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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Further Progress

OK, the small set of steps is done, and the lavabo has been installed. As well, the roof is cut out and ready for the openings to be cut for the dormer windows on the front (right side in this photo) wall.
The original design has the dormers flush with the edge of the roof; however, my carpenter-in-chief would prefer them to be a little higher on the roof. Well, he is the one who has to do that cutting, so that's what we'll try!

That's it for right now, I went to a Pipe & Drum Corps ceilidh this evening and my head is kind of dull; bagpipes in an enclosed space can be quite deafening!

(When I went to preview this post, the computer had created a paragraph break that I didn't want. Why do computers do that? Is this thing trying out for Artificial Intelligence status?)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Pretty Much Done...

...and the construction of the roof has begun. Today I spent aging and dirtying the plaster and bricks. We are in the middle of a blizzard, on top of the 320 cm (nearly 10 ft) of snow we've already had this winter, we are expecting 20-40 cm (8-16") more today and overnight, along with very high winds. So I am doing this post before the inevitable power outages.

It's looking as I hoped. Next I have to put the stone on both sets of steps. I am trying to figure out how to do that, as my instructions are for paper clay and I am using cellulose clay. They are basically the same thing, but the clay I use doesn't adhere to itself as the paper clay apparently does. This means glue. This means I have to be very careful as wood glue will affect the paint washes. So I have to think about it a little. The chimney cap worked out, which means the chimneys are also in place now. But I have to dirty the chimney a bit, all that wood smoke and soot is bound to create stains.

The shelf and slab for the lavabo are ready to install; again, something to think about. The slab will sit level with the brick foundation course, while the little shelf for the barrel will be on the wooden beam above that. Glue alone won't do, I think I will have to use a couple of nails.

The lavabo components are sitting on the steps. This was supposed to be a better shot of the end wall, but I guess I shifted too much! Adding beaming to the end wall has meant adding onto the roof as well; it needs to overhang the wall to be realistic, so although it was cut to size as per instructions, we are adding strips to it to expand the size. All the additions should be well hidden under the terra-cotta tiles, eventually. Cans of stewed tomatoes are weighing down the addition to the roof, just to the right of the shop box. Heavy cans make the best weights!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Brick Foundations Are In

Well, that went faster than I expected! The foundations are bricked, with voids where the two sets of steps will fit. Once the clay is completely dry, these voids will be painted terra-cotta. The small set of steps screws on to the foundation, but the larger one will just sit in the base. Once dry, the clay will be trimmed to fit the steps.

Here's hoping the corners don't crack too badly, there is always a little bit of shrinkage with cellulose or paper clay. It was well below freezing today, which meant the heating was working away, and that meant that the clay dried out faster than I wanted while I was working on it. The foundations went well, but the chimney cap for the workshop needs to dry to see if I will keep it - I had to texture the bricks with the Xacto knife as the clay was really drying out. It's the first time I tried to brick a chimney cap, and I am not sure if I did it correctly; there just aren't any photos that show a bird's eye view of the tops of chimneys!

Next is making the stone finishes for the steps, which means digging through magazines; that sometimes leads to my attention being diverted.... However, I need to start on the roof construction, my carpenter-in-chief is really looking forward (NOT!) to making two dormer windows. It is now less than two weeks until the April show in Halifax-Dartmouth, and I would really like this building as nearly finished as possible.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop - Third Wall

Just finished plastering the third wall, the one the apothecary garden will eventually be set against. In the original design, this wall is left unfinished, so out came a wonderful book a friend of my parents gave me, called Synthese, a four-language pictorial encyclopedia of the area of The Netherlands I grew up in. Many ideas for my Tudor structures have come from this book.

There are Tudor-style 500-year old farmhouses in the south of the province of Limburg, which I was able to visit as a child; in fact, one year my Brownie pack camped in one of these. Maybe that is another reason why I enjoy Tudor so much (besides not having to worry so much about straight lines and 90 degree corners). This wall design is roughly based on one of them. I hope to have some espaliered fruit trees along this wall, or tall plants like mullein or hollyhocks. That is why the detailing is in the second row of timbering rather than the first.

On to the brickwork, along three sides as the foundations, and the cap of the workshop chimney. If my shoulders relax, I will start that on Monday.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Further Progress Report

It's been a good couple of days for getting things done. The door is in, and the shutters are complete with their ropes and cleat.

In the closed position, all you see are a couple of knots in the inside corners. The cleat is the top of a decorative toothpick, so I don't know how long it will last! If it breaks too easily, I will re-think the cleat system I picked. To open the shutters, I just insert my hand in the side door opening and take the loops off the cleat.

My daughter suggested putting a snoozing cat on one of the shutters; great idea, now I have to find just the right sleeping cat. I think there is one available out there that would have its paw hanging over the edge, kind of like our family cat likes to do.

And here is the side door, the one that opens into the workshop from the shop. It is just a door opening, it won't get a real door. The cleat holding the ropes of the shutters is visible on the front edge, through the open doorway. The plaster has been applied, it is quite wet in this photo and looks gray.

Next I have to build the lavabo; this is a shelf with a barrel with a stop-cock on it, which would be filled with fresh water. Below that will be a little shelf, on which my apothecary can set the jar or bowl being filled. From the workshop, this little water fountain would be easily accessible to the apothecary to mix into medicines. I am trying to decide whether my apothecary should be male or female....

Then there is the outer wall to beam and plaster, the one that will at some point be the end of the eventual apothecary garden, and following that I will do the brick foundations. In my stash of stuff I found a bundle of orange roof tiles, hopefully there will be enough to at least cover the front roof of the shop. I need to find more cardboard for ridge tiles for at least four of my buildings that have never had their ridges covered, because I just wasn't sure how it was done, as well as for finishing the remainder of the shop roof.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop: Progress Report

The front fa├žade is done except for the door; I am hoping to start that on Monday. It needs to be built out of thin slices of wood, and I have to find them first.

The shutters were a bit of serendipitous luck. My white paint seems to be in poor shape, which means that when I taped the shutters off to paint the red areas, some of the white paint came off. It looks like the shutters need some work, but the miniature inhabitant is too busy to repaint. In the photo above, the shutters are both in the closed position.

When the shutters are down, they double as display space. No glass in these windows; this type of display area used to be seen in England well into the 19th century. And for those with inquiring minds, the word "window" comes from old English "wind eyes", the name given to glass-less windows. However, in the case of this shop, the shutters are too high off the "street" to actually work as display areas. I will probably put some herbs to dry on them when the shop is filled, and hope that no miniature shoppers clout their heads on the corners. There will be a rope in each inner corner of the shutters, which loops onto a cleat inside,  when the shop is closed. I used leather for hinges in this shop, and the door will probably also have leather hinges, as was quite common in the Tudor era. Poor people's cottages often had a leather hide in place of a door; just imagine the drafts that would create, not to mention all the critters that could sneak in at night....

The two halves of the shops side by side; the bottom of the shop box will be bricked. The original design has a blank right side wall, but I am going to timber, brick and plaster it, as it would be a good place to put the eventual apothecary garden. I saw a very old wall in Arnhem, The Netherlands, a couple of years ago, with a small diamond-shaped opening in it, which I am going to try to duplicate in miniature as the street-side garden wall. The roof for this half of the Apothecary setting is not as high as the workshop roof, and will have two dormer windows in it, living quarters for the apothecary. This was a job that could be done by women, except in London;  his/her apprentices would make do with the workshop or shop floor as their bedrooms, unless the apothecary was a very nice person and treated the apprentices as family.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Progress Report

The beams and window and door linings are in place; the shutters are glued and clamped and ready to stain and paint on Friday. We are having a serious winter storm; the whole city pretty much shut down today, including the universities and the art school. It was unsafe to travel to Kings Landing for my volunteer job today, they shut down as well as their employees come from all over the country areas hereabouts. Tomorrow it is supposed to clear. Then we have a few days of good weather, but beginning Monday another winter storm is on the way.

One good thing is that I can get lots of building work done! After the shutters and door are ready to install, I can do the plaster work. I just hope I have enough, and don't have to head into the city to buy more before the roads are cleared for driving....

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Building

It might not look like great progress, but the subfloors are in, the interior is painted, and the ceiling beams are in place, as well as the  planked floor, which we will leave removable in case I have to hide wiring. At the moment, the main beam on the street side of the shop building is being glued in place, to be followed by a series of stub beams. Then I get to work staining lots and lots of beams to decorate the outside walls with.

Check back in tomorrow, hopefully I can show some outside progress. We have had snow much of the day, and are expecting a storm with 20-25cm (8-10") of snow in the course of Wednesday!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Workshop and Shop Building in Progress

With the Apothecary Workshop pretty much finished, I've begun work on the adjoining Apothecary Shop proper. The building is pretty much held together by friction and a few screws at this early point, but you can get an idea of what it will eventually look like. The little gap between the two shops will be filled in by a beam. This is the two units in the closed position; the back adjoining walls move with the aid of a piano hinge.

This is what they will look like (eventually!) when swung open for "playing" with the shops. They are going to sit on a base, with the right-hand unit fixed and the left-hand unit, the workshop, able to swing  open on the hinge. The front wall by the larger set of steps is the wall that remains removable, allowing access to the interior of the shop. The roof of the right-hand unit is lower than the roof of the left-hand one, and with a different roof colour and shutter paint, they will look like two adjoining buildings on a street. If only I could put all the Tudor structures in a street-type display! But I'd probably have to add a room onto the house for that....
The smaller set of steps appears to float because it will fit over the floor of the workshop when the two units are swung closed. The raised base of the shop unit will be bricked, the rest of it will be beamed and plastered, with red and white shutters and a red tile roof. The attic area will have two dormer windows, so I think this will be the living area with the area over the workshop being a study or a sleeping area.
This will be another longish project; lots of beams and outside plaster, a cobbled courtyard, stone steps, an outside lavabo and bucket that also has to fit into the workshop when the units are closed, lots of sorting out concepts and thinking. The ceiling beams for the shop should be in place sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

How to Make Miniature Roofs from Cardboard, Part 3 Cont'd

The plain, back roof is done. Just a matter of laying row after row of cardboard slates. There was just the narrowest bit of the ridge-beam that wasn't covered, and that will be covered with the ridge-tiles.

Saturday was devoted in its entirety to doing the roof on the front of the workshop, the part with the louvers. This meant a lot of careful snipping and cutting to fit the various courses neatly around the little roof vents and the chimney. I found it helpful to mark, in pencil with a ruler, where the new course of slates overlapped the previous one. You also have to measure regularly from the tile courses to the ridge-beam, to make sure you are proceeding in a straight line. I had to fudge about 1/16" or 1-2 mm or two twice or so on each side to make the lines perfectly horizontal.

The first few rows are in place, they fit quite nicely with the bottoms of the louvers. From here on in, it is a lot of careful cutting while keeping the overlap of the tiles in place as much as possible. In a real old slate roof, the tiles get smaller as you get nearer the ridge-beam; however, in miniature I decided to just use regular courses.

It's done! Well, except for that ridge-tile course. With a flash the roof surface is far too shiny for my tastes, I will try matte varnish over it to see if that dulls things down. The chimney pots were decided on today as well; I am using a pair of resin pots I picked up at Birmingham Miniatura two years ago. One of them is somewhat crooked on the bottom, that will have to be shimmed when glued. The narrow top course of chimney brick will come off, and I will do a layer of bricks for the top of the chimney with nice little hollows for the pots. These days we use concrete as a cap on our chimneys, but all the photos I've seen of Tudor chimneys have brick caps. Fortunately, I have just enough paper clay left to do the chimney top.

Tomorrow I hope to start on the shop part of the Tudor Apothecary; the Workroom build is pretty much done, except for a few small finishing touches. The first weekend in April I hope to be at the CFB Shearwater Hobby Show in Halifax, NS, and my plan is to bring this building and its partner, in whatever state of completion it is by then, to display at the show, along with last year's Camp MiniHaHa project, the Anton Pieck-inspired Pawn Shop.


Friday, 7 March 2014

How to Make Miniature Slate Roofs from Cardboard Part 3

Things went a little faster than I thought they would, which meant that I could start on the roof of the Tudor Apothecary Workshop.  First of all, I had to age the plaster-work.

The first coat is a yellowish dirty water wash, as the area under the roof overhang on the chimney end would naturally retain more soot drifting down from the chimney.

The arch end of the building has a smoother finish, as it will be mostly covered up by the roof of the shop proper, so it needs to look more like an interior finish.

The dirt, soot and greenish algae has been added. As it is a bit too yellow, it will need to be scrubbed out a little to better match the lower storey.

On the open end, all that is needed is a little general dirtying up, from smoky air, candles, braziers and the like.

Now we install the roof tilt-board; this is a slip of scrap wood 1/8" or 3-4mm thick at the bottom end, tapering off to near nothing at the top. This is what will support the cardboard slates, and give a very slight lip to the edge of the roof.

As the open, arch end of the roof has no overhang, I had to use masking tape to hold the glued tilt-board in place until it dried. The edges are then painted dark brown, and we wait for everything to adhere nicely. The first course of slates - cardboard strips prepared in previous posts - is glued with an overhang of about 1/8" or 3-4 mm. Subsequent courses are glued at the same distance, below the previous course's top edge. Then you just add  each succeeding courses. Because I have to glue each strip down separately, holding it in place with masking tape, this will take about 3 times as long as previous roofs, which had overhangs on both sides. Those roofs were done 3 strips at a time, held in place to dry, about 20 mins., by a slat of scrap wood held on by spring clamps that neatly held the slate strips in place.

Four courses are in place in the above photo. Note that the slates overlap about the middle of each preceding course; I had prepared strips that began with both a half slate and a whole slate, to make this a nice, quick process. The end by the clamp is being trimmed as I go along; I had to lay a few courses to decide on the finished overhang on the chimney end. This is the back roof; the process is pretty simple until I get to the chimney, then I will have to cut and fit the courses around that. The edges of the chimney have "lead" flashing, silvered copper self-adhesive tape darkened with a permanent black marker pen.

Before I go to bed tonight, I will have filled in up to the chimney; tomorrow, when I am hopefully fresh and wide awake, I will start adding the strips that have to be cut to accommodate the chimney.

The top of the roof will have a piece of bent cardboard to act as the top course. That still has to be made, I saved a paper tablet back for this recently. It will be cut to fit, so will have to wait until the entire roof has its slates.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Workshop Progress Report 2

The timbering and plastering did get done, but the batteries in my camera were dead, and there wasn't a replacement battery in the house. So I used my daughter's camera, but it doesn't work the same way as mine, it wanted to upload 80 pictures and videos, so I got the heck out of there. Today, she was able to retrieve the picture for me.

As the timber on the roof edge is thin, I decided it could just be edged with two pieces of thin wood rather than a single wider piece of wood. That's as far as it has gone, tonight I'll do the colour wash and then on Friday (I work on Thursdays, and get home too tired to do anything else!), I'll do the aging. Then, it's back to the roof, with the installation of the slates.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Tudor Apothecary Shop Progress Report

Well, all the cabinetry in the house has been refinished, so now it is back to the Apothecary Shop. The roof was put together today, and the various clamps and bits of tape are still visible in the photos. The chimney separated from the roof after a fall, so that has had to be re-fixed into place as well. By Sunday (tomorrow) things ought to be dry enough to work on again.

Could have stood a bit of cropping! The plaster and woodwork on the upper gable are done and dry, they will be aged when the back gable is done. The back of the chimney needs to be bricked, now that the roof filler is in place that will be the next job. The chimney needs some lead flashing too, I will try the old lead tape for that.

The roof louvers are in place; they need flashing, as well as the edge where the chimney meets the roof edge, before I install the "slate" strips. On the left in the background is a corner of the Tudor house, previously photographed for the blog.

The chimney end, with the wide roof overhang. This needs timber and plaster, as well as trim on the edges. I'm trying to decide whether to use a strip of embossed wood framing to cover the join of the removable roof portion and the building, or whether to go with just plain wood; this join is extra wide because the roof will remain removable for ease of transport. The extra width is not noticeable under the overhang on the side, but will also be visible on the open gable end.  I'll have to see what is available in the local woodworking stores - we aren't in a very big city, and do not have a great deal of choice!

The back of the building is very plain, and will rarely be visible; it is currently painted in a textured  finish, and will eventually have to be the access point for the lighting. Some of the re-finished cabinetry is also visible, doesn't it look nice now!

Two days are currently available for the Apothecary Shop, then I have to finish up some quilted place mats. They will match the runner just visible in the top photo. We need spring colour - February and March tend to be the worst months for the winter blues for most of us in the north. Two to three more months of winter before the trees begin to leaf out and the bulbs come out. We aren't frost-free here until the end of May....