If, like me, you became quickly disenchanted with what mainstream dollhouse suppliers laughably describe as scale miniatures, you may have decided to try your hand at making your own. Apart from the immense feeling of satisfaction you get from making something with your own hands, you also have the option of designing something unique and personal to your own style.
Okay so tools. The most expensive item I own is a Proxxon FET table saw.
Hand saws are the cheaper alternative. This is a 'Gentlemen's' or hobbyist saw. The blade and teeth are much finer than a full size tenon saw.
I also have a bench pin and piercing saw to cut anything other than a straight edge
(such as the circular cut-out shape I made in these doors)
A set square is a must. Most, if not all of your work will involve 90° angles. This is an engineers set square, made of steel and is machined at a perfect right angle.
A good quality ruler is also a must. You will have seen this phrase countless times on countless blogs because it is critical to good work.'measure twice, cut once'
If you want to buy a digital micrometer as a measuring device, then fill your boots.
The following items I would suggest only if you are working with metal. These are jewellery pliers and needle files for bending and shaping metal. You can normally buy these as a set.
I use a push drill for making pilot holes for handles and hinges. Alternatively you can use a scalpel blade to hold the drill bit as is perfectly demonstrated by the lovely Otterine
Even though I have an electric rotary tool (dremmel is another brand name), I tend to use it more for metal polishing than anything else.
It's not a necessity. Don't get caught up in the 'I need this to make good miniatures' mentality. Sure, good tools do help but they can't replace technique and practise.
Apart from the items I've mentioned above there are smaller, expendable items that you may already have around the house. Tweezers, craft knife, wood glue, sandpaper, masking tape clamps...
Oo, yes clamps. I know people swear by these gluing jigs and they do the job perfectly well
It's personal preference...I use a selection of quick clamps for my work *shrugs* It's up to you
So that just about covers the basic tools.
As you may already know I'm a recycling maniac who tries to transform anything I can into miniature. Wood is about the only material that I have to buy and there is a distinct lack of outlets for the sort of wood you will need. Typical lumber yards don't finish the wood surface to a high standard. If you go down this avenue, prepare your self for a lot of sanding =0(
wood supplies is a UK based miniature wood supply specialist. Their wood is of an extremely high standard and perfectly finished. Problem is they only sell at miniature fairs or via post if you submit an order form.
Original Marquetry is another UK based wood supplier. Their wood sawn veneers (1mm-3mm) are exceptional. Great range of fine woods (pear/box/ebony/kingswood) and if your making something fancy, they also sell pre-prepared marquetry inlays
Knife scales are paired wood pieces used for making the handles of buck/hunting knives. I've included this because every so often you find unusual pieces in a thickness that could be used for miniature tables and worktops. The wood won't be finished very finely (normally just wood sawn without sanding) but they can make for interesting designs
4D modelshop also a UK based store. Model shops tend to stock only walnut, mahogany, Obeche, Bass, Spruce and Ply.
I realise that the suppliers listed are UK based. This is because I've had personal experience with them all and recommend them to anyone interested in buying wood for miniature furniture making. I'm sure similar companies exist in your respective countries...just a case of Googling =0)
Metal sheet, plastic, acrylic etc can be found in any number of hobby stores and online.
One last thing and I guarantee this will save you money. There is a well known phrase used where I live in the North East of England and that is 'Shy Bairns get nowt'! In other words, shy children don't get anything if they don't ask. Don't be afraid to ask for samples, off-cuts etc. I was recently chatting to a bespoke furniture maker about the cloth he used in his designs. Next day, two bags of fabric landed on my doorstep...excess fabric from the templates that the furniture maker used and fabric that was destined for the rubbish tip. Recycling at it's best =0)
Dull stuff over with, I promise some miniature eye candy very soon
Have a great day