Gingerbread Houses #2: Construction

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Blog entry by cheller posted 11-19-2007 06:39 AM 1862 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Explanation and Plans Part 2 of Gingerbread Houses series Part 3: Decorations and an Oops »

A couple of class nights (adult ed open workshop) provided me with the time to mill the necessary lumber for the houses. I was also able to cut the 45 degree angles on the roof parts and the top edge of the walls. The remainder of the work to date has been done with my scroll saw, a drill, hand saws, chisels and planes.

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Here’s an early dry fit. The ridge beam fits into a slot in the gable ends, and is notched to lock the ends together. The walls are waiting to be cut down leaving a tab in the center to lock into the roof, and the windows and door have not yet been added.

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This is one of the roof sections (it’s sitting on top of the other) with the notch that’ll mate with the walls cut.

A fair amount of work later here are two views of the dry fit.
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Since I’ll be doing the final construction with a six year old I decided there needed to be a way to anchor the houses to a base. The final two pictures above show the houses set into a hole in 1/4” plywood. The hole matches the footprint of the house. The 1/4” sheet will be glued to a 1/2” sheet. I’d have gotten it done today, except I need to make some cauls for the glue up, and most of today was spent making bread rolls for Turkey Day.

Cutting the tab in the top of the walls presented an opportunity for a new woodworking challenge. I have never before cut anything with the table of my scrollsaw tilted. The saw I have uses a thumb screw mechanism to secure the blade. I usually have the blade installed so that the thumb screw is on the right side (when you stand in front of the saw). When I tilted the table to 45 degrees to the right the thumb screw bumped into the table. I was able to solve this by installing the blade so that the thumb screw was on the left. The other challenge with cutting the angles in the walls was in figuring out the correct angle of approach so that I could follow my line. The cuts aren’t perfect but they’re pretty close.

I have made one flub on the construction. I was really careful with cutting the bevel (plane and chisel) on the ridge beam for the first house. I got cocky cutting the second and it ended up seriously lopsided. So another was cut and beveled with more care.

When I dry fit the houses I discovered a serious gap at the ridge of one. For this I turned to my supply of thin wood. In the supply I found the perfect piece to fill the gap. After a little work with the plane it was good to go.

Because these won’t be assembled for another couple of weeks I’ve got all the parts labeled so they will fit together correctly.

I will say that this have given me even more respect for the awesome birdhouses John creates.

Next step for these is to create pieces for decoration – trees, wooden candy, wreaths for the doors, candy canes…

-- Chelle

2 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35212 posts in 5042 days

#1 posted 11-19-2007 06:44 AM

Great Job Chelle. You will have fun at the assembly stage.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4802 days

#2 posted 11-23-2007 02:37 PM

wow.. quite the house!
When I first thought “gingerbread house” I figured it would be 4 walls and a 2 part roof and tack it together.
THIS is a house!!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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