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Country Church 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!

Overall dimensions (full size) are roughly 14' wide x 21' long x 24' tall, (with front porch and steeple), which is 7"x 10 1/2" x 12" tall in scale size. Use layout drawing for dimension reference. Read complete instructions before you begin. Tips page available at Lumber is shipped in random length. Cut materials to length with sharp utility knife, razor saw or bandsaw with fine tooth blade. Use waterproof wood glue.

Start by laying out the walls with 2x4 on edge. First front wall per drawing #1 using blocks of wood to hold things in place. Use the plan as a pattern, marking, cutting, and laying parts on the layout drawings for gluing.

A few elements at a time. Adjust door size after opening is done with jambs and trim installed. Use common sense and think ahead. First part of construction will concentrate on the main part of the building with the porches and steeple left as add on items for later.

A progression, adding elements and allowing time for glue to cure. Window dividers will be done later, they are optional of the front wall.

1 side wall with 4 windows per drawing #2, 1 side wall with 3 windows and a door per drawing #3 and back wall per drawing #4

Then 6 roof trusses with 2x4's laid flat per drawing # 1. Laid out on a long sheet of wax paper.

Let glue set for a few minutes, then slide the wax paper so you can continue making more.

More elements added.

Completed trusses.

Assemble all wall sections together, keeping them square.

Side walls should be inside the front and back walls, (see layout drawing #2). Weight placed on top to keep things flat on the layout board.

Place the 6 roof trusses on top of the walls starting with the end ones placed flush with the outside edge of each end wall.

Ours were approx. 1 11/16" between. Space the others evenly apart between the end ones. Try to keep the trusses as even as possible sighting along the peak helps to keep things as straight as possible. At the peak, add 2x4 between the trusses to act as a ridge beam and attachment point at the peak for the roof boards later.

There is enough siding material in the kit to apply it as horizontal lap siding or vertical boards butted together (your choice). We decided to apply it as horizontal lap siding. Cut 26 pieces of 1x12 10" long and set that aside to use for roof boards that will be applied later.

Start with the front wall placing the first 1 x 12 pieces bottom even with the bottom 2x4 of the front wall.

Then add boards working your way to the top of the wall using approx. a 1/32" overlap. A piece of siding used here to keep all the little pieces in line.

Trim around door and windows as you go.

Measure from top or bottom plate of the wall on each end of the added piece to keep things level.

Do the same with the side and back walls. On the side walls, you can trim at the top to fit around the trusses so the walls end up touching the bottom of the roof boards if you like.

All siding done at this point. If you decide to do vertical application, start at one corner and work you way across the wall trimming around openings as you go. It is much easier to trim as you go then cut out openings later. Butt the vertical 1x12 as tight together as possible.

Use 1x6 for door and window jambs aligning the front edge flush with the high points of the siding.

Then apply 1x4 as trim to the windows. 1x4 for the doors will be added after the porches are done. With our other buildings we suggested leaving the top 1x4 overhang the side 1x4's but we thought it was better this way.

Use door plan as a guide, made of 2x6 to form a solid door. Trim the edges to fit your opening. Ours was 1 3/16" so that is what I based the door drawing on. You can use a stick pin head for a knob. A small cross of 2x2 could be added to the door for detail.

Apply 1x12 for main roof (we used 13 pieces 9 7/8" long per side) front to back on each side. Adjust length to fit your structure, allowing ½" overhang front and back and ¼" at the eaves.

Start by attaching the first piece at the bottom working your way to the peak.

Use approx. 1/32" overlap all the way to the peak. Adjust lap so you end up with a full width board at the peak. After both sides are roofed, add the 1x4 as ridge cap per the layout drawing.

Make 4 porch trusses with 2x4 laid flat per drawing #2. Cut 4 4x4 porch posts per drawing #2.

Make 2 porch floors using 2x6 cut 1 ½" long and making floors 1 ½" wide. Back one isn't shown on the drawings.

Attach the porch floors centered on your openings

They will be attached to both the front and side doors as seen on drawing #5 for the front one.

. We assembled the posts to the bottom of the truss.

To establish were the back truss goes, we laid the posts with the attached truss on the wall with the wall applied truss underneath. Marked the position and then attached the back truss to the siding.

Add the porch posts to the front corners of the porch floors.

Add the 2x4 joists from the top of the backside of the posts to the siding.

Add 1x12 roofing starting at the bottom edges.

Work your way to the peak as with the main roof. We used 4 pieces per side with about 1/8" overlap so we didn't have to trim any boards with ½" overhang on the end and ¼" on the sides.

Add 1x4 trim as done on the windows. Trim as necessary if there are conflicts with the porch roof truss.

Add 1x4 ridge boards on both the front and side porch roofs.

Fill the ends of the door porch trusses with 1x6 either vertical or horizontal.

Make 2 steeple trusses per drawing #1 as well as 2 steeple frames of 4x4 corner posts with 2x4 cross pieces. Cut 4 extra 2x4's to fit between the steeple frames on the sides to space the frames out

. Assemble the steeple front and back frames so it ends up looking from the top 1 ½' square

using the extra 2x4 cross pieces you cut between them.

Attach the trusses to the top and add a piece of 2x4 between them at the peak

A different angle.

Weight on top to keep things flat, and 2x4 added between the trusses. The weight kept things square and tight.

. Attach the steeple to the roof boards on the main structure spaced back from the front so it is flush with the front wall (approx.½"). We had to trim the bottom of the 4x4's to get it to be square.

Add siding either horizontal (not lapped) or vertical as with the other walls up to the top 2x4. We did vertical.

1x4 is used as corner boards. Cap of 2x6 added to the top of the 2x4 so it sticks out over the siding and is flush with the outside edge of the 1x4 corner boards on the steeple

What our 2x6 cap pieces looked like.

Trim around the posts so it looks good.

Add 1x12 roofing and 1x4 ridge boards as with the other roofs. Fill the ends of the steeple trusses with 1x6 either vertical or horizontal.

Make a cross your choice of size of 4x4 and add to the front above the door. There is enough 4x4 to add one to the back wall or top of the steeple if desired. There is also some extra 2x2 if you want to add crosses to the doors.

Finish the corners of the main structure with 1x6 corner boards. We left the seam on the side wall, (the front or back facing corner board overlaps and covers the one placed on the side). Trimming around other parts like the porch rafters might be necessary.

Add 2x2 window dividers to the front windows (this is optional). Attach both doors open or closed, your choice. Add a bell from an old loco to the steeple using scrap as a hanging beam between the bottom 2x4 of the steeple trusses.

Optional front dividers installed. At this point ready for paint, detail and finish. Attach doors open or closed, your choice.

Both doors on, rear a little open, and front wide open.

Lemax figure Reverend Smythe ready to greet folks.

Back a little farther, not even totally finished and looks pretty great!. You could at this point see potential for changes. What I see is possibly a peaked type hip roof on the steeple, or change amount of overhangs etc. Overall, I was pleased with the appearance and I am sure once painted will be a great addition to any layout.

Painted and shown here at the end of the street in our town of Indian Rock.

As seen on our layout summer 2005.

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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