START HERE! Always start with this link to see the Order of Operations for the Mansion Style Advent House. On this page you'll have access to links to all of the most current instructions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Updated Order of Operations

With the new season, as Christmas 2018 approaches, we have been working hard to develop better and faster and easier ways for you to have a Christmas Advent House this year.  Because of this, we are always updating our model, and our kit, and doing our very best to keep up with the instructions and assembly information.  So...  Here is the latest updates for assembling the Mansion Style Advent House and the order in which you can assemble:


  1. Assemble the Gluing Jig.  
  2. Assemble all of the Windows
  3. With those windows, Assemble the Dormers.  (we are working on this one)
  4. Assemble the Front Door.
  5. Assemble the Atrium (video)
  6. Assemble the Tower
  7. Assemble the Structure  (video)
  8. Putty/Sand/Texture/Paint
  9. Final Assembly
  10. Lighting Options


And you should have a fully functional, totally gorgeous, and hand-built Christmas Advent House for this year!

Questions?  Please Contact Us!  We're always happy to answer questions!


Illustrated Tower Design (new version)

The new Tower Design is now available!  This new Tower design is MUCH easier to assemble, looks fantastic, and is more stable and stronger than before.  Please note:  you will need the new top center piece of the Atrium to use this new tower due to the stability legs, or, you can do some trimming on the old Atrium Structure to get this new tower to fit properly.


These following steps show you how to assemble the Tower.


THE TOWER KIT:



Contents include 2 wide frames, 2 narrow frames, the top frame, a 'fitting block', the half ball, spire, trim and pre-cut vellum.  There is also an internal frame piece (the smaller of the two squares inside the round bottom flat trim).  This piece will be used right at the end of the process and will NOT be painted.


**NOTICE**, The Tower is cut from 1/8" Basswood, NOT plywood. This means it is more susceptible to cracks and breaks.  Take extra care with handling these parts.



CUT OUT PARTS:


Before trying to punch the parts out of the kit, turn the kit face-down and cut as far through the tabs as possible.  Each part has 3 or 4 tabs.

Once you cut each of the tabs, the parts should pop out of the kit fairly easily.  You'll then want to clean up those tab locations so that they are nice and smooth.



PARTS LAYOUT:


Using the Top Frame piece (the center 'square' piece), align the 4 tower faces Face Down as shown above.  Have the "Fitting Block" on hand ready to use.


Now tip up the 2 narrow faces, as well as ONE of the wide frames.  Use the 'Fitting Block' to ensure the faces are aligned on their edges and to hold it temporarily.


Now add glue to the edges of the narrow faces, anywhere that the one remaining wide face will make contact (where the red lines are in the image above).

**  Do NOT add glue to the Top (center) frame yet.

Then tip up the wide face and, while ensuring the face edges are all aligned properly, hold until the glue sets:


Now repeat this process on the other wide face (still avoid adding glue to the top center frame).



GLUE IN TOP FRAME:



With the side faces glued and set and still using the fitting block to ensure squareness, we now remove the top frame to add glue and then glue onto the structure.

And you end with this:



The faces/frame is now assembled.  Please note:  DO NOT add glue to the inner sides/edges of this assembled part.  You don't want any glue to be visible from the inside of the structure, because we need the vellum to fit in there properly in a future step.

We advise you to leave the 'Fitting Block' in place temporarily  (BUT DO NOT GLUE THIS PART IN) to avoid accidental bending/twisting of the frame.



ASSEMBLE THE CUPOLA:


We now move to the cupola.  Start with the pieces shown above: The half ball and the bottom flat trim piece.

On the half ball, you'll find one area that is not like the rest.  This area is where the machinery used held the ball while it cut it into shape.  We like to 'hide' that area of the ball on the back of the tower (so it won't be seen as much).  To plan for this, align that 'odd' area between two of the tab locations on the flat bottom trim, as shown below: (tab locations marked with red arrows in image below)


With the bottom flat trim in held in place, and centered on that odd area of the cupola ball, make pencil marks on the edge of the half ball where each of the tabs marks are on the bottom flat trim.  Then, after removing the bottom flat trim, transfer those marks to the bottom of the half ball, as shown below.  We'll use these marks to align the thin trim.





TRIM THE CUPOLA:



Take the thin trim piece and place the center circle close to the center of the cupola ball.  it doesn't have to be perfect.  Two of the trim straight sides bend easily, the other two need a little more cautious encouragement to bend down.

Bend down the two (easier to bend) straight pieces and flip the ball over.  On the bottom, align the trim pieces to where the pencil marks are on the bottom.  Then adjust the thin trim so that both of the edges sticking out the bottom of the cupola ball are equal length (shown with red arrows in image below).


Then carefully bend down the other two straight trim pieces and ensure they are both equal length on the bottom.  Take your time to get all 4 of the 'legs' equal distance out the bottom of the cupola ball.  Doing this will make the center circle of the trim perfectly centered on the top of the ball.


While holding the trim in place, carefully turn the ball over and use a pencil to mark the center circle and 2 of the trim legs so that you can more easily place the trim on when gluing (shown with arrows in the image above).

Then add a small amount of glue to the very top circle (shown with red circle in image above), replace on the ball, aligning with the pencil marks and hold in place, as shown below (pencil marks shown with red arrows in image below):

Once the center of the trim is glued, you can then add glue to each of the legs (one at a time) and bend down tight and glue into place.  Make sure, while bending the trim legs down, that the end aligns with the pencil marks on the bottom of the ball.




All 4 trim legs are now glued down to the ball. You'll note that the trim pieces will still stick out just a bit out the bottom of the ball.  Once the glue is dry, you'll trim off that slight excess trim so that it ends up flush with the bottom flat side of the ball.




FINAL ASSEMBLY OF CUPOLA:


We're now ready to glue the half ball to the bottom flat trim.  Make note of the location of the 'odd area' on the half ball.  This area needs to be on the 'back' of the bottom flat trim.  Be sure that the excess trim is cut off at the bottom of the half ball as well.

Now simply realign the tabs locations on the bottom flat trim with the legs of the thin trim, and glue these two parts together, shown below:






SPIRE INSTALLATION:


Once the glue is well dried on the thin trim, you'll want to drill the center hole with a 3/16" drill bit.  Be careful to keep the drill perfectly vertical so the spire will be vertical as well.  You will want to drill about 1/4" into the ball, but the actual depth can be whatever you want it to be and will be adjustable when you glue in the spire.


Now dry-fit the spire into place, adjust for your desired height, then add glue and install the spire.


And the Cupola is Finished!





PAINTING:

At this point, you'll want to paint both the frame and the cupola with your chosen color.  Color is your choice, but we like a forest green.  Be sure to paint the underside of the cupola as well as it will be visible on the completed Advent House.  Try not to get too much paint on the inside of the frame/faces because the Vellum needs to fit perfectly in there.





VELLUM PREP:



The vellum is pre-cut and ready to fold and install.  You'll fold on the dashed lines, including on the tiny area on the very end (the left side of the pic above).  And you end up with this:

You'll note that the two 'open ends' have matching tabs/slots.  BE VERY CAREFUL as you slowly work the tabs into their slots. 

Below, you can see you'll need to 'mis-align' the ends just a bit:


Slide the tabs through their respective slots:


Then re-align the ends and fold down the tabs and end:







FINAL TOWER ASSEMBLY:

Once the parts are assembled as shown above, and the wood parts are painted green, you are now ready for final assembly.

To insert the vellum into the structure, you'll want to pinch the vellum as shown below.  Not so much to crease it, but enough to bring in the corners just a bit:


Then slip the vellum up into the structure:


Until the vellum sits all the way up to the bottom of the top center frame piece.



Now you'll insert the internal frame piece and carefully slide it all the way to the top (this might take just a bit of work, just be careful not to rip the vellum).  This piece is used to press the vellum out against the tower faces.  You may choose to add a tiny drop of glue at the top to hold this part in place.



Then you'll add a tiny drop of glue on all 4 sides around the bottom and hold the vellum in place.




Finally, align the tower faces with the cupola (keep the 'odd area' of the ball on the back), and Glue!






And it's Done!  The tower is complete and ready to place on top of the Atrium!






NEXT STEP:

If you are following the steps, you should be done with the Atrium.  Finish up the windows, door and structure and you should be really close to having your Christmas Advent House Complete!




Questions?  Please feel free to contact us on our website!







Friday, October 19, 2018

New Assembly Video Posted!

We know it's been quite some time since we've posted something here.  But today is different.  We have finally finished our updated Structure assembly video and posted it to Youtube in 2 parts.

The Advent House Mansion Style Structure Assembly Part 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LJSrbdAn_s

The Advent House Mansion Style Structure Assembly Part 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUzHzMw_8IA

With these 2 videos, you will be able to follow along in the assembly of the structure, from taking each part from their blocks, all the way to the completed Advent House.  Go ahead and watch the videos, and if you don't have your kit on order yet (available here), buy Now and get it ready before Christmas This Year!

If you have any questions - feel free to comment on the video, or contact us on our website or our etsy shop!

We're working on some more videos so be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel to be notified when we post those new ones too!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Door Assembly

Once you have the Gluing Jig complete, you can now build the windows and doors far more easily.

These following steps show you how to assemble the Door.



THE DOOR KIT:



This is how we start the door, all packaged up and ready to assemble.



Contents include a front frame, a back frame, a back block, a face, 2 door panels, 2 door panel backs, 12 raised panel pieces, 4 hinge pins and a pack of 2 door handles.



DRYFIT ORIENTATION:



FIRST THINGS FIRST:  (2 VERY important steps)

FIRST, make sure you have the 2 frame pieces orientated with the smaller (narrower/thinner) part/edge AT THE TOP.  The thicker part of the frame goes on the bottom of the door.




SECONDLY:  Make the distinction of the Front Frame (with hinge holes) and the Back Frame (with NO hinge holes).  Obviously, the Front Frame (with hinge holes) will be on the front and will be where the door panels hinge on the frame.  The 'back' frame goes between the front frame and the back block (which is the thicker edged frame piece)

Now you may notice there is a 'front side' and a 'back' side of each of these pieces (the backs of the pieces have some minor darkening around the cut areas.  (Keep in mind these parts are precision laser cut).

Align the two 'back sides' of the two frame parts for gluing.



DOOR FRAME ASSEMBLY:


Using the Gluing Jigs (shown above and described here), we'll now press the two opposite corners of the door frames and glue them up.  Using the jigs ensures that the two frames are properly aligned.  We have designed most of our kit with pretty tight tolerances so keeping things aligned is paramount.



In the image above, you can see the Gluing Jigs on opposite corners.  Gentle Pressure towards each other will ensure the frames align properly.  (Be sure to not push too hard or you may skew the frames)



Now add glue to one of the frames, set on top of other, use the gluing jig to align, then apply pressure to glue to the two frames together.

And you get the following:


Make note of the Hinge Hole location because it will be VERY IMPORTANT on this next step!



ADD BACK BLOCK:




We now align the back block withe now-glued frame.

NOTE THE ALIGNMENT!

The Front Frame (with the hinge hole) is on TOP, then the Back Frame (no hinge hole), THEN the Back Block (fatter edges).


Place the Back Block on the table with the 'Good/front face' UP!  This will provide a bit better gluing surface for later on.  So if you can tell the difference on the front face and the back face, place the back face DOWN.



Add glue to the back of the back frame (non hinge piece).


Use the Gluing Jig to hold the corners and apply pressure to glue well.



Your door frame should now look like this!



ADD DOOR FACE/TRIM:


Now we add the Face/Trim to the door.  Place the 'now-glued-up' frame with the Back Block DOWN on the table.  (this places the Front Frame (with the hinge hole) on TOP)


Align Door Face with front of frame.


Make ABSOLUTELY SURE that the top two inside corners of the door face/trim align with the inside corners of the frame.

Add glue and apply pressure to finish assembly.




Here is your door frame complete!  Make note of the location of the individual parts.
You can now add a little extra CA glue to the backside of the seams if you'd like a little more security.



DOOR PANELS ALIGNMENT:




Dryfit and align the back panels with the front panels. 

NOTE: 
#1 - The thinner panels (with line etching only) are the back panels, the thicker front panels (cut through) have a hinge hole.
#2 - The small squares both need to be at the top of the door.
#3 - There is a small bump on the hinge side.  This little bump should align perfectly with both the front and back panels.  This is how you verify you have the doors aligned correctly.

Most importantly, YES - the back panels are different widths than the front panels.  This is designed so that light will not come through between the doors.  When the panels are assembled, the right hand panel will open first (because the back panel of the left-side door will be behind the front panel of the right-side door)




Once aligned and you are sure the correct panels are in the correct place, you can then add glue to the back of the front panel, align with the back panel (while pressing both down on a hard surface to help align the side) and carefully press the two panels together.

Most importantly, please be sure these two panels are well aligned.  In the event they aren't perfect, you can use an Exacto knife to trim off any overhang of the back panel.


Repeat on the other door panel (shown above)

The next step on the door panels is to round over the hinge side.  This can easily be done with a simple piece of sandpaper, or you can carefully use a band sander - whatever your preference.


As shown in this image above, you want to round off that hinge edge just a bit so that those corners don't interfere with the frames while the doors are swinging.

Just note - it's easier to sand more off than to add wood back on, so sand slowly until it looks and works well in the frame.




RAISED PANELS:


Now we add the raised panels into the Frame cutouts.  Do NOT use super thin CA glue here - you probably want to use a gap filling/thicker one.

Layout the small raised panel pieces on either side of the door, to align with the proper sized openings. 

Add CA Glue to the openings (you can do them one at a time if you'd prefer).


Now drop the correctly sized raised panel into the correctly sized opening ** BUT Don't Push It Down Yet! **

Instead, use an Exacto knife to carefully move the raised panel a bit (the raised panel will 'float' a little on the thicker glue) until you have it where you want it (probably centered in the opening), then carefully apply pressure to the raised panel until it is well glued down.  At this point - the raised panel piece should not be able to move at all. (so make sure you get it right the first time).



Then repeat for every opening, as shown above.


Do one more application of pressure over each piece just to be sure they are well secured.



And now the panels are assembled.  And in this image above, you can also see how the back panels are different widths and allow them to 'nest' with the other door when closed.




NEXT STEP:

After the door is assembled, it will be time to paint.  But you may choose to paint all the windows with the door.  If so, assemble all the windows first.  You can learn more about assembling the windows.




Questions?  Please feel free to contact us on our website!