June 25, 2009

Santa's workshop under construction

I thought you might enjoy a little excursion into the past back to the time I was building the Santa's workshop. I don't have a lot of photos of that time but I do have a few.

This photo shows the balcony area over the main work room. The balcony rest on the hammer beam truss structure that supports the roof over the workshop.

Have you ever heard of a dollhouse built with two scales? You are looking at one. The the balcony, the box beds and the adjoining room over the kitchen are all sized for the elves. Mr. and Mrs. Claus could never fit into any of those spaces. As I recall the beds are only 3 inches long even though the photo makes them seem larger.

The major style intent was to capture the feel of Victorian era, German Christmas card featuring a snow covered building in a forest. The owner of the dollhouse has many such cards displayed at Christmas time in her Victorian home. The detailing on the dollhouse beams is meant to resemble the hand carved ornamental style of wooden toys or cuckoo clocks from that era rather than a hand adzed beam more typically found in real buildings. There is also a very strong Scandanavian influence in the carvings on the structure and on those built in elf beds. This building has a lot of carving on it and I will show more of that in future postings.

The underlying structure of the dollhouse is a metric plywood, just under 3/8" thick. You can see all the layers of materials in the construction photo. This is a specialty plywood, waterproof glues and almost no voids. I purchase it from a lumber company that supplies to the wooden boat industry in the Pacific Northwest. It is the same plywood I use for my birdhouse building. I feel it is a museum quality way to build a dollhouse although it does make for a heavy house.

The timber framing details are Western Red Cedar. I hand select for dark colored, old growth heartwood with very tight grain patterns. Most cedar is fairly soft but this wood is sometimes so hard it can be difficult get a carving chisel through it.