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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!

Lay out front & back wall with 2x4 per drawing #1, and 2 side walls per drawing #2. I like to start with the outside components and fill in the wall in stages after glue is dry. Use the plan as a pattern marking and cutting as you go. Lay a sheet of plastic, glass or wax paper over the plan and you can glue the components together on the plan without them sticking.

More components of the front wall in place. Work only as many components as you can control. You can always move ahead to side walls while glue sets up. Or just wait and take a break.

Front wall done, working with same method on back wall.

Side wall seen here done. Remember you need 2 of them. When cutting parts for the side walls, cut 3 extra top plates for use as roof supports later.

Assemble all wall sections together, keeping them square and so it sits stable on a flat surface, with the side walls being inside the front and back, see corner joint detail drawing #2. Use clamps, or spring clothes pins to hold them together. This is where the layout board comes in handy. It is a great flat surface to keep your walls square to the earth using the graph paper as a square. If the walls don't sit flat use a block of wood across the top of the side walls for a little added push.

Attach 1x12 siding on the back side of the front wall horizontal starting at the top of the side walls where it will meet up with the roof boards starting at one corner. Butt boards tightly against each other, trimming last one to fit as needed at the top. We used 3 pieces of 1x12.

Attach the 3 extra 2x4's previously cut same as top plates of the side walls spaced equally apart to the bottom of the 1x12 aiding on the back of the from wall and sitting on the top of the back wall top plate laid flat like the top plates on the side walls.

From another angle. Make sure they stay in line with the top plate of the side walls so it makes a level structure to attach the roof boards to.

Apply 1x12 side wall siding vertically, starting at one front corner and placing them side by side as tight together as you can. That first front piece should go all the way to the bottom of where the 2x12 cap will go and the back notched so the top is only as wide as the facade.

Continue along the sidewall toward the back trim last board as necessary. Remember the 1x6 corner boards will cover some gaps as they are ¼" wide. Use clamps and lumber as needed to hold them down. Another thing that works well is sand in a plastic bag as a weight that will conform to odd shapes.

Same with back wall.

Last apply vertical siding boards on the front wall, trimming around openings as you go.

Apply 2x12 cap per drawing #2 on the top of the front façade. Let it overhang the back side siding about 1/8", and the ends about ¼".

Apply 1x12 roofing starting at the back. A view from the bottom to show the overhang. The first piece should overhang back and both ends about ¼".

Work your way adding pieces toward the front of the building overlapping them approx. 1/16". Adjust to fit your structure. Work as many as you can control. Notice block under backwall to give better angle for using blocks to hold boards in place while glue sets.

The last of the roof boards done. We used 15 pieces 8 5/8" long.

Use 1x6 for door and window jambs aligning the front flush with siding.

Apply 1x4 as trim. Leave top element of trim 1/8" longer so it overhangs the side trim as a typical old west detail. Window dividers should be done now on the front window before adding the porch.

Use 2x2 Measure them to fit your openings, note the drawings don't have the jambs drawn in and material thickness and construction results can vary. Use the plan as a guide to keep them square, laying your divider parts on it for gluing.

Use 2x6 for the front porch decking. Here you can see we glued it in a flat panel against a flat board so we could glue it as one piece to the front wall later

. A wood block on top to keep it flat while the glue cures.

We used 32 pieces 1 ½" long glued side by side, and trim as necessary at the door opening and the ends so it is equal to the width of the front wall and attach it directly to the siding. If yours turns out a little wider than the front wall as the prototype did, just center it making a little overhang on each end.

With 4x4 assemble the front porch post assembly.

We leaned the porch frame assembly against the front wall and marked where its top instead of measuring where the top of the bottom part of the porch truss should go.

Attach to the deck per the drawing, and keep them square as possible. Use 2x4 for 3 bottom porch roof rafter elements attached between the front porch post assembly and glued directly to the siding one on each end and one in the middle.

Cut a 2x4 cross piece (that will serve as an attachment point for the backside of the porch roof rafters and a back end glue point for the 1x12 porch roof boards), the same length as the width of the front post assembly and attach to the front so it's top is ½" higher than the top of the front post assembly. Glue this directly to the front siding.

Attach 3 rafters from the front post assembly to the 2x4 cross piece.

Attach 1x12 porch roofing boards front to back leaving them overhang on the front and sides by ¼". We started with each end first. Adjusting gap as you go to even it out.

We used 15 (1 7/8" long) on the front porch about 1/16" apart.

Use 1x4 as batten strips to cover the seams. Blocks to hold it down.

Fill in the end truss area with 1x6.

Make a door using the door plan as a guide, and cut the 2x4 side rails, bottom, top, and center stiles, to fit your door opening (ours ended up 1 1/8" wide).

Cut 1x6 boards to fill in the lower half, and leave them longer than the opening, they get glued on from behind and can be placed vertical or horizontal. Install 2x2 door window dividers. Adjust door to fit your openings, note the drawings don't have the jambs drawn in and material thickness and construction results can vary.

Use 2 pieces of 2x2 as vertical dividers to look like bars on the side cell window. You could substitute pieces of 1/16" wire (paper clip would work fine). If you use paper clip you might want to put in 3 pieces. Just space them evenly.

Apply 1x6 corner boards on all 4 corners, per overlap example on drawing #2 and none on the backside of the front façade above the roof line Trim around porch roof as necessary.

Glue the door in open or closed position, left or right hand operation your choice. Use a stick pin head for a knob. When finishing paint the bars of the cell window black to make them look like real bars.

Before final finishing and sealing.

Our finished version. A round headed stick pin used for a door knob, drinking straw for a chimney and the sign made from scrap.

Using exterior latex paint I brushed a thinned mixture on for the light gray. Then flat black for the trim and front post assembly. The porch roof, floor and the roof we used the same flat black thinned as a wash so the grain still shows.

After all the paint was dry, we sealed the whole thing inside and out twice with thompson's waterseal.

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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