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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.

Using 2x6's make 6 roof trusses per the layout drawing. It's important to keep them as close to the same as possible to make it easier to add the roof panels later. All the effort you put in now to make sure everything is as straight and square as possible will pay off in the end.

Completed truss includes the rafter for the lean to.

6x6 framing for the front wall.

Back wall, notice elements on left are the backside of the lean to.

Top is a sidewall, 2 will be needed, and bottom the outer wall for the lean to. End on the left is the front.

The walls attached together. Make sure to keep everything as square a possible. Notice boards clamped on with clothes pins, were used to pull things together. One end clamped down, then pull the joints together and clamp the other end on. Keep an open mind as to the possibilities of this clamping method. It is much like using a long pipe clamp in the real world.

End Trusses in place. Notice the board clamped vertically to keep the wall and truss lined up and straight.

Use a something straight across the ends of the lean to rafters for placement of the center trusses. Space them evenly, ours were about 1 3/8" apart..

A board clamped on the end trusses, helps line up and steady the center trusses until the glue dries.

2x4 across the end of the rafters, held in place with scotch tape on each end.

2x4 blocking for the top end of the lean to roof boards to attach to.

2x4 glued to the underside of the trusses for stability and strength during the rest of construction.

1x12 siding starting at the front corner of the side wall before the outer lean to wall is attached. Notice siding should go up to the top of the truss rafters, to meet the bottom of the future roof boards. Trim around rafters as needed.

The back of that same wall, showing the last board trimmed around the framing.

A board clamped across the bottom and a wood block at the top to hold things down while the glue sets.

Outer lean to wall in place. Clamped and weighted down. Also the whole framework clamped down to the flat layout board.

1x12 siding starting on the back at the outer lean to wall. Trimming to length as I went.

Back wall done, and sidewall clamped waiting for the glue to set. Notice no upper door, even though the trusses are made for one. We decided having all the trusses the same was easier.

Front wall, siding going on. Notice the use of boards clamped down the hold things in place and tight to the frame.

Siding done, front 3/4 view.

Siding done, Back 3/4 view.

1x6 jamb material in place. Make sure its front edge is flush with the front of the siding so the trim sits nice and flat.

1x6 trim installed. Top elements left long to extend about 1/8" beyond the side uprights. This was a common detail in buildings of the old west.

We wanted the large door 2 separate pieces, so 2 panels of 4 1x12's each were made, and the small one on the bottom is for the upper door. All face down with glue spread on the back side to hold them together. All left longer than necessary so they could be trimmed later.

Cross elements of door bracing glued and clamped in place. Position them like the drawing and make sure if you do separate door halves that the bracing lines up in case you want the doors in a closed position.

Trim done an all doors.

1x12 for lean to roof in place. Notice we notched the front and back one so there is a small extension along the front and back wall on the top side. Spaced about 1/8" inch apart.

1x6 batten strips over the gaps. We left them long making it easier to hold them while putting them on, and using a natural bristle brush to clean up excess glue.

All Battens in place, clamped and weighted.

First 1x12 of main roof. It's bottom overlaps the lean to roof about 1/16" sitting on top of the battens. I couldn't find a quick method of clamping that worked well. So I held it for about 10 minutes until the glue was solid enough. In the past I have used a large ziplock bag with sand in it for situations like this as it forms itself to odd shapes. That might work here, but I didn't have one handy. We had cut all the boards at the same time, the same length, as our structure had turned out very square and distance front to back walls was very close on both ends and center.

Working up the side, using overlap of about 1/16". Glue in generous amounts on the trusses.

Side view of overlap.

Last one at the top, it's hard to see but I am placing a scrap of 1x6 as a shim between the top edge of the 1x12 and the block to hold it put pressure there to hold it tighter at the peak.

Structure blocked at an angle so we could use blocks to hold the roof boards down while the glue set. On this side of the roof, we 13 1x12's that were 8 9/16 long. Adjust length to fit your frame as small differences happen. Try to keep 1/2" overhang front and back.

Other roof half, start at the bottom. 1/4" over end of truss rafter ends, and 1/2" on front and back.

All the boards in place, use a board or something straight to line up the edges if necessary.

Again structure blocked at an angel with blocks used to hold roof boards down. Ours used 15 boards on this side. No boards were trimmed for width on either side.

1x4 as ridge cap clamped on one side. It's top edge is flush with top of roof board on opposite side.

1x4 on other side, overlapping and covering the top edge of the first cap board.

Doors glued in place, we decided to have them open.

A few finished photos.

At this point the building is ready for finishing.  Paint, inside and out with exterior grade finishes.  Since we have low voltage lighting in our yard, we plan to use their 4 watt bulbs and power source so every night when they come on our buildings will light up. We recommend buildings be sealed inside and out after painting with a water proof clear sealer and be taken in over the winter months.

Seen here on our layout in our old west town.

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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