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General Store 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!

     Base frame of 1/4" material held down on layout board.  Wood blocks used to hold it until glue sets.  Slightly warped material is fine, as in the end it will just add to the realism of the structure.

    Front frame, nice thing about the layout drawings is that you can lay the material on it and mark it for cutting.  No measuring makes it easier.  Glue as many pieces together at a time, weighting them down with block to hold them until the glue sets.  Be careful not to glue them to the drawing, so you can use it in the future if you like.  We left the bottom full width (door bottom opening not cut) to keep things more stable.   This is a good time to look at the window and door layout, in case you want to make changes etc.  Also, make sure to check window and door fit as you frame.  

    More elements in place.  A little slop around the windows and door, will be covered by their trim.  Even up to an 1/8" can be handled.

    Notice slight warp in material.  Not  a problem, as long as the openings are correct size.

    All elements  in place, glue all sides of joints to add strength.  Add weight overnight to flatten things if necessary.  Notice we left the bottom full width, and cut it out before attaching the front to the base frame.   

The following method is what we did to apply the siding to the front wall. But you could if you choose lay the front wall framework on top of the plan sheet #2 and add the 1x6 pieces one at a time starting at the bottom. Then add the next piece aligning its top with the next line on the sheet. Space them as shown on the drawing adjusting lap as needed to keep a good even appearance. As always, cut long elements first and user the short leftovers for the shorter pieces.

    Strips of duct tape stuck to table saw top, and wrapped over sticky side up our layout board with the front siding spacer sheet on top of it but under the tape.  Don't stretch it as that will cause the wall to shrink when you loosen it from the solid surface you have it attached to to turn it over for gluing.

    Tape ready to go.  Duct tape because of its spongy layer of stickum seems to work well.

    First pieces placed at the bottom line and pressed down .  Per the instructions set aside 18 pieces 12" long for the top of the wall.  Placed face up as you will see them later on the wall.  

  Next pieces tops lined up with the next line.  This gives you 5" scale exposure.

    Continue up the sheet.        Cutting as you go to fit the layout lines.

    Press down firmly one last time all elements so they stay put during the turning process

    Carefully detach the ends of the tape and turn the whole sheet over

    Turned over, backside up and glue applied.  If glue seeps through it can be carefully trimmed away with a sharp knife after the glue sets up.

    Be careful not to glue the tape to the siding.

    Hold down firmly when pulling the tape off. Pull back not up. Just like folding the tape back on itself. This lessens the upward force on the joints, and will keep them more stable.

    Sheet glued to front frame and weighted down with wood blocks until the glue sets.

    2x4 added for supporting the back end of the porch roof boards.  

Before the front wall is attached to the base frame the windows and door need to be finished, as it is easier now. I would like to thank local club member Curt W. for his time building the prototype of the new version general store. 1x6 used as jambs. Notice the front edge is flush with the high points of the lap siding. Curt had painted the front wall first as he is going to leave the trim unpainted. Then probably seal with a clear finish later.

2x2 installed as sash frame around inside the 1x6 jambs to look like the outer frame of the glazed area. It's back is flush with the back edge of the jambs. This will make it easier to add glazing later as you won't have to cut it exactly to fit the opening.

2x2 divider installed. Cut the pieces to fit your opening (construction results can vary) and use the layout drawing as a guide for gluing to keep them square.

1x4 trim installed. Top element overhangs the side pieces by 3/32"-1/8". A nice simple detail common in old west style buildings.

Continue with the door and other window in the same manner. Notice the bottom 6x6 framing has been cut from the door opening. 1x6 used for the door jambs and 1x4 for the face trim as was done for the windows. Below show the door construction.

You can make door now or wait until later just after the porch deck and threshold is installed to get a more accurate fit to your opening. Using 2x4 make the outer frame of the door. Make sure to adjust to fit your opening, as construction results can vary.

1x6 used to fill in the bottom, and 2x2 divider installed. You can install the filler horizontal if you like. Use the drawing as a guide to keep things square.

Finished door. Wait to install the door later after all else is done. Left or right handed in an open position, or closed, you choice. The head of a stick pin for a door knob looks great.

    Don't forget to cut out the door bottom before attaching it to the base frame.

    Wood block to hold it square while the glue sets.  A small square used to keep things square. The front wall should be back about 2" from the front edge of the base frame so the bottom piece of siding is centered front to back on the 6x12 cross beam. This gives a glue attachment point for the 2x6 porch flooring.

   Layout  2 side frames . Only 3 pieces here, the left side upright is actually the front wall.

   More members of the framework in place.   These are the back wall parts that aren't shown on the drawings. 3 pieces of 6x6.

   Roof supports in place.    

   These upright frame members of 6x6, are glued to the insides and centered on both side walls and back wall. They keep things more stable and even out framing material warping.

    2x6 face down for porch deck on the layout board.   Remember to leave 1/8" overhang on sides and front. We used 49 pieces. You can use this mass glue method or attach them one at a time if you like.

    Face up and glued to base frame tight against the siding.  Add 2x6 threshold in door opening to raise opening to be flush with deck level.

    4 4x4 posts 3 3/4" long held down with wood blocks.  Drawing makes keeping elements square.

    Gussets in place, make sure to cut two extra for the end sides.

    2x4's leaned  against a wood block to keep it square until glue sets. These will attach to the front wall siding.

   Assembly glued to porch and front wall.  Sight down the posts and straighten as needed before the glue sets.  Wood block on top to hold it down.  Don't use to heavy a block as it might break the 2x4's off.

    End view

    Rafter elements added.  

    1x12 added, notice overhang on front and side.  

    Continue, spacing about 1/8" apart making sure gaps are narrow enough to be covered by 1x4.  We used 21 at 2 1/4 long.

      Batten strips of 1x4 added to cover the gaps.  

    Fill end s with 1x6 if desired.  Leaving bottom edges uneven, adds to realism.

   Other end filled in.

    3 pieces of 1x12 glued to the backside of the front wall.  

    First piece of 1x12 vertical siding.  Make sure front side is flush with the high points of the 1x6 lap siding on the front.

    Notice top of first vertical siding piece, trimmed flush with 1x12 on back side of front wall.

    Several pieces done at a time and held down with a wood block until the glue sets.

    Same on the complete back wall.

    Batten strips on both side walls and the back wall are made of 1x2 and seen here held with clothes pins.  These small elements, will warp because of the glue moisture warping the wood.  You will have to clamp, weight down, etc.  Keep a close eye on this.

    For the roof, we wrapped the tape around the backside of your layout board.  Three strips is what we used with the roof spacing sheet under it.

    On the backside we twisted it a half turn and stuck it to the backside of the layout board.  

    Tape over roof spacing sheet, and top of first piece lined up on first line and edge lined up on upright line of drawing.  Our roof boards  (18 of them) ended up 13" long for 1/4" overhang beyond the 1x2 batten strips.

    Next board lined on the next line and so on until you get a sheet 8 1/4" long and 13" wide.

    Glue applied to and blocks used to hold them flat until the glue sets.

    Roof panel applied to frame.

    Note window trim tight against high points of lap siding.  We waited until now to install the premade windows as they are fragile.  If you don't want the dividers in place, now is a good time to remove them.  Glazing (not supplied) should be added later after painting etc.  

    Another view with the windows and door installed.  If you wish to glue the door in an open position, then remove the shipping brace towards the bottom of the jamb.  It is there to make the assembly a little easier to handle when installing it.  

    One view of 1x4 corner trim boards on the front.  Use your common sense here and  remember they are there to hid imperfections on the ends of your siding.

    Corner trim on the top area of the front wall.

    You can see this corner trim on a back corner hides a small gap left by the siding.  That is what they are for.

    End detail of the cap area of the front wall.  Notice the 1x2 glued under the front edge.  This covers any problems you might have had there with gaps, and adds an additional trim element.

    Some views of the completed structure before painting etc.  

    Now it is up to you to personalize it.

Our version detailed and ready to go out on the layout. Signs and figures 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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