Jump to content

Building materials for 1/12th scale Structures: Plywood


WeekendMiniaturist

Recommended Posts

WeekendMiniaturist

Help need some opinions please!

 

I'm reviewing floor plans from my library of structures and floor plans in books, and am wondering if members of the forum would post their opinions.  I've never done a one of a kind structure / scratch build before.  So should I  use 3/8" plywood for the walls, or would you use miniature 2x4s and build it like a real home?  I could use task board for the walls, or miniature plywood, or crescent board, but that is likely pretty expensive, vs. building with 3/8" plywood.  (I've only half built 1 RGT kit in the past : - )

 

I'm dreaming of a scratch build based upon an art print that I found on line, unfortunately I haven't found floor plans for a similar structure in my research so I only have the front to feed my imagination. 

 

What is the preferred plywood for scratch building structures?  I'm searching for 3/8" plywood, and I've found

 

5'x5' Russian Birch slightly less then marine grade

4'x8' underlayment about $27 per sheet

4'x8  marine grade about 2x as much as underlayment

 

I haven't found any lumberyards who are willing to send me 3" square sample of the stuff, so I'm ordering "blindly"... I do understand cabinet grade and sanded on both sides, but since I've never scratch built a structure on my own, I would welcome your input.

 

I am tempted to pick it up myself, when I'm in Chicago in April,,, so I can see the quality, no one stocks 4x8 sheets locally, and I really don't want to purchase $200+ worth of plywood, sight unseen and be unhappy.  The 5'x5' birch that is at my local woodworkers store has been stored standing up and its is warped, and that warped plywood, would also make me grumpy to have warped walls.

 

 

Tamra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
miniarquitect

Hello Tamra,

When I build a medium structure I reproduce exactly all thicknesses of the real architecture, so my miniature walls are 10 mm, 17 mm, 20 mm, 25 mm and sometimes, in façades, even more.

for this reason, I always build a structure made of solid wood slats (10x10 mm, 15x10 mm, 15x15 mm and 20x15 mm and 100 cms length, of ramin wood or samba wood) and phenolic plywood board made of calabo or okcume and after, like a puzzle, I fit all rooms, façades, stairs, like independant roomboxes also made of the same plywood (4 mm, 5mm, and in few cases, 7mm and 10 mm in boards of 120x60 cms ). In this way I can reach these thicknesses without increasing so much the weight, and this "empty" area between walls is used for the electrical installation.

you can see examples in www.miniarquitect.com, or www.artmajeur.com/miniarquitect.

unfortunatelly it is expensive and I spend quite more than those 200 dollars you want to spend.

Francisco

Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

Tamra, I am with Francisco on this one, my first abandoned house was also a kit, the thin walls always frustrated me, it just never felt real. Something else that I would recommend once you have your floor plan is to built a mockup out of cardboard or something, I just used old packing boxes to make a mockup of the Cape Dutch house. It really helped me in deciding the final size of the rooms and to make sure that the furniture that I want to make for it will fit in the end without looking cramped. You can see what I did here http://elgakoster.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-mock-up-and-some-changes.html

Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Franciso, unfortunately, I do not have a real structure; if I knew the house actually existed, I would try to go and visit it, if it were in the US; but I have only fell in love with it in its form as an art-print that I found online. Since it's real existence is unknown, I can only guess about the depth of the walls.  Artists are subject to painting from their imagination; and so I do not know if the house is real or not, but I am determined to make the house and stay as true as possible to façade that was illustrated.

 

I'm not sure if it is a blessing or not, to not know if the house exists in real life; it could have been painted from a photograph, and been torn down, who knows!  Perhaps I will write the artist and ask her.  It would be a blessing to see the house and much easier to duplicate it if it were real, and I could measure it; on the other side of that conversation is - not having a real house to measure, allows me to lay it out as my imagination allows, and not have reality dictate the results.

 

Those mm are tricky for me, I'll get my online converter out, my brain thinks in inches, and needs a calculator for mm :) this early in the day.

 

I will visit your web postings and see your build(s); the plywood is only the beginning of the cost; but I have a planer and lots of saws, I can build the structure from scale miniaturized 2x4 construction and rip wood to the appropriate size if I decide to do a 2x4 build - and what do we call this in miniature, "stick" construction?

 

Elga, most definitely I will do a draft of the structure and let it sit for a while, so it can be edited.  The ceiling height will be a big decision, too., and I think your dutch house is made from plywood.  Yes?

 

Tamra

Link to post
Share on other sites
Wm. R. Robertson

Tamra

Don't get cheap on the base materials for your project. When you look at the total amount of time and investment in this house model another $100 spent on the best plywood won't matter. I would use the best birch plywood you can get, sometimes they call it Baltic, Russian, etc.... And it normally does come in 5 x 5' which are a pain to deal with...... But in the end, that is the best.

One thing that worries me is I have seen wonderful projects done from foam core or gator board.... These material are for temporary works, not something made to last. I have a feeling in the future museums are going to have major conservation problems with them as they age. One thing that was very interesting with my work at museums is to see and study how these models have stood the test of time....... Even some of my own work which is nearly 40 years old now.

Good materials matter.

Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

Tamra yes I am using plywood with solid pine strips in between the two plywood sheets, my walls are 40mm thick, that is 1 9/16", so I needed to save on weight. One of the charms of these houses are the wonderful deep set windows with sills that are wide enough for vases etc and since I didn't want to lose that feel in the model I had to go with thick walls.

Link to post
Share on other sites
miniarquitect

Hello Tamra,

The structures which I build in miniature doesn't exist. So, I know it is not necessary to have the real building to copy it!!

But here, in Spain, I know that buildings are made of brick. The structural walls have about 15-17 cms, façades about 30-35 cms, and inside partition walls 5 or 10 cms.
the slabs have a thickness of about 30 cms... But if walls are made of stone, real thickness goes from 45 cms up to 80 or even 100 cms....

So you must have this information according to the style of your building. It doesn't matter you cannot visit or it doesn't exist any more, but you can have this information from similar houses of the same period and use it for your miniature.

And sorry if I talk in mm, cms or m., but we have also to think in 1/12 scale when the logical it is 1/10!!
 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Franciso, I had never ever considered that 1/10 the size would be the proper scale; now you have my brain really thinking, those rusty cogs in my brain are spinning around considering that possibility.  and the reminder of the thickness of the walls in a similar structure also has me thinking about what historical homes I can get into locally to see the depth of the interior walls; I supposed the thickness of the wall as illustrated in the frame of the exterior door of the front of the house will give me clues for the thickness of the façade. 

 

Bill, thank you for the reminder to use the best materials possible for preservation purposes.  I'll call around and see what can be ordered locally; it wouldn't be fun returning home from Chicago with 5' boards that don't fit in the back of the 4' wide bed of a truck.... The Good new is that   I'm back to driving MY car in Chicago traffic, instead of husband's truck.

 

Tamra

Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Within 2 hours from me, and a better drive then going through Chicago's traffic, I can purchase 5x5 sheets 4-6 pieces for $37.70 each...  Driving up has an advantage because I could see it before I bought it to check out the quality.

 

Or, I can pay to have them shipped from Arizona....  I typed this link, so hopefully I can type tonite....This has already been cut to 12 x 60" pack of 5 for the sum of $37 + shipping and no 4 hour drive to/from into Michigan....  I'm sure I have to think about the cuts for each room's floor before ordering.

 

http://www.woodworkerssource.com/38balpack3-p-6_plywood.html

 

If I were living in Tempe, Tuscon, or Phoenix, this would be my go to source for 3/8" Baltic birch in Arizona.

 

Bill H. I've taken saws with me when I make molding runs - you can get a very long piece of wood in a Honda Accord if you put the seats down for trunk access.  (ha!) 

 

Ah to dream...!  Gotta go stitch!  Tamra

Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

Tamra in more or less which time period does your house fall? There are quite a few books with floor plans of historical houses out there, some as free downloads, it could help you with dimensions as well as help you figure out a layout for the rooms behind your facade.

Link to post
Share on other sites
miniarquitect

Hi tamra,

for you and those who always use the imperial metric system, it is quite clear and obvious that the logical scale is 1/12 (1 foot = 12 inches)

But for me and other hundred of millions, who use the decimal metric system is more evident 1/10 scale.

so a wall that has 30 cms, on 1/10 scale is 30 mm, but in 1/12 we have to divide in 12, that is 25 mm, and this is not so immediate

the same 30 cms is, for you, 1 foot (more or less), so in 1/12 scale: 1 inch (25mm) (well in fact 1 inch is 25,4 mm)

for this reason when we (I and those millions) take real measures of a building, always in meters, we must pay more attention in the scale convertion. that's all.

I enclose some photos where you can see this skeleton made of wood and plywood.

post-96-0-19646900-1420883453_thumb.jpg

post-96-0-03499600-1420883455_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Francisco, yes, thinking about metric measurements yes, of course it does make mathematical sense to be 1/10th.  I remember as a child in school that they required us to do lessons in metric measurements and indicated that America would convert to metric;  while measurements are given in food products that we purchase at the grocery store; most building materials still use the imperial system....although it seems to me that plywood is commonly listed on websites in mm and inches.  All of my rulers, except the architectural kind, seem to have inches on one side and mm, on the other.  (I would like for you to add the photo above to a stair topic within the forum... should you have time.... it is beautiful to see these stairs in progress!)  30+ years after graduation from school, and still no official conversion in America.  I can picture in my mind 1/8 of an inch, but I have to actually "think" about that measurement in mm... and everytime I take a class with Geoff W at the Chicago International I remind myself that we are going to be using the opposite side of the ruler in his class.  Thank you for posting the skeleton of your structure.

 

I suspect I will have an easier time constructing my roof with scale rafters, then trying to figure out how to cut the angles on plywood... so I definitely plan to do the roof as you would build a real home. 

 

Tamra

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Gosh Elga, I wish I knew the period - "Older then me?" ...  I have done a lot of perusing of floor plans, added books to my paper library and of course have borrowed books from my library.   Our home was built in 1917.... so perhaps just slightly earlier....  Home is where the heart is, and I think my miniature heart is stuck in this time frame too for architecture.  I get conflicted with the term of "Victorian", "Queen Anne", etc, etc... so I'm just staying with 1900 turn of the century. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
ElgaKoster

I found this book Tamra, but I guess you probably know about it, sounds like you have been planning this house for a while, I am looking forward to seeing you built it.

https://archive.org/details/radfordidealhome00radf

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486412512?ie=UTF8&tag=mitchellspubl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0486412512

Link to post
Share on other sites
miniarquitect

hi Tamra, feel free to use the photo if you like it. Unfortunately I don't have the building process, step by step, of any of the stairs of my miniature houses. Besides, I think that they have little interest according to the kind of houses many of you build. These stairs, the real ones, have a vault as main structure, made of brick tiles, anchored in the slab, walls or other vault; steps also made of bricks and finishes such as tiles, marbre, granite or artificial stone, and a wrought iron railing. So quite far from your wooden structures and finishes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
karincorbin

CAD drafting programs simplifiy the issue of what dimension standard to work in. You can choose either metric or inch and switch back and forth if you wish to do so. For instance if you are creating the plywood shell from Baltic Birch set it to metric. Then when you want to work in inches just set the program to that. This eleminates the need to worry about pulling out a calculator to convert the measurements and your thinking.

 

But there is also the option of using calipers to measure your plywood and then entering that dimension into the CAD scene. Again there is no need for math conversion.

 

You will have an option when creating the printed plans to use dual dimensioning of the measurements showing both measurement standards if you wish to do so.

Link to post
Share on other sites
karincorbin

Help need some opinions please!

 

I am tempted to pick it up myself, when I'm in Chicago in April,,, so I can see the quality, no one stocks 4x8 sheets locally, and I really don't want to purchase $200+ worth of plywood, sight unseen and be unhappy.  The 5'x5' birch that is at my local woodworkers store has been stored standing up and its is warped, and that warped plywood, would also make me grumpy to have warped walls.

 

 

Tamra

Have you checked with your local lumberyards to see if they stock Baltic Birch plywood? My local neighborhood lumberyards carry it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
WeekendMiniaturist

Karin and Bill H, thank you both for mentioning local lumber yards before I trot off to Chicago or up to Michigan..  I spent sometime at lunch today calling lumber suppliers the next county over, and may have some closer options, and the 3/8" plywood is normally stocked, so with hope I will go and view, after the next shipment of 3/8" x 4x8 sheets arrive early next week.  I can of course special order at local home improvement stores, but I do want to see the quality of the sheets of plywood before I purchase and do not want to be stuck with I'm- unhappy- with this  quality sheet(s) of plywood and a restocking fee; as it affects my budget.  The sanded on both sides (for me) is very important for a scale miniature structure's walls.  The third one that I called did stock 4x8 and 5x5 in 7 ply, so I'll get to choose the size boards that I want....  Perhaps next week I'll be one step closer to the dream structure building project. 

 

Nothing stocked in 3/8" in my county that isn't warped; except for 3/8" subflooring plywood at Home Depot in 4x8 sheets, but as recommended above, not the quality that I need.

 

Karin, I do have software for drawing house plans, but was planning to use floor plans from the books.... but it is good to be reminded that I tell the software my dimensions of my materials in metric or imperial.... sometimes I think a ruler and paper is so much easier then using a computer and conquering the learning curve.  One of the advantages of using software, though is that instantaneous 3 d - view of your image.  That is sweet!

 

 

 

Tamra

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...