Club project - shop box

Club project - shop box

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Mini Book Reviews

Emily from the Architecture of TinyDistinction blog has posted some reviews of her own collection of dollshouse related books. When I was commenting on her post, I realised that I only use a few books about miniatures and I use books about RL furniture and architecture much more to get a realistic result.

Please have a look at her blog as her reviews include such wonderful books as Magnificent Miniatures by Mulvany & Rogers.

As we're sort of snowed in, expecting a lot more snow for tomorrow, this seemed a really good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. So here are a few of my books with a review-of sorts.

Build a Doll's House by Michal Morse – 1992    ISBN 071346695 2

This is the book I found at 'de Slegte', a second hand book shop in the Hague. I thought it was a second hand book, but as I started the build in March 1992 that seems unlikely now. It details a scratch build of a four room house, a six room house and a roombox with a facade for a shop. There are four different versions of the four room house. All drawings and layout plans are included and windows/doors/chimneys etc are sketched in great detail. All sizes are both in inches and cm. Except for the lighting, the order in which to build is intuitive and although you can work ahead on, for instance making the windows, doors or architraves (yes, everything is scratch built!), it is quite easy to get back on track. The only criticism I have of the book is that the lighting should be discussed before you put the walls and floors together. Also the only method discussed is a tape system inside the house, which then has wires on the back of the house.

Four stars

Making Miniature Furniture by John Davenport - 1988   ISBN 071348310 5

This book is all about how John made his furniture. It is full of information on (now quite basic) tools, how to modify them, which are essential (no sign of a table saw, which I now think is absolutely essential) and lots and lots of drawings. About two thirds of the book is about tools, wood and wood working skills, such as different types of dovetail joints, mortice and tenon joint. About one third is left for projects, such as a basic cabinet with a door and drawer, a collectors cabinet, a chest of drawers, which includes instructions for veneering/inlay and a davenport desk. In short anything you would need to make fine furniture if you were so inclined!

5 stars

Furniture in Holland's Golden Age by Reinier Baarsen / Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – 2007
ISBN 978 90 8689 014 9

This is part of a collection of lavishly illustrated publications by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. There are quite a few more including books on painters Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt's etchings, 17th century cabinets, and lots of other things the museum has a collection of.
The photos are great and there are lots of close-ups. Ideal for figuring out how to miniaturise something. It also includes the history of the furniture and it's makers and buyers.

Useful as a reference for individual pieces.

Four stars

Period Style by Judith and Martin Miller - paperback 1993 - ISBN 1 85732 301 7
Period Details by Judith and Martin Miller - paperback 1993 - ISBN 1 85732 043 3

The Style book ranges from Medieval, through to Georgian, Colonial and American Empire to Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. About 90% of the books consists of stunning photographs. The Style books concentrates on how to create a period interior can be made within a modern home. The Details book also includes exteriors, everthing from fire surrounds, doors and door frames, leaded light windows to light fittings, to flooring and wallpapers.

A true reference book.

Five stars

There are two other books I must mention even though they are only available in Dutch:

Het Nederlands interieur in Beeld van 1600 – 1900 by C. Willemijn Fock, Titus M. Eliëns, Eloy F. Koldeweij and Jet Pijzel-Dommisse – 2001 ISBN 90 400 9588 4

Het Hollandse pronkpoppenhuis by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse – 2001 ISBN 90 400 9481 0

The first book has absolutely everything there is to tell about interiors in the Netherlands from 1600 -1900, often based on paintings and drawings both from museums and private collections, but also books and diaries and previous publications. It was created by an academic collaboration between the University of Leiden (Kunsthistorisch Instituut) and the Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg.

In Het Hollandse Pronkpoppenhuis book by Jet Pijzel-Dommisse every individual item in four of the Dutch 17th century dollshouses, has been photographed and described. It must have taken years to produce books like these.

If you can read Dutch and can lift the books (they weigh a ton) they are a must in the period miniaturists library!

Five stars for both

Other useful books:

Great little things to make on a small lathe by David Regester – 1995 ISBN 071347613 3

This little book is only for a beginner trying to master turning without taking classes in my view. It isn't really about miniatures, but does discuss the different types of lathes (back then) and the basic skills you need to get going in a few pages. I suppose practice makes perfect, not reading the book...

Two stars

Making period Doll's House Furniture by Derek and Sheila Rowbottom - 1992 ISBN0946819 36

This book is still useful for the drawings and variety of furniture. Some of it is quite crude and not the best of woods have been used. It helped me to make sure that the furniture I made was of the right size, but I haven't used it since the first 2 years 1992-1994 trying to find my feet. As I progressed in furniture making, it just wasn't precise enough for me.

Two stars

Well, that's not really all of them, but I suppose I'll find out if you agree or not...
Maybe you have some other books you would like to review for all of us?



  1. Dear Idske,

    How nice to read about Dutch books for miniature. Most of my books are English. I only have a Dutch subscription of Dolls House Nederland. Thanks for sharing this. That's a nice idea.

    Hugs Dorien

  2. Hi Dorien, Er zijn nog wel meer nederlandse boeken. Bijvoorbeeld, Klassiek Poppenhuis (ook met allemaal tekeningen, borduurpatronen etc) van Henny Staring-Egberts uit 1993 ISBN 90 384 0520 0 en Van (Grachten)huis tot Poppenhuis van Madelon Oostwoud ISBN 90 213 2096 7. De laatste is een klein boekje en ik nog steeds van plan een dergelijk grachtenhuis in 1/24 te maken. Heb ik alleen nog wat extra uren per dag nodig. :))

    Groetjes, Idske

  3. These reviews are great! I currently only have 2 books on miniatures and should really expand my library.

  4. Hoi Idske,
    leuk, leuk een boekenlijst!!
    Ik heb het boek van John Davenport ook en tuurlijk het grote boek van Jet Pijzel, dat is zo ongeveer mijn bijbel als het over poppenhuizen gaat. Ook poppenhuis van het haags gemeentemuseum en poppenhuizen in het rijksmuseum van Jet en Klassiek poppenhuis staan in mn kast.
    Daar houdt het ongeveer op wat nederlandse boeken over poppenhuizen betreft.
    Altijd erg leuk om te zien wat anderen lezen!

  5. Some other favourite-not Dutch- books worth buying are The Thorne Rooms (full with beautiful pics of the style rooms made by Mrs. Thorne and her team), Lea Frisoni's French book Le grand livre de la maison miniature, with workshops and all, and The Mulvaney & Rogers book Miniature rooms.
    All treasures.
    When you're into period style embroidery Traditional Needlework in Miniature by Anelle Ferguson is my top tip.

  6. Hi Idske, jij hebt een fijne verzameling boeken, zeg. Het zet me wel aan het nadenken.....ik zal ook eens gaan zoeken ;)
    Dankjewel voor je felicitaties en complimenten, vind ik erg lief van je.
    "n Heel fijne zondag toegewenst en lees ze......met al die sneeuw (die hier trouwens ook voor vandaag op het programma staat :D)!
    Liefs, Ilona

  7. Hi Ilona en Gee, het sneeuwt hier al de hele dag, dus heel erg somber weer, maar het is wel heel erg mooi!

    Ik heb nog eens goed rondgekeken op de boeken planken en ik heb nog 12 boeken over miniaturen en RL architectuur, meubels en borduren gevonden. Ik vind dat ik voorlopig niets meer daaraan toe mag voegen, behalve misschien over potten bakken, daar heb ik er maar een van! Het is van de Meissen fabriek over de bloemen die ze op het porcelein schilderen. Ik ben daar een paar jaar geleden geweest, toen mijn zusje daar in de buurt woonde! :)

    Ik ben bezig met borduren en lampekappen bekleden en dat lukt nog niet erg...

    Nog een hele prettige zondag gewenst en een warmere of in ieder geval zonniger week!

  8. Thanks Idske, many of these books I don't have. I must say though that I won't give the John Davenport book 5 stars, I was quite disappointed in the book. A better book for furniture is Harry Smith's book The Art of Making Furniture in Miniature, although it is quite outdated as far as power tools go, but is has a lot more projects to build than John Davenport's book. One method that I use a lot for cutting accurate parts is pin-routing, none of these books even mention it. For anybody wanting to make really good furniture, I would recommend full scale furniture making books coupled with a good hands on class in miniature furniture making, nothing beats seeing how tools are set up, etc.

  9. Hello Idske,
    thanks for the great reviews,. I have john Davenport's book and It hink it is amongst my favorite and most useful.
    Big hug,

  10. Hi Elga / Giac, I might have to break my pledge not to buy any more furniture books, but Harry Smith's book is out of my price range as it's £106 on Amazon new and £25 secondhand. Treasure it if you have a copy! I like John Davenport's book, not so much for the projects, but for the very clear explanations of the different joints and still use it to remind myself of how to do things, as there's often quite a bit of time between furniture projects.

    I've not found anything about pin routing other than online. I'd love to do some classes, but I've not found any in the school holidays. That's a definite downside of working in a school!

    Elga do you have any furniture making books to recommend?

  11. Have you ever read the Miniature Cabinet Maker ? Idske . They were published every two or three months I can't remember its been so long. I have almost every issue. They are loaded with projects Sadly they are not published anymore but you might find copy's on the web. I will post some pictures of the cover on My blog.

    Thanks for the post. ;)


    1. Hi Mario, Nice to hear from you! I'm wondering if they are the ones on Dorsett Publications website They are called the Scale Cabinet Maker and from the 1970s to the 1990s. I've often had a look at ordering the Queen Anne and French furniture volumes....

  12. Yes you are right Scale Cabinet Maker sorry I had a Senior moment . They put a lot of detail in their pieces iv'ed learned a lot from them through their publication. I also collect lots of furniture books( real life ) Some for reference on the pieces I plan to build.

    Thanks again


  13. Hi there,

    Great reviews! thanks for this contribution, it is very informative. I will have to check out some of these books for myself!



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