Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Studio Organization

The studio has been in a state of flux since the move-in, a year ago. I've been arranging and re-arranging for most of that time but never quite got it together. With company coming this week, I finally made some serious progress.

Here is a clockwise tour of the room.

The door to the room is to the left, opposite the window.  An old desk has been re-purposed as a worktable.  It is in a good position, near the window, and with a couple of adjustable lamps and the ceiling light, there is all the light I need. The room is carpeted, but the Roomba keeps it relatively tidy. 

Moving around the room in a clockwise direction, this is the view from the doorway. I have a stool stashed out of sight that I use when working on the house. This U-shaped works pace is user friendly. (The luggage rack is awaiting the arrival of my guest. It is not usually in the room.)

The house in progress, the Beacon Hill is sitting on a piece of corrugated cardboard. It slides easily on the table, so the house can be turned around with no fuss. Beneath the table are tubs holding bits and pieces of the BH -- stairs, roof sections, electrical components, etc., that are completed and ready for installation. One tub  holds landscape materials. The egg crate holds moldings and other strip wood. The table under the TV is actually a drafting table, but it is most useful as a flat surface holding a couple of kits. It is a place to put components to one side while glue dries. The tub below holds fabric.
The door leads to the closet. The 6" shelves above the table hold furnishings and accessories, mainly for the Beacon Hill. Below the table, along with a couple storage boxes,  is a lid from a cardboard banker's box that holds materials that can be moved to the desk when needed and tucked away when not needed. I've been mostly sanding and prepping components, so it holds emery boards, gesso, stain, brushes, Exacto knives, etc. The door to the room is immediately to the right of the shelves.
The closet is organized with plastic drawer units from Walmart. The space to the right is 48" wide and holds two units. The bit of pink plastic is part of the second unit. These are not totally useful. Heavier items, like paint, tend to cause the unit to sag, which makes the drawers stick. I'm considering removing the upper shelf and replacing the draw units with wire shelving. The drawers would be stored on the shelves, easy to get to their contents. A couple of the drawers hold bits and pieces of the Beacon Hill, things like windows, shutters, trim, etc., organized and labeled in plastic bags. One drawer holds the bits that were punched out of the sheets; the other holds the bits that have been sanded. 
Shelves and tubs in the garage hold power tools and a makeshift spray booth, a re-purposed large cardboard box. It is still a work in progress. I'd like to add pegboard above the worktable and perhaps get a proper wooden work bench with a vice, but for now the makeshift arrangement suffices. The only power tool in the studio is the pistol-grip Dremel.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Scrap Art

When all of the pieces of a kit have been punched out, what remains is often an interesting composition of positive and negative space. I've been saving the  remnants, and turned two sets into interesting wall art.

A dinosaur kit from Michael's got me started. I watched young cousins assemble the animal but was fascinated by what was left over. Eventually it came together as Jungle Beat.

A Greenleaf Dollhouses kit -- I don't recall which one -- inspired City Lights. Not as organic, a different vibe altogether. (Click the photo for a larger version.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Different Kind of Dry Fit

You all know about the standard definition of dry fit: putting the house together with tape so fittings can be adjusted before committing to glue. Well, the electrical system has provided two more definitions: 1) giving the electrician fits and 2) pre-planning the tape runs'

First, about the electrician's fits. This house will use a new-to-me system for delivering electricity to the house. I learned about it in a YouTube video, How to Electrify a Dollhouse by Dollhouses, Trains & More, which was shared by a Greenleaf Forum colleague. They use a direct power system devised by Creative Reproductions 2 Scale. I went on line several weeks ago and ordered the supplies I thought I'd need, including two different power connectors. The video is wonderful, except ... it shows a Mini Power Connector being attached to the tape wire using two wires, one red, one black.

This is the Mini Power Connector. The cord from the power source goes into one end and the red and black wires that connect to the tape wire come out the other end.
I didn't have two wires, one red and one black. I hied off to Home Depot, where I discovered I could buy 300' of cable the size of my wrist, but very little in the size I needed. I didn't know what size or type I needed. I bought something that looked close, but when I got it home it was too big to fit into the little holes meant to hold it. I cut up a couple cords I found in the electronics box of dead devices, but no joy there, either.

I phoned Carl Sahlberg, the inventor, to find out what kind of wire I'd need, but he didn't answer. I went off to Walmart, thinking I could find a lamp repair kit. Nothing. But I did get a call back from Carl, who told me I needed Kynar hookup wire, 28 AWG. Hookup wire -- who knew that was a thing? He sells it on his website, but I couldn't see spending about $16 for two 50-foot spools, one red and one black, when all I'd need was about four inches of each. He asked what I was trying to accomplish, then told me the Power Connector comes with a couple of brass screws that can connect with the tape wire -- no hookup wire needed. The light came on! I'd ordered two power connectors, the Mini Power Connector (above) and a Power Connector with Fuse, as I was not sure exactly what I'd need for the project. The latter is the one that connects to the tape wire and is the one I should have been using. As I was following the video, I'd left it in the box.

These are the components finally assembled. See the Power Connector with its screws, one to hold it to the house and two to connect to the tape wire. It also has double sticky tape on the back. This Power Connector with Fuse has a Mini Connector as part of the device so it can be used with round wire as well as tape wire. The Bambam is a device with a strong spring in the center. Stretch it and let go, and "bam! bam!" the eyelet is slammed home. Am looking forward to trying it out on some scrap before I use it in the house. It is rated very highly on line.
The Power Connector is not lovely to look at, but I'm sure some shrubbery will hide it. It will probably be located below one of the bay windows, which will also conceal it.

Once all supplies were assembled, all of the light fixtures were placed back in the house.
The light fixtures are staged near where they will go preparatory to establishing the tape runs.
The blue painter's tape is sketching out where the tape wire will go. It was a challenge to find the shortest runs with the fewest connections. The little white circles indicate where a fixture will be attached to the tape wire. The circles on the floor will be the connections for the ceiling lights in the floor below. In some of the 90-degree turns the tape can be folded rather than pieced with eyelets.
I'm planning to add Houseworks flooring to all of the floors, so the tape wire will be covered/protected. The ceiling light in the top center hall will be wired inside the hollow tower.

There are two unsettled electrical items. The hanging light in the room top left is a bit of a puzzle. Going through the ceiling means going through the roof, which I'd rather not do. I may have to put in a faux ceiling in this room, which I'm envisioning as the maid's room. There will be an antique Tiffany lamp on a table in a small bay in the living room. I'm not sure how that will be resolved. A wall outlet? Drill a hole in the table and run the wire down through it?

The next step will be to put the furniture back into the house to verify that the intended outlets and connections are in the right place. I want to know exactly where the tape wire needs to go before I get started installing it.