Note: A lot happened the first day I started to build, so I divided the post into two parts. Read part 2 here.
That was something else.
Assembling this thing was no joke. Now I get why experts tell us newbies not to start with a painted lady!
On the plus side, I learned a lot. Like a lot. So, I’m pretty happy in that regard. Plus, I don’t think I messed anything up too badly. But, only time will tell.
Do I Have all the Pieces?
I started by pulling out the pieces I painted yesterday. Here’s what they look like:
They don’t smell bad, so that’s good, given the oil-based paint debacle. This is what I mean by “drippy.” This is the first piece I painted and, as you can see, paint dripped all down the side. I sanded it off as best as I could.
Sanding Things Down
Per the instructions, I’m supposed to sand down the paint. I grabbed some super fine grit sandpaper and started sanding away.
It wasn’t hard at all. I just went in the direction of the clapboard.
Making things worse
I got to the one side piece with the lifted up part. As I sanded, I made it worse.
So, I got out the tacky glue to fix it. Then I started sanding again, which was stupid because the glue hadn’t tacked yet. So the piece came up. I pressed it back down and held it in place for about 30 seconds, and that did the trick.
I sanded out the window and door slots, too. Just for fun.
The First Dry Fit
Then I started playing with the pieces, making sure I had the lined up correctly and had the stairs where I wanted them before I started gluing. My thought being, once it’s glued, I’m screwed.
Also, since the instructions say to do steps one through eight without stopping, I figure that if I mess up a step, I only have one shot at fixing it. If I get too far ahead, then realize I messed up, there’s not much I can do.
Side note: I know that glue can be “unglued” with some heat. But, I didn’t want to have to learn all about “ungluing” things.
The instructions explain that the floor pieces will be about 1/16th of an inch deeper than the side pieces. That’s so you’ve got a place to attach the front. I practiced (without glue) a few times to make sure I got it right. It looks like this:
I had to make sure the overage was in the front of the house and that the back of the house lines up evenly on both floors. Otherwise, this won’t work. Once I was satisfied, I started gluing.
No Going Back
For the first piece, I applied the glue like this:
That’s a side piece. Doing it this way seemed to make the most sense to me. I don’t know why. Instinct? It’s hard to tell in the picture, but all of the glue is in the groove.
Then, I stuck the floor piece (the top piece with the stair cut out, to be exact) in the groove and pressed down. It’s the best way to get the right leverage and really make sure it sticks. Much to my surprise, when I let go to take the picture, it stayed in place!
As you can see, some of the glue seeped out of the groove, but that’s to be expected.
Then, things got interesting.
Three Hands Would Have Been Better
Per the instructions, the next step is to glue the bottom floor piece to the same side piece — meaning the one you’ve already glued the top piece too. This makes sense to me in theory. I get why I wouldn’t want to necessarily glue the other side piece to the top floor piece. I could see why it might make it harder to attach the bottom floor piece.
However, after having followed the instructions, I might do it my own way next time. Here’s why.
Here’s the pic of me holding the bottom floor piece in place so you can see it glued. Yes, there’s some glue coming out of the groove.
I held that piece for a bit then took my hand off to grab the other side piece to put the glue in the groove. That bottom floor piece stayed in place! Until it didn’t. I don’t know what happened, but I think I might have knocked it, or maybe, because the groove isn’t on both sides like it is on the top piece it didn’t hold as well.
But, whatever happened, the bottom piece fell. In the direction of the top piece. Which also fell over. I do not have pictures of all of this. I was too busy panicking and sweating.
I grabbed the top piece, stuck it back in place, then held on to the bottom piece for dear life. Once I felt confident the glue had tacked enough, I grabbed the masking tape and taped it in place like so. Just to hold it together a bit while the glue dried.
On to the Next Mistake!
With that crisis over, I held up the front piece to the front of the house to check and make sure I had placed the floor pieces correctly. And, I had. There was enough overhang to attach the front of the house.
But the whole thing was backward.
Meaning, the stair hole was in the wrong place!
I had it at the back of the house, not the front. That means, there’s no way to get the stairs in so you can see them (like in the picture).
Technically, that’s not wrong. It just makes it hard to see the stairs. And, I suppose it would open up more room in the downstairs.
I also had the stair hole on the door side of the cottage. Again, nothing wrong with that. The pieces are like that so you have choices.
But, that would mean that the stairs would be in the way of the door. Again, that’s OK.
Except I had the floor hole on the wrong side. So, when you walk in the door, you have to go immediately up the stairs!
I swear. I laid the whole thing out, but I must have flipped the top piece when I put it together. Or slid the floor pieces the wrong way.
Whatever. All I can think about while I’m panicking and sweating is that I made a major newbie mistake and I’m screwed because I applied the glue and it’s been drying and tacking!
Turns out, though, that “tacking” and “dried” aren’t quite the same thing, so I was able to get the pieces apart. Ripping everything apart , I flip the pieces around to get things where I want them. That means, the stair hole in the front and on the window side of the cottage.
Then I held it all in place, waited for more tacking to happen and rechecked my work. It was right this time, so I taped it all together, then wiped the sweat off and waited a minute for my pulse to return to normal.
There’s more to the story! Read Part 2.