Hi, my name is Elga and I live in South Africa. I love dollhouses and miniatures. My two biggest passions are furniture making and embroidery and of course the two combined. Welcome and enjoy browsing my blog.
I cut all six dividers for the top part of the secretary, they are only 0.5mm thick and here is how I did it.
You have to be careful because the wood is so thin, the easiest way to get six matching dividers was to cut the wood a bit longer than needed in the back and gluing all six together just at the very back. Next I put them in the jig and cut them out by pin routing on the drill press and there you have six with perfect matching profiles. Next I cut off the extra bit in the back where they were glued together with the table saw.
You really need patience when gluing such little pieces, I do them one at a time and wait a good half hour to an hour before gluing in the next one, I use Lego to help keep them square and yes they do have a tiny groove that they are glued into.
The top all glued together, now I need to make a back for it and a face frame where the doors will fit in. And this is what I do while I wait for glue to dry, embroidery.
I have started with the embroidery for the wing chair and I can predict that this is going to take a few years to complete. I just fell in love with the riot of colors ever since I first saw photos of this chair, I can't wait to see the real chair in June when I will be in New York for 3 days before going to Guild School in Castine. I am stitching this on 112 count (yes, you are reading right and yes, I am crazy, haha) using Florentine stitch, also called Bargello or Irish Stitch. I put the embroidery on a scaled print of the chair, the needle that you see at the top is only 33mm long (1 19/64"). I use +3 reading glasses together with my magnifying lamp to see this small count and then only just.
I have been working on the crest rail of the Gothic Chippendale chairs for the last few days. I made jigs for them to ensure that I will end up with 14 identical chairs (6 are for my dining room and 8 are orders). When I have curves that mirror one another on the left side I only use one side in the jig and flip the wood over when cutting the mirror image, that way you end up with a perfectly shaped piece of wood.
This rail is shaped on all four sides, I made my wood blanks about 3/8" longer than the finished size of of the crest rail and make sure that the two ends stay square. I use those ends to keep it square to the drill press when I cut out the mortises for the legs and back splat.
The crest rail with the back splat, tomorrow I will cut a tenon on the back splat and a mortise in the crest rail and glue the two together so that I can finish sawing out the two top holes in the back splat that continues into the crest rail. There is also some carving that overlaps both pieces, so I think it will be wise to only do that once the two pieces are glued together.
And here is a photo of the original full size chair that I am reproducing from the book "Period Furniture Projects" by V.J. Taylor.
Here you can see all the individual pieces that make up the sewing table. This first table is just about finished, I still want to put some beeswax on it once the Danish oil has properly cured and I need to drill two tiny slots in the table for the hinges of the tabletop.
One of the last pieces of woodworking I needed to do on this piece was to finish the tabletop on top of the screen. Here the screen is in the down position, I deliberately positioned the inlay so as to help disguise the lines of the cutout for the screen.
The screen pulled up, getting the screen to slide but also stay up where you want it was a very fine line of sanding it either too thin and slipping down or leave it too thick and getting stuck. It was the easiest to make it oversize and then refine it, the slots in the back of each table were just slightly different even though it was cut with the same cutter.
View from the back with the tabletop raised. The brass candlestick was made by Bill Robertson.
The front from the right side and.......
the front from the left side.
I am looking forward to see the petit point that my four clients are going to put into their screens, hopefully they will give me photos to post here in a few months.
PS: You can see the original table that I copied here, click on the photo to see a larger view.
This is how the Rhode Island Easy Chair looked last time when I showed it to you, since then I have turned the pad feet on the legs and today I glued it together.
Because of the angles on the seat rails I find cutting out my pattern and sticking it to a piece of Styrofoam and then using pins, the easiest way to keep everything aligned while the glue dries.
And here I am using the same pattern to keep the turned stretchers in place while the glue dries.
Next I glued the stretchers to the front legs, while the glue dries I just put the back in place without any glue to keep everything aligned. And cutting the tenons on the stretchers is no joke since their is no straight line in the whole thing, I drew the lines on with a pencil and then filed with a small square file until it is more or less right.
Clamping the chair between two flat pieces of wood is the best way to make sure all four feet touches the floor.
And now this chair still needs a whopping twelve pieces of wood to make the wings on each side.
After a few trails and errors I finally managed to make a set of working hinges, I used 0.010" thick brass sheet to cut the hinges from. The double-folded brass sheet is mounted on a scrap piece of plywood with double side tape for stability while cutting out with the jewelers saw. My hinge is just a bit less than 1/8" wide by about 1/4' long including the barrel tabs.
The first part cut out.
The two parts fitting nicely together after a bit of filing with very fine files that are generally available from jewelry making supply shops.
I got so engrossed in the task that I forgot to take anymore photos!!!! I struggled with rolling the hinge barrel small enough, the hinges I made in Castine are big ones for Castle doors so the wire I used there were thicker than the 0.020" thick wire I needed to use here. I bought this little jewelers round nose pliers and between my husband and I we filed the one side down to 0.035" thick, I would like it even thinner but I am worried it will start bending and breaking off. Next I beveled the edges of the hinges and polished them with silicon nail files.
The finished hinges installed, since the table top is so thin I am not going to use nails, so they are glued on with epoxy glue. I also offset the hinge leaves so that I only needed to rout out a very small section of the table top at a deeper level, since the hinges and support stand needs to sink completely into the table top so that it can lie flat when the tabletop is closed.
Now I still need to make the hinges to join the table top to the table itself. I found this tutorial the other day when I was looking for some info on making hinges and just about a half hour ago this one from Karin Corbin that shows another way of rolling the barrel, something I am going to try, I am sure I have some very thin music wire here somewhere. Oh and if you ever want to try making such small hinges, I would recommend a good dose of perseverance ;-)
I have been wanting to try Crewel embroidery for a while now, but how to transfer my small designs onto fabric, well freezer paper seemed to be the answer, BUT it wasn't quite as easy as I thought. My printer wasn't very happy with this strange stuff I was trying to send through and either refused or scrunched everything up, eventually I managed the first print but it was not square to the fabric so I tried again.
BAD,BAD,BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And this after a few tries with fabric jamming etc, I almost thought my printer was gone too!!!!! Oh, by the way my printer prints upside down, so the top comes out first.
I don't give up easily, so after thinking a bit, decided to try and fold a bit of the freezer paper to the front to give the printer hopefully a better edge to grab onto. It worked better and at least went straight through this time instead of at an angle, but the inkjet heads decided to clean themselves on my fabric.
Eureka!!!! Finally something I can use, not perfect yet but better and the printer is still alive!!!!. Now wish me luck with the Crewel, I have never done free hand embroidery before, only canvas-work, so this is big challenge!!!!
I just stitched two petals of the top design which is less than 2" square so I will probably make a Tudor floor cushion with it, I am using Pipers silk for my practice pieces, I am hoping to work even smaller in the future on a close weave fabric like lawn. The needle in the fabric is a #10 crewel needle.
I did try the pencil method of transferring the design, but especially the top one had some very fine detail that was difficult to see through the fabric.
I have finished cutting all 28 back legs for my chairs, on the left you can see the jig I made for shaping the sides of the legs as they do have a bit of a curve in them. On the right is an adjustment I made for the second cut that I showed you in my previous post, because the legs are so small, the wood pushes into the jig while you are cutting with the result that your leg is slightly too big, so I glued a scrap of wood in to act as an stop. In the middle is the first back splat not quite finished, the jewelers saw comes in very handy for cutting out all these little pieces.
The back splat starts its life as 1/8" thick, but loses over half its thickness by sanding with a drum sander to a curved shape. This one still needs a bit of refinement with files before it will be ready. The back splat is definitely the most challenging and time consuming part of this chair.
I am in need of a few very fine files, tomorrow we have a big annual hobby show in Johannesburg where there will be very nice tools for sale, generally meant for jewelry making but a lot of them very handy for miniatures, so you now you know what is on my program for tomorrow :-)
I am married and the mother of two grown up daughters plus two dogs and two cats. I love working with my hands and enjoy furniture making, petit point, doll making, crochet and knitting and I am also building a dollhouse to house all my treasures.