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Scratch building a 1916 Sears Catalog Home

This winter I found a great project to do in my hobby room where it's nice and warm.  It's a bit too chilly to work on my layout in our unheated garage. I bought a Laser-Art Kit of a 1926 Sears Catalog home to assemble.  It was a great kit to assemble.  That got me surfing for more Catalog Homes and I found a great site with loads of floor plans, Antique Home Style.

There are many neat houses from the 1900 to 1940 era to work from.  I chose 264B110 a 1916 Sears Catalog Home for my third scratch built house.  There is a newer version of the same house in the 1923 catalog that has a bathroom, The Silverdale.

This post will be ongoing as I draw the plans on my CAD program through construction of the house. 

The picture above is a JPG from the Antique Home Style Site, this is the beginning of my project.  I'm starting with my CAD drawing below of the floor plan above. The red numbers are the wall sections.  I will print out templates in actual HO scale and cut out all the walls, floor and roof sections.

I made a few changes in my drawing.  The 1916 Home didn't have a bath but the 1923 does, the store room off the kitchen is a bath in the newer home so that is one change.  The second floor over the kitchen in both versions is an attic storage area.  I'm also changing the walls and roof above the kitchen to the same height as the second floor bedrooms and the attic storage area will become the fifth bedroom.  I didn't like the way the roof line looked between the attic storage area and the second floor roof.

Here I have my Dremel Router table setup to make corner posts.

Next I made an outside corner post and a inside corner post from 3/16" square by 24" basswood.

Before I cut out the wall sections I prepared the base/floor section by adding a ⅜" frame to form the foundation/basement, I also added two cross members to firm up the floor.

Before I cut the wall sections from the basswood I measured each template to the floor template to make sure the walls are the correct size so as not to waste the basswood siding.

The picture below is the templates made on my CAD program and the wall sections cut from Midwest Products #4445 basswood clapboard.

All of the wall sections fit on ¾ of a 24" x 3" sheet of siding.

The picture above is wall section #1 with two corner post glued in place.

This picture shows the two side walls glued to the corner post forming perfect 90° corners.

Here three more walls have been added using inside corner posts.

The above picture has all the walls glued together and then glued to the floor section.

I ordered a good stock of Tichy detail parts and they arrived yesterday so I can proceed with my current project. Before I went too far I checked the cutouts to see if the Tichy windows and doors would fit. Some were a bit too small, fortunately none were too large. I carefully enlarged the ones that were too small with a fresh #11 Xacto blade.
I cut, painted and glued the Midwest #8017 .0416" x .0625" (scale lumber 4"x6") trim strips to the walls to support the front and rear porch roof. Next I cutout the two porch roof ceilings from .05" poster board and glued them to the walls above the trim strips as seen in the picture above.

The picture above shows the porch lighting. The lamps are slightly recessed because of their size. They are 2.5 mm 12 volt @ 60 ma lamps, I use a non regulated 8½ volt DC power supply for all of my building and street lighting. The lamps last much longer on reduced voltage and look more realistic.

The picture above shows the front and rear porches with Campbell card stock roof sections in place. The Campbell card stock has alignment lines to accurately apply their shingles. That being done both porch roof sections are ready for shingles. I will leave the shingles until the last. Next will be the interior lighting. I rarely light more than a couple of rooms so that the house looks lived in. I'll make several room dividers to keep the non lit rooms dark.

The picture above shows the under porch roof support frame and trim. The frame is also Midwest #8017 (4"x6"). I used Ceramcoat Citrus #2648 for the walls and FolkArt Teddy Bear Tan #419 for the trim.
The porch floors are North Eastern Scale Lumber 1/32" thick x 1/16" scribing x 3" x 24" from Caboose Hobbies.

I sized and glued the Tichy Turned Spindle Porch Railing #8093 and their Turned Porch Posts #8092 so they're ready for paint. I'm going to wait until I have the windows installed and the porch floor stained before I glue them in place.

I completed the card stock room dividers to block the interior lights from the dark room windows.  The first floor will have a light on each porch, the kitchen, bathroom, pantry and the living room.  The two center rooms will be dark.

The second floor will have one bedroom with a light the rest will be dark.
In the picture above you can see the card stock light shroud to prevent light leakage.
The next step was to make the second floor roof.  I used Campbell lined card stock for the roof sections and  a 3/16" square basswood strip to reenforce the main roof.  It is important to keep all leftover roofing for future use.  I save even small pieces for making larger sections by gluing them together.  Both gable sections in the pictures are made from small pieces.
I use Aleene's Wood Glue to glue the small pieces together by applying a small bead of glue to the edges and push them tightly together.  When the glue drys the sections are as strong as the original material.
If the shingle alignment lines are kept in line it is very difficult to tell where the splices were made.
The next step will be wiring the light bulbs. 

I have finished the wiring to the interior and exterior lights. I use 0.020" brass rods for connecting the power to each house with a standard spacing so that the houses are interchangeable on my layout.  Each house location has two K&S 1/16" brass tubes surface mounted in my layout with wires running to my Control Panel. The 1/16" or 0.062" OD brass tubes have a 0.030" ID to accept the 0.030" brass rods/power connectors from the houses.

These pictures show the power distribution to the house light bulbs.  I dobbed the floors with an Acrylic brown to simulate carpet because with the lights on the floors sometime show through the curtains.

The picture above is the bottom or basement ceiling.
The pictures above and below show the wiring and room lights lights.

The light shroud is made from medium weight chipboard (thin card stock).
The next two pictures show what the house looks like with the lights on and low level lighting from my work light, no flash from the camera.

The next step is the shingles then the porch railing. I learned the hard way to install the railing and figures last to prevent my fat fingers from breaking them off while I glue the shingles on.

To help the interior lighting I put a figure behind the windows in the rooms with lights.
The picture above shows three figures in the living room and the picture below has a woman in the kitchen. 
The dobbed brown Acrylic paint in the rooms that would have carpeted floors prevent the them showing up white through the windows.
The picture above is a close up of the Campbell Shingles being applied to a roof section. The #800 Campbell Profile Shingles comes with four sheets of 4" x 6" x .004" thick card stock with printed alignment lines and very good instructions. 

For years I followed the Campbell instructions but recently I switched to using Aleene's Wood Glue because of it's quick drying and non warping capabilities. The glue dries very close to the same color as the shingles so that's a plus. 

However there can be a real problem if you plan to stain or weather the shingles, if any glue gets on the surface of the shingles the glue won't absorb stain. 

The picture below shows a very small bead of Aleene's Wood Glue where the next row of shingles will go.
After the shingle strip is placed on top of the glue I put pressure on the bottom of the shingle strip and force the excess glue to the top as shown in the picture below.  That prevents the glue from getting on the surface of the shingles so that the shingles will accept a stain. I remove the excess glue with a small screwdriver blade.

The picture above shows the roof complete with the chimney in place and the shingles stained.  My photography isn't very good, the shingles are more of a gray "old ceder shingle look" than the pictures show.

The remaining pictures are of the finished project.

This was a fun project and the house will look good on my layout.  

Had I known that I could turn out scratch built houses this nice earlier on I wouldn't have bought kits. 

This project house is a scratch built Sears 1916 Catalog Home #264B110, later called The Silverdale.

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