July 14, 2012

Hand Sawing System

 photo from http://www.fine-tools.com/miter-sawguide.htmlhttp://www.fine-tools.com/miter-sawguide.html

It is of course possible to build a fantastic dollhouse using no power tools at all. They did that for a great many centuries. Precision hand sawing does take some practice and it helps to have some good advice on how to do it. I learned a lot of useful tips that really work for hand sawing from watching this episode of "The Woodwright's Shop". But if you don't think you are up to that then don't worry because there is a terrific little miter saw system for Japanese hand saws that will make accurate cross cuts and rip cuts with virtually no practice at all (except for using a few tips on how to start the cut with the teeth at the proper angle).  It is unlikely you will find this miter saw guide tool in most local hardware stores but it is available over the internet in many different countries.

With this saw you can make accurate, angled, rip cuts by hand. That means you can also make compound angle cuts with this system when using a fence. Trust me, that is a BIG deal in dollhouse building when you want to put dormer roofs on a main roof or when you want to put a roof on a tower or gazebo. It is an even bigger deal to be able to do it accurately with a hand saw. Not saying it is effortless as you must be very careful with your measurements, setting up the fence and with aligning the saw with the cutting mark but that is true for the of making all cuts made with power tools or by hand.

This would be great for apartment dwellers who have limited storage space but still love to make things. I purchased one to put in my future mobile workshop in places where I want to work very quietly or where I have no electricity to plug into. With it I could make all the cuts needed for a dollhouse shell other than window and door openings. But those are also easy to do with hand tools all you need is a keyhole saw and a drill, or a panel saw that has a curved blade to let you start a cut in the middle of a board.

Note that the larger miter saw system may or may not include a saw with it so be sure to check before you order. If the seller has not included a saw in the package you buy will need to purchase the saw separately. You will need a Japanese Kataba saw, or other type of similar saw that has no back spine on it.

So if being afraid of using power tools has stopped you from building your dream house you no longer have an excuse. Just think what all the hand sawing action will do for your arms and pecs!

USA internet source for this saw system
Vaughan Free Angle Perfect Saw Guide

July 13, 2012

Dollhouse Dormer Part 3

Cutting dormers for the Elizabethan birdhouse part 3.

Today I am cutting the window openings in the dormers using a miniature table saw with a 3 and3/8" diameter blade. 

First thing to do is draw lines right onto your tablesaw top. Use a felt tip marker and  a straight edge draw a put a line across the top that is the same width of the saw blade that runs parallel with the blade. Then draw a line perpendicular to that line to indicates the center of the saw blade's arbor hole.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2012

That intersection of those two lines is the center point of where your blade will come through when you raise it up through your panel.

The first two sides of the window openings, top and bottom, were done using the table saw fence against the bottom edge of the dormer. The top point of the dormer lines up with the line indicating center of the arbor.

The last two cuts are created by placing the bottom edge of the dormer against the miter fence and using those lines on the table top as my reference point I line up the dormer to center the blade on my cutting line.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2012

Because my window is centered on the peak of the dormer I have used double back tape to stick to temporary plywood fences to the top of my table saw (those are the light colored wood). Now I can just flip the dormer piece  over after making the first cut to make the second cut without recalibrating my position.  Note in the photo that I have clamped the dormer to the table saw top to make these cuts. When it is possible to use clamps I always take the time to do so instead of risking my fingers.

Cutting dormers part 1
Cutting dormers part 2

July 4, 2012

Got Birds?

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2012

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2012

On holidays and weekends my two  cats get to go out into the hallway. They love to run up and down the stairs playing tag. Sitting in the birdhouse that now serves as a hideout, ready to launch a sneak attack, is one of the games they play. 

A few years ago they actually did catch a big fat mouse in this hallway at the bottom of the stairs.  I am sure they would be thrilled if another mouse came into the building.