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Tunnel Portal Kit
(click on photo's for a larger image)
Use waterproof glue suitable to your climate and available in your area. 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. 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)
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 will shorten a board up just fine. 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.
Use a flat smooth surface to work on. We recommend you use wax paper laid on the plans and on your layout board to keep glue from sticking. So on with the show!
The kit builds one tunnel portal as pictured above. Dimensions above ground level of the main center section (full size) is 24' wide x 24' tall, which is 12" x 12" tall in scale size. The opening is 7" wide and 9" tall. As shown in the photo, the upright frame elements extend below ground level to bury in the ground to further stabilize your portal. Read complete instructions before you begin.
Use a sharp pencil to mark material for cutting. Most elements can be cut with no measuring at all by marking them from the drawing.
Start by laying out the frame with 12 x 12 for the main section as well as the side sections. Make sure to keep things as square as possible. Work on a flat surface. Waxpaper laid on top of the drawing will keep glue from sticking to the plan sheet. Notice the upright 12 x 12's extend 2 inches below ground level for burial in the ground.
Add elements a few at a time, weighing them down with wood blocks as shown here or whatever you have to hold things in place.
All the framing in place. Clamps used to hold the upper structure together so I could add the diagonal elements and the inside uprights without waiting for glue to set up on the upper parts.
For the 4 x 12 backing material start at the top and work you way down. We left the pieces about 1/32" long and trimmed them later. We left that excess on the outside as that is easier to trim. Carefully check your framing for excess glue on all sides then choose the best looking side for the front and apply the 4 x 12 to the backside.
Apply a liberal amount of glue. Continue down the wall, placing the boards as tight together as possible.
Work as many pieces as you are comfortable with. Wood blocks shown to hold things down until the glue sets up. Make sure the framing doesn't flex throwing off the width at the bottom. This is where working over the drawing is very helpful.
4x12 Backing material finished to ground level.
After the glue has set up trim the backing material so that it is flush with the framing.
Final sanding to clean up edges and remove any glue smudges.
The use of separate boards gives a great realistic appearance. Shown here with the optional side wing wall kit.
We recommend all parts that come in direct contact with the ground get a good sealing with any clear sealer that works in your area. If you stain the wood, do that first then seal. If you want to have a natural gray cedar finish, seal only the ground contact areas (footings and all backsides) and let Mother Nature do the rest.
Good Luck and Happy Railroading!
Mark & Sue Smith
Smith Pond Junctions Railroad Products
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