Miniature Hand Tools to Make Dollhouse Furniture
For those who make miniature furniture, the project of building miniature dollhouses to place these tiny pieces of furniture and furnishings is the core of the beautiful craft of miniatures.
However, without the appropriate tools, it can become a challenging and testing task which may rob the enthusiast of the satisfying accomplishment of building miniatures collectibles.
To make beautiful miniature dolls house furniture as stand-alone collectibles placed on the living room display shelf may be an end in itself, but for those who love to build miniature houses, they just never seem to look complete without furniture.
A miniature house without dining tables, chairs, sofas, desks, tallboys, armoires, table lamps, drapery, etc. is like an unfinished project, an unfurnished home.
To make miniature furniture for dollhouses, whether for the elegant Victorian doll houses, or the modern and contemporary tiny dolls homes, all that's required are some basic miniature furniture tools, and a few guiding steps to follow.
- Draw the miniature's pattern
- Select the soft, easy to cut wood
- Fasten or lightly glue all furniture pattern parts to the selected wood
- Saw around the pattern borders to form the furniture individual parts.
- Glue and bond all parts to form the furniture piece.
- File and thoroughly sand the assembled piece
- Use filler, re-sand and then stain or lacquer the finished miniature furniture.
Miniature Furniture Tools Required
There will be a need for an assortment of basic hand tools asides a few essential power tools.
For example if one needs to fasten or solder wires together, an inexpensive soldering set will be required.
And if an intricate design of a headboard is desired, a pair of needle nosed pliers or wire bending pliers will do the job easier and faster.
Basic tools however are essential to carry out the task of making miniature furniture and if no other tools are purchased, these ones must be obtained to do any serious work involving the furniture making task.
The required tools listed in order of importance are as follows:
- Power hand drill
- Circular saw
- Pin vice
- Mitre box
This is the second most important tool for miniature furniture making. It helps speed up the works while ensuring accuracy. The chosen power drill must have a variable speed and this choice is preferable because it broadens the drills usefulness.
A 'must have 'attachment for a power drill is a stand which allows the hand drill to be used as a drill press. This enables holding the drill down at any angle giving the craftsman free hands to work with.
Other attachments may seem tempting to the crafter but the drill stand and a router attachment will suffice.
This is the most important tool required for making miniature furniture. If only a handsaw is owned, intricate cuts are virtually impossible.
Mitering the ends will become stressful and as the craftsman progresses with the work, other more difficult and detailed operations would surface.
Choosing a jigsaw with a rotating electric motor is advised because it reduces unnecessary vibrations that will occur if a vibrating electric motored jigsaw is used.
The lathe is the third most essential tool required for miniature furniture making. If the crafter intends to make period style furniture with turned legs, posts, etc., this tool must be part of his collection of tools. On the other hand, if furniture items to be made are the basics - square shapes and simple furniture parts - then the use of this tool can be optional.
Some may attempt to carve curved intricate pieces by hand, but doing it successfully this way will waste a considerable amount of time, plus only very skilful craftsmen can do this manually and get it right.
A moderately fast speed lathe will do for all the required woodworking, and a slower speed lathe is great for any form of metal works that may be needed for this creative task of miniature furniture making.
Today you will find miniature circular saws that enables a miniature furniture craftsman get perfectly straight cuts on wood, up to about a quarter of an inch thick (8mm). And some circular saws come as attachments to a lathe.
It is advisable to choose saws that work with an adjustable blade angle of 45 degrees. With this type of circular saw, one can make perfect mitre cuts which allows for wood edges to be bevelled.
An inexpensive hole drilling tool, the pin vice is excellent to have handy when intricate works require precision and accuracy. For example, if 2 holes at the ends of very narrow dowels must meet accurately, a pin vice will allow this to be done effortlessly.
This tool is good for fitting into hard to reach places that the electric hand drill may not reach. So this makes it a valuable addition to the larger hand drill.
Just as a pin vice can drill tiny holes more easily and accurately than a hand drill, so will a mitre box mitre wood ends more easily than the jigsaw.
This tool can cut wood pieces at a variety of angles, though it is only useful for very small pieces that the jigsaw is too large to handle. The jigsaw only handles larger pieces of furniture parts.
For example, when making miniature picture frames for a miniature house or room, the mitre box will cut mitres for the frame (imagine how tiny these can be), as well as small items like the door frames, picture moldings, baseboards etc.
Though owning this tool is not a requirement for making miniature furniture, a craftsman will find that working without owning this tool makes the job slow and will likely cause inaccuracies.
Miniature furniture pieces crafted painstakingly and perfectly are definitely not toys for children to play with and then toss away in some place apart from its display position. Children of collectors learn this soon enough when they attempt to treat these valuable pieces as toys.
Building tiny pieces of furniture is not simple. Neither are there many time saving ideas or short-cuts. The emphasis is quality rather than quantity as many styles may take days or even weeks to construct.
Making miniature furniture is an age long hobby, and today it is a lucrative venture, because more and more new age collectors are seeking to acquire this unique and exquisite craft of the bygone era.
As a miniature furniture maker goes along in his craft, his work tools and tool collection will grow, just as his enthusiasm does. There is a vast range of tempting tools and equipments that can be found in local stores or on-line shops. Some will turn out to be very useful, but some will not. But there is no true miniature furniture craftsman that that will resist buying a non-essential tool.