Welcome to My HO Model Railroad Blog

My first Scratch Built Building

This project and post is finally finished!  I started it in early December, ran out of material before Christmas.  I waited until January to place an order so as not to have problems with delivery during the holidays.

I purchased some basswood construction material from Caboose Hobbies in late November to have in stock for future projects, this is one of the projects.

I bought several sheets of HO scale Clapboard, Board & Batten, Flooring and ⅛" Corner Post.

I wanted to build a few houses for my layout from scratch.  I've been buying Craftsman Kits for years and now that I'm retired I have the time to dive into a few time consuming projects.

I started by cruising the Internet for ideas and found a great site with older homes.  It has many old Sears Catalog Homes with pictures and floor plans. The site is About.com Architecture

I decided to start with a simple design for my first project I chose the 1909 #64 Sears Catalog Home for my first shot at making a Craftsman Kit type house. 

This is copy and paste of the Home I chose to build. 

How about that price for a 6 room home!

I started by enlarging the floor plan.

My wife noticed very quickly that there is no bathroom on the floor plan.

Next I made a CAD drawing of the floor plan and added a bathroom between the bedrooms on the second floor replacing the hall closet.  That required slightly reducing the size of both bedrooms.
I used the dimensions from the site blueprint to get the floor plan close then trimmed it so that everything fit.  For some reason the dimensions on the site didn't fit.  I used the staircase as my reference.  The next step was to convert the full size dimensions to HO scale then start on the outside walls.  I determined the roof peak by measuring the prospective distances and let the CAD program do it's thing.

This is a wall section reduced to HO scale, when the output from the CAD to the printer is set 1:1 it prints the sections in accurate HO scale.  I stacked the walls together then printed out the drawing below on a 11" x 17" sheet of paper in actual HO scale.
The drawing below is both roof sections drawn to HO scale, the CAD dimensions came out exact and the two sections mate perfectly.

The next four pictures below are of the house made from the paper printout. I cut out my drawing and bent the paper then used a combination of tape and glue to assemble it to check my drawing for accuracy.

Everything fit very good the first time. My 25 years experience with my CAD program really paid off on this project.
In the picture above the CAD drawing was correct the gap in the roof is my poor paper doll construction. Building structures with thin paper isn't my thing.
Since the paper model was correct I went for it, I cut up a partial sheet of Clapboard and did it to it.
In the picture above I glued the floor plan drawing to a piece of 3/32" basswood and used it as a starting point for construction, I cut away the paper where the walls attach to the floor so that the glue would hold good wood to wood.
Everything fit perfect. I used the Northeastern Scale Lumber #18 Corner Posts in all of the outside corners.
I didn't cut out the openings for the windows and doors because the only details I have in stock are too large for this house.
I ordered Grandt #5117 windows and #5058 doors for it and I'll cut the holes for them after they get here I will need to remove the transom window from the doorsI didn't want to take a chance on making the holes the wrong size.
It shouldn't be too hard to cut the holes with a new #11 blade and my trusty Dremel.

I will add window covering and lighting before I install it on my layout.
This is the roof made from 1/32" poster board purchased from Michaels.  I had to put a number of cuts about halfway through the poster board so that the poster board would bend to fit the curve of the roof line.   
The two sections fit together perfect, not even a small gap.  I was very impressed with the way the roof turned out, my CAD program is extremely accurate.
With the roof ready to be glued in place I'll glue the lights to the roof and wire them up.

As you can see my project is coming along very good.  At this point I would say that it has gone together better than even a laser kit.

My Grandt windows & doors are one stop from Bakersfield so they should be here early next week. 

Here the roof is finished, the shingles are Campbell #800.  My wife likes the gable so it will be left on the roof.  The Grandt details and some paint will finish the house.

My model railroad friend Dan suggested that I make the house look like it needed painting, I liked his suggestion so I give it a shot.
The first thing I did was to give the house a good coat of my home brew weathering juice, Apple Cider Vinegar & Steel Wool.  That gave the basswood an old wood effect then I applied several coats of FolkArt Acrylic Dove Gray thinned with water about 10:1.
After it had thoroughly dried I touched up the areas that would have been shaded from the sun with a normal coat of Dove Gray leaving the rest looking like the paint was washed out from years of neglect.
Next I'm going to try the do the same to the Grandt details with a slightly darker gray trim.  I printed out the window curtains on my Alps printer and they're ready to be glued to the inside of the window frames.  I installed porch lights and made room light dividers to have two rooms lit up.  I'm ready to install the second floor bedroom and first floor dining room interiors, when the lights are on the interiors are easily seen through the windows.

Here I have the roof sitting in place after I darkened the shingles with a second coat of weathering.  I painted the railings and support posts with FolkArt Acrylic Buttercup as a base coat then applied FolkArt Oak Stain.
Both porch railings came out good.  You can see the corner of the dining room table through the window.
I have also added the basement, it is basswood strips covered with JTT Scenery brick sheeting.  I cut the holes for the Grandt Details #5035 windows then painted the bricks with Floquil Ohio Caboose red with a touch of black.  I veneered some basswood strip with the JTT brick sheeting to make the 12' chimney finishing it to match the basement bricks.

This is a closeup shot through the dining room window of the interior.

I received the material I ordered and I have now finished my Catalog House.
I printed out the curtains on transparency film using my Alps printer.  After cutting the curtains to fit the inside of the Grandt window and doors then glued them in place.
The railing posts are tapered tooth picks, the porch railing has a coat of FolkArt Buttercup #905 Acrylic primer with a good heavy coat of FolkArt #2802 Oak.
The porch siding is 1/16" basswood board & batten siding, the stairs and flooring are made from 1/32" Basswood flooring and both are stained with my home brew weathering fluid.
The lighting is finished also with two porch lights, a second floor bedroom and the dining room on the first floor.

The ladies were unpainted Preiser figures that I painted.  The little people add a bit of realism to the house.  I like having people on my layout, I have approximately 400 figures.  

This has been a very self gratifying project, I would never though that I could turn out such a high quality building.  It looks as good if not better than most craftsman kits.  I also have my second house finished and a third very close to being done, I ran out of clapboard siding.  The siding is on order and the third house should only take two days to complete it.


Posted by Picasa