Monday, 17 November 2014

Bought at Philly

If you want to see the things I bought at the Philly show for Les Roches and The Gatehouse, click here Dolls House Shows

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Petworth's demi-lune table

Yesterday's first photo showing the chandeliers also shows a pair of demi-lune tables from Petworth Miniatures.

Note to any newbie be very careful about the first one or two choices of things to make.  I wasn't and was very nearly put of quarter scale by choosing a couple of things I really liked.  Sadly things you 'really like' are often attractive because they are a complicated structure and hence they are not for the faint-hearted (or newbie's).  I would say this table is in that category.  No way is it difficult - just a bit over-fiddly for someone who hasn't yet found their feet.  Gayle's products are so close to their life model that these pretty pieces will always be intricate.

almost there

The first challenge is shaping the legs.  Luckily for me the tables will be viewed from the front (no side view) so I only needed to shape the two front legs of each table.  Indeed decorative tables like these often only had the front leg shaped.  This photo shows you the sanding in progress.  It needs a much slimmer ankle.

There is a plethera of difficulties sanding and shaping a piece this size starting with the tools. I used just about everything in my sanding drawer settling mostly on a $3 set of very small different shaped (metal tool) files.

It is hard to see what shape you have achieved because you end up removing colour from the wood and that distorts you view of the outline.

The pieces are so small there is a very real chance of snapping something (other than your patience).

Don't be put off by this step; if you don't want to do it, the tables will look very nice with their legs as they are.  Indeed Regency were very plain - leave out the stretcher and leave the legs plain and they will be spot on.

picky, picky
This is another step you don't need to do, but I always think I have the kit so I might as well use it.  I assembled the pieces this far and left them on my magnetic jig to dry while I had lunch.  It does help me see that I have got things at right angles and it does actually put pressure on the joints though I suspect, at this scale, it won't make a scrap of difference.

showing you the stretcher underneath the table

This is the finished construction before I stained the pieces.  Those front legs still look chunky I may give them another going over but I will see how they look when stained. I also need to do something more with the nibs which fastened them in their frame - I was sure I had that OK.  Cameras are great for pointing out your failings.  No, really, they are a useful tool.  

one wet one dry

Test your stain colours on the frame they came from to see how they interact with that particular wood.  I ended up choosing red mahogany (Min-wax).  This is my least favourite colour but it looks OK on this wood.

I use stain pens and always stain before I assemble - except this time - I won't do this again, staining when the piece is built is decidedly more difficult.  I did see a tip from someone who said she dunked the finished pieces in the stain and then fished them out.  Great idea if you have tins of stain but I can't imagine ever needing that amount.  

The left one is dry and a nice muted colour - the one on the right is still wet and the colour I dislike.  If I were to varnish the piece it would get near to the colour of the wet one - it is the shine on the piece which is giving the red hue.  Old tables would not be varnished to a high shine, they might be french polished but I suspect these pieces would just be waxed to a soft sheen over the years so I am happy to go back in and tidy them up and gently buff them with brown paper and see what result I can get.  Matt or satin varnish can give a nice finish as it 'fills' the 'holes' in the wood, giving a nice smooth surface.  We'll see.

Google - 'Regency demi-lune images' - if you want loads of inspiration for finishing them.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

More gold leaf pen and chandeliers

I know I finished the last post with the promise of saucepans next time but who wants saucepans when you can have chandeliers.?

click to enlarge

You may remember I recently got these from Petworth miniatures.  I had been looking for chandeliers for the salon and the dining room and generally haven't been able to find anything I like.  I have seen only one I liked but it would mean a second mortgage on my house so I gave up on that idea.

I then saw these by Petworth.  To be truthful I thought they looked a bit hefty and rather Tudor(ish) but thought I could maybe take a look and see if I could use them some other way if they wouldn't hack it.  No need to fear: Petworth being Petworth has come up trumps.

Those of you practiced in these arts and seeing the dressmakers' pin nearby have already grasped that they are a bit fiddly to assemble but are well worth the effort.

Handy tip as always - obey the experts.  Gayle suggests in her instructions that you hold the pieces as you cut through the tab which holds them in their frame so they don't ping away.  Why would someone as talented and intelligent as me need to do that?  Plus (using a magnifying glass to work with) the pieces are a fair size so not a problem!  Ping! one of the little candle cups (circle beneath the candle) 'disappeared'.  There is a propensity for these things to defy the space/time continuum and leave their frame as a giant gold circle and become the size of a speck of dust and change its colour to that of any background it chooses to land on.  It doesn't just land of course, it roams and when you find it you spend forever saying "How did it get there?".  Moral of this story:  Do as you are told by people who know better.

The secret of success with this piece is getting all the verticals vertical and all the horizontals horizontal and there are a lot of them.  Quick drying glue is pretty much a must and something to hang it on as it dries between steps.  This pin went into a piece of sytrene packing leaned up against a mug on my desk.

.....  and here it is finished and drying.  This picture doesn't improve much on the picture on the packet.  This small stuff is hellish to photograph flatteringly (kudos to those who do)  As always the real McCoy is so much nicer than this.  I am just a bit concerned that the small rooms of  Les Roches may not cope with a grand chandelier.  If not. it just means I will have to make something else some time to accommodate it.  My usual method of 'saving money' - to save wasting five dollars (cost of this item) I will spend a few hundred to wrap something around it.

The 'basket in the centre is just fabulous as it means I can light it with a chip LED.  I love this light.

Here's its little brother - no way to add a light to this, but as it is for the salon I can have wall lights, firelight, table lamps so not a problem.  Here in Florida many rooms don't have centre lights - why not the same (on this occasion) in France?

May second coat the gold and the candles and black tip the candles for a burned wick.