Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Couldn't Wait

One Thing Leads To Another

Once the Idea of a Dumb Waiter in the Doll House had occurred, I simply COULDN'T wait to get started! But before I show you what I have done so far.... let me show you the Facade of the Cupboard House in more Natural morning light. As I mentioned in my last post, this is a difficult color to photograph... primarily because it is Two colors overlaid in stipple effect... in order to try to duplicate the color of the natural stone. The stone itself has a range of variation.... but it generally is a reddish brownish color which changes depending on the light. So this picture below shows you the clear morning light.... it has a grayer tone to the reddish brown .... hard to describe!

And now on to the Main Event..... the Dumb Waiter project!
I began by constructing a smooth metal channel for the box to slide in. I used common aluminum roof flashing and creased it to fit the opening beside the hearth. This was harder to do than I had imagined as the flashing was HARD to crease evenly.... and I HOPE I have managed to do a good enough job of it! At least it fits the space just beautifully ..... as I didn't want to waste any space in this already small corner! Here you can see the shiny aluminum inside the closet door opening....

I needed to make the entire chute in one piece so there would be no seams between floors.....

Which meant thinking UPWARD to the TOP floor of this house.... a floor I hadn't even CONSTRUCTED yet!!

Which actually was a GOOD thing..... because otherwise I probably WOULDN'T have built it until much later after I had done much of the other interior floors.... Much better to get the rough carpentry done now before the delicate parts are added! So I constructed the frame of the Attic floor. This will be where the Nursery and Children's Rooms are, and even though I have ALWAYS imagined this Cupboard House with an Attic built on top...... it is taking some getting used to now that I have built it! It just makes the house look so TALL! It will be a Mansard Roof, possibly even with a Roof Walk and a Tower on top! For now it is just the rough framework.....
but Necessary for attaching the pulley mechanism at the top!

Now that I had the exact dimensions of the opening, I could build the box...... I started simple with some basswood from the craft store.... lightweight and not too thick. I attached a chain at the top.... the kind of chain used in old fashioned pull-chain lights...... it is small, sturdy and flexible and smooth at the same time...... and comes in any length you want them to cut it at the hardware store!

I added one of the end fasteners to hold it in place.... but that hung down too far... so I taped it to the top and then added an inner ceiling to the box, trapping the fastener in place.... hope it works!

Then I added more to the front sides of the box.... the goal is to make it as smooth as possible on all it's surfaces so nothing obstructs the movement in the channel......

This is a close-up view of the box before I stained and sealed it. I left the inside walls the lighter wood so you could SEE inside the box.......

And of COURSE I had to test fit the box in the channel a few times....... it slides just SOOOO nicely!

See, when it goes up you can see the aluminum channel below it......

So we HAVE to test run some DISHES to make sure they fit........(WHEW... they do!)

And close that door with it's TINY little hinges.......

And pull on that chain ........ while trying to take a picture at the same time........
SEE, it is GOING UP!

And UP!......... Yes, I will have to build the front wall all the way up too!
But for now you can see it going up......

And Up......

And UP!......

All the way to the TOP! And here you can see the VERY simple pulley rig I have made..... so far..... I will have to figure out all the fastenings and guide channels etc. as I go........
But first I need to decide whether the chain will be accessible from the SIDE or the FRONT of the house.......! DECISIONS!
But for NOW, it is enough that it Goes UP AND DOWN........

The Aluminum channel walls will hold their shape better once the surrounding structures are built...... but they work SO Smoothly! I think this really will work!

I HAD to show you!
I Just Couldn't Wait


  1. Clever you! You did this to perfection! And it works too. Amazing. It is awesome!!

  2. Wow Betsy, I think you did it :) Truly Amazing.


  3. A brilliant engineering feat! Well done,Bets! I love all your "action" pictures. I remember once when I was trying to show my hurricane light flicker, I was scratching my head on what kind of photos I should take.Eventually I spent 3-4 hours figuring out how to upload a video recording! But your pictures are way more effective and fun :).

    I really think your house is going to be great! A Masterpiece!

    By the way I love that attic.

  4. Fantastic! GREAT GREAT work Betsy! And I love the new birds' songs:)

  5. Ha ha:-D
    You're a genius disruptive!
    Mini hugs, Flora

  6. I really like the color of the house, and the elevator is a brilliant idea! good!
    I am happy to know that you're okay after the hurricane!
    mini hugs, Caterina

  7. An kitchen elevator! What a nice thing.
    You are AWESOME!
    Un abrazo (a big hug)

  8. Brilliant! I'm so glad you couldn't wait to do this. Sometimes you've just got to act straight away on a good idea. It's worked out very well and not technically over-complicated which is what we like - lol It sits beautifully in that corner next to the range - as if it was meant to be.

  9. The house elevator is fantastic! I'm speechless!

  10. Thanks, Caroline! It must have been Meant to Be... it was not too difficult... at least SO FAR....

  11. Thanks, Victoria! I hope it still works when all the rest of the parts are done!

  12. Thank you, Sans! Do you know that while I was trying to figure out how to show it WORKING... I thought of your little video of your flickering light... and I thought... Sans would show it with a video... and then I thought... I have NO patience right now to learn how to do THAT... So Still pictures will have to do.....! I am GLAD you think they show it well enough! I hope that it still works when all the walls are in place... no sticking spots and such.... but that only Time will tell!
    I am getting used to the Attic... it is amazing how Changes affect our perceptions.... we get used to things and they no longer stand out....But make a small change and you have to see the whole thing in a new light!

  13. Thank You Ewa! The Geese are starting to migrate here..... Fall is here and I just don't hear the Spring birds any more..... the mornings are dark and QUIET... until the Geese fly overhead! And the Crickets are even slowing down with the cooler temps. I felt like sharing..... :)

  14. Thank you Flora! You are lavish with your praise! (But I Do think it is turning out pretty well..!)

  15. Thank You Rosamargarita! It makes me want to rush to get the upper floors done just so I can use the Dumb Waiter! :)

  16. Thanks, Irene! I hope when I actually attach the pulley and cover it all in the walls that it will still be so simple! I agree that it WAS meant to be!

  17. Thanks Eliana! It is Such FUN to make these extra special parts!

  18. Betsy, I'm dying! I'm just dying! (in the best possible way). This is so great, an absolute tutorial in ingenuity and imagination. The sight of it starting to travel up is wonderful, I was at the edge of my seat. When this is done you have to send the story to a Miniatures magazine-they will Love It. The perfect hinges, the dishes, the glass front door...I'm still dying here!

  19. Amy, I'm Grinning from ear to ear! So Happy to bring you along for the Ride!
    Not sure I'm ready for the Pros.... but sure am having FUN!

  20. Chickens!
    Yikes. I love the dumbwaiter - next thing you know you'll have live steam heat in that house. I think the Mansard roof is cool, and now out of proportion.
    When are you going to get back to the story?
    Lots of love,

  21. I meant NOT out of proportion.