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Thank heaven this house doesn’t have seven gables!  There’s a gable on each side of the house, and I figured out a plan for siding those back in June.

DSC_5162The last time I worked on the dollhouse was in September when I sided the downstairs half of the front.  The procedure I used is explained in a previous post.

A week or so ago I applied the upstairs siding to the point where the gable started, and then I stopped.  I knew I wanted to do something different with the gable.

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I wanted to use fish scale shingles, just like on this house, a retreat for pastors and missionaries that we maintain on a farm in Alabama.  The dollhouse shingles arrived by UPS, and it was time to get to work.

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The first step was to make a template and apply spray-on adhesive to the face of it.

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The next step was to apply the first row of shingles across the bottom of the template, laying them on the glue-y side.  Here I’ve turned the template over to be sure the shingles are on straight.

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Subsequent rows of shingles went on, staggering the slits between the shingles.  Having learned from the roughness of my lap siding, I ordered laser cut shingles.  I did NOT want to have to sand every single shingle!  Once all the rows of shingles were applied to the glue-y side of the template, I began to trim the excess off the sides with a scissors.

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The “gable” looked really nice.  But when I peeled the template off the shingles, that is when things started to fall apart.–literally!  The glue was not strong enough to hold the sections of shingles onto the template, and pieces fell onto the table.  I could have pieced the shingle strips and pieces onto the gable of the house without any problem, but I realized that something was missing.

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I needed a narrow row of shingles to partially cover the last, full-width piece of lap siding.  The overhang of the shingles I had glued onto the template was not enough.  So I drew a line across a strip of shingles, cut down the excess across the top, and glued it overlapping the siding.

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That messed up the cuts I had made with my template, and I had to kind of “wing it” from there.  However I was able to use the template as a guide and make adjustments as I went.

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It was a very laborious process, and I learned a few things the hard way.  One was this:  After I trimmed a length of shingles to size and fitted it in place, I needed to draw a line across the top.  Before I learned that, when I removed a strip to apply the hot glue, I accidentally got it on crooked.  I had to pry off a whole row of shingles, and as they came up they tore off some of the ones underneath them.  Fortunately, because of the almost-separate nature of the shingles, it was relatively easy to rip one or two off without removing a whole row.

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Another thing I learned was that after I had marked a strip of shingles where it needed to be cut, I cut it a little wider than I thought I needed.  It was easy to trim more off–but if I discovered it needed to be wider, it was impossible to replace what was already trimmed off!

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Finally, I learned that when I was cutting close to the slits between shingles, I needed to apply a piece of Scotch tape on the back to keep the little end pieces from cracking off.  And as I trimmed them, I needed to always start my cut at the tip of the “triangle,” cutting towards the border of un-slit wood at the top of the strip.  If I cut the other way, ending with the triangle at the end of the curved shingle, a little corner inevitably cracked off.

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Once I had sized up visually where I thought I needed to trim, and drawn my lines in place, it was helpful to lay the piece on top of the template and check for accuracy.

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It took three and a half hours, but I was thrilled with the finished project.

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Temporarily taping the windows in place let me see how good the house looked.

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Probably the most difficult part of the shingle project was cutting out the round window opening.  The shingles are much sturdier than the lap siding and consequently much harder to cut through.  I could not avoid a bit of chipping around the edges of the shingles, but fortunately the nice wide trim around the octagonal window covers a multitude of sins!

Applying the siding and fish scale shingles has been a slow and tedious process, but now the fun starts–painting and decorating!

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