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Greenleaf's Pierce 1: Beginning a Remodel

 The Pierce is a rather large 1/12 scale dollhouse, but by no means the largest the Greenleaf sells. Assembled, the dollhouse measures 36" wide X 25" deep X 33" high, so it's important to consider the dimensions of the doorway in the room in which you are assembling it, and stairs which may need to be navigated if you plan on moving it after assembly.

Original packaging

I purchased my Pierce almost fully assembled but undecorated from an acquaintance. She had assembled it about 10 or more years prior and stored it in a musty, damp basement. While it smelled moldy, and there were two mouse droppings, it had also been glued together with hot glue. I left some charcoal pieces in the house in an attempt to deodorize.  Also I used a bleach and water solution, applied with a damp cloth, to clean the wood of some slight mold and a great deal of dust.

Dollhouse was put together by a previous owner

The kit instructions do say to use hot glue, which my friend did to great effect. But the thing with hot glue is eventually the house will fall apart. It may grip and hold easily during initial assembly, but over time loses its cohesion. So my next purchase was a heat gun. Heat guns are like hair dryers on steroids. Be very careful not to get fingers in the way or to hold it in one place too long! Pass it back and forth until you achieve the result you wish.

Before disassembly I traced all the house joints with a pencil. This way I had a good idea where carpenter's  glue or wood glue should be applied. It is best to glue bare wood to bare wood. Glueing painted or stained pieces is not ideal. If you aren't able to glue bare wood pieces together, try super glue. But know that while the super glue may hold, the painted surface might not.

I held the heat gun to the glued joint and gently wiggled the joint until the piece broke free. Once I had some separated pieces, I held the heat gun to a piece's edge enough to soften, but not liquify, the glue. If you liquify the glue and try to scrape it you risk spreading it places you don't want or driving it in between the playwood layers even deeper.  Then I took a scraper and slid it along the edge to collect the glue. It would harden to the scraper and it just pulled off. Sometimes glue was on a piece's surface as opposed to the edge. Then I used the scraper, sliding along the grain, and the glue would almost roll up. 

I broke the house down to its base. I stopped there because a large amount of wood putty had been used and I was worried about causing further damage in deconstructing.

Disassembled to the base

At this point, the house was almost in its fresh from kit condition (I'm joking). I had unrecognizable pieces and a fuzzy memory of how everything  fit together. It's been over 2 years since I started. I am just now getting to the end of the Pierce journey. If I knew it was going to take so long to reassemble, I would have take A LOT of pictures during the deconstruction to help in reassembling !  Also, notice how clean the table is? This was at the beginning of my hobby. My table hasn't been that clean nor empty since. Now I have 2  tables, more than 3 shoeboxes of tools, and very little room for much else!

Next...decisions, decisions, decisions, and a lot of research!

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