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Susan's Dress Shop 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.

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, reposition doors or windows, etc. Just keep in mind the overall structure and where other components might have to connect so you don't put a door or window in an bad spot!.

Wood blocks used to hold things in place until glue sets.

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.

Completed front and back wall.

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.

Here a top view from the front, showing wall relationship. Side walls inside front and back walls.

Front facade truss.

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 we went back after the outer frame was dry, and added the center 2x4. This was easier than trying to glue all components at the same. The secret with trusses, is to keep them as uniform as possible. This will result in easier placement later, and a structure that looks straighter. All the effort you put in now to make sure everything is as straight and square as possible will pay off in the end.

1x12 siding applied to back of front facade. It is easier now that once attached to the front wall.

Structure on its front, with the front facade truss in place weighed down on the flat layout board. This is a great way to keep the outside trusses flush with the outside of the side wall, and straight. Then do the same with the back truss.

The center trusses installed. Ours ended up about 1 5/32" apart. 2x4 added between them at the peak for strength. Get the trusses lined up as straight as possible so your roof line looks straight. The peak is the best to use, for line up, as truss rafter ends, can be easily trimmed before you apply the roofing.

We started at the front of a side wall with the 1x12 siding. Notice it must extend up to where the bottom of the roof boards will be, and this first piece the top is notched so the back is flush with the siding on the back of the facade siding.

Siding completed on this side. Notice clamping method with pieces of 1x12 and clothespins. If the center of the boards lift, a block to weigh them down works great.

Back wall, start siding at the center most edge of door opening and work to the corner. Then work toward the other corner.

Example here of block used to hold center of boards down.

2x12 cap view from side showing overhang. 1/4" ends and about 1/8" back.

View of cap installation from the front.

1x12 siding on the front wall. Start at the bottom, trimming around openings as you go. Overlap approximately 1/16".

Here a piece of siding used as a straight edge to align the smaller pieces around the openings.

More progress on the front siding.

Clamping methods shown here. The couple of bucks for a bag of clothespins was well worth it.

The first roof board held in place until the glue started to set. 1/8" on side and 1/2" on the back. As seen in photos below, you could block the structure at an angle and put blocks on it to hold it in place. I like to hold them sometimes just to take a think break...

Mass gluing of roof boards. Notice overlap approx. 1/16" even it out best you can, and remember that small differences will add to the realism.

Seen from above the clamping method. Try to keep fit tight against the back of the facade.

Structure blocked at an angle so weights could be used to hold the other side of the roof. Notice can of snacks in the background....IMPORTANT...enjoy yourself...

1x4 ridge cap held in place.

1x6 door and window jambs installed. Front edge should be flush with the high points of the surrounding siding.

1x4 trim installed. Top element left to overhang the side ones, a common old west detail.

2x6 for the front walkway face down. A bead of glue applied and spread out forcing it between the boards.

4x4 for front and back post assemblies.

Corner gussets installed, and a wood block used to hold things down. There is enough material you could do gussets on the back porch as well.

Here, the finished assemblies. The railing made with 2x4 material is a great simple detail. Remember, once you lay the parts down on the waxpaper they can be moved with a stick (lumber scrap) or the tip of a pencil better than with your fingers, as the parts tend to stick to your fingers.

Porch floor glued to the siding. Notice gap at door bottom. You could glue a scrap in there, but we chose to make a threshold out of scrap that is shown below later.

Back porch, we trimmed to fit tight so we didn't need a threshold.

Front threshold made from a siding scrap, showing the notched ends.

Here installed. Just remember to adjust your door height when you make your doors to fit.

Front post assembly glued to porch deck, and one 2x4 cross piece glued in place. Adjust the length of the cross piece to keep things square for your structure. The bottom of the posts on ours we left back about 1/32" from the front of the porch deck.

From the top.

A different method of forcing parts together. When I cut the cross piece for the other end, to keep things looking square I used the leaning block method. There was some twist in parts that caused the need for this. An open mind can solve these little problems easily.

Hard to see, but the 2x4 (cut to be as wide as the top of the front post assembly) glued to the front siding. It' top should be about 1/2" higher than the front post assembly. You can change this if you like more or less pitch.

Great view of all 4 cross pieces and rafters in place. At this point the over perspective of the building is taking place, and a very worthwhile modeling experience to see it at this point.

Same treatment on the back.

1x12 (ours were 1 7/8" long) started at each end. Overhang about 1/4" on front and sides.

The center then filled in. We used 12 spaced about 1/16" apart. Even out the spacing as best you can. Again, don't be too perfect. Realism includes imperfection...

1x4 installed as batten strips. We leave it long so the end sticking out is like a handle.

All batten strips in place, and a board, clothespins used at the front edge and a block on to hold the back side down. Later a sharp side cutter was used to cut off the handle part of the batten strips.

1x6 to fill in the ends of the porch roof.

2x4 laid out for door, 2 required. Remember to measure your trimmed openings and adjust accordingly.

1x6 applied as filler from the backside to the lower part of one door. We did ours vertical.

2x2 divider installed on 1 door. Do same on other door and front window. Adjust to fit your openings, as construction results can vary. Use the plan as a guide to keep them square.

Outside end 1x6 corner board shown on upper part of front facade.

Lower outside corner board. We notched it around the back of the porch roof board. Remember the corner board front edge should be flush with the high points of the siding.

Back corner boards clamped. Center held down by block placed through porch frame.

1x6 corner boards on the front facade.

Closer shot to show we trimmed the bottom of the top one to fit around the end of the facade cap board and extend to the bottom of it. A simple but nice detail.

Again the block through the porch assembly used to hold the corner boards in place on the front wall.

A straight on front shot of the basic finished building.

Different angle. Ready at this point for finishing. Chimneys, glazing, door knobs and simple things like hitching post and water troughs.

More angle shots.

With some added environment.

Ready to go out on our layout. Signs made of scrap, trim painted and details added. Lace used as curtains and a Lemax figure added.

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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