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Assayers'/Land Office Kit

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Glue Tips,

         Make sure to use a waterproof glue suitable to your climate. If you can get waxed paper in your area, for frame elements, we dip the ends in glue and put them in place on the wax paper over the drawing. The new waxed paper we get has little wax, and works great as the glue sticks slightly to it making it stay in place. It peals off well after the glue is set, but leaves glue that might have to be trimmed later for fit with other components. As with all glues, excess is best cleaned up before it sets.  If you will be doing a clear finish, we have found that small glue mistakes don't show if clear setting glue is used, and Thompson's clear water seal is used.  Still it is best to clean up, especially areas where a hardened glob interferes with further construction.  (Easier to remove a soft lump than a hard glob)

Cutting Tips,

     For cutting small material (1x2 & 1x4) a sharp knife or even side cutter can be used.  For larger sizes a razor saw or band saw with a fine tooth blade works well.  For fine tuning a piece of sandpaper laid on a flat surface works great, holding the piece vertical and giving it a few strokes with light pressure across the sandpaper.  With all tools, caution and safety is important. Remember this is a real wood product.  There might be some warping.  Material if not being used for a while (overnight) should be wrapped or bundled together.  So when you stop for the day, wrap it up.  If you do get some warped pieces, carefully bend them in the opposite direction and you can temporarily remove some of it.  Once it is glued together as a composite structure it will become stable.  Most material is shipped in 18"-20" lengths, that is equal to 36-40 feet in real dimension.  I don't think you will find many real boards that long without some warp.  Always cut longest elements first and use the leftovers for the smaller items.

Layout Boards,

   Also notice the layout board we have been using. It serves as a nice flat work surface. It is made of a piece of graph paper sandwiched between two pieces of single strength glass.  The edges are taped together with clear packing tape.  The graph paper makes it easy to keep things square.  We recommend you use wax paper to keep glue from sticking laid on the plans and on your layout board if you use one, but it isn't always available here and might not be in your area. So on with the show!


Lay out front wall with 2x4 per drawing #1, back wall per drawing #3 and 2 side walls per drawing #2. This is a good time to look over all the plan sheets and make changes if you like to window placement or even door placement and size. There is enough material in the kit to make small changes for other scales to the doors so the structure looks correct with your figures. Use the plan as a pattern marking and cutting as you go. Lay a sheet of wax paper over the plans and you can glue the components together on the plan without them sticking. With large side walls like these, you might consider fewer windows so you could use the side wall for a large sign or space them differently to make room for a large sign.

Start with a few pieces at a time. Adding more pieces as you can. Wood blocks shown here to hold things in place until the glue sets up.

Beginning of the side wall. Always use up short pieces for the smaller parts so you have enough material to use full length pieces for the longer elements.

More parts added to the wall, One side wall completed.

All 4 walls completed.

Assemble all wall sections together, keeping them square and so it sits stable on a flat surface, with the side walls being inside the front and back, see corner joint detail drawing #2.

As shown here.

With 2x6 make and attach the roof support per drawing #3. Adjust length and width if necessary to fit your walls.

Roof support shown here completed.

It should end up flush sides and back and not interfere with the siding application.

Attach 1x12 siding on the back side of the front façade frame horizontal covering the entire area from the top of the side walls to the top of the wall. Make sure to leave a gap at the bottom so the top roof board can slide under for a more weather proof seal.

We used 1 piece of 1x12 and one 1x6 instead of trimming a 1x12. There is enough material in the kit to do either.

Apply 1x12 side wall siding vertically, starting at one front corner and placing them side by side as tight together as you can. That first front piece should go all the way to the bottom of the 2x12 cap and the back notched at the top so its back is flush with the siding on the back side of the front facade.

Siding on the side walls should go up to the top of the roof support frame so it will meet up with the bottom of the roof boards that will be applied later.

Continue toward back of building keeping the boards a thight together as possible. Trim around openings as you get to them. It is easier than cutting them out later. Trim the last siding piece at the back corner if necessary, we used a 1x6 instead of trimming as we had approx. 1/4" to cover and that is the width of a 1x6. Remember 1x6 (1/4" wide) corner boards applied later will cover small gaps.

Back wall same as the side walls and should be trimmed flush with the top of the truss. The roof overhang will cover and hide the small gaps here.

A couple views of the siding so far. Where you get glue on the surface, if using testors for wood as we are here it can be carefully scraped off with a hobby knife after it sets up. That is better than wiping to remove this type of glue. If you are using a water soluable glue, a damp cloth can be used, but keep the moisture to a minumum to prevent warping.

Apply 1x12 siding horizontal lapped on the front wall using approx 1/32" overlap working your way to the top of the wall. Ther first two pieces shown here.

Trim around openings as you go. A long piece of siding shown here used to align the smaller pieces beside the door and window openings.

Keep siding level by measuring from the bottom or top of wall from time to time on both sides to make sure you are staying level. Here I used a piece of lumber with my thumbnail as a stop at the bottom to find the distance to the bottom of this piece of siding.

Then without moving my thumb moved to the other side of the front wall and made sure that side was the same distance from the bottom of the wall. You can of course use a ruler, but this works faster for me.

Trim the last piece at the top so it is flush with the top plate of the front wall so it ends up tight against the bottom of the cap installed next. We used 24 rows of siding on the front wall and overlap worked out fairly even leaving very little trimming on the top piece.

Apply 2x12 cap per drawing #4, on the top of the front wall. ".

Let it overhang the back side siding about 1/8", and the ends about ¼

Apply 1x12 roofing starting at the back. The bottom piece at the back should overhang the side walls about 1/4", and 1/4" on the back wall.

First roof board from above.

Add boards working toward the back of the front wall with about a 1/32"overlap. These two shots showing the board method to check spacing from side to side.

The front end should fit under the back siding of the front wall. Trim last piece as needed and notch the first piece of vertical siding so the last piece of roofing can slide under the siding on the back of the front façade. We used 24 pieces 6 5/8" long. Keep the overlap of the roof boards as even as possible.

Use 1x6 for door and window jambs aligning the front flush with siding (high points of lapped siding on front wall),

Here a side shot to show it should be flush with the high points of the lapped siding on the front wall.

Then apply 1x4 as trim. Leave top element of trim 1/8" longer it overhangs the side trim as for added detail if you desire.

Here the front walls trim installed. Again top element left longer is a nice touch, but not necessary. Window dividers will be installed later.

Make the doors using the door plan as a guide, and cut the 2x4 side rails, bottom, top, and center stiles, to fit your door opening (ours ended up 1 1/8" wide) as the drawings don't have the jambs drawn in and material thickness and construction results can vary. The outer frame of one door shown here. Remember two doors are required.

Cut 1x6 boards to fill in the lower half, and leave them longer than the opening, they get glued on from behind and can be placed vertical or horizontal. The divider shown also. We cut the dividers as two pieces, cross and vertical. Then notch them at their center half way through. A spot of glue at the intersection and pressed together. You can cut them as one full piece and 2 smaller pieces if that is easier, but once I got used to notching them with a hobby knife it was a piece of cake!

Measure for dividers to fit your openings, . Use 2x2 for window dividers on doors. A divider shown here using the plan to keep it square. . There is enough 2x2 in kit to add dividers to all windows if desired. We didn't, but the option is there for you. Doors will be attached later.

We did dividers on only the front windows, but there is enough material to install dividers on all windows. Use the drawing as a guide to keep the parts square, but remember the length of the divider parts have to be cut to fit your constructions results. Dividers should be installed so their back side is flush with the backside of the 1x6 window jambs. This will make it easier to install glazing later. Dividers make the window look busier and detracts from the lack of interior details. If you add photos etc. behind windows then you might want to leave dividers out.

Assemble front and back porch frames using 4x4 per drawing #5. Railings on front made of 2x4 laid on edge are optional but a very nice detail and worth the effort.

Add more elements as you go.

The railings are a challenge, but I think for this kit add a lot to it.

Wood Blocks holding things down while the glue cures.

The front post assembly completed.

Back porch post assembly made of 4x4.

With 2x6 laid side by side make the front and back porch floor. On the front trim as necessary so it is as wide as the front wall. Attach directly to the front siding.

Here shown with a wood block holding it down flat and glued to the siding.

Here building on its back, front porch post assembly laid on the siding. Mark where the top of it is as this will be where the top of the 2x4 lower rafter part will go. Notice the ruler, this is to make a mark 1/2" higher than that as that is where the top of the 2x4 cross piece will go that the upper rafter parts attach to as well as the back of the 1x12 porch roof boards.

Here marking the other side. Attach the post assemblies set back approx. 1/8" from the edge of the floor and centered on the floor from side to side. Cut and attach a 2x4 to the siding at a back attachment point for top rafter elements and the roof boards on front and back so its top is ½" higher than the post assembly. These 2x4's should be as long as the associated post assembly width. Cut and add the 2x4 rafter parts. On the front use 1 on each end and one at each center posts for a total of 4 on the front and 2 on the back porch.

Post assembly glued to the base spaced out the length of the lower rafter element and the first lower rafter element in place.

Here building on it's back again and a wood block holding things down. You can see the 2x4 cross piece just to the right of the 2x4 lower rafter piece.

All 4 trusses done.

The back porch floorattach centered on the back door opening. Okay, guilt trip here. The top of the door is really a little off. But since the back porch roof is going to hide it I didn't get to excited about. I do hurry through the prototype process and have found that little things like this don't show up that much in the overall look of the building when done.

Not shown above on the front porch, using the lower rafter element to mark where the back of the post assembly goes.

Same method as the front porch with my boney old finger holding things in place for a few minutes until the glue sets. A good tip here. If you need to hold things in place, keep one hand free to snack or take a sip of your favorite beverage!

Back rafters done.

Add 1x12 porch roof boards front to back keeping ¼" overhang on sides and front edge. Keep them as tight a fit as possible against the siding on the back side. Start at each end and work your way to the center.

On the front we used 13 pieces 2" long placed tight together.

Back 4 pieces 2" long tight together.

Add 1x4 batten strips to cover the seams between the boards.

We left them ¼" longer than needed so you have a handle to hold to install them.

The excess can be trimmed off later with a side cutter or small scissor etc.

Fill in the ends of the porch trusses with 1x6 per drawings 4 & 5. Leave ends uneven for a more realistic look if desired.

Apply 1x6 corner boards on all 4 corners, per overlap example on drawings 2 & 4.

Trim around the front porch roof as necessary. The side ones at the front wall will need to be notched around the back of the roof board so it can go far enough ahead so its front can end up flush with the high points of the lap siding.

Corner boards from a couple different angles.

A good way to resize your door if to wide is to stroke it back and forth on a piece of sandpaper held down on a flat surface. Keep even pressure top to bottom and check fit every few strokes to make sure you aren't overdoing it. If you door fit isn't that good, glue it in an open position and it won't be noticible. Glue the door in open or closed position, left or right hand operation your choice. If you leave it open, you might want to add a filler to cover the gap at the threshold area or shorten the door a little and make a threshold out of scrap 1x6. Use a stick pin head for a knob

The threshold I did in this case is just a scrap of 1x6. Cut the the width of the opening and attached about 3/32" ahead of the back of the front wall bottom plate. I did this so I could place the door behind it in the opening with its back flush with the back of the 1x6 door jambs. This left the threshold infront of the door tight against it. This covered up my poor door fit at the bottom of the opening.

At this point ready for detail and painting. More shots at different angles.

Finish as you would any outside structure, making sure to seal it inside and out. Attach your finished front to wall, fence or a framing of your own.

Good Luck and Happy Railroading!



Mark & Sue Smith
Smith Pond Junctions Railroad Products

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