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San Franciscan 550


sutcliffe
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This is only my second dollhouse and it's a bear. From what I've been able to gather, this is the first model San Franciscan put out by Dura Craft - the one with instructions put together by illiterate trolls. I've made substantional progress so far, especially since I ditched the impossible windows and bought new ones (subsequently bashed to fit), but new problems crop up constantly.

The latest: apparently the damp of the wallpaper glue caused one of the side panels to bow and warp. I put heavy books on the panel and am hoping that will work. Has anyone else encountered a situation like this?

Thanks! :thumb:

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Clear sanding sealer worked for my SF555 (my first build, and even with a video the illiterate trolls did no better job), but I didn't know about spackling compound then to fill the grooves between the lovely little sections of wood that make up the wall panels. I know what I'd do differently if I ever got another one to build, but fortunately I don't have (or want) another one to build!

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This house kit is pretty old. dried out thin plywood will warp easily if wet on only one side. Prime the other side and it should warp back to other way some.

If the house is not assembled, the remaining bowing should work out then you glue it together. Be sure to dry fit and check and recheck that the walls are level and plumb before the glue has a chance to dry. Also, do let it dry for a few days before removing the tape/clamps.

I didn't think the duracraft instructions were hard to understand. Maybe they are easier if english is not your first language?

Ikea instructions (or complet lack of them) do make me crazy!

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If the gentleman who made the video for the SF555 was the company founder & writer of the written instructions, he wasn't a writer, he was a dh builder. I'm a visual AND tactile learner, so the video was helpful up to a point, and the picvtures in the instruction booklet were helpful up to a point. 3 1/2 years and many *magic* words later I gave the SF555 to the eldest grand (it is since long gone, who-knows-where, along with the instructions & VHS tape).

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The 3rd floor floor is kicking my butt right now. Too short here, too long there. I think this one is a tough build. My next step is the moulding that goes above and under the windows. Going to have to see.........in my head it would seem they would need to be mitered, but it doesn't mention that. Will have to test it out, but oh, those windows!!! Get thee behind me Satan!

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I usually do prime, but I totally forgot to do that with these panels - careless... However, the heavy books seem to have worked and I have not assembled yet, so maybe it will sort itself out! Thanks for all your replies!

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I'll be happy to post photos of the Tennyson; I'm a little embarrassed because it looks very primitive compared to the amazing houses I've seen in this forum. Most of the furniture in it is store-bought or Chrysnbon. I decided to start making furniture after I furnished it, because I just wanted to see whether I could, and because it's cheaper. My furniture is pretty primitive looking, too. I do cheat by buying the little legs - I can't imagine being able to make those! Some of cabinet handles are bought and some are jewelry bits. Occasionally there's a Michaels cabinet lurking in the background. Those things are horrid to stain! I've had lots of fun sewing upholstery and bedding and crocheting coverlets.

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Michaels cabinet lurking in the background. Those things are horrid to stain!
That's because of the s****y glue theiy're made with; you have to be careful to remove wvery bit (not difficult using the hot-wather bath method of disassembly, but you're seft with a heckuva jigsaw puzzle!). But they paint up beautifully!
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  • 7 months later...

Did you ever finish that San Franciscan? Because I found one behind a dumpster and rehabbing it is causing sleepless nights. The exterior is good, but no windows, no stairs, no trim, no instructions...

Does anyone out there know where you can buy stairs (preferably assembled) that are less than 3" wide?

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If you have built any kits with stairs you can trace the stringers onto a ppiece of card and add to or take from them to make a stairway that sill reach the next floor, and then use the cardboard mock-up for a pattern to cut them out of wood; and then measure for the widths of the risers & treads & cut them from craft sticks. I did that to make stairs for the Fairfield to go from the second to the third floors, since the kit only has first-floor stairs. I used turned toothpicks for the balusters and stripwood for the banisters.

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Well I haven't built any stairs... but I may well be doing it! This is my first doll house, as the other was made my my mom and it nearly cost her sanity! Last night I was on the Earth & Tree site and they have lots of nice trim pieces. I can't believe how creative you are with stairs construction!

I think I will limit myself to 1 building dilemma at a time as I am getting overwhelmed. I'm going to sand and paint the interior, and put in some wainscot trim. Windows should come and though I'm leaving them OUT till I figure out if I can do wiring; they are the big d-e-a-l! IF I survive windows and still have fingers, I'll worry about the 2 sets of stairs- I had an idea to make a 1st floor larger landing for the 1 step too short ready steps to sit upon. I guess the fun of this hobby is MAKE IT WORK! No hard and fast rules. The idea's I receive get me thinking creatively.

I see that you are one of the original members to the Forum and have thousands of posts!

Everyone is an inspiration~!

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I tried putting windows in my SanFranciscan two or three times, then I finally gave up and sold the thing unfinished. I think you need three sets of hands in order to assemble those windows. I have seen ready-built stairs at Hobby Lobby and on some dollhouse websites. where in NJ do you live. Circus dollhouses on Rt 23. in Pequannok, has a big inventory of dollhouse supplies. They probably have ready-built stairs there also.

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Hi, and thanks for the tips. I'm way south in NJ near Philadelphia. Here's a disappointment today my set of 25 supposed Duracraft ebay windows arrived and all but 6 were broken, wood-glass-ven plastic bags. They had little stickers made in China and were not good quality. Serves me right for buying 25 windows for $30! I'm hoping to get $ refund or replacment. I might be able to use the 6 for the 2 downstairs bay windows and buy better, smaller windows (these were 2.5" x 5") for the rest of 12 individual/3 bays? Meanwhile: ordering furnishings is going well!

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You could also fill in the holes in the upper floors that the stairs go through and pretend they're in the invisible "back" part of the house we can't see. The SF rooms are really small enough to do that. If you decide to make the stairs, go ahead and pick up some 1/16" basswood boards and a cork-back steel straight edge and a utility knife and lots of spare blades and a bottle of carpenter's wood glue and make your windows & doors, too! You can use one of the windows you have for a pattern.

I see that you are one of the original members to the Forum and have thousands of posts!
The number of posts has been brought to my attention already, and I fully intend to back off posting so much when I reach 30K!
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