Sunday, March 17, 2013

Side Wing Odd Roof Angle

When I first started making buildings, I used the ol’ trial-and-error method to cut the roof pieces when attaching a building wing to the main building. Eventually, I added a modicum* of intelligence to my brain and figured out an easier and more precise method.
* a bit larger than a smidgen I've been told.
The problem: Just what IS that weird angle?

Since almost all of my buildings have symmetrical ends I made a couple of measurements: (A) is half the width of the end and (B) is the measurement from the wing’s peak to it’s side wall.

I then cut two overlong pieces of MDF (one for each roof piece) at the finished roof height… usually (B) plus 1/8” or so for overhang.
 From the corner on one piece I measure (A) across and (B) down and make a mark. I draw a line from this mark back to the corner and now have that mysterious angle. I cut along the line on my scroll saw (easy and accurate when using my new handy dandy Adjust-O- Matic jig), then cut its mate. Next, I sand the underside edges of the two wing roof pieces where they’ll meet the main roof for a nice, tight fit and temporarily tape them together on the underside.
I make the main roof, gluing the two pieces together with gussets and notching where it meets the side wing wall. I place it in place.
 I temporarily set the new wing roof in place and mark, then cut, the final lengths (as indicated by the dotted line, again remembering the overhangs).

Finally, I glue the side roof pieces to the main roof. After drying I glue some short dowels where the two roofs meet on the underside (for added strength), remove the tape and glue in a gusset near its end wall to connect the side wing pieces permanently together.

Kitty Wankus asks “What about roofs that AREN’T symmetrical?”
A: Just about as easy. Lightly mark a vertical line from the main roof peak down. (A) is then measured from that line to the edge. And if the side wing roof end isn’t symmetrical the (B) measurement will be different for each roof piece.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Walls 3: Wattle and Daub

Good ol’ wattle and daub, CLASSIC!

- To make a loom I first taped two small scraps of plastic to the top and bottom of the 3/4” x 1-1/2” (20mm x 45mm) hole in the end wall I‘ll be using (no photo), then glued five 3/64“ (.047) plastic rods to it. The jig to hold the loom is just two small MDF scraps with short lengths of bamboo skewers glued on. The notches serve no purpose.
- Taped the loom to the jig, tied one end of thick thread to the top of one of the skewers, wove it to the other side, looped it twice, then headed back. Back and forth and so on. Very easy to do but does take a bit of time. I ended up using four lengths of 3’ long thread in all.

UPDATE! See end for improved jig!

- The finished wattle weave. I super-glued it to the rods (BLUE) to keep it from unraveling and cut it from the frames (RED).
- Trimmed to fit the pretimbered/black primed hole in the end wall and glued into place.

The insert was painted neutral gray. My usual filler/paint mix was used to fill in all the other panels and carefully applied around the wattle. I even adding some “bits” within. Next I painted the timbers a dark brown with light gray dry-brushing. When dry I heavy dry-brushed all of the panels of the wattle an off-white, then scrubbed in some dirt along the bottom edge as well as some grass.
Interesting how the photo makes the inserts look much browner than they really are. I’ll have to have a stern talk with my photographer, Phileas Phlashpan.

The finished end wall.

The back is finished in a similar manner except I added some cracks using an Xacto blade and painted it neutral gray. I dabbed some almost dry paint here and there in the flat areas. Easy subtle texture!

Finished back.

After using the original jig a couple of times I came up with this improvement. It has a plug-in with spacers. Now it’s even easier to make the loom…

Pop in the plug-in, tape on the scrap plastic strips, glue the rods to the strips, let dry, remove the plug-in, do the weaving. Works so well I made two frames: I can weave on a completed loom while the other is drying.