Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cream Shed Update...


After a few frustrating hours of machining & re-machining the Cream Shed is nearly complete.  The roof went on tonight, doors are installed & all that is left is the corner trims.  All week, for some reason, my brain wasn't registering what my eyes were seeing from the vernier calipers & the old measure twice cut once was not working well... Anyway we are nearly there.

We had a win here during the week...After being frustrated many times trying to order our timber supplies through a local agent...with patchy results...we have now been accepted by Northeastern Lumber as a direct dealer...So to maximise the potential & cost savings we have placed a rather substantial order of most of the range & will not only utilise it ourself for manufacturing...but will offer the range to the public direct & more importantly interested model clubs,  at what we anticipate will be more than competitive pricing.  We will be importing items that are not generally available here off the shelf...i will update when the shipment arrives.

We are also in the process of approaching another few overseas suppliers, who's items we also would like to incorporate in our kits & attempt to gain their acceptance as well.  We are not trying to tread on anyone's toes....but if the local agents won't hold stocks then we must catch & kill our own. We need to get these kits moving...   

I have spent a few nights flicking through the library here trying to locate pictures of cream sheds in service & if possible the elusive colour piccy.  It is surprising just how few photos seem to exist & while i admit i have only scratched the surface i can only find one in colour so far & that is of the shed at Narellan.  This photo is on page 40 of the Train Hobby range of Country Railway Stations NSW Part 1.  The photo is a great period shot & very evocative. As an aside there is located elsewhere in the shot a rather interesting looking timber ramp for loading rail wagons...Hmmmm more modelling fodder..... Anyway back to the cream shed.  What is curious in the shot is the colour of both the cream shed & the station building proper.  Maybe it is factual, aging of the shot or just the reproduction but the photo shows a faded mustard / yellow colour & i would appreciate if anyone can clarify this through other photos or memory.  Another curiosity of the cream shed in the shot is that the interior walls seem to be fully lined & one can only assume that this was common...or that the shed is being utilised for some other purpose... I certainly await some educating in this department.

BTW...There is a website that i found that is dedicated to cream sheds in Queensland & is a credit to the site owner...well worth a look & if anybody is interested i will post the link....I have not got it on this computer.

A couple of piccys of the shed...


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Is That Cream With Your Coal Sir...?


I spent a fair amount of time in the last couple of weeks boning up on the variations in timber based,  elevated water tanks at various locations around the state trying to choose one to model.  One aspect of this decision would be based on commercially available tanks that could be placed on the chosen structure.

By last Friday i had arrived at my decision & intended on working up the components for the structure over the weekend.  I am not sure why i had trepidations about this comparatively simple job,  when on Saturday morning i fired up my favourite old laser & went to the timber cupboard to get some sheet basswood.  It was then that the penny dropped....there is no commercially available sheet in either basswood or balsa that is a scale 12'' thick.  I knew i had gone down this road before & now realised why i had nagging doubts about this job....  Sure there is "stick" basswood available in the required size,  but this does not allow the cutting & shaping of many components at once.....Bugger....  I will probably just order in a heap of stick product & make up a jig where precuts can be machined but this does not help me on a Saturday morning where the weather outside is conducive to a days modelling.

All dressed up & nowhere to go... it was time to go back over one project & get it right...then move on to another that i want to incorporate on the layout...

Armed with a fair amount of feedback from many sources i attacked the coal stage project & decided to make up a single sided shorter version based on the 50' version.  The plans i have show it as installed on a sloping site & while this would be an interesting way to model it, common sense prevailed & i opted for the level sited version.  Regulars who follow this blog will be aware that there were also a couple of technical issues with the first incarnation & i attempted to address these shortcomings as well.

The deck was the first item to be modified, with bolt detail toned down & the recesses for the sheet post braces cut out during the lasering process  This now makes locating the posts a lot simpler & also allows easy alignment of the under deck outer joists to ensure a neat fit between these components.   Next was the inclusion of internal bolt detail to the bin sheets.

Please Note...The model in the attached photos is yet to have the underdeck bracing fitted.

Again with feedback in mind i think this coal stage version will be the first kit to be released....

Now to the other item....

I want to incorporate a Cream Shed on my layout & i decided to make a start on this project as well.

There are a few variations that i have on file here & i decided to go with a version that was platform sited because that is where the first shed will be installed at Fish River Station.  I must admit this was a wlcome change as machining & fitting piles was getting to be a pain in the bum....( There is a pun in there somewhere )

I commenced with lasering the inner frames & base components & then hand fitted the cladding the weatherboards being one or two piece per frame & the skinny wrot boards added individually..... I have no idea where the term "wrot boards" comes from...but i will surely investigate.

With the next incarnation of this shed i think i will stick with the one piece wall frames & design a one piece outer layer with all cladding detail that just laminates over the inner frame which will make assembly very simple indeed 

The roof frame including one piece with battens is complete as are the barge boards & the corner wall trims & i will complete this over the coming week & post the completed shed.

I ran out of time this weekend on both projects... but decided to post a couple of piccies so as to share progress.

Have a great week!!!


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Coal Stage Update


Well the first "draft" of the coal stage is now complete.  I am fairly happy with the results although a lot of thought will need to be put into the next one.

It has been a learning experience with most of the issues becoming apparent in hindsight.....ahhh hindsight...

I overcame the issue of "checking out" or rebating the piles to fit the bearers by utilising a jig fabricated to fit 20 precut piles at a time. I utilised the Dremel routing table that i bought years ago & it worked a treat.  I will now set about making a jig that holds at least 40 piles so that enough for one stage ( 39off ) can be machined at one time.  This will ensure uniformity & consistency & i will research out a proper fluted router bit as this well to enhance the finish also.

Once i have this all figured out i will write a post dedicated to this procedure as the machining of these piles & rebates is a pain by hand & the Dremel setup is relatively cheap & easy.

The stage took about 1.5 productive hours to assemble when you subtract waiting time for glue to dry.

I made a an error with lining up the underdeck outer joist on one side which caused the vertical sheet bracings to not be flush with the outer joist & piles where they transition. These need to be lined up during the earlier phase of live & learn. While talking about these bracings it is also obvious by the photos that i overstated the bolt detail & i will need to shrink these down on the next one.

The placement or spacing of the bearers & attached piles also needs to be accurate or the sheet bracing will not end up in line with the middle of the piles.

The only other omission is the bolt detail inside the vertical sheets or bin sides.  I guess in service the bins would be full of coal & the inner surfaces would not be visible...but i will include in the next draft.

With all the above issues in mind i decided not to add the extra Grandt Line bolt detail to the rest of the finished structure...I will save them for the next draft.

When all is said & done the timber components are all of prototype dimensions & i think even this first draft looks the goods over a plastic or white metal offering & that is where i want to be as after all my mantra has always been...if it was timber in prototype then why not in model form.

I think now a change of pace is needed & this weekend will spend some time roughing out an elevated water tank base in timber...I love winter!!!

As per normal any comments or improvement tips are certainly encouraged as all issues need to be addressed if this is ever going to see the light of day as a kit.  In the event this needs to be right.



Saturday, 7 July 2012

Fencing Update & Meet The Staff...


Just a quick update & thanks to the people on & off blog who have offered advice & words of encouragement with this project.

The logical next step & a point touched on in the last post was the need to have the options for fence termination.

During a chance chat with a local fencing contractor who has over 50 years in the trade & certainly let me know it...i need to get the terminology correct as he was outraged when i refered to the "slope sections" of fence.....I now need to refer to them as "raked panels" 

So with tail between my  legs & a page of typical dimensions.....i returned to the workshop & have now produced one option for raked panels & the photos are below.

As an aside...Goulburn is an interesting place to research fences.  It is amazing how very few typical two rail hardwood paling fences still exist.  I am not sure whether the same is occuring in metropolitan areas...but the shift away from these traditional styles is not noticeable until you have a reason to look....Hmmm that is the same fact with all things railways...if you don't record it today it is gone tomorrow...

Anyway at this present time i have gone as far as i can with this project until later this month when the birch sheeting turns up & a decision made on what paling panel material to run with.

I will address the issue of a gluing jig during this coming week as even though i have had no trouble assembling the panels on the bench....even with my feeble, post brain tumour fingers....( the reason i am known as the "Retard" ) i think a jig would speed up production when many panels are needed.  

On the matter of quantity per pack when the commercial realities need to be addressed, I am still not decided.  Some people have proffered that a traditional quarter acre block of fencing should constitute a pack & a companion pack containing an amount equal to an adjoining rear & side fence be offered &  while i cannot argue with this logic, it must be remembered that layout compression dictates that smaller blocks would be the norm on most layouts.....Stay tuned on this one...Gates will probably follow.

So on to the photos...they need no other description other than the distressed & weathered panels were hurriedly done this afternoon & even though they have had only one coat of the raven oil aint my best work...but hey we all have bad days...

Production Manager & Head Of Security...Loco De Cat
Shown unpacking another load of timber...
( He's been hangin to get his mug on the blog...)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Timber Paling Fences...Or How To Go Nuts...


Well today was the day to get moving on another piece of invaluable infrastructure for the layout..

I knew that this project would test my patience...but like most things you begin & it gets enjoyable & the end result in this case was well worth the effort.

To create a presentable & believable hardwood paling fence has been a "holy grail" of mine for years.

Things have certainly changed over the years & treated pine has largely taken over as the preferred choice for home owners who don't want the colourbond variety.....or brick.

For me two things have always been a compromise when modelling a domestic or industrial scene & that has been the fencing, either the barbed / chain wire fencing or the old paling fence & while i will leave the former to someone else....i thought i had the ability to solve the latter.

If this project was to fly, the most important aspects were that the components had to be timber...just like the prototype & the dimensions & construction had to be as accurate as technology & common sense would allow.

With the first "proofs" manufactured today i will describe the components...

The fence is modelled off a 6' / 1800mm high variety with 2700mm post centres. 

The posts have the mortises cut right through to house the fence rails & feature the beveled tops to shed water...I have left them long so they can be either trimmed or sunk into the scenery when fitted.  The mortises at this stage have been cut a touch off centre & the reasoning for this will be described along with the paling panels.

The rails speak for themselves & are a fairly neat fit through the post housings & are long enough for four panels of fencing including the posts.

The palings are the only compromise i have made & are designed as a one piece unit with beveled tops on each paling & feature simulated nail holes.  They have been lasered on each side for accurate representation.  The main compromise has been the thickness of the paling panel & this is the reasoning for the offset holes in the posts,   Although i feel that this aspect does not detract from the overall  finished appearance, it may be that i find a thinner material for the fence paling panels & readjust the post holes to centre.

For the modeller wishing can snap the fence panels & easily remove a paling here & there or indeed have them laying on the ground here & there.

There are several elements to be assessed & maybe some mods will be adopted along the way.

While the components are tiny & some would say brittle...when assembled & glued they are relatively rigid & strong.

I will in the next run try & vary the individual paling colour via laser weathering will be almost inherent & as much as the components are simple to assemble i might cut a jig to speed up construction.

So... the next question is will these fences see the light of day as a retail kit?...I think they are a relatively easy solve to an age old problem & if someone prefers they can utilise the spine of the fence & substitute corrugated iron for palings...

The major factor that will need to be addressed many panels per pack???

I am as we speak designing the bevelled or sloped section panels that will be used to terminate the fence at the street boundary & will post some more shots when this is completed.

This project needed to go ahead now as a proving ground for small the next project at this level will be stock races & yards.

I would certainly appreciate feedback on this one to gauge the viability of it's the meantime i will keep churning the components out & stockpiling for the layout here & the 101 uses i will have as structures go ahead.



The fence post...

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Loading Banks & Buffers...


Another busy day...& we are happy to add our Loading Bank Facing kits to our Laser Rail Bits range...

They are available on ebay & have posted some shots here...

I have posted some shots of the Timber Ash Buffer" kits which will follow this week...

BTW all of these kits will be available in "O" Gauge when time permits...

Have a great night....

Bolt Detail In Capping....

Ash Buffer Finished Kit

Ash Buffer Detailed & Raw