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Are Greenleafs Flimsy?


jtravis10
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Hi everyone:

I've recently decided to get into miniatures, so my first order of business is to build a dollhouse. My question is about general Greenleaf quality. The houses look great, and these help forums seem very helpful and friendly. But what about the materials? The site says that all the houses are made of 1/8 " plywood. This sounds incredibly flimsy. Any words of advice on this? Would love input. Thanks so much.

Jack

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I have several dollhouses that have been handled by my GK ranging in age from the time they were 4 to 17 and all are GL brands and although I have had to reglue some trim the houses themselves have stayed firmed. They have also been picked up and moved around to various places in the house.

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Hi Jack. My local dollhouse dealers are two very nice, hardworking men who know their business, but at least one of them is dead-set against selling Greenleaf dollhouses in his store. He also refuses to work on them. His reasoning is the quality of the wood; mainly that it is too thin, but I also feel he is acting on his personal preference not to deal with the product. From what I can see, he works mainly with Real Good Toys.

With that being said, I have a Greenleaf dollhouse that was in my basement for over 30 years. The wood was never treated, nor was it wallpapered or painted. Yet, it held up great. For a short time when we were working on it, it was in my friend's basement that flooded. A part of the house was submerged in water, yet you wouldn't know it if you saw the house. Of course we sprayed it with an anti-mildew solution immediately afterwards, but I believe the fact it didn't fall apart under those conditions says a lot about the product.

Even though my dealer wouldn't wallpaper a Greenleaf, many others in the business and hobby would. Take a look at the many projects on this site. Not only can it be done, but it can be done with perfection.

While Real Good Toys is known for superior wood quality, Greenleaf is known for its architectual detail. At least that is how I would summarize it. Fortunately with Greenleaf, you don't have to sacrifice quality for visual appeal.

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I have GL almost exclusively and I love them. I have a RGT Alexandria and, while I love the layout and style, it is so heavy and impossible for me to lift and move around to work on. I also don't feel comfortable cutting the MDF that they are made out of because of the type of dust composition created in the sawdust.

My 14 yr old granddaughter built 2 GL's so far and no troubles doing it or making them sturdy.

They are very easy to "bash" - aka changing the layouts to suit your own designs.

The intricate designs and details on the GL's are what I really enjoy over the square boxy style houses. Of course GL has a few of those type too.

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I've built both a Greenleaf (Arthur) and RGT (Simplicity) kits. The Greenleaf kit ended up being quite sturdy with using carpenter's glue and extra reinforcing wood pieces in two spots and had the big advantage of being much lighter and easier to move around.

The MDF in the RGT kit is very sturdy and solid but really hard to drill holes in for installing an electrical system and the house itself is very heavy. I wouldn't hesitate at all to build a Greenleaf kit.

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I am new at this board, I have never made anything but the Greenleaf houses. (I have build 4, working on number 5, and two in the waiting room). I am basically CHEEP! I can't afford a 500.00 doll house sorry. Yes they are pretty, but I would rather build something I can be proud of and no feel guilty about the cost.

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I have now completed 37 houses..... 19 of those houses have been Greenleaf kits.... personally I adore the brand.... I don't just say that because this forum is hosted by them... I just really enjoy the kits. The styles are wonderful, the directions are easy to follow and their customer service is wonderful.

Flimsy... no... I have shipped 23 houses to people all over the country... and one to France.... every one of them made it to their new destinations in perfect condition... I think they hold up beautifully.

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Flimsy? Not if they're assembled correctly, and one can add trim and bases to make them even sturdier and prevent warping. I make all my houses for nieces and family friends, so I have shipped a number of houses over the past several years; never had a Greenleaf house fall apart during shipping the way my MDF SanFran (Duracraft) did a few years ago. :no: That was my art deco house that was two years in the making, and I was so sad about it... Not to mention the weight; as I get older my back gets worse and I just can't handle those bulky heavier houses the other companies make. (And I don't want to pay the extra $$ for them on top of all the other disadvantages.)

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We prefer the thin wood because it helps with realism. A thick wood will look like a childs dollhouse and not a realistic miniature house. That's my opinion. Ive dabbled with different brands and by far prefer Greenleaf for realism and being able to change things around if you want to. But Im an adult collector and not building childrens toys.

That having been said, there is a process to go through when building the Greenleaf homes, and if someone chooses to cut corners and speed through the process and not use the proper glues and sanding techniques and finishing techniques, then who knows what youll end up with. I would say it takes a little more care and time to create something that you can be proud of for years or generations to come. Even houses in real life can be slapped together and have little structural integrity. You start off with an affordable kit from GL and where you end up is your choice :-)

No one would accuse the Greenleaf Beacon Hill of being flimsy :)

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Hello Jack,

Welcome to the forum!

First let me ask who are you making the dollhouse for, is it for yourself or a child? The GL (Green Leaf) kits are great and actually very durable, I have even flipped one off my craft table and it bounced on a tile floor and survived with out any breaks or cracks. The kit was just in the shell phase no porch railings or anything more delicate. - Also I don't recommend trying this. LOL

If your making the kit for yourself - These kits are great!. The are light weight and great for beginners to even the more advanced builders. There is no limit to what you can do with them including bashing them together to make a even bigger kit or with some extra wood or foam core make something totally different looking than what the kit originally looked like. A good example of this is in the previous years of Spring Fling. Bait shop, tree houses..Heck even windmills!

If the kit is for a young child I would ask myself how the child is with their toys and how young is the child.

As an example I was pretty gentle with my toys as a rule and they lasted me a very long time. Whereas the boy who lived next door..would rip the heads off my dolls if given the chance and ram his dump truck at the fastest speed possible (that he could push it) into my just built Lincoln log homes. So for me as a young child any kit especially the ones here would be great. But the next door kid....well I think he would have needed one built out of heavy duty plywood!

All in all there are many different kinds of kits out there from the lighter to the thicker heavier kind made from denser wood to MDF. I have built quit a few of each and love them all, but if you took a count of the brand i have the most of built and in boxes waiting to be built....Its Green Leaf! Also in saying that there are sections on this forum about other brands of kits that people have built and their experiences in the build.

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My first 3 houses were made from MDF, they are heavy, they glue together well. I recently built my first greenleaf. I bought it from E Bay. The thin plywood was all seperating and in quite a mess in places.My husband said waste of money, you wont be able to make anything decent out of it.Well, that was fighting talk.Its together filled, glued and I love it.I love the detail in these houses and they are so light to move around. Saying that, it is only a little buttercup ive made.I would think the condition of the ply was due to age and storage.The idea of slotting together scared me a bit to start with, you need an extra pair of hands at times.I would like to think my next DH would be another greenleaf.

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Choosing a house depends on a number of factors - where it is going/ who the "owner" is going to be, the experience of the builder - just like buying a rl house. A dh shop gave me attitude about my GL house, but they sell their own line of houses, so it's competition, and naturally they prefer and are proud of the houses that they sell and use for display.

I have made both mdf and GL houses. I think an important thing is to mount the house on a board (I did not do this with the first two houses I made). It really makes it stable (think about how the stairs project off some of the houses) and easy to pick up and move - and then you can do some landscaping, depending on the size of the board. The other thing is how well you put the house together (do not use hot glue), and I think if you put siding on the house that also makes it sturdier. The nice thing about GL houses is that you can add on siding and not have this super thick wall - like other peope have said it is more realistic. The RGT houses have the siding all milled on them; it is convenient but not as realistic and the dh's are extremely heavy once they are finished.

Although each house has been a learning experience, the first house is a huge, exciting learning curve. Pick a house that speaks to you and don't worry about "flimsy" - there are answers on this forum for all kinds of challenges and ideas. And once you are bitten by the minibug, you can make another house and make your own comparisons. ;)

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I have built over 200 Greenleaf dollhouse kits. They are only flimsy if the builder doesn't know how to build according to the directions or edit them not understanding that you have to reinforce the building. I've had warped MDF as well as warped thicker wood. Its wood and if not stored correctly, it will warp. :p I didn't know MDF could until one wall of my RGT kit came like that. We also have a member who builds these houses to give to child cancer patients and has built more than me. Her houses are beautiful and also very sturdy. There's no way a company that created flimsy kits would be around this long. If you like the look of a particular kit, I'd say jump on in and buy it. It's well worth every penny IMO :)

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Jack, take a look through the blogs and galleries to see how these houses go together and look. I have built different brands (not RGT, they just don't appeal to me except for the Thornhill, and it's 'way beyond my budget!) and for ease of assembly and finished appearance I'll take a Greenleaf or Corona Concepts kit any & every time! I build primarily for myself, but I have also built for children and the only GL dollhouse I ever built that came apart was one some neighbor children visiting deliberately stomped into splinters. I have had a few dollhouse shop owners give me that "Greenleaf is sleazy" routine and I have used their computers to show them this site and attempt to set them straight.

Please do let us know which kit speaks to you.

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Thanks again for all the great advice. In the end, I chose a Real Good Toys Simplicity. Not so much because of wood quality, but because it is supposedly the easiest dollhouse kit to put together. I wanted my first experience to go smoothly. If this goes well, I will do a Greenleaf 1/2 scale next time.

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