Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Miss Lydia Pickett - dresser
This is the second of the monthly kits I am receiving as a member of the Miss Lydia Pickett Club being run by Judith of In Some Small Way (my first kit was the bed featured in my very first post). I am doing the kits in 1/24th scale (half an inch equals one foot in real life). I don’t know why, but I had a lot more trouble with this than with the bed kit.
The main part of it went together ok, but when I got to the drawers it all started to go wrong. I was using wood glue as an experiment because I thought it might be a stronger bond than tacky glue, but for some reason it just wasn’t ‘grabbing’ on the drawers, possibly because they go together with loads of notches around the edges (a bit unnecessary I think) so there isn’t much surface that is simply bonding together. The two big drawers went together ok, but the smaller drawers were a nightmare. The two sides look identical, but in fact there is a tiny difference in how the tabs are placed on the sides, so if you don’t get it right then the side protrudes slightly over and the end piece won’t go on. And of course I got it wrong almost every time. And the ends, which look identical – one is of slightly thinner wood than the other, and the notches in the sides seem to echo this difference in depth, so if you accidentally put the thick end into the thin notches, it protrudes as well. Meanwhile, as the glue wasn’t grabbing, the sides kept falling off… lots of frustration and glue going everywhere because the drawers are less than half an inch wide so really hard to get a grip on them. The final disaster was the picture frame which is included as an extra in the kit. You are supposed to glue the smaller frame onto the larger frame, using the alignment lines on the larger frame as a guide. Well I don’t know what happened, but when I lined up the smaller frame with the alignment lines at one end, it was nowhere near the alignment lines at the other end. And when I tried to scootch it along, the frame promptly snapped in about 5 different places because it is solid wood (not plywood) and incredibly fragile and thin, so it snapped across the grain. I glued it all back together but it looked pretty distorted - lots of sanding and painting later and it is passable.
The art work comes with the kit - I gave it one coat of sealer as recommended in the kit and then glued it on with a thin skim of tacky glue. I finished the dresser by 'antiquing' with a thin wash of Games Workshop Brown Ink, diluted with water, along all the crevices. I also had to do a fair amount of fiddling with the drawers to get them to slide in and out - I think they must have been a pretty exact fit before the paint went on, and even though I used a diluted coat of paint, it was enough to bring the grain up and make the drawers to large for the openings. I feel I didn't do a really great job on this dresser, and would say the level of difficulty for the kit is medium, certainly higher than for the bed. But it looks ok now, and I will keep my eyes open for a nice 1/24th boudoir set (hair brushes, mirrors, perfume bottles etc.) to finish it off with.
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