Thursday, 8 January 2015

Day 7 - Big girl's toys......

I just love my job.

Yes, there are days when things don't go quite according to plan, or when I spend several frustrating hours looking for something I had just a minute ago.  Or a new project isn't coming together in quite the way I'd envisaged.

But, by and large, I count myself very lucky to be able to do what I love and make it my business.

Yesterday was an especially good day.  I got to play work with ALL of my mini power tools while working on some Alice in Wonderland toy theatres.

Last summer I designed a new Alice theatre which has proved very popular, but it needs 'tweaking' so this week I'm revisiting it and making improvements.

For me, one of the delights of moving from being a miniature dollmaker, to a miniature toymaker, means that I now get to work with a huge variety of different materials, which also presents the opportunity to use POWER TOOLS.


Miniature power tools I grant you, but power tools nonetheless.  So over the course of this week I've been drilling, cutting and jigsawing with my three favourite tools.

For fellow miniature power tool enthusiasts, or beginners in the hobby wondering what they need, here are my Top Three.

For drilling, I use a Minicraft Drill, clamped vertically in a drill stand.  I mostly use extremely fine drill bits, marginally thicker than a human hair to achieve the tiniest drill holes imaginable.  I also have a variable speed transformer which makes light work of drilling through any thickness of wood I use, which admittedly is rarely thicker than 1/16".

For cutting quantities of wood (straight cuts) I have a Proxxon table saw, with a scary-looking circular saw blade, thankfully sheathed under a guard.  It makes short work of cutting through all wood, from softwood jelutong  to hardwood mahogany or walnut stripwood.  Also by using the adjustable jig stop I can be sure that all the lengths are EXACTLY the same which is very difficult to achieve when cutting manually.

For some weird reason, there is a label on the front of the machine which indicates that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a bull be permitted to push wood through the machine using its head.

This puts me in something of a quandary, as I'm a Taurean.  I'm marginally mollified that thus far nothing bad has happened to me and I still have my full complement of fingers and thumbs.  However you can never be too careful so I am extremely vigilant.

For freehand cutting, I have a lovely little Minitool Jigsaw, which is just perfect for cutting very small, intricate shapes. 

As you will have gathered, I'm a bit of a mini power tool geek, as I also have several other miniature marvels, all designed to take the hard work and guesswork out of cutting/sawing/sanding/shaping, but these are my top three which I use on a regular basis.

My newly redesigned theatre should be ready to unveil next week, but in the meantime, here's a reprise of the original.

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Sarah Arrow said...

Oh my! Miniature power tools! My father in law would love this, he makes doll's houses with my daughters.

Sandra Morris said...

They're absolutely essential for miniature work Sarah!
Although for the actual construction of a doll's house, as opposed to the miniatures which go in it, full size power tools are the way to go.
I can't imagine cutting 12mm MDF with my mini jigsaw :O

Jennifer said...

As a fellow Taurean and power tool fan I also was amused at the Bull picture on my Proxon saw though I upgraded to the bigger FET one after a while so I could cut thicker wood.

I use a small push stick to ensure fingers stay well out of the way. Table saws are a bit scary, especially if you get a kickback.

Looking forward to the toy theatre reveal.

Sandra Morris said...

I assume the bull reference is in relation to not forcing the wood through but it's not exactly obvious.
I use lolly sticks to push smaller pieces through too and yes, it is a shock when small offcuts come flying off. Luckily I wear glasses otherwise I'd be investing in some safety goggles!

Ruby McGuire said...

I love how we get so excited about our tools, not power tools for me, but card making tools so I do get it!

LOVED your slideshow :)

Jennifer said...

Sandra - yes, that is what I took the bull to mean.
Don't be a "bull in a china shop" I guess they're thinking :)