August 17, 2010

Dollhouses come in cans?

I have started fabricating the shutter hinges. They will be strap hinges with a pintle support that comes out of the wall of the house. A very basic type of hinge that is not difficult to make.

Research told me a thickness of 3/16 of an inch was used for some real hinges of this type. That meant I needed metal of approx .01 inches to create a 1:12 scale part. Digging into the drawers of metals I have on hand I found a tinned can that was a good match. As I wanted steel for the hinges that also meant it was a good choice. There was a strip of metal wound around the key used to open the can. That is what I am working with.

The tin and plastic coating on the can must be burned off with a torch. This is a job to do outside as the fumes are not good for you. You can anneal the metal at the same time as you burn off the tin. I have given my metal a hammered finish so I had to again anneal the area I was going to form into the hinge barrel as the hammering work hardened the metal.

I am forming the end of the strap around a piece of music wire that I am holding in a vise. Music wire is very stiff and strong so it makes a good forming rod. Tonight's new discovery was that my pair of nylon tipped pliers I purchased at a bead store make easy work of the forming. I can grab onto the metal and hold it against the music wire without damaging the metals. The nylon is soft enough to gain a grip onto the hinge strap so I can pull the strap around to form that tight circle. The top surface of the vise acts as an alignment guide so I get a barrel that is at the correct square angle instead of being crooked in alignment. Of course my forming pin must be clamped at exactly 90 degrees to the top of the vise for this simple trick to work. Or if your don't own a vise you can drill a perfectly perpendicular hole the same diameter as the music wire in a piece of hardwood as use that as your forming tool jig.

Now that I have the hinge barrel formed tomorrow I can cut the strap to length, drill holes in it and even do some decorative shaping of the strap if I wish to do so.


Ascension said...

Un trabajo realmente genial!!!!
Gracias por toda la informacion.
besitos ascension

Tabitha Corsica said...

Holy Moly! Do they still make cans that open with a key?! Clever girl you are. It helps, I am sure, to have the right tools around. I envy you your lovely workshop. :-) ALways interested to see what you are making...and how you are doing it!


Karin Corbin said...

Tabitha, Doesn't everyone who make miniatures have a stash of useless old junk like an ancient, empty Spam can that will come in handy one of these days? It was one of those days.

Evelien said...

Your shutters turned out great as ever! Very clever to use this can for the hinges. I also like to figure these things out. It gives a great feeling when you succeed!

groetjes Evelien

Catherine said...

It is a great idea! I can't wait to see them.

Tabitha Corsica said...

Karen...I guess one would have to have been a fan of my father. :-) But I remember when most all cans opened with a key like that. The edges were so sharp they could cause a really nasty slash if one was not careful. I distinctly recall stepping on the edge of a coffee can in the sandbox one summer...

Anyways, like Catherine, I cannot wait to see the finished product!