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Covered Trackside Loading Platform

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!

(click on photo's for a larger image)

Start by laying out the framing for the platform base per drawing #1 with 2x6 standing on edge. Just a few elements at first.

Here the entire base frame done and blocks holding things down while the glue sets up. Make sure to keep things as square as possible. Work on a flat surface.

Use 2x material for decking starting with a 2x12 on each end. You can see the first outside 2x12 on the right. Leave a 1/8" overhang over the outside edge of the base framework.

You can see here beads of glue applied before adding several boards. Fill in working towards the center and trim the last board as needed. Try not to be to perfect, round edges and leave ends stick out more than others on some boards for some realism.

Here shows checking with a straight edge alignment of the edges of the deck boards. Don't be to critical as a little uneveness adds character. Counting the end 2x12 pieces we used (9) 2x12's, (16) 2x6's, (21) 2x4's 5 ¼" long.

With 2x4 laid flat make 7 trusses per drawing #2. Here shows the cut parts. We cut enough for all 7 trusses.

Shown here my technique for glueing the parts together. A dot of glue at each joint. Then I slide the parts into position. This piles the glue up on the edge of the part. Do the same with all parts. This dot method somewhat sticks the parts to the waxpaper as well as sticking them together. The adhesion to the waxpaper holds them more securely in place without clamps etc. Try to keep them as uniform as possible as it will make it easier to keep things looking straight later.

Cut 4 6x6 posts 5 ½" long per drawing #3 for the post assembly. Lay the posts on the plan and attach the 2x6 beam as shown.

Once the glue has set up, turn it over and add the other 2x6 beam, so there is one on each side of the posts for the bottom element of the trusses to rest on.

Drawing #4 shows a side view. Attach the post assembly to the base. It should be centered on the width of the base and 1/8" in from each end. Add the gussets for strength made from 2/12. The center posts on all 4 sides and 3 sides on the end posts.

Attach the trusses as shown on the drawing with the end ones on the outside of the end posts. They should rest on the 2x6 cross beams. Sight along the peak and eave line to keep them all straight as you put them in place.

Before you start attaching them, put them in a stack and match them up. Trim as needed or change their placement in the pile so for better results. After the roof boards are applied the last (not attached to posts trusses) can be glued in place

1x12 roof boards added next. Start at the eaves.

Leave approx. 1/16" overhang at the end of the truss rafter tips and ½" overhang on the ends past the outside edge of the end posts as shown on drawing #4. Shown here with the base blocked up at an angle so you can use blocks to hold down multiple roof boards at a time.

Then work your way to the peak with 1/32" - 1/16" overlap and adjust to fit your construction results for a somewhat even appearance. We used 8 pieces on each side 13 3/16" long. Again blocks used to hold them down until the glue sets up.

Add the remaining 3 trusses spaced evenly between the other trusses gluing them to the bottom of the roof boards.

Add 1x4 ridge cap per drawing #2.

Fill in the end trusses with 1x6 as shown if desired. Don't be too perfect, leave some ends hang down further for realism.

There is enough material in the kit to make 4 benches as shown on the same drawing. You could also make shorter benches with just 2 frames, your choice. The drawing shows the standard 3 frame bench. Make the frames out of 2x4, used the plan as a pattern to make 12 (for 4 benches). If you place a piece of wax paper over the plan, you can glue the pieces to the wax paper and peel it off after the glue has set. This will keep the parts from sliding around. Just make sure to get enough glue at the joint areas so things stay together well. After the glue has cured, clean up the frames with sand paper, or scrap with a hobby knife the excess glue.

Apply 1x4 slats, 3 back and 3 seat area as shown on the frame drawing. I start with one in the seat area at the back and get all 3 frames attached to that one.

Once the glue has set then, add the other slats. I know this seems like a hard task, but it is worth it in the end as they look so real. You can skip this and buy ready made benches if you like and use the material for something else.

Here a completed bench. They may seem crude, but once painted with other details around like crates and folks, they look outstanding. Though tedious to make, I think they are well worth it.

Some finished shots with loco and figures added to show a more finished look.

Sign made of scraps, printed on ink jet printer with permanent ink on plain paper then glued onto wood sign with bond 527.

At this point still has be be totally sealed before putting it out in the elements. Finish with exterior grade finishes.  Add details and enjoy the new addition to your layout.


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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