Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Foundations (Step Q.h)

I still haven't decided on a colour scheme. I applied clapboard to one dormer, and painted it in the deep Soldier Blue that I had bought, but dh says it looks too dark (it looks lighter in the photo than it really is). I've done a little research on the internet, and apparently Second Empire/Victorian houses were usually mid-to dark colour with dark trim. I've always like the blue and white scheme on the box, but my Soldier Blue is darker than that. They didn't have a nice blue at Hobbycraft when we went. I feel inclined to stick with blue and white even if it isn't authentic, but perhaps I need a brighter blue. With a bit of experimenting, I found that I had more success taping the window frame into place temporarily, and cutting the clapboard to fit around it, then removing the window frame to paint the clapboard. At first I tried just drawing around the outline of the window frame, but cutting to fit a pencil mark that your clapboard is actually overlapping just didn't work very well.

I jumped ahead to Step Q.h which is applying the foundation trim, and then applied a paper-clay masonry effect around the foundation. I used my Dremel tool to bevel the joins of the wood strips around the bay, so they looked more like mitered joins. I found one of the pieces on the right wall was about 1/4 inch short, so I filled the gap with a bit of scrap wood from another sheet. A bit of filler smeared along the top edge, and in the joins, makes these trim strips look pretty good.

This is the first time I've used paperclay - it is actually Das modelling clay because that is all they stocked at Hobbycraft - but found it quite easy to use.

I rolled out the clay using two scraps of wood leftover from the house to get the right thickness, and spaced them the correct distance apart to match the height of the foundation.

I used a plastic trowel to mark out horizontal courses 3/4 inch apart, and vertical 'stones' one inch wide. Some of the stones I split into two horizontal stones. I pounced all over with a stencilling brush to give texture. Then I applied a thin film of wood glue to the foundation, and pressed on the clay, using the stencilling brush to prod the clay onto the wood. The cellar windows were cut out of the clay after it was applied, while it was still wet. I also pressed the cellar sill and window frame into the clay to create depressions where I can glue them into later.

Friday, 26 October 2007

So many decisions...

Now that my shell is basically finished (and the last step was to glue on the roofs of the right and left dormers), it is decision time on decorating and color scheme. I need to finish all the tricky bits on the interior before installing the windows, so that I can still reach in through the window gaps to do things like install the cornice in the upper stairwell. That went fairly ok, but I think the cornice trim around the upper part of the kitchen/entry wall, with its not-45-degree corners, is going to be hard. I need to do that before I close in the porch.

So I am spending a lot of time filling gaps, painting over the gaps, filling them again for a smoother result, cutting cornice etc. I have also started trying to decide my exterior colour scheme, which I think is going to be basically blue and white but possibly with some additional trim colours. I have painted the roof black in preparation for shingling, but even that involved several decisions as to what was part of the roof, and what wasn't. I've decided that the barrel roof will be clapboard, and also the sides and front of the dormer, but I will shingle the upper roof as well as the mansard roof. I think I am also going to shingle the back 'wall' piece that goes across the top back edge of the attic room. Internal window trim will likely be white - I've seen several pictures of Willowcrests with stained internal trim, but most of the period houses I have been in have painted internal window trim.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Lighting, & Step M (roof)

I've finished installing the lights now, and I thought it might be worth outlining briefly what (and how) I have installed. The choice of lights depended somewhat on what I had in my stash, because I only bought new lights for the attic.

Attic Level: I installed four matching ceiling lights whose wires go up through the foamcore ceiling and are brought together in the front right quadrant by drilling holes through the roof supports and feeding the wires through. The wire from a fifth light hanging inside the front dormer feeds up through the gap in the ceiling of the front dormer, and comes back to join the other attic wires. All of these wires were soldered into a makeshift connector strip from a couple of pieces of copper tape. The tape is soldered to a wire which feeds down through the barrel roof, through the roof cornice, to connect to copper tape on the right hand outside wall.

Upper Stair: a hanging 3-light fixture is positioned over the stairwell, so that its wire can feed up into the empty roof space outside the attic wall, and from there come down the same gap as the attic wire and connects to the copper tape.

Bathroom: an out-of-sight bulb inside the toilet cupboard has its wire feeding across the floor (which will have a tile covering) and out a hole drilled above the kitchen bay. A one-light ceiling fixture in the bathroom has its wire hidden inside a routed out path in the ceiling (which I will fill) which feeds out a hole drilled in the right wall. All these wires connect to the copper tape on right hand wall. The copper tape runs down the side of the house and in through the cellar window where it connects up to the terminal block (to which the transformer can be connected).

2nd floor main room: a ceiling fixture near the front of the room has its wire feeding up into the attic (where a piece of furniture will be hiding it) and out the front attic wall and out the front wall. There it is glued along underneath the cornice to meet with copper tape on the left-hand external wall. A table lamp at the open end of this room feeds through into the toilet cupboard and across the bathroom floor and out the same hole as the other bathroom wires. A table lamp on the external (left) wall of this room feeds out a hole to join the copper tape on the left wall.

Kitchen/office: two ceiling fixtures come up into the bathroom, wires feed out as above. A wall sconce on the very back wall, near the bay, feeds out and down the external wall, and into the foundation where it joins the copper tape inside the foundation.

Main ground floor: a five-light hanging fixture feeds its wire up into the 1st floor near the archway entrance, where it will have to be hidden by a carpet, then runs out the front wall, along the porch roof, and meets the copper tape on the right wall. A wall sconce on the left wall feeds out a hole to meet the copper tape on the left wall. A wall sconce on the back wall feeds out, down the outside, and back into the foundation space.

Porch/display windows: Two 'fluorescent' tubes are positioned, one above each side, and connected to copper tape running along the underneath of the porch roof. This runs along until it meets the right wall and splices into the copper tape run there.

Now that the lights are in, I can go back to Step M and finish installing the roof.

Step M.J.4 (Mansard Roof /Left etc.): I installed the first piece of mansard roof according to the directions, and the mess in the picture is the result. I discovered that it is VERY important to run a knife along the scores on the back of these pieces, connecting the cuts right to the edge of the piece and deepening them. Otherwise they will not bend (despite what the directions say) and will just splinter and snap unevenly so that you don't get a smooth curve. I made the cuts on the other three roof pieces and they went in no problem at all. I found a small hammer very useful, because once the roof piece is snapped into position it may still be bulging above the roof supports and not curving properly. If you lightly tap along the piece with a hammer, it will encourage the wood to break a little more along the score lines on the back of the wood, and it will hug in and curve to meet the supports. Use lots of glue.

Step M.L (top main roof): this was straightforward. I had to trim my left piece so it would go around my chimney (since I forgot to put it on earlier). I also had to trim the corners of my front and rear pieces to get them to fit in. Notice that the front piece fits under the little 'fingers' projecting from the barrel roof supports.

Step M.M. (Front dormer gable roof): these didn't fit all that well. I had to deepen the notch considerably on one piece, and the result is a bit wonky, but I think once it is all shingled, you won't notice it.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Got my lights (and a bunch of other stuff)

Dh drove me around the M25 to visit Maple Street, a mail-order/shop dollshouse store near Cambridge. They have a huge catalogue but I wasn't really sure what to expect from the actual shop. However, it turned out to be quite large as well - rather ramshackle and disorganised, but I was able to find almost everything on my shopping list. I got some lights for the attic, some bulbs for the lights I already had, some shingles, some moulding to trim out the staircase, handles for the front door and bathroom door, some paint which may be the right colour for the clapboard, some heavy vinyl which may work for the shop window (although I was hoping for thin plexi), some railings and turnings which may turn into decoration for the flat roofs, some fluorescent bulbs for my shop window, and a few other bits and bobs.

I have now laminated/glued together all the window frames and the front dormer trim. I gave the balcony, porch and front dormer trim a coat of gesso and have started the laborious process of trying to smooth them down. I spent quite a while on the balcony dabbing filler into holes and sanding, and it looks a lot better now, but it is never going to look as good as more expensive solid wood with 3-D turnings. I've made a start on the porch but haven't got very far yet.

Last night I spent a few hours surfing the Greenleaf Forum gallery and googling other people's Willowcrest houses. It is a bit depressing because so many of them are so beautifully finished, especially where the makers have treated the house as a shell and basically re-clothed it in wallpaper, ceiling covering and floor coverings. Mine is much more bare bones than that, and I know I am not going to get such a beautiful finished result. However, it was fascinating to see the many different ways that people have treated the exterior - I particularly loved the stone clad one at Deb's minis, that almost makes me wish I had another Willowcrest to build again and do as a stone mansion! But I think I am going to stick to clapboard for mine.

Now that I've got the lights, I've started work on the electrification. I am adopting a fairly Do-it-yourself approach, partly because all the components and twin tape etc. are very expensive here in the UK. I use a mixture of round wire and basic copper tape (like the kind for stained glass) and am trying to find ways to hide all the wires since I haven't wallpapered. I will post some pics. It is such a buzz when you connect it up to test, and the lights come on! Haven't electrocuted myself or the house yet, although I did have a short and a few sparks which luckily didn't blow the lights.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Steps N to P

Step N.b (Main second floor staircase) As I am going to use the under-stairs closet for my toilet, I fitted a cardboard cover underneath the staircase and covered it with wallpaper to match the wallpaper I already used on the two walls. One tip: check the fit of the tabs at the bottom of the stringers, into the slots waiting in the house, before assembling the staircase. I didn't do this, and my tabs were too long, so I spent a difficult time wedging the extremely tight fitting staircase in and out of the gap trying to trim the tabs short enough to get them into the holes. Also, I did not assemble the Upper Section ahead of time, I waited until after the main staircase was fitted before gluing in the upper stringers. I found that I needed to trim the Upper Stair and Upper Riser shorter to get them to fit in the gap.

Step N.c (Attic Railing): the instructions say that Attic Railing 3 is already in place, but it isn't. I glued in the front railing 2 first and I wished I hadn't later, because I found that it was too wide and pushed the end of Attic Railing 3 too far to the right. If I were doing it again, I would glue in the long side railing first, then trim the front railing to fit.

Step N.d. (Stair back, install staircase): although the instructions say to glue in the Second Floor Stair/Back first, and then slide in the staircase, I found this impossible. The stair was too tight a fit and I couldn't see where the (non-fitting) tabs were. In the end, I pulled off the back (luckily the glue hadn't completely set) and installed the staircase first with glue only on the lower tabs. Then I put the back in again, and pushed the staircase down to the correct final position.

After that I glued in the upper stringers, riser and stair. A little bit of wall substitutes for a riser between the main staircase and the upper staircase - I covered this up with a bit of stained wood to blend in with the staircase. The last step was to glue on the handrail.

I wish I had known ahead of time that the outer edges of the floors, and of the two second floor walls, were all going to be on display. Mine had become corrupted with light-coloured paint, and yet really I want them to be stained to match my stained stair back and stained floor edge trim. I think I am going to have to do some camoflaging with brown paint. [Postscript: later on, I stained a bunch of coffee stirrers to match, and glued them over the exposed tabs of the bannisters and around the Stair Back which makes them look much neater. I also stained some chair rail moulding, and applied it like skirting around the outside of the bannisters, and along the base of the bannisters to hide the seam with the wallpaper.]

Step N.d.6 (Upper Section Stair Back): I found that I got a better fit by bevelling the top and bottom edges with my Dremel tool. This will be painted the room colour.

My understairs bathroom closet.

While waiting for things to dry, I have been working on some of the cosmetic issues, like filling in unused slots, and covering up tabs on corners with the right angled moulding I bought.

Step O (Porch Assembly): As I am installing a set of French doors to be my shop entrance, I trimmed away the centre post on layers 1 & 3, and only left some gingerbread on layer 2 to support my door. This was fairly straightforward to assemble - I laminated my layers by weighing them down with soup tins rather than the suggested masking tape. I think the hard part is going to be achieving a smooth finish on all these plywood edges.

Step P (Balcony Assembly): Again, straightforward, although curiously the instructions don't actually tell you to glue in the central bracket, but you can clearly see it in the photograph in the instructions so I glued it in after taking this photo.

Today I spent a few hours punching out everything else on all the sheets, grouping it (small window, kitchen bay, etc.) and putting each group in a labelled zip-lock bag, and checking the instructions to make sure I have found everything. The only pieces that seem to be missing are some foundation trim for the front of the porch, and I can make that from some of the leftover scraps. I am basically down to all the trim now (apart from the roof which is still waiting for my lights). Suddenly I feel like I have reached the summit and am starting down the other side - I have a house now... it just needs an awful lot of trim. And all the trim has to be smoothed and painted first.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Steps M.G to N

Finally, I am onto the second sheet of instructions! Yay! Although it is looking much more like a house now, I have to say that sometimes the amount of work left to do is a bit overwhelming. It seems like every time I move the house I see another slot that needs to be filled, or another gap that will need to be covered.

I had to skip Steps M.J.4 to M.M for now, because I realised that if I was going to light the house, then I needed to install the attic lights before I put on the roof . I haven't used tape wire because I didn't wallpaper, but I am hoping to use conventional wire for lighting and hide it behind furniture, inside the mansard roof and down the outside of the house under clapboard. In the picture, you can see the ceiling I made for the attic out of foamcore. So I have to wait until Sunday, when my dh is going to drive me to Maple Street (a big dollshouse shop outside Cambridge) to get some lights. Meanwhile I have been getting on with installing the second floor stairway.

Step M.G (Chimney)- this is now all installed, with the cut down chimney treated with a fake stone product by Bromley (UK supplier). Can you spot the not-deliberate mistake here? Perhaps if you look back at the last post and compare the picture of the mocked up chimney with this one? Yes, the instructions say to insert the chimney through the roof piece before gluing on the chunky top trim. I did it for the original mock-up, then completely forgot to do it for the finished product. So I will be performing some surgery on the roof piece to fit it around the already-in-place chimney.

Step M.H (Front Dormer Barrel Roof): This went together fine apart from the slot in the Mansard Cornice that the Barrel Roof Support Top/Right should fit into was a good 1/4" out of line with the front wall. I had to cut a new slot. Don't know if this is my construction or the kit's fault.

The Barrel Roof fit on quite well, and in the picture you can see I have wedged a bit of scrap wood to hold the roof tightly against its support.

Step M.J (Mansard Roof supports): These are straightforward, apart from the instructions referring to fitting them in the "remaining four slots on right and left sides and front". They are only on the right and left sides, they don't go on the front. Then I had to skip the rest of this step while I wait for the lights.

Step N. (Second Floor Staircase). This went together far more easily than the main staircase. I am going to stain all of the parts when the glue dries.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Steps L & M

Finally, some glorious gluing (and some bad words when I found out that I had painted the wrong side of one piece, and lost another piece completely - I eventually found it tucked under the box flap of the box I am using to spray into).

I also realised that I hadn't enabled comments for non-members - I've fixed that now and I do hope that some of you will leave comments. Either suggestions for improving the blog, or for improving the house (!) or just cheer me on - it will be much appreciated.

Step L.2 - straightforward.

Step L.3 - straightforward, although disappointingly there is a rather large gap (1/8th inch) on the front side of the bay because the Kitchen Bay/Right Wall didn't seem quite wide enough.

Step L.5 - again some noticeable gapping. I can understand why the Greenleaf books recommend decorating the bay windows with stucco, to cover all the gaps and tabs etc.

Step L.6 - straightforward.

Step L.7 - these required a bit of finessing to get them to fit in, and the front angle has a huge gap between it and the Living Room Bay / Front wall. It also didn't line up very well with that same wall at the bottom but I am likely going to cover the foundation with paperclay which will hide the lump.

Step M.A2 and M.A3 - I found it easier to interlock the attic walls while still on the table, then fit the whole thing onto the house.

Step M.A4 - I needed lots of clamps to hold these walls on while the glue dried, as they wanted to gap in several places.

Step M.B - straightforward. I also glued in the front dormer walls at the same time (Step M.D2 ).

Step M.C2 - I'm afraid I had to get the hammer out for this one again, even though I made sure all the slots were wide enough to accept an offcut first (using the Dremel router bit to widen any narrow slots. It hardly needed gluing after the tight fit, but I did smear glue into the joints.

Step M.C3 - straightforward

Step M.D.3 - it was a bit tricky to wiggle these into position. The back edge should be flush with the angle of the attic wall cutout, while the top edges should meet without a gap. Have some masking tape ready because gravity makes the first piece want to fall inward while you are trying to insert the second piece.

Step M.E - straightforward, although some of my slots had to be widened slightly. As far as I can see from the directions, the attic doesn't actually have a ceiling, so I will have to look into creating one myself. I don't like the look of leaving the roof void open with the supports showing.

Step M.F - I have skipped this step for now because I'm not sure I like the look of these floor edge trims.

Step M.G - I am showing a picture of what this sub assembly would look like if you did install it, but like many other Willowcrest builders, I am actually going to cut the chimney off at the attic ceiling line.

One thing I am finding is that my box of wood sheets is rapidly turning into a random box of pick-up sticks, because the constant shifting through the sheets looking for the pieces I need is causing lots of other pieces to fall out. Whenever I notice this, I grab the loose pieces and label them with the sheet number they came out of, but it is a losing battle. Thank god all the individual pieces are labelled in pencil. In a well run world, you would have a whole table just to lay the sheets out that you aren't using, but I am having to keep mine all in the box under my work table.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Shopping & Prepping (steps L-M)

I had a great time yesterday at the Dorking Demo Day - this is an event put on by the Dorking Dollshouse Club which features several round table makes and some great sales tables. I managed to spend all the money I took with me, but I picked up about 10 really cheap bookshelves to be the shelves for my store. It is a mixture of cheap white wood furniture, and simple shelves that I think the club members had made themselves as a fundraiser, and they were all between £1.50 and £3 so I did really well.
When I got home, I raided my own stash of spare furniture to find all my own spare tables and shelving units, then had a lovely time playing with arranging the furniture in my future shop. I also picked up some baseboards, crown moulding, and some great right angle molding to cover up some of those tabs and slots.

Meanwhile, I have been spending a lot of time punching out the pieces for Steps L through to M/E, sanding, spraying, gesso, paint, zzzzzzzzzzzzz...... this is getting tedious. After carefully studying the picture, I think that the Bay Roof Trims in Step L are actually the final trim on these projecting bays. So before I glue them on, I have prepped them and painted them white, and I have painted the 'roof' of the bays with a mixture of black paint / glue / sand to give a textured 'flat roof' look. Likewise, the Mansard Cornice and Mansard Cornice Trim in Step M-C looks like it will be at least partially on show in the final product, so I have prepped them for painting. I haven't painted them yet because it looks like they will be built up in layers with some other pieces later. I can't wait to start gluing things on to build the house up more, but I am trying to control my impatience and do a good job on the painting - hopefully it is going to save time and awkward-reaching-into-the-house in the long run. I'm hoping to get to the fun part - the gluing - tonight.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Back to the Shell

I am finally back to where I started from, with the shell assembled, only this time it is all glued together.

Here is a pic of the decorated upper hallway before I glued on the Right Wall. I thought I might as well stain/varnish/glue in the door trim while it was easy. I took Havanaholly's advice and 'panelled' the bathroom door with coffee stirrers, and I've gone ahead and pin-hinged it. There are various ways of doing pin-hinging, I went with the fairly low tech method of drilling a hole in the floor for the bottom pin, and slicing a cut into the wall above the door on the bathroom side with my Dremel tool to accept the upper pin (this will be hidden by the door trim). I haven't permanently installed the door yet, but I wanted to do the Dremel cutting before I put the third floor on, while I could still get the Dremel tool in there. The door is just painted white at the moment, I will decide on a final finish later. The second pic is the lower hallway after the Left Wall went on.

I also cut down the fireplace wall in the kitchen and glued it in and filled the seams, to complete the overhang above my future sales counter. In this pic you are looking through the sales office out towards the shop window cut-out.

Both the Left and Right Walls were easy to glue on because I have been so careful to keep everything square... or so I thought. When it came time to glue on the third floor, I just about despaired. You needed to be an eight-armed gorilla to wrestle that sucker into position, either that or have really serious big clamps (which I don't have, I only have girlie hobbyist clamps). Either that floor is trapezoidal, or the upper floor of my house had become trapezoidal (despite all my squaring up, and the second floor fit great as well). If I put one corner of the third floor into its appointed slots, the diagonally opposite corner was a good half inch away from its destination, and only brute strength would compress the house so that all the tabs would go into the slots. And of course, if you are using brute strength to do that, you have no hands free to do any clamping, and in any case my girly clamps were just not up the job. I got there in the end, through a combination of fabric ties through windows to cinch the back of the third floor towards the front wall, and sticking bits of scrap wood into the slots in the third floor (the ones which will eventually accept the attic walls) so that I could clamp the walls to the scrap wood with my short clamps. What I seriously needed were big pipe clamps the width of the house, like cabinet-makers use. For extra strength, I ran some hot glue around the inside of the wall because as far as I can tell from the instructions, that will be hidden inside the mansard roof. Although I did make one very big screw-up here, I was happily running the bead of hot glue, and had gone right across the front wall edge of the floor before I remembered that it will actually be on show as the room opens to the window at that point. So then I spent an exhausting half hour trying to cut and scrape away the hot glue from under the window, not very successfully. I foresee a really big display stand, or perhaps a sofa, going under that window now, something to hide the mess I have made of the floor.

But it now looks like a house! and I still have a huge pile of wood sheets left in my box, despite all the work I have done, I have hardly made any inroads at all into all those pieces waiting to be punched. Roof next...

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Gradually re-assembling

I am continuing to glue the prepped pieces onto the structure, and am pleased at how it is starting to straighten up and look less wonky.

I tried out the wood filler on some of the tabs in the floor, and then stained over it. They certainly don't disappear, but they are less conspicuous.

I've installed the staircase and am decorating the 2nd floor hallway while I can still get at it (the first floor hallway is painted). I've also filled in some of the slots in the ceiling with the lightweight No Sanding polyfilla, which dries white and covers the slots up quite well.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Step G - Staircase Sub-Assembly

While I was waiting for paint to dry, I thought I would do the Step G – Staircase Sub-Assembly. Whew!! This is exhausting. I found and punched out all the pieces for Step A and B (some of these were in my ziplock bag because they were embedded within pieces already punched for other steps). This was my first go with using my glue, which is Evo-stik wood adhesive, a white glue that dries clear. I was very taken aback at how runny it was and how it gushed out of the nozzle, but when I think about it, I have been using Aileen’s Tacky Glue almost exclusively for years so that’s why the Evo-stik seems so runny to me. I found it hard to control from the nozzle so shifted to using those paper ketchup cups that you can acquire at McDonald’s to hold the glue, which I then applied with an offcut. The other aspect I found difficult was that, unlike Tacky Glue, the Evo-stik has no ‘grab’ to it, so I was reduced to using loads of masking tape. I was worried about how long it would take to dry, but surprisingly it sets up in 5-10 minutes which is good.

Step A was fairly straightforward, but went a lot easier once I realised that I was misreading my own pencil marks and gluing everything to piece 7 (the back of the stairs) instead of to piece 1 (the front of the stairs). I am trying not to get glue everywhere as I am planning to stain the staircase. I am not staining up front because I know a lot of the pieces will be hidden in the finished product so I am not wasting my time.

Once that glue set up, I moved on to Step B. You can see in the picture my working setup: the stair is propped up on some offcuts (because there is a tab underneath that stops it sitting square on its own); I have masking tape cut in half ready to be used as clamps, and I have all the stairs, landings and risers laid out in order. My working procedure was to find the next piece, fit it on the structure to check, then erase the pencil mark and give it a final sand, then glue in place and masking tape it to hold. I got into a bit of trouble partway up, because as far as I can see, Stair 6 and Stair 7 are actually the same stair and there is only one. I spent a while looking, thinking I had missed on punching out a stair, but when I counted up from the first stair, I can see that in fact this is likely a misprint in the instructions. Either that or I am constructing a unique and special staircase that will be like no other staircase.

Turning the second landing and moving up the last set of stairs got more difficult. My part 6 stair cut-out does not seem to exactly match the stair cut-out in part 5. And as I glued on risers, it started looking more and more like a parallelogram instead of square. I glued on the stairs and forcibly masking taped it back into something resembling square (and stair 12 seemed way too deep?) and am comforting myself that no-one is going to see this part of the staircase anyway once the house is constructed. In fact, really, the whole last few hours have almost been a waste of time, but I suppose that I will know that my (special, unique) staircase is there. Now that I’ve done Step C, I think it would make more sense to glue on Stair Trim 4 during Step A, as it would support the wonky part 6 and keep it spaced apart properly. But you should probably punch out Stair Trim 1 and use it to make sure that you are positioning Stair Trim 4 properly as it needs to touch Stair Trim 1 at its bottom end (if I find out this isn’t right when I get to installing the staircase into the house, I will come back and correct this post).

Step C surprisingly leaves out the important information in the 2nd line that you should lay Stair Trim 2 face up on your staircase sub-assembly, not just on the table. Otherwise the trim never actually gets glued to the sub-assembly if you follow the instructions literally. Also in the 2nd line, the reference to aligning Stair 1 and 3 tabs is referring to Stair ‘Trim’ 1 and 3, not the 1 and 3 you used in Step A. I’m just nitpicking really, you can figure this stuff out yourself after a few baffled minutes.

I’ve started gluing the actual house together! (the paint is dry now). After gluing in the centre wall, and looking at this thin glue joint in the foundation and thinking of all the abuse it is going to take as I construct the rest of the house, I cut off some chunks of batten (about .5” x 1.5”) and glued them in a few places to reinforce the joint. While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I stained the staircase - it looks surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting much with this wood quality and the somewhat crude construction, but it actually doesn't look too bad. Because I will not be using the entry/living room wall, you may be able to see the staircase in the corner (if you stick your head into the dollshouse) so it is good to know it will look reasonable.