Saturday, June 30, 2012

Installing Windows

No, not the PC operating system that we all love to hate, although that title should attract a whole new demographic to the blog.  Yes, I've installed that "version" of Windows many times, but that's not what this post is about.  This post is about windows that you look through, the type with glass in them.

There will be 13 windows in the depot, plus the bay window.  As with everything else, I'm trying to scratchbuild them instead of buying commercial windows.  Yes, I know I could buy something from Grandt Line and be done already, but that's not the point.  The point is to challenge myself and improve my modeling skills.  Popping a plastic window into a hole in the wall doesn't really do that.

So, in the interest of challenging myself, I'm doing this the hard way.  I'm using scale 1"x2" strip wood to build the upper and lower window sections.  Window glass will be added after these are painted.

These upper and lower sections will fit into individual window frames, built from scale 1"x6" strip wood.

The frames will, in theory, fit into the window openings cut into the depot walls.

Obviously, there will be some trimming and sanding needed, and possibly some foul language, to get them to fit just right.  I think the results will be well worth it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

And In This Corner...

...we have planks.  Lots and lots of planks.  Scale 1"x6" planks to be exact.

If there's any doubt that these are each individual boards, notice the color variations.  Trust me, they're all individual boards.  Every...  Single...  One...

You can start to get an idea of what it will look like when finished.  Here's are both pieces sitting together on the depot platform.

Whew, that's enough work for one day, time for a break.  Anyone for checkers?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I've Got Mail!

When I was a kid, it used to be such a thrill to get mail.  Didn't matter what it was, anything in the mailbox with my name on it was exciting.  Those Estes model rocket catalogs, Boys Life magazines, Tyco train catalogs, just all sorts of goodies.  These days, the mailbox is a lot less exciting.  There's usually nothing in there except some new set of fingers trying to reach into your wallet.  I'm not ashamed to admit, however, that I felt a mild rekindling of that childhood excitement earlier this week.  Two parcels, one of which I've been waiting for, one that I had forgotten about, both arrived on the same day.  It was like Christmas in June!

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered some scale lumber, assorted 1" stock in various widths.  I ordered from a manufacturer that I've never used before, the Kappler Mill and Lumber Company, and I've been anxious for it to arrive.  I needed this lumber to proceed with the depot and the water tower, plus I was curious to see the quality of the product.  So far, I'm impressed.  Competitive pricing, and the quality is excellent.  I think I'll be grabbing one of their bulk assortments pretty soon.

With the lumber supply replenished, I've started applying the clapboard siding to the exterior of the depot.  One board at a time, staggering the joints at random intervals, carefully overlapping each board over the one below it.

Tedious, time-consuming, and a welcome distraction from this week full of meetings that I've had.  Doesn't look too bad!

Also arriving the same day, something I had forgotten about, was my award from the model contest from the TLR convention last month.

My scratchbuilt caboose took second place in the "Caboose" category.  I'm satisfied with that, we couldn't both win first place!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lumber Shortage

I'm still waiting on my order of scale lumber to arrive.  That's unfortunate, because it's been about 200 degrees outside all weekend, and very humid.  I hate this kind of weather, so I spent most of the weekend in an air-conditioned space.

So, what's a railroad to do when it needs lumber, but can't get a shipment delivered?  Some might build their own sawmill.  Since I plan to have a sawmill on the layout, this seemed like a logical thing to do.  No, I didn't build the entire sawmill yet, but I did lay out the footprint of the structure.  I don't have any good photos of the real sawmill that existed in Hill City, so I'm having to "wing it".  I've spent a good chunk of time today looking at photos of other old sawmills, reading about how they functioned, how they were constructed, and how they interacted with the railroad.

I've come up with a rough design (in my head) for what I think will be an interesting structure, and believable from a functionality perspective.

I'm still learning the terminology, but here's how I envision this design.  Logs will be pulled from the log pond up to the top level of the sawmill.  From there, they will be rolled down a short ramp to the cutting floor.  At the opposite end of the cutting floor, as logs pass through/over the saw blade, the planks will slide down another ramp to the lowest level of the mill, closest to the tracks.  There, the planks will be stacked and/or loaded into waiting boxcars.  Some of the cut lumber will go to the neighboring WoodenWare factory, where it will be further cut down into slats for wooden buckets and barrels.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

While We're Waiting, Anybody Thirsty?

Still waiting on my order of scale lumber to arrive, so I'm once again stalled on the depot.  To keep from doing anything productive, like home repairs or chores, I decided to start on one of the three water towers.  One will be an enclosed tower, the other two the more traditional open design.  I found plans for an enclosed tower in the January 1973 issue of Model Railroader.  Looks like a very simple project, should be fun.

I'm sticking with my new favorite construction method, matte board.  It took no time at all to put together the basic structure.

Obviously, it will take time to put the siding on (once the lumber order arrives), and the roof, and the spout and associated rigging.  That will be the challenging part, as I've never shaped brass tubing before.