Newb Qs on dollhouse: chipping, screwing

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Forum topic by raindog308 posted 02-08-2012 06:55 PM 979 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2540 days

02-08-2012 06:55 PM

I’m working on a dollhouse and it will have lots of 1/2” (or so) thick panels (9×12, 12×18, etc. sizes) – interior walls, exterior walls, floors. Some of them will have cutout “windows” in them and other features.

This is the most complicated project I’ve done and I have to have it finished by my daughter’s 3rd birthday in November :-)

I could use a little advice…

(1) What material for these panels would be best to avoid chipping? I have not done a lot of work with plywood. All of the wood will be painted various bright colors but I’d like to avoid raggedy edges. Plywood? MDF?

(2) I have a 60-tooth Diablo circular saw blade, and various jigsaw blades. I’ve read that I could put a line of blue painter masking tape down and then cut through that to control chipping…sounded promising but I’ve never tried it.

(3) It’s an open-on-all-sides deisgn, with a frame out of 1.5”x1.5” fir. My plan is to glue and either screw or nail these panels to the frame and each other. My recollection is that plywood nails well, screws “OK” but not great, while particleboard nails OK but doesn’t screw well at all.

I’d love to do this entirely in hardwood but I don’t think that is an option for cost reasons. The overall size is probably 3-4’ high – sort of like this:

...but I’d like to do an entirely custom one so I can incorporate some things that are special to our family.

So…should I look at 1/2” plywood, MDF, or…? Any recommendations on avoiding chipping?

Thanks! I will post pictures as this project progresses :-)

2 replies so far

View Frank's profile


19 posts in 2553 days

#1 posted 02-08-2012 11:17 PM

High raindog308. With a 60 tooth Diablo in decent shape, you shouldn’t have too much trouble either way. Although I don’t know your setup or feeding technique. As far as cut outs, a fine tooth bi-metal blade seems to work rather well for me in my jig saw. Speed depends on feed and vice versa so trial cuts would be advised here. Hope I helped a little.

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3688 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 12:43 AM

My experience with ply, is it holds a screw just fine. I wouldnt recoment screws on mdf. If i was doing what you are doing, i would probably construct it out of 1/2” baltic birch ply. This will come in a 5’x5’ sheet. I would just glue everything together, but the trick in that is figureing out how to clamp everything. Screws make good clamps, so maybe primarily glue with a few screws.

As far as chipping, i think that will be determined by your blade and ive never used a diablo.

probably not much help, but theres what i think

-- RKWoods

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