Tools and Glue

Page: 3

Wallpaper Paste: I started using Borden's border paste (for papering over paper) and find that it works better than anything I've ever used. Nancy's "ripple" problem sounds enough like my "sagging paper" problem to make me suspect that her paste is her downfall -- I have also used the scrapbook papers, and while you have to treat them a bit more gently during application, 'cause they're not quite as sturdy as actual wallpapers, they go up easily and finish beautifully. Build On!

Dayle in MD

"Copper roof stuff", something that I experimented with successfully on the dollhouse I am building. I used very thin sheet copper to make flashing for roof valleys where dormer roofs join the main roof, at the bottom of the dormer front walls and for the ridges of the dormer and main roofs. My roof is finished with cedar shakes and it is very difficult to make a proper valley or edges that look good without using flashing. Sheet copper is readily available here in Chile in stationery shops and supermarkets in the school supply section, along with various printed paper products and wood strips and sheets. These materials are sold for kids doing school diorama or model projects, but have many other uses as well. Since my work is in the copper mining industry, I had to find some uses for the finished product!

I cut the copper into strips of the desired width, in my case about 20mm (hobby knife or scissors work fine) and folded them lengthwise on a metal straightedge to about 90 degrees - be very careful of the edges as they can inflict a nasty cut. Sanding the edges lightly will make them a bit safer to be around. I attached the copper to the roof with Walther's Goo. Goo is normally found in model railroad shops and is a brown, very sticky, elastic contact cement. It works well for joining dissimilar materials, such as plastic windows to wood framing, etc.

David Harron

Door Installation: I put my door in by using the little punch tool you use for inserting wiring brads. Light on the pressure and turning it (like a drill) it didn't split my wood. This way I had a tiny hole to start with and with a little glue on the end of the hinge nail they went in quite nicely. Those little tools are handy for a variety of things.


Storage: I store wood pieces such as clapboard etc in keyboard boxes. I get them from the IS Dept. at work. I store dowels, trims, mouldings etc in Pringle and coffee cans. I have a large square tin box I throw in all those little pieces of wood.

Marsha, Newark, CA

Storage: I store wood pieces such as clapboard etc in keyboard boxes. I get them from the IS Dept. at work. I store dowels, trims, mouldings etc in Pringle and coffee cans. I have a large square tin box I throw in all those little pieces of wood.

Marsha, Newark, CA

Alternative to Minicrafter Bench Saw: Sandra Monk's SS post questioned the suitability of the Minicraft bench saw for cutting down commercial strip wood into the sizes...and for cutting rebates into furniture.

We have no information on this equipment because it is not commonly used by miniature furniture artisans in the United States. We offer an alternative that is very well suited to her requirements. The best equipment we know of for this kind of work is the small 4" x 6" Preac saw with the very fine.020" (.5mm) thick blade with 132 teeth to the inch. The diameter of this saw is only 2" (48mm). Not only is it very quiet and vibration free but it has an extremely accurate rip fence that I use frequently for making tiny parquetry. Also, there is no insert in this saw because none is needed. The blade doesn't tilt. The slot where the blade protrudes is only about .100" (2.5 mm) wide so you do not lose any of little pieces you cut into the sawdust below. We use our machines to cut rebates and dados up to 1/16" wide in a single pass.

Jonathan David uses this machine in Israel with a transformer to convert from 220VAC. It seems to work fine. The saw was invented by a model ship builder. That accounts for why it is so satisfactory with small strip wood, which is their mainstay.

Pete Boorum

Saw: I love my Microlux saw. (Have 3 Dremel saws also but have a problem with belt slipping on them and are no longer readily available as they are not made anymore) I cut down a lot of strip wood working in 144 scale. It tilts which is nice, and the special attachment "The exactacizer"..or accuciser(?) from Micro Mart... is a must. About $50 but makes cuts extremely accurate. A fence can move and cause irregular cuts where this locks well and can by adjusted in thousandth of an inch with a locking slide bar. I use mine so much it has had to have the motor replaced once.

Anita McNary IGMA Artisan

Gluing mini houses: for beginners wondering what type of glue to use in building mini houses - over ten years ago I built from scratch a four-story, 17-room Victorian-style twelfth-scale house. I used Aleene's Tacky Glue (which I use for nearly everything mini) to glue the entire structure together (we're talking 54" length, 48" height and 12" depth). During that time, that house withstood numerous moves from room to room and one major household move, with never a crack or a single 'unglued' spot. All my other put-abouts, roomboxes, houses and my very large four-story garden store are also held together by Tacky Glue, and I never worry about the bond breaking when I move them around. In fact, I started on a large French-villa style house, didn't like it, and decided to tear it apart to use the wood for something else, and except for a couple of the 'seams', I had to cut the whole thing apart with my jig saw because the seams bonded with the Tacky Glue refused to break or even cut with a single-edge razor knife. Tacky Glue WORKS, isn't 'runny' like wood glue - thus better control - and it doesn't cost as much as a lot of the other glues. I highly recommend it for wood projects. (For beginners - just remember that if you want to stain a piece with wood stain, do it *before* you glue because wood that has absorbed glue won't take stain. You can paint over it, but not stain it.)

Shirley from Chesapeake

Glue syringe: Keep tip covered while working on project but not actually gluing. I used to wrap with damp paper towel. You don't have to empty when you quit if you can seal the end from air. There is now a use for those plastic thingies that hold price tags to garments. Cut the skinny little end off and keep a long piece of the connecting plastic. Paint the fat end with a sharpie pen so that you can find it if laid down on table. Stick the connector piece into the end of the syringe to store.

To actually clean out the syringe, remove as much as possible then soak it in warm water. This helps with the tips for tacky glue too. When the glue is good and soft, simply pull the plunger out and let fill with warm water. Replace plunger and squirt water out. Repeat until clean. The only glues I ever use in it are Tacky and Quick Tacky. If the glue ever dries in it, don't waste your time. Toss it.

I now prefer to use the a paint bottle. Look at your craft store for fabric paints for decorating T-shirts. I don't remember the brand at the local Hobby Lobby, but at the bottom of the display, they sell empty squeeze bottles. There is a 2 oz. size and a 4 oz. size. The ones I bought (both sizes) have a label on them so you can write on them (Sharpie Pen) with the bottle contents. They have a snap on cap that fits tightly to the end of the tube. I have never had them to clog. They are soft to squeeze and great if you have arthritis. I don't but Mom does. My hand gets shaky and cramps up after long periods of using the syringe. If they don't have the empties, you can buy a bottle of paint for under $2, empty it and clean it out. About what you pay for a glue syringe to replace one that dried up or the tip clogged.


Scatter Grip: For scenery I have a product called Scatter Grip. It is applied with a throw-away brush and dries tacky. You then sprinkle the foam for grass and dirt or ballast for trains or gravel, pat it down, shake off the excess and you have landscaping. The pluses are that you don't have to mix anything, it is not gloppy like tacky glue and you don't have to worry about over spray and therefore you don't mask areas. You don't have a lot of steps involved in the application. If it looks thinner than you like you can brush more on and shake on more greenery. For those of you that give classes, it's great. You can get this product from shops or me as well.

Deanna from downtown Thiensville

Tools: On the subject on mini power tools, have a look at Minicraft make some super tools for the miniaturist, we use quite a few on our horses. (take a look at the detail we get to on Their prices are fair which makes the decision easier! If you want the 'Rolls Royce' (or 'Cadillac') of miniature power tools, take a look at Proxxon mini tools, they are the 'bee's knees' Does that expression travel the pond?

Pete and Annie Cook

Magnifying Lamps: The best type of magnifying lamp is the one with a circular fluorescent tube surrounding the lens as it doesn't cast any shadows. These can be quite expensive, up to about 100.00 in the UK, but are far superior to the other sort which uses an ordinary light bulb. Also make sure it has a glass lens and not plastic. I don't know where to get them in the US, but in the UK you can get good quality lamps and all accessories from Shesto, who incidentally do a whole range of tools suitable for miniatures.

Colin Bird

Forms Ruler:A Forms Ruler or Forms Design Ruler, (usually 18" but also 12") and is/was used to design preprinted forms that required VERY specific spacing for printing considerations for data processing or information systems. In days gone by (been there) these rulers were given out as "gifts" by the forms companies to forms designers (done that) in hopes of acquiring orders... Now they usually are $10-15 if & when you can find them. Here's a URL to see what one looks like - this particular one has a 1/6th scale (i.e. double the 1/12th scale many miniaturists use) plus other misc. scales. Do a search for "forms ruler" or "forms design ruler" - Google was used for above - and it will turn up some for purchase if you can't find them at a local "stationery" store.


Hand drills: Two come to mind. One is turned like an egg beater. The other is "cranked" in a rotating motion.

In my opinion neither of these would be my choice for work on minis because:
#1 eggbeater type does not afford much control. Yes it will drill the hole.
#2 the crank type relies on pressure from either your hand pushing in the direction of the bit or pressing with your stomach. In either case, the amount of pressure to use this drill precludes its use for minis.

As I started out saying IMHO a variable speed Dremel will be the best for working on minis. It does not require much pressure and affords delicate control. Each of these drills has a place in the home work shop. Each can do something the other cannot do. The Egg beater can get into tight spaces where the crank can not operate but the crank type can drill thru a 2 x 4 with ease where as the egg beater type is very labor intense for a 2 x 4.

Drbob...Delray Beach FL.

HAND DRILL: I own and run Hobbybox, we specialise in all types of hobby tools for hobbyists. We have that "Old Fashioned" manual drill and have used it in miniature demos quite successfully. It has a 3 - 1 gear ratio which makes it very easy to use. This is the link to visit if you want to look at it.

Gary Vardy

Hand drills: I've used a hand drill to put the holes in my lollipop trees- gives you steady accuracy to place the holes. I'm not a "wood " person so the automatic kind gave me no control. I bought a vise and attached it to my workbench and it works fine. My lollipop tree has at least 12 holes and I don't have to worry about drilling too deep. Take a peek

Gail Spector

Scroll saw tip; I have found that I can make fairly tight turns with the thin Dremel blade by doing the following.( I imagine it should work with all blades). I use the "set" of the teeth on the blade to make my tight turn. What I do is; as I enter the turn I line my self (eyes) up with the blade so I can watch the blade forced into a twist or torsion. I then let the blade return to its original position of being straight. It does this by the "set" of the tooth on the blade which nibbles itself straight and this realigns it for the tighter turn. It is the "set" of the tooth that gives the blade its "kerf" or thickness of the cut. Only problem I encounter is that my eyes get crossed after too much of watching the torsion.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.

Minicraft bench saw: I am the owner of Hobbybox here in Australia and we have found that the Minicraft bench saw kit has been an absolute winner with miniaturists. The blades are small and ideal for small intricate work. The kit comes with an 84 tooth blade for that fine work in wood without the splintering. e have used this unit in expo's and had nothing but success with the small tasks at hand. This is the link if you need to know more:-

Gary Vardy

Hanging doors: Drilling wee holes; Get some dental bits from your friendly DDS. Drill the holes for the nails and notch the nail shank with a file and then put glue on the nail shank and set it into the holes.

Using pivot posts; Drill the hole in the bottom of the door deeper than the post. Place the post in the hole. It will slide in and disappear because the hole is so deep. Now when you turn it over so the hole in the bottom of the door matches the hole in the saddle area of the door frame, the pin will drop into the floor hole but enough will remain inside the door to make it functional. Then search and seek the top hole with the top post.

Sometimes the door must be "hung" prior to being put in place. This may make getting the pivot posts in place much easier.


Hinges for doors--After dropping many brads, I finally glued the hinges on with a small dab of 5-minute epoxy, then added the little nails "just for looks".


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