I screwed up but Im no longer in the dog house.. PROBLEM FIXED!!

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 12-27-2014 05:09 PM 3245 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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467 posts in 1375 days

12-27-2014 05:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: help doll house jig saw

_This was originally posted just after Christmas. I wanted to show everyone how the fix went! _

So I built my daughter a Doll House for her American Girl dolls. If you know anything about American Girl dolls you know they are LARGE as in almost 1/4 scale LARGE! So a three story Doll house stands right at 6 fee tall.

And that is my dilemma. I built this Doll House with out thinking how I was going to get it upstairs into my daughters room. If I had a straight shot into her room the Doll House would have no problem fitting through her 30” door as the overall dimensions are approx. 6’ x 6 ‘x2 feet wide. Of course, its not a straight shot into her room. It’s a 180 degree turn off the stairs to get into her room.. the landing/hallway is 40” wide so I have very little room to get the house upstairs and turned around to even attempt to fit through my daughters door way. In fact, we had to go over the bannister at the top of the stairs to get it on the landing/hallway. Sadly after all that work, it doesn’t even come close to fitting through her bedroom door. Now my wife and my daughter are not happy with me.

So my options are
1.) build a new doll house and sell this one (my wife thinks I should be able to get at least $500 for it as it sits. I probably have $200 worth of materials and paint into it.)

2.) Remove the trim and door frame to my daughters room. Id probably have to remove the king and jack studs as well which is way more work than I want to get into when it comes time to putting it all back together and all the finish and painting work . Besides, once the doll house makes it into my daughters room there would be no way to get it out when she’s outgrown it with out deconstructing the door again.

3.) Leave it where it lays in the family room so we can have her entire catalog of American Girl doll furniture, clothes. pets and other miscellaneous items strewn all over the place so the dog has something to chew on and we have something to trip over… NOT!!

4.) Finally finish the basement. But then, that’s pretty silly to spend upwards of 5k to do it on the cheap and 15k to do it the way we want to do it just because a doll house doesn’t fit in my daughters room!

5.) I could cut the top room off the doll house and that is my question to you guys.

What is the best method to accomplish this? Id like to have a tear out free, ultra smooth cut as I plan on resembling the top portion to the bottom portion by using dowels. Gluing the two section back together is not an option as again, there would be no way to remove the house from the room. I figured I could use one of these
20tpi Bosch Blades on my jigsaw

They have really great reviews on Amazon and our touted as having tear out free cuts on both sides of the wood/plywood. (upcut/downcut)

I can use a guide set up similar to this to cut a straight line

Before I got serious about cutting off the top of the doll house (no woodworker wants to cut up their creation!!) I built a stick figure of the bottom section to see if It was possible to get the bottom section into the her bedroom.

VOILA! Plenty of room now. More than enough room in fact to accommodate for the 2” stub where the top section will get cut off from the bottom section.

I considered other methods to cut the top off including a sawzall.. NOT FOR FINE WORK

A smallish 19.2volt craftsman trim saw. (again not super precise as there is quite a bit of back and forth slop (side to side) at the carriage bolt that holds the blade to the tool.

I can get a pretty decent cut I think with the jigsaw as long as I tape both sides of the wood to help prevent any minimal tear out. Basically the only item I may have to replace is the back 1/4” birch plywood and that is only if I can remove it cleanly from the rabbet as its glued and stapled in place.

So I think I’m on the right track here, but I am open to other ideas.

Thanks a bunch.


Well, I’m out of the dog house and my little girl is finally getting to enjoy her Doll house in her own room! I just wanted to thank everyone for their helpful ideas. They were really appreciated and I was able to hide the cut seem much better than the idea I was originally going to go with. Thank you!

I originally was going to use the pull saw method but then I remembered that I had glued and brad nailed the top left wall support from underneath. I ended up using a Dremel Multi-tool with a Bi-metal flush cut blade that went well enough, though I should have practiced with the tool on a scrap piece first before I took it right to the doll house. I’m glad I cut the left side first since I ended up butchering the first cut (back left) I was so worried about scratching through the painters tape I used to cover the stained floor, that I didn’t pay enough attention to the actual cutting process and the blade wandered vertically. No worries though as that seem is hidden by the 1/4 round and it is not noticeable at all. So by the time I got over to the money cut on the right, I had the knack of the tool down and everything went according to plan as the cut ended up being smooth as a baby’s bottom!!

And the two pieces separated

You can’t see the butchered section with the 1/4 round in place!

Seem on the side and front. I may still attached a piece of molding to totally hide the seem, but my wife and daughters all say its fine the way it is.

And finally, the completed project with some lights we found on the web. The kit only allows for 4 puck style lights so we chose to light the 4 rooms in the main cabinet. Its has quite a nice effect.

thanks for hanging with me!

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

39 replies so far

View rantingrich's profile


372 posts in 767 days

#1 posted 12-27-2014 05:17 PM

MAN I sure glad I am not in your shoes.

Could you arrange for a very unfortunate “fire” and have State Farm build you a new larger one

-- Rich

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3847 posts in 1915 days

#2 posted 12-27-2014 05:42 PM

Well, my contribution will be to reassure you that blade does indeed cut very smooth. That aside, I think I’d go the “start over” route, though I’d probably have to donate the existing house to the Habitat restore. If you do it over, maybe try to incorporate a modular design, so the house can be disassembled and moved. If you continue with the cutting the top, you might be able to put it back on and cover the cut line with a molding of some kind (guess that would be inside and outside).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1370 posts in 1610 days

#3 posted 12-27-2014 05:53 PM

Judging by what you’ve said, I think I’d opt for cutting off the top and making it remountable. Our friends have a similar problem, except that’s a normal doll house. The last addition to it made it too big to come out of the attic/playroom. The owner is about 49 now and the doll house is still in her mother’s house ‘waiting’ for her.

As far as sleeping with the dog, why not build Fido a nice 12×20 foot doghouse with heat? That way you’ll (I mean HE’LL) be comfy.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View mudflap4869's profile


1132 posts in 881 days

#4 posted 12-27-2014 06:13 PM

If it can stand up to the weather, you might want to put it in the back yard for summer play, then build her a modular one for her bedroom.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#5 posted 12-27-2014 06:32 PM

What about bringing it in through a window from outside. If that won’t work,I think I would take the door trim off and cut around the door Jamb with a sawzaw and a blade that will cut nails and remove door and door jamb all intact, an then reinstall the whole unit again after placing the doll house in the room.If done right it would just involve patching some nail holes in the trim and jamb and a little paint touch up.

-- Custom furniture

View Tim's profile


3032 posts in 1383 days

#6 posted 12-27-2014 06:33 PM

Good for you for making such an awesome dollhouse.

I definitely would try cutting it down to fit. But I wouldn’t leave a 2” stub unless you can think of a way to disguise that. Go with more like 1/4” which you can hide with something like shoe molding on the inside and some sort of siding or molding on the outside. Those could double as a way to solidify the joint and help guide the pieces back together. Go with that same siding/molding around the outside of the split between the first and second floor and it will look like a design element. It will be some work but way less than trying to make a new house from scratch.

And I agree with Dave about the dog house.

View ScottKaye's profile


467 posts in 1375 days

#7 posted 12-27-2014 06:57 PM

Hey guys all great suggestions thanks. Another suggestion a friend of mine made was to use a multi-tool and cut off the top portion right at the base. The trim around the door frame comes off will a little persuasion, I already tried. Its held on with a few dabs of construction adhesive. I have never really used a multi-tool and I have no idea what kind of attachments they have. Do they make a blade that cuts cleanly? As Tim suggested above, if I could get the cut closer to the floor of the top room, I could hide the cut with 1/4 round. The only place A seam would bee seen is on the large outside wall but I can live with that. Once concern about using the multi tool is I don’t want to scratch up the stained and poly coated floor. I suppose I could use extra wide tape here as well to prevent scratching.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View ScottKaye's profile


467 posts in 1375 days

#8 posted 12-27-2014 06:59 PM

Jim – We thought about the window, but Its only a 4’ tall window in a dormer. The doll house is too tall as well as too long on its side.
Oh and Fred.. I almost settled on rebuilding the Doll House in a segmented fashion as you suggested but man, I already have a lot of hours in this one and I don’t want to build a another.
Tim, good idea on doubling up on using molding on the outside as a design element.. I will definitely incorporate that

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View waho6o9's profile


7120 posts in 1999 days

#9 posted 12-27-2014 07:10 PM

Easy peasy

Japanese pull saw the top section off and reattach it with

dowels so you can remove when and if you need to.

View knockknock's profile


332 posts in 1595 days

#10 posted 12-27-2014 07:16 PM

I would cut it flush with the bottom of the floor (ceiling of the floor below).

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3847 posts in 1915 days

#11 posted 12-27-2014 07:19 PM

The multi tool flush cutters are pretty smooth, but the blades kind of rides on an adjoining surface. That can get scratched or otherwise damaged from the orbiting of the blade.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1773 days

#12 posted 12-27-2014 07:28 PM

You could convert it to a dog house and move in.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 2493 days

#13 posted 12-27-2014 07:36 PM

If you use a jigsaw, you can also make a zero-clearance bottom plate for it to help reduce tearout on the upstroke.

If you use an oscillating multi-tool, use a flush-cut blade and start out on a low speed. It’s really easy to mess things up fast on a high speed. Taping off the surrounding surfaces will help.

Have you considered using a hand saw to cut off the top room? The nice thing about a hand saw is that things can’t go really wrong as quickly as with power tools. If you cut the top room off flush with the floor, you can use the floor itself as a guide to cut straight (though you’ll still want to tape off the floor so you don’t scratch it). Edit: looks like waho beat me to it on the hand saw suggestion!

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View JoeinGa's profile


7379 posts in 1429 days

#14 posted 12-27-2014 08:50 PM

Waho609 has it. Pull saw. Cut the top room off flush. Tape the floor and work slowly to avert damaging the floor as you cut. Plus the blade is almost paper thin so it will cut a nice straight line.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View ScottKaye's profile


467 posts in 1375 days

#15 posted 12-27-2014 09:50 PM

The pullsaw sounds interesting but if I cut the top off flush with the floor, Id have no way of accurately placing the dowels. I have an old hand me down Stanley no. 59 doweling jig that requires it to clamp to the sides of a board.

Any Ideas how I would accurately place the dowels if I used the pull saw method? I suppose I could elevate my cut say a 1/2” just below the top of the 1/4 round molding by using a scrap piece of plywood as a spacer.

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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