The Bottom Line
- Simple furniture designs all use simple butt joints and easily obtained materials.
- All designs are in the style of 'country' furniture, easily made from craft sticks and basswood
- Good range of projects for beginners, including chairs, tables, beds and dressers with drawers.
- Miniminmal techniques and hand tools required to make projects successfully.
- Furniture shown is made with wood too thick for accurate scale, but that can easily be modified.
- There is little skill developement across the project range, but the projects themselves are useful.
- Good clear illustrations show pieces laid out in an exploded assembly view. Measurements are given in instructions not plans.
- Good range of project designs will let a beginner furnish several common rooms, and create pieces which can be modified.
- No suggestions are given for thickness of craft wood used, only width and height of pieces.
- No skills beyond the basics of cutting, simple finishing and gluing butt joints are covered or needed.
Guide Review - Book Review - Simple Country Furniture Projects in 1:12 Scale by Alison J. White
Easy Furniture With Simple Construction - Simple Country Furniture Projects is a good book for absolute beginners to learn to build dolls house furniture. It shows good use of simple materials and common hand tools to create a wide range of furniture pieces for several dolls house rooms. The fifteen designs can be painted, stained or left unpainted for a wide variety of uses. All furniture is built using simple flat glue joints or butt joins, and mainly straight saw lines. Most furniture in this book could be constructed using only a razor saw, a miter box, sandpaper and glue. None of the furniture requires special turned pieces of wood or routered mouldings, although examples are shown of where these could be used to refine the design.
Included Projects - The book includes projects to make a gluing board for project assembly, as well as 1:12 dolls house scale projects for: a pastry board, candle box, knife box, stool or bench, hinged salt box, kitchen table with drawer, washstand, chest, settle, ladder-back chair, rocking cradle, chest of drawers, wall mounted cupboard/.pot shelf, dresser and bed. Instructions are simple and clear, with projects laid out in an increasing order of difficulty.
Who Would Use These Projects? - These are good projects for an absolute beginner who wants to learn to make scale furniture. The resulting pieces are similar to much of the inexpensive white wood (bare wood) dollhouse furniture available. These would be good projects for an interested child to build with adult assistance depending on their age and are good practise for simple furniture construction. Many of the pieces can be modified by more experienced builders to create basic furniture for several dollhouse rooms in various period styles.
Skills Developed - The book includes helpful hints for a beginner on using sandpaper, finishes and glues are included but lack specifics. The reader must understand what fine sandpaper is in terms of grit size for softwoods, and must be able to determine whether wood is appropriate for a piece or not, as no suggested thickness of wood is given. The main skills developed here will be for accurate straight saw cuts and measurements, and lining up of glue joins. If the builder has access to appropriate thicknesses of wood (l/16 of an inch or so thick) and 1/8 to ¼ inch square stock for various legs, the furniture will appear scale appropriate. (1/16 of an inch in 1:12 scale is equal to 3/4 of an inch in real size. Using thicker woods will somewhat skew the effect of the scale of your furniture.
Price and Availability - Simple Country Furniture Projects in 1:12 Scale, Alison J.White, Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, 2003, ISBN 1 861083513 Usually available new from the Guild of Master Craftsman (GMC Publications) online and many bookstores and libraries. Price new ~ $20-$30