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Barber Shop 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!

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.

A blob of glue on a scrap of wood, works good for gluing framing elements. If you lay wax paper over the plan, the extra glue sticks to the waxpaper holding the parts in place better. Just dip the ends of the parts in glue and place them on the covered plan. After the glue is set, peel them off the waxpaper, and clean excess dried glue off with a sharp hobby knife.

Using 2x4's make back, front, and 2 side walls. This is a good time to think about changes you might want to make. The back door could be moved to a different position or opposite corner on the back wall., Reposition doors or windows, etc.

More progress on the walls. This pair can be slid off the plan onto a flat surface to dry so you can start on the next ones.

Side walls, notice one done on left then waxpaper slid on plan so the second could be started. Both still need center horizontal blocking.

All 4 walls put together. Clothes pins make good clamps. They are sitting on our glass layout board with graph paper under it. The graph paper makes a handy square reference to keep the walls square. A block of wood on top to weight it down so it sits flat. Side walls should be inside the front and back walls.

Here an example of trusses made with 2x4, we laid out the outer framing on one at a time, then slid the waxpaper to a fresh spot and did another. Then after that had set up, went back and added the center elements.

Still on the wax paper, we slid one over the drawing to the front truss and added the side framing for the front facade. Remember only one truss gets this. All time spent to keep the trusses as uniform as possible will pay off in the long run making it easier to keep a square and straight looking roof line.

Structure on its front, weighed down applied on the flat layout board. This is a great way to keep the outside trusses flush with the outside of the wall, and straight.

Same method used for the back truss.

Center trusses added, ours were about 1 3/16" apart. Scraps used for clamping. Notice one on front wall, clamped to keep truss that wasn't completely set straight with front wall. Also 2x4 placed between trusses at peak.

Another view of truss placement.

1x12 siding starting at front corner. Notice it extends to the top of the truss rafters to meet with the bottom of the future roof boards, also liberal amounts of glue on framing. We cut enough to do the whole side at once.

All the siding on this side. A scrap of 2x4 across the bottom held with clothespins, and a wood block on the top to hold things down until the glue sets.

Continue siding application on the backwall working around the door opening as you go. Brush used to smooth and remove excess glue that had squeezed out between the boards. Complete siding on the other side wall. Leave the front wall for later.

First roof board in place. Notice it is notched to fit around 2x4 of added side frame of front truss.

First roof board from the bottom. Notice approx. 1/8" overhang on side and 1/2" on back.

From the front. All roofing should end up flush with the front of the front truss, and overhang 1/2" on the backwall.

Apply glue on the truss on just this side to the peak and work your way to the top. Adjust lap as you go. Our overlap is about 1/16". We had to trim about 1/8" off the width of the last board at the peak. The prototype used 9 pieces on each side. Since the glue had set firmly on the bottom piece, we used it to clamp to with a scrap of 2x4 and a clothes pin at the bottom, and at the top clamped to the 2x4 ridge board.

Another holding method shown. The building blocked at an angle so a wood block could be used to hold the boards down.

1x4 ridge boards in place.

1x12 vertical on the backside of the side frames of the front truss.

2x12 cap on the top of the side frame. Notice the miter cut on the inside end. Overlap on the ends is approx. 1/4"

Side view of 2x12 cap showing about 1/8" overhang on the backside.

Last of the cap installed. It lays right on the high spots of the roof boards.

A view from the back of the cap.

1x12 siding on the front. Start at the bottom, and trim around openings as you go. Overlap is approx. 1/16".

Here, using a scrap as a straight edge to keep the small pieces aligned properly.

Scraps of lumber and clothespins used to hold things down until the glue sets. Keep the fit as tight as possible to the bottom side of the cap.

1x6 material as jambs. The front edge should be flush with the high points of the siding so the trim can rest squarely on it.

1x4 trim applied. Notice top element left to overhang about 3/32" to 1/8" the side ones. A common old west detail.

2x4 used to frame up a door. (2 required) Make sure to adjust size if needed to fit your door openings as construction and material variations can make a difference.

Door face down, and 1x6 applied to fill in the bottom. We did ours vertically, you can do it horizontal if you like.

Dividers being installed. Use the drawing as a guide to keep them square.

Divider on window done. Cut your pieces to fit your opening, then use the drawing as a pattern to keep them square.

1x6 corner board on the front side installed. Notice it is notched to fit around the front edge of the roof board and extends to the bottom of the front wall cap.

Corner board seen from bottom. We always have the front and back facing boards cover the edge of the side corner boards.

A scrap of 2x4 used as a threshold for the door.

Finished and ready for paint and detail work. You can glue your doors in closed or open position. Some have used doll house hinges. We haven't found any small enough in our area.

View from the back.

More photos.

As seen before put on our layout. Sign made of scrap material and the barber pole added for detail.


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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