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Welcome to a miniature world of possibility...

Join me as I chronicle my progress building 1:12 and 1:24 scale dollhouses full of steam power, stars, invention and yes, clockworks...

Pocket Doors - Part 2

Jan 5, 2015

I'm making progress on the pocket doors, but sheesh, these things are a lot of work!  At least, they are more work than I initially envisioned. Let me show you.

The doors require 3 layers - a wood frame (made from 1/32nd coffee stirrer sticks that I "acquired" from Starbucks (some might say stole, since no one could ever need as many stirrer sticks as I have taken, but -ahem- technically they are getting put to good use...but if that's not the road for you, you could also use 1/32nd Craft Basswood), a middle "wainscoting layer" made out of cardstock which also holds the stained glass pane in place, and another wood frame on the back.

I built these the way you'd build them in real life (well, kind of - real life doors are a tad more complex) - the frame is made of 5 separate pieces which are glued together and squared.  This is then glued to the cardstock middle layer, which makes it quite sturdy, and sanded until all the joints are smooth and flush and any excess glue is gone.

You can see the first layer and second layer here, before I trimmed the excess cardstock off and sanded:

Each coffee stirrer measures 3 mm wide except for the top, which has an extra lip for the slide - that measures 7 mm wide.  I used the same overall measurements as my Grandt line doors, so for scale purposes, these are 7 ft tall by 3 ft wide - or standard door size.  There are 2 frames per door, and each frame consists of 5 pieces. 10 pieces per door x 4 doors.  Am I tired of cutting wood yet?

I've turned the frame over here to show you the back.  You can see the groove where the cardstock frame is smaller than the wood frame, and this will allow the stained glass pane to nestle inside without creating extra bulk.  As part of my finishing process, I'll lay a second wood frame on top of this to create the finished sandwich - but I've still got a ways to go before I can do that!

I wanted these to be Victorian in style and just a little romantic.  So I decided to add some carved wainscoting to the bottom panel. This is such a tiny space (less than 1" x 1/2")!  First I built my wainscot frame, using 3/64 Double Bead from Northeastern Scale Lumber:

2 frames per door, x 4 doors, = 8 tiny frames. Yep, I'm tired of cutting wood already.

To square the frames, I lined them up with the grid lines of my cutting mat and let the glue dry.

The next step is to add the relief carving.  I drew out a number of tiny designs and finally settled on this "arrows and hearts" style. 

Then, using a toothpick and a steady hand, I outlined the design with Elmer's craft glue.  When this glue dries it is clear, but it also creates a raised effect.  I let the glue dry and then went back over it again 3-4 times to build up the relief so that it would be visible.  I also built up the relief higher in different areas to simulate real carving.  And yes, I did this on both sides of the cardstock, because of course, I want wainscoting on both sides!

Then, once the glue was dry, I added the frame to the panel and primed everything:

Now it's starting to look like something!  I only have 3 doors left to do now...Only 3.

I'm also toying with the idea of finishing the raw interior edges of the doors with 3/64" quarter round molding.  This adds a nice finished look, but I'm not sure if it adds too much to the width of the frame, making it look "fat" and out of scale.  I'm debating still.  Perhaps I can use sandpaper instead to round the edges for a beveled look. Hmmm.

The next step is to finish the other doors and then age them. Since these are meant to be "original" to the house, I'd like to give them a little bit of wear, but not too much.  I'm not going for a shabby look, just an antique, lived-in look. Then I'll add the stained glass, glue the back frame on, and voila!  My doors at least will be complete.

Which does not mean they are ready to be installed. Sigh.

Once the doors are done, I still have some engineering to do on the wall.  I need to add the top channel which will hold the doors in place and allow them to slide open and closed. It also serves as the bottom jamb for the transom.  I need to build and install the transom frames as well.  And I need to install the wood floor for the dining and parlor as it will be necessary for the doors to slide open properly, and just makes sense to do it before they are completely installed rather than later.  At that point, I might just be done with these pocket doors, aside from adding the final trim around the outside.

In order to finish all these things, I also have some work left in the parlor.  The built in bookcases need to be installed before I can paint, and I'm bashing the bay window to make it a little larger and add some sidelight windows for more light.

I have to say I didn't anticipate that this would require so many steps or be so complex overall. I could probably have simplified things a bit, but I'm happy with how they're turning out so far. And, one thing to look forward to is when the pocket doors are stamped as DONE, the parlor and dining will be done too :)  That's almost like getting three birds with one stone, right?  :)


17-17 said...

Fantastic doors, you did beautiful decor. Your blog is awesome!
Kind regards

Lily said...

Thank you, Magda! :)

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