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.

Progress on shutters

The wood work on the shutters is coming along nicely.

I need to make the decision to paint them blue or leave them as they are. I think the aging looks very nice. Of course they are meant to be worn by the wind and the rain as well as having a coat of grime and a hint of green slime. I think I will have to leave the decision to paint or not paint until later when I can do a temporary installation. The  overall look of the project will tell me what to do. I suspect that I will choose the option of painting but for now I will enjoy them as they are.

I have not made the hinges, latches and shutter hooks yet. That is something I am looking forward to doing although no doubt I will feel plenty of frustration during the fabrication of them.