Over the weekend I started work on the structure located across from the station and behind the feed mill in Port Rowan. This is identified as a “garage” on my prototype plan and while it’s located behind the feed mill on my layout it actually occupied its own property further north. On my layout, it would be located in the aisle. However, the one decent photo I have of the structure shows that it has a pair of large sliding doors on the front and I thought they’d be really neat to model – so I’ve moved it out of the aisle and onto the layout.
With just a couple of inches between it and the fascia, this is definitely a foreground structure – and those big open doors will demand a well-detailed interior. So I plan to give this building the full treatment. The challenge is, my one decent photo of the structure shows the front and part of the track-side wall, but nothing of the back wall or the wall that will face the aisle. In the prototype photo, I can see through the open front doors that there’s a window in the aisle-side wall. I can also see a window on the track side wall, near the front doors – and what could be a person-sized door at the far end of the track-side wall. I also know that there’s a chimney, plus some other details such as the ventilator and an attic door on the front wall. But that’s about all the information I have to go on. As a consequence, I’ll be making up some of the details – and that’s fine: For example, this licence gives me an opportunity to add plenty of windows to the aisle side so visitors can see all my work.
For this foreground structure, I decided I would have to model all of the rafter tails – and as I’ve noted previously on this blog, I took advantage of the custom roof truss service from Jeff Schwank at TractorFab in hopes of making this part of the project less painful. I’m pleased to report the trusses worked beautifully. The two photos below show the trusses, as well as a pair of the joist-spacing jigs from Rusty Stumps Scale Models that I used to space them while I glued them to the tops of the side walls:
As an aside, I have to admit that when I sat down at the bench I had a surprising amount of trouble deciding where to start this project. I pondered several approaches, waving bits of strip wood and other materials about. I stopped and brewed a cup of tea, thinking it would prod the brain cells into life. But it didn’t help as much as I’d hoped.
I’ve been building wooden structure kits since I was 10 years old, so a simple structure like this should be second nature. The great thing about learning on the older-style structure kits from companies such as Campbell Scale Models, is that what they really teach are techniques that can then be used to build any structure. This is in contrast to today’s laser-cut kits, which are a lot easier to build but which also remove a lot of the cutting and sanding to size and shape that older kits required. Some may consider all that cutting and sanding a pain and be happy that they no longer have to do it – but for me, it sure was good preparation for scratch-building. At least, that’s been the case in the past – but not this weekend. Why, if I could manage Campbell models such as the Norm’s Landing complex, Hamilton’s Dinghies, and the Kiowa Junction depot, was I having trouble with four pretty straightforward walls?
I expressed my frustration to my wife. She thought on this – and since the day was grey and damp, she wondered whether a measure of Knob Creek nine-year-old bourbon might do a better job than the tea of getting the creative juices flowing. And it did!
Once I decided on an approach, the work progressed quickly. I started by determining the length of the two side walls and cutting a top beam for each, on which the trusses would rest. I also cut a beam to run along the base of each side wall. Next, I built and clad the two end walls. Then, I connected the two end walls together using the previously-prepared beams. At this point, I was able to install the trusses, then add some additional framing on the side walls. I even got a start on the cladding before it was time to quit.
As the photos show, I made significant progress during my first work session on this garage. In addition to building and cladding the end walls, I’ve also framed around the openings for all of my windows and will continue to clad the side walls the next time I’m at the bench. When that’s done, I’ll add more framing inside the walls, working “ship-in-a-bottle” style. Then there are several windows, doors and other details to build (plus a roof to build and attach: For the lead photo in this post I simply cut two rectangles from styrene, taped them together and dropped them over the trusses).
So far, so good. I’m definitely impressed by the trusses and am already planning to order more from TractorFab to do the two buildings that make up the JC Backhouse feed mill complex in Port Rowan. And I’ll make sure the Knob Creek is close to hand – just in case I run into any more of those pesky moments of indecision while I finish the garage.
Stay tuned for more updates…