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Carlaw Brothers Stone Yard

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  • Carlaw Brothers Stone Yard

    Hi there, everyone.

    This will be a build thread of a scratch build project which I plan to simulcast on my blog and here.

    This is my first scratch build effort and I plan to show the good, bad, and ugly. I know I sometimes learn the most from my mistakes, and maybe I can convey a few nuggets of hard won wisdom along the way.

    This is part of a larger project. I'm in the middle of building my first module for the Sacramento Modular Railroaders. The module is based pretty closely on the area around 10th and R Streets in Sacramento in the 1950s.

    This first building I'm working on for the module is the polishing and blacksmith shops for the Carlaw Brothers Stone Yard. The business was at the corner of 10th and R Streets for a very long time - from the late 1890s to the mid 1960s - and had a variety of visually interesting buildings.

    So... lets get started. Let's hope I can figure out these "How to Post a Photo" tutorials :-)
    Tom Campbell

    Modeling the SP & the WP down "R Street" in 1950 in Sacramento CA.

  • #2
    So this is my first scratch build project. For it, I'm using a technique I first saw in a clinic by Jack Burgess, and he has since published it a couple of times in the hobby press. Basically you start with a CAD drawing with an imported prototype photo used as a reference. (Jack uses Photoshop I'm using Sketch Up since it's free and its designed for this sort of thing.) You print out the walls in your modeling scale, use a spray on adhesive to stick the drawing on to your wall material, and just cut on the lines. I'm oversimplifying, but that is the essence of it. Jack goes so far as to subtract the thickness of the plastic sheet he uses from one set of walls to keep the prototype dimensions accurate. I didn't do that this time, but it would be easy enough to do.

    I started with my Google Sketch Up model of the Carlaw Brothers Polishing/Blacksmith shop building to make cutting templates. The model is based on a much clearer version of this picturehttp://sacramento.pastperfect-online...9850244972.JPG from the Center for Sacramento archives. I altered my Sketch Up model to have cutting guides for window and door castings.

    On two of the walls I have good photo evidence of window size and placement. On the other two walls however, I have zilch. As a guy who leans heavily on the prototype for inspiration, imagineering window and door placement feels dangerous. I figure as soon as I finish this model, historic photos of the mystery walls will suddenly appear, which wouldn't be such a bad thing.

    Here is a picture of me trying to figure out which workshop door I should choose on one of the walls - this is where having a cardstock mockup is a help.

    I then used my digital caliper to figure out the hole needed to accept the various castings. I measured in millimeters then divided that number by 3.5 to get the size in HO scale digital feet. Since my Sketch Up model was drawn with full scale dimensions I just used the rectangle tool and entered the dimensions in digital feet. I printed the walls out in HO scale, cut out them out and used a spray on temporary adhesive to stick on a piece of Evergreen sheet styrene. I feel compelled to mention that it's important to have good ventilation and to wear a decent respirator when working with spray adhesives. I used V-Groove 100" Spacing, .040" thick sheet styrene which appears to be a perfect match for the clapboard siding on the original building.

    I'm hiding the front wall as it still has a piece of the hi-res image from the Center for Sacramento History on it and I don't have rights to distribute it. Once the plastic piece is cut out and my template removed, the wall will be revealed.

    After cutting out the wall sections, I borrowed another tip from Jack by using a nibbler to cut out the window holes. I also used a small flat file to fine tune the fit.

    One of the nice things about leaving the template on for a while is that it does provide some protection against errant knife cuts. Although it's not total protection from my honey glazed ham hands. I had to redo one wall already because of an unsightly scar.

    I spent more time with my NWSL True Sander than I'd care to admit getting things squared up on the four walls. I've also used it to ensure that walls that are supposed to be identical lengths actually are. I think they are shaping up rather well. Check out the front wall, the one on the upper left in the picture. That's the one I was 'hiding' before.

    I should mention that the 'temporary' adhesive that I sprayed to put my cutting templates on, really wanted to be permanent in some places. This was more user error than anything else though. I think I sprayed a little too heavily in some areas, and I probably applied the templates to the plastic a bit too early. No matter, it wasn't anything that a little Goo Gone couldn't take care of.

    There is a change of plan on the back wall. I wanted to use this Grandt Line casting of a big set of double doors with a row of windows on top, but something went sideways. Literally. I must have entered in the measurements backwards when drawing the rectangle in Sketch Up as it only fits in the hole if I put it on its side. I could redo the whole wall, but I've decided to scratch build a door instead. I was already planning to scratch build a door to the blacksmith shop on this wall anyway. I also think the Grandt Line door is a little fancy for this building, so perhaps it will turn out for the best.

    I told you I'd show off the ugly.
    Tom Campbell

    Modeling the SP & the WP down "R Street" in 1950 in Sacramento CA.


    • #3
      Tom thank you for showing us your build and techniques that you are using. Showing us your "uglys" is also appreciated as it helps us appreciate that we are not the only one out there that makes mistakes. That is how we learn.
      Chuck Faist

      Burlington, Ontario

      Enjoy yourself it is later than you think!


      • #4
        I don't understand it...I cut it off

        3 times & its still too short!

        Been there, done that!

        Nice start.....


        • #5
          Tom: Don't sweat the back wall. All of us have done something like that in the past and will do it again in the future. I remember the time I ended up with two right hand walls for an engine house I was building. The experience has made me more careful though.
          John Johnson

          "I\'m right 98% of the time. Who cares about the other 3%."