrower.
**These pieces will need to be cut at a 45 degree angle on one edge so that they fit snugly against the roof line. The height is approximate and is the longer dimension of the pieces. You might want to cut this a little long and then trim it off as needed.
Assembly instructions:
  1. Cut out all of the pieces, including the doorway of the house. 
  2.  If you plan to side the house, use double-stick tape or use a slight amount of rubber cement to hold the siding to the face of the doorway piece. Cut the doorway entrance through both pieces. This assures you that your parts will match. Once this piece is cut out, sand the cut for any slight errors you may have made, and then disassemble the two pieces and mark the two sides that will be glued together (in case your cut is not perfectly centered or symmetrical).
  3. Now you can begin to assemble the house. Glue one of the sides to the base. (It’s helpful to have a right-angle jig to clamp the side to so that the pieces are glued at exactly a 90° angle.
  4. Glue the back of the house to the base and side, using the jig again for this.
  5. Glue one of the inside supports into the corner.
  6. Glue the other side to the back and base.
  7. Glue the other inside support into the corner.
  8. Glue the front to the base and sides. Make sure the side you marked to be glued to the siding faces outward!
  9. Glue the remaining two inside supports into the corners in the front. 
  10. If you want to stain the inside of the doghouse, do that now, before you add the roof. It will be much easier. 
  11. Put a little glue on the inside at the top peak of the house at each end. Glue the roof beam in place. Make sure the roof beam angle aligns with the angles of the front and back of the house. (See drawing for the yellow square and note how it is angled.)
  12. IF YOU DO NOT PLAN TO SIDE THE HOUSE, paint the roof pieces before you glue them onto the house. This will save you a lot of time and frustration of trying to paint the undersides of the roof close to the house.
  13. Start with the slightly narrower roof piece and glue it flush with the edge of the roof beam. Put glue along all of the edges of one side of the roof, place the roof piece against this, then set the house down onto the roof piece, then push the entire piece up against your gluing jig or other fixed object. (This assures you that the roof is perfectly aligned across the top of the roof beam.) Make sure that the same amount of roof  is exposed at the front and back of the house.
  14. Now add glue to the rest of the roof edges and glue the other roof piece in place. Use the same technique of placing the house on its roof and press it against the gluing jig to assure that the top edge of your second roof piece is aligned across the top.
  15. Seal and paint your siding and the external upright pieces. Also seal and paint the edge of the doghouse front doorway. I recommend you paint this the same color as the siding.
  16. Seal and paint the under sides and edges of the doghouse roof. If you're going to add siding, you don't need to worry if you get a little paint on the sides of the house. Glue the siding to the house starting with the sides.
  17. Glue the back piece of siding in place.  Add the uprights on each side of the back piece.
  18. Glue the front onto the doghouse. Add the uprights.
  19. Now add shingles to your dollhouse. I would recommend buying or cutting shingles that are only 1/2" wide. In full scale, the shingles would be 6 inches wide, and that would look more appropriate on such a small scale building. I also would recommend spacing the shingles so that about a third of an inch of shingle is exposed per each row. The amount of shingle exposure is your decision -- like that of a cook when the recipe says, "season to taste." If you want to use fancy, shaped shingles, that is also your decision!
  20. I plan to put the doghouse onto its own small base which will be about 6 inches square. I'll then paint it to look like dirt and grass, and perhaps I'll add a few weeds, maybe I'll even grind out a "hole" in the base, add a "mound of dirt" and put a bone in the hole.
  21. Dog dishes would also be appropriate, but I'll leave the decorating details to you.
  22. Don't forget to add the sign above the door (if you want to name your pooch). You can seal and paint the edges of the piece of wood and then print the signage (if you don't trust your own penmanship) and then glue that to the sign. (Remember to seal your printed sign with spray-on fixative so that it doesn't fade as badly over time.) Or you can hand paint the name in as detailed or as sloppy a hand as you want. 
Remember, many a doghouse has been built by the children of the family; so, you can feel okay about the finished house if there are a few flaws!  You might even want to "build in" a few flaws!

Good luck. Have fun with the work, and let me know how your house turns out! I'd love to see pictures!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Next Club Project

Our miniature club will be leading the project for our joint state meeting of miniature clubs. Over the weekend, our small group of our miniature club members got together and decided we'd work on building a doghouse. Above is the basic shell that I worked up yesterday. We plan to add clapboard siding and shingles. We'll also have the participants make old-fashioned rag rugs to put inside the doghouse, and we'll include a base that they can "landscape" outside of the house. If you'd like me to post dimensions and construction details, please let me know. Thanks!
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