The Stacks

With the input side of the sawmill taken care of, I needed product. Cheney Lumber specialized in building studs, and photos show a lot of them:



I wasn’t going to model nearly that density, but I still needed a convincing amount. Looking to the market, I bought a couple of Details N Scale’s ‘Yard Lumber Kit’ (DTD 300-12) from a local hobby shop. $14.98 ea. The kit is manufactured by a local supplier with no fixed production schedule, and comes in 8,12, and 16 foot lengths.

A few weeks after I ordered two of the 8′ kits a couple of the 16′ kits showed up, and I took them. I was finishing up the crane and was ready for some lumber.


These are the original lumber stacks as they come out of the bag, and after each 16′ stick was cut in half. The kit also includes thin strip wood for dunnage. The 16′ stack is 30 mm long; scaling to 15′, and making the 8′ stacks closer to 7′ after cutting with a razor saw. Close enough.

The pieces are nicely finished but not what I was looking for. The ends are OK, but the the layers of veneer on the sides were too jarring to my eye to be believable scale lumber. There are some faint parallel lines marked on the other faces to suggest lumber, but they are too wide for 2 x 4’s. I did have up to 96 stacks of 8′ studs, so I thought about how to remedy the kit pieces.

I figured I’d treat the kit pieces as cores and wrap printed texture around them. The plan was to draw and print two sides and a top, with the top joined to one side. The crease on the larger cover would align it, and gluing the other side separately would eliminate errors in width on the top. The covers had to be drawn, but it’s just straight lines so nothing hard there. After a bit of experimentation I had results I liked.


The lighter top color was scanned from the kit piece, so the cover would match as closely as possible. Lumber is drawn to scale on the covers with slightly darker shades of brown, and that created the darker side color. This doesn’t look objectionable, and the contrast makes folding the cover easier. For the other side I printed a sheet of just sides. Everything is on standard printer paper.

Major cuts were done with a media cutter, and trimming with scissors. Because the covers were larger than the cores, I wasn’t too worried about micro-trimming, but I did want to make sure the core was covered with texture.


Cores on the left, textures on the right. The top middle pile is the top/side piece, while the pile below are the single sides. In the middle is a bone folder, used to get sharp creases in paper and cardstock. It’s a little pricey for a piece of bone, but I’ve used it on other paper texture projects and there is no substitute. The covers are attached with straight white glue spread in a film with a toothpick. White glue allows some working time to get the covers straight, but I found they went on fairly well. I clamped the covers in place using my work bench pile ‘o shims to apply even pressure.


Covered and uncovered cores:



The forklift is from a set of printed models I painted and weathered last year.

I think there’s enough of a difference to justify the effort. For stacks atop each other I only have to cover the sides of everything below the top. Because I’m going to need scores of lumber stacks, I’ll experiment with ‘filler’ stacks so the ‘hero’ stacks can be used to best effect.




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