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Posts Tagged ‘american girl doll’

It was a lot of work, but I completed the doll wardrobe in the (Saint) nick of time:  I finished applying the final coat of clear coat around 11:00pm on December 22.  Here’s a summary of my finishing process:

  1. Take the doors off the carcase and remove all hardware.
  2. Fill all imperfections and nail holes.  I used a combination of wood filler and light spackle for this job.
  3. Sand down the entire piece until the surface is smooth.
  4. Prime the entire piece.  I used Kilz 2 for this step and it worked great.
  5. Guess what?  More sanding.  Sand down the primed surfaces until they’re smooth again.
  6. Spot prime any areas where you might have sanded through.
  7. Apply two coats of “buttercream” paint to the interior of the carcase and the drawer bins.
  8. Apply two coats “sage green” paint to the exterior of the carcase and doors.
  9. Apply three coats of Minwax Polyacrylic.  You should always use a water-based finish over paint since it dries crystal clear.
  10. Reattach the doors and the hardware.

Painting a piece of furniture is a lot of work, but I think it was worth it in this case because the finish looks great.  This project was a lot of fun to build, and I’m glad to have it out of the shop and in its permanent home.

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I finally finished construction on the doll wardrobe project.  All the woodworking is complete, so now I just have to prime, paint, and clear coat the whole piece.  I am going to paint the interior a cream color and the exterior a sage green.  I have a week and a half left before Christmas to complete the finishing process, so wish me luck… it’s going to be tight.

In my original plan, I had the wardrobe raised up on a base which was supposed to be about four inches high.  I ended up eliminating the base because it made the whole piece too tall.  I want this piece to double as a nightstand next to my daughter’s bed, and raising it another four inches is a bit too tall for that purpose, and I was worried that she would roll over in the middle of the night and hit her head on it.  Without the base, this guy is the perfect height for a nightstand next to her bed, and now it can also be placed up on a dresser or table if she ever decides to repurpose it when she gets older.  So, I guess in this case, function won out over form.

This main carcase is birch plywood and is joined using rabbets and dados.  I used 1/4 inch thick solid poplar to cover all the plywood edges.  I also trimmed out the sides and back using 1/4 inch thick poplar.  The doors are poplar frames joined with stub tenons and 1/4 inch thick birch plywood panels.  If you look real close you can see two empty holes drilled up at the top where the doors meet the case when closed.  I have a couple of rare earth magnets that will go in those holes to hold the doors shut after the carcase is painted.

The interior has two removable rods for hanging doll clothes and three bins for storing other loose items.  The bins are hard maple joined together with rabbets reinforced with a couple of brads.  The bottoms of the bins are 1/4 inch thick birch plywood trapped in dados cut into the four sides.

I’ll have one more post on this project once the finish is on so stay tuned!  Once this project is done, I should have time to record a new episode of the podcast.  🙂

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I’ve been busy lately working on the doll wardrobe project.  As I discussed in Episode 52, this project is a wardrobe designed to hold the clothes and accessories for my daughter’s American Girl doll.  It’s going to be a Christmas present and I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

A quick peek at my sketchbook will give you a frame of reference on what the finished piece will look like.  (Yes, that’s the extent of my artistic abilities… stop laughing.)  The finished piece will be approximately 28 3/4” tall and it will double as a nightstand next to my daughter’s bed.  The three main subassemblies are the top, the main carcass, and the base.  The main carcass will have two frame-and-panel doors.  Inside it will have three cubbies on the left-hand side for removable drawers to store loose items and two rods on the right-hand side for hanging clothes.  The main carcass will be attached to a base with moldings that run around the entire piece, and I’ll attach a top with a slight overhang.  I’m planning to paint this piece: sage green for the exterior and a cream color for the interior.

This afternoon I completed construction of the main carcass.  I’m trying to keep this project inexpensive, so I built the main carcass with some Home Depot birch plywood that was taking up space on my lumber rack.  The box itself is built with 3/4” ply and joined together using rabbets.  The vertical and horizontal dividers are made with 1/2” ply and are joined to the box with stopped dados (they are set back about 3/4” from the front edge).  The back is also 1/2” ply which sits inside a rabbet cut into all four edges of the box.  The back itself isn’t permanently attached yet; I want to remove it to make painting the interior a little easier.  I edged out all the plywood with 1/4” thick poplar.

The glue-up process for this guy was a complete nightmare.  No matter what I did, I could not stop this cheap plywood from warping and twisting.  I broke the glue-up process down into five separate sub-assemblies and I glued them together one step at a time.  In the end I managed to wrestle the plywood into submission.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I wanted to attach the dowel rods in the right-hand side.  In the end, I fabricated some wooden brackets (made from some soft maple in my scrap bin) that are glued to the plywood.  The dowel rods can be easily removed if they get damaged or if my daughter decides to repurpose this piece later.

The next step is to prime, paint, and clear coat the interior while I get started on building the base.  After that, I still need to build three drawers, two doors, a top, trim out the main carcass, and prime, paint, and clear coat the exterior.  Yikes, I better get back to work.

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In this episode, I give an overview of the holiday projects I currently have going in my shop, I explain my plan to control the avalanche of woodworking magazine back issues that are filling my house, and I introduce a new mailbag segment where I answer listeners questions.

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