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Miniature Furniture Handtools

Updated on January 26, 2018
viryabo profile image

I love crafts works. I made my first ragdoll when I was 10 as a class project for a jumble sale and made my first rag rug when I was 16.

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.

Miniature Furniture
Miniature Furniture

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 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.

Handtools 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.

A set of mini-size basic tool kit is 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 crafting of dollhouse furniture.

The required tools listed in order of importance are as follows:

  • Jigsaw
  • Power hand drill
  • Lathe
  • Circular saw
  • Pin vice
  • Mitre box

Miniature Drill

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.

Jigsaw

This is the most important tool required for making miniature furniture. If only a handsaw is owned, intricate cuts are virtually impossible.

Mitring 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.


Further Reading:

Miniature Houses and Furniture

Lathe

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 skillful 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.

Circular Saw

Today you will find miniature circular saws that enable a miniature furniture craftsman to 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 allow for wood edges to be beveled.

Pin Vice

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.

Mitre Box

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 Collectibles

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, but with the help of a beginner's guide, it's quite easy to learn the craft in a short time. Neither are there much 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.

Miniature furniture collection
Miniature furniture collection

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 equipment 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.

© 2010 viryabo

Comments

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    • profile image

      isaac 

      7 years ago

      witch lathe should i get to make colums and furniture for dollhouse and diaramas please help

    • profile image

      Andrea_S 

      7 years ago

      This is nice! I have a small site myself, but more focused on bigger woodworking projects. On one of my pages, I demonstrate how to build a shed. Just as for dollhouses, there are actually plans and blueprints for building entire garden houses.

    • profile image

      Mincka 

      8 years ago

      what type of brand is that jigsaw? and where do they sell it? Seems a great tool.

      warm greetings, Mincka

    • profile image

      Jean Erickson 

      8 years ago

      Could you tell me where I can buy the tools you listed in this article? I am a newcomer to this fascinating hobby and need all the help I can get. Thank you.

      Respectfully

      Jean Erickson

      jeanmerickson@hotmail.com

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      8 years ago

      Hi lovemini, a jewellry or piercing saw will do the work just fine. However, it is very important to wear eye protection glasses whilst cutting through metal, especially being close up to the face during cutting.

      Hope this helps lovemini.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Cheers

    • profile image

      lovemini 

      8 years ago

      What does one use to cut metal pieces as you would see on dragondee miniatures?

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      8 years ago

      They are so real looking as you rightly said, and so exquisite too.

      Painstaking works, beautiful results. Amazing!

      Thanks for the visit Pestrel

    • Petstrel profile image

      Petstrel 

      8 years ago from Slovenia

      My God. I knew about small replicas, but I did not know they were so real looking.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      8 years ago

      Many many thanks prasetio for your visit and very inspiring comments and praise .

      Miniatures are so beautiful and if i didn't have to spend so much time being addicted to hubpages(LOL!!!), maybe i could do a few pieces of those exquisite items.

      Im glad you enjoyed this.

      Cheers

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Honestly, I never know about those tools before. But now I know the function and type of these tools. I really like something about miniature. And dollhouse is one of my favorite miniature. I am glad you put video in this hub.

      I never thought in making classic interior miniature. It was great. Wow......this hub impressed me much. Only one word out of my mouth.....Amazing. Thanks my friend. You are very talented.

      warm regards,

      Prasetio

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      8 years ago

      Hi keira. Its always good to see a great friend again. How are you?

      Im glad you love this hub. Miniatures are so cute and collecting them is an interesting hobby.

      Glad you translated that for me. Lol!! My french is really bad. When i was in school, instead of being serious about my French lessons, i wasn't taking the course seriously.

      Now i'm much older, i regret i cant speak French. Oh well, maybe in my next life.

      GodBless you Keira.

    • profile image

      Keira7 

      8 years ago

      Hello my dear friend Viryabo, that is what we call a very sweet and cute hub.:) You know so much about furniture and design , I have learn a lot with your great work. I liked the photos too, very nice. In French we say "tout ce qui est petit est mignon". If you want in English its "all small things are cute". I also have read your others brilliant hubs and rate them up of course. Great work my dear. I enjoyed reading and watching the videos, I liked the video in one of your others hubs, one about a man, that leave in a very small house.:) One good thing about a small house, its very easy to clean and tidy up.:) Anyway thanks for all the good infos, and thanks for sharing, my dear Viryabo. Have a wonderful weekend my lovely friend.:D

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