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Prairie Barn Kit 

(click on photo's for a larger image)

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!

Marking stock to length by laying it on the drawing. Cut long elements first using the leftovers for the shorter items.  Keeping your pencil sharp makes for more accurate cuts.

Using 2x6's make 6 roof trusses per the layout drawing. It's important to keep them as close to the same as possible to make it easier to add the roof panels later. All the effort you put in now to make sure everything is as straight and square as possible will pay off in the end.

Completed truss. Using wax paper over plan, you can slide them off carefully and go to the next one.

6x6 framing for the front wall. Blocks of wood work well to hold things down.

Side wall, 2 required.

Back wall.

The walls attached together. Make sure to keep everything as square a possible. Notice boards clamped on with clothes pins, were used to pull things together. One end clamped down, then pull the joints together and clamp the other end on. Keep an open mind as to the possibilities of this clamping method. It is much like using a long pipe clamp in the real world.

Close-up of clamp method to force side wall top element down.  Wax paper to keep the clamped scrap from sticking.

Frame work on it's front, and truss laid flat, with wood blocks to hold it flat to the glass layout board.

Same on other end truss.

2x4 clamped across the trusses, to keep them straight until the glue sets at the top of the sidewall.  Our trusses ended up being spaced a little over 1 3/8".

2x6 blocking between the trusses at the peak for strength.

1x12 siding starting at from corner of side wall.   Notice siding should go up to the top of the truss rafters, to meet the bottom of the future roof boards. Trim around rafters as needed.

Siding completed notice clamp method to keep things flat.  This way, you can install a whole wall at a time.

The back wall, notice clamp method and no upper hay door.  There should be enough scrap left that you could put one in if desired, but this wasn't normal for this style building

Notice clamp method for the siding on the front wall.

1x6 installed as jambs on both doors.  Front side of jamb board should be flush with front edge of siding.

1x6 Trim installed, it should cover the front edge of the jambs.

1x12 for both doors, face down.  Glue spread on back to hold them together.

1x6 Trim elements on front side of doors.

First 1x12 roof board glued and clamped with clothes pins.  1/2" overhang on each end and 1/4" on rafter ends.

We ended up using 15 roof boards on each side 8 5/8" long.   Whole structure blocked to set at an angle so we could rely on gravity and wood blocks to hold roof in place until glue sets.  Adjust overlap as needed for your structure, ours was about 1/16".  Generous amounts of glue on the trusses, as it won't be seen later.

Close-up of lap of roof boards.

Same thing for other side of roof.

1x4 for ridge cap.

Ridge cap complete.

1x6 corner board.  Side wall first, the the front one can cover the front of this one.  This looks better from the front.

  Corner board installed on front side.  Trimmed at top at a 45 degree angle to fit tight on bottom of roof boards.  Notice clamp method.

  Doors glued in place with 1x scrap as shims to hold them tight to jambs.  Open, closed.  Your choice.  Good tip from a customer.  If your door cross braces don't match up well closed, LEAVE THEM OPEN!!!!!  My wife has used bias tape (a wife kind of thing) as hinges on some of her prototype endeavors.

  Front view. Ready for paint and detail.

A couple critters.   More finished views.    

Building can be glued to a scrap of pressure treated board (not supplied) for burial in the ground. Finish with exterior paints, as you would a real outdoor building. We recommend buildings be sealed inside and out after painting with a water proof clear sealer and be taken in over the winter months.

Good Luck and Happy Railroading!

Let us know if you have any suggestions or inputs for this tips page!


Mark & Sue Smith
Smith Pond Junctions Railroad Products

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