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Chapter 6


I Did It My Way

The Workshop


Table of Contents

*   The planning stage

*   Wood

*   Glue


The Planning Stage

No lightkeeper's house would be complete without a workshop. This is where he stores his tools and supplies and where he can make and repair things as needed.

In this project we are going to explore another method of building. This time we won't be using a kit -- just our imagination and some of the information and pictures that were gathered while doing the initial research for this project. Where do we begin? I like to layout my plans on paper.

*   By doing a drawing I can see if the proportions are pleasing to my eye. I can see how the doors and windows will look and by doing my drawing full size I also have a template to use while constructing my building.

*   Doing the building on the full size drawing will also aid me in keeping everything square and properly dimensioned. During this planning stage you need to decide if you are going to make your doors and windows from scratch or you are going to use unit that are pre-made. Either way is fine but you will need the dimensions of the units you choose so you can size the openings correctly. In this section I will be making my own windows and doors so I can make them any size that looks good to me.

You will notice that this shop is going to be built much like a real house would be built. 

*   I will be using "2" x 4" s (5/16" x 3/16") for the framing,

*   1" x 9" s (1/16" x 3/4") for the sheathing and

*   Sheets of pre-milled bevel siding for the exterior.

*   The base is 1/4" plywood and

*   The floor planking will be 2" x 9" s. (Yes 9" wide lumber is and odd size. Normally the widths are in multiples of 2" but the fellow who milled the lumber for the shop is a bit odd, too, so it all fits).

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One of the goals in making miniature is to make our items look like the real thing. Sometimes that means using stain or naturals finishes. Finishes that show off the grain and character of the wood. When this occurs we want to have the grain in the wood to be fairly straight without a lot of big figure. (Not always true - some people "paint" with wood grain. Mother Nature provides us with some beautifully figured woods but often that is not the look that is desired)

*   In other words we want our grain to scale.

*   When you buy your wood look closely at it and look at the whole board. Many times you will find a board with some very nice looking grain and some downright ugly grain.

*   Think about how much of the board you need for that perfect grain. If there is enough good grain for your project, buy it. You can use the rest of the board for painted projects where the grain matters not.

*   Remember under paint it won't matter what kind of wood it is or how ugly it is so long as it's smooth and has the right thickness. I know you already knew that but sometimes when I go wood shopping I get very discouraged because someone already took all of the perfect boards. Usually not true if I just look closely and think about what that board is destined to be.

Just a word or two about the wood used in this project.

*   I chose to use pine for the studs and some of the sheathing. The reason is simple, that's what I had on hand and even better it's pretty cheap. You can use whatever wood you like to use.

*   Bass is milled in many sizes so lots of people without the tools to mill their own lumber use that. It is more expensive that way but not compared to the price of a table saw.

*   Old wooden pallets or fruit crates are another option for wood. The real point is that there is no "right" wood. Not for this project at least.

*   The sheathing is a combination of pine and basswood milled to look like shiplap. Is it necessary to do that? - no but I like to diddle.

*   The sheathing could be scored sheets of 1/16" wood or even illustration board it's entirely up to you.

*   Even the siding can be laid on board by board if you choose but I had some siding left over from another project so I'm going to use that.

*   The roof, base and one wall are made from 1/4" plywood. Again, you could substitute other materials but the plywood is a good choice for these items.

When I cut my 2" x 4"s I made no effort to try and get a smooth cut. I used a course blade and encouraged blade marks. I wanted my lumber to have the appearance of not having been planed but rather cut down the road by the local sawyer. I'm hoping that the roughness of the lumber will aid me when I start to age the workshop by not allowing the stain or washes to absorb at the same rate - we shall see.

You know what you have to do, so go get those sticks together and lets build!

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Opps, almost forgot the glue!  No building discussion would ever be complete without a lengthy discussion about glue. Basically use the kind you like. I wouldn't use rubber cement or the kind of paste that was so good to eat when we were in kindergarten but, hey, it might work!

*   Seriously, take into consideration the materials you are using. I'm using wood so I chose a glue that is recommended for wood.  I happen to like Weldbond but about any white or yellow glue could be used as long as it's recommended for wood.

*   If you are using other materials choose your glue accordingly.



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Last revised: April 2001