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Well What Do I Use For Wood

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Well What Do I Use For Wood
Posted by Track fiddler on Saturday, November 30, 2019 11:26 PM

If you will happily take it from a 35+ year veteran Carpenter.

Don't use balsa wood for anything.  Balsa wood is fluff and it's crap.  Basswood is the way to go.

Bamboo skewers for HO trestles are indestructible.  That is the cat's meow for the uprights.

Now we got the wood orientated.  I did find the 16th of an inch dowels that nobody can find for N scale.

I am going to start building some prototypical bents that are the starting blocks of wooden trestles.

Looking forward to this.  I hope you have some time like I do.  We may have to continue this to next weekendSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

 

 

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, December 1, 2019 2:00 AM

Track fiddler
...Don't use balsa wood for anything. Balsa wood is fluff and it's crap....

Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but my father found it pretty useful in the '30s for building flying models of various aircraft...

The planes would be covered with silkspan, with many applications of model airplane "dope" (named, I think, for the stupor in which it put you after inhaling the fumes for too long).

He also built a very serviceable trestle for my first layout, using balsa.

Quarter-inch thick sheet balsa, along with dressmaker's pins, made a great surface for laying-out the various styrene components of the stockyards in Lowbanks...

...and in Elfrida...

...and while I did use basswood when constructing this model of a blast furnace (it was the only material at that time which was available as both corrugated siding and in structural shapes)...

...I quickly moved to styrene when it became available in a wide range of sheets, strips, and shapes. 
It affords very quick assembly and strong construction, and I'll be using it to represent a wooden trestle on the upper level of my layout.

I used wood for building my own house, and for the framework of my layout, and for some furniture, too, and used-up some basswood strip for lumber loads, but I'll not use it again on my layout, as I much prefer styrene.

Track fiddler
..Bamboo skewers for HO trestles are indestructible. That is the cat's meow for the uprights....

I suppose, but only for a pile-type trestle, due to their round cross-section. Smile, Wink & Grin

 
I used them for impaling the clumps of background trees (made from rock-wool insulation) here...

...then hid them with more fully-modelled trees...

You are correct about their strength, not that it's needed for holding insulation in place, but they are cheap and durable.

Wayne

 

 

 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, December 1, 2019 3:59 AM

I have used balsa wood for years for load spacing for pipe,structure steel, lumber ect loads made from ABS plastc shapes. I have used balsa strips for road crossings,for between the rail planking in front of a MOW speeder shed  and home made crossbucks.

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Sunday, December 1, 2019 5:50 AM

Track fiddler
Don't use balsa wood for anything. Balsa wood is fluff and it's crap.

And yet many have used it.  IIRC it was E.L. Moore's favorite for the structures he built.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, December 1, 2019 9:18 AM

I haven’t used Balsa for much since I gave up the flying hobby back in the 60s.
 
I do still find uses for it now days.
 
 
It works great for holding my figures during the painting process.
 
 
I received a five sheet package of ⅛" x 5" x 36" Balsa in error with a model railroad order about 8 years ago and the outfit didn’t choose to have me mail it back.  I've found it useful for several things over the years.
 
My go to wood for my model railroad projects is and always has been Basswood.  I stock 1/32” and 1/16” sheets for scratch building and all sizes of scale lumber.  My norm is Midwest scribed flooring, clapboard and board and batten.
 
I make my own corner post stock from square Basswood strips.
 
 
 
 
 
The base is a Basswood build up from 1/16" x 5" sheet and ⅛" square Basswood strips.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, December 1, 2019 9:50 AM

Very nice examples of work done here.  I should'nt have dogged  balsa wood across the board, it definitely has its uses. 

I hadn't forgot about those model airplanes, it's just been a while since I've seen one.  They need to be light of course, I don't think there's too many other choices. 

I remember building those when I was a kid.  They probably took a hundred hours plus in bits and pieces of time, when I had time.  Then they always ended up in bits and pieces in a few seconds when I tried to fly oneLaugh

The last one I built was a Corsair.  I ended up hanging it with a piece of fish line from the ceiling and enjoyed looking at it for many years.  That was a safe place for a balsa wood structure.

I agree styrene is the way to go these days.  I have built four of my eight bridges with styrene and decided it was time to change it up for a while. 

I built all my train bridges when I was a kid out of balsa wood and they were structurally fine unless something happened.  And something always happened.

I'm kind of done with balsa wood now as I built a scissor truss bridge a very short time ago.  I used it because I still had a bunch in a box I saved all these years and remembered how quick it fused together with wood glue.  

An empty thermos was set next to it on the table right after I built it,  not by me.  It was knocked over...... again not by me and smashed the bridgeTongue Tied

Being the bridge members in N scale are so fragile, I will not be using balsa wood anymore.

 

TF

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, December 1, 2019 10:53 AM

40 some years ago, Logan Holtgrewe bought 4 big 5"x5" chunks of balsa because he wanted to build a replica of the crusier he served on.  I don't have a pic of that, but it is museum quality.

Last year he pulled out another piece to build the hull of an ice breaker, a friend of his served on.  He advises in 40 years, balsa turns into one hard son of a gun.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, December 1, 2019 11:45 AM

IRONROOSTER
     
Track fiddler
Don't use balsa wood for anything. Balsa wood is fluff and it's crap.

 And yet many have used it.  IIRC it was E.L. Moore's favorite for the structures he built.

Paul 

Moore generally used a burning pen with balsa to get the siding type he wanted -- balsa almost "melts" but using a burning pen does close up the grain.  He had other tricks involving metal combs, dried out ball point pens, etc.  He got impressive results out of balsa that is for sure.   I suspect Moore really mostly liked the cheapness of balsa - hobby shops sold it cheaply back in the 60s perhaps because there were more people building airplane models back then, so the shops carried a good stock of the stuff.  It's less commonly found now.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, December 1, 2019 5:14 PM

Um, ..... I'm still looking for some ideas here guys.

I can build my wooden bridges out of any species of wood that I want.  I'm just not sure what the best choice for the most robust wood to use.

Micromark has mini table saws or mini band saws with guides to set up a miniature lumbermill to mill whatever dimensional lumber you want.

They are spendy but I'm not afraid of that if that'll help me out here.

Harder more robust Lumber is relatively cheap even if you're getting a chunk of ebony from Africa.  Once you dice up a one by something, you get a lot of lumber for building bridges.

Now that just maximized the strength of the material but there is a problem and the problem is you need a darn good adhesive. 

A strong material is nothing without a strong adhesive.  Some adhesives do not soak into a hard dence material very well.

Any ideas out there guys?

 

Respectfully,   Track Fiddler

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:09 PM

I built my trestle almost 30 years ago using scale lumber from Northeast Scale Lumber purchased from my LHS.  It is very sturdy and still looks very nice after 30 years.  I can’t remember what brand of hobby wood glue I used but it accepted the stain very well.
 
Currently I’m using Aleene’s Crafters Wood Glue and it sets up quickly and very strong.  I’ve been using the Aleene’s glue for about 10 years, my wife let me use hers when I ran out of what ever I was using at the time.  It really works great for scratch building with basswood.
 
This is my 30 year old trestle.
 
 
It is HO scale scratch built and stained with Floquil Oak Stain (long gone).  The trestle is 34” long and 10” deep (or tall).
 
I made a drawing of the bents and printed them out full size and use them as templates.
 
I also have a scratch built Truss Bridge but I can’t find any pictures of it and because of my arthritis I can’t get to a position to take a picture.  It too is made out of the same scale lumber and looks very good even after 30 years.
 
I highly recommend the scale lumber (basswood) for construction.
 
Do use stainable glue, it’s impossible to construct a bridge without getting glue where it shouldn’t be.  Any wood stain works on the scale lumber.
 
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:25 PM

That's a beautiful Trestle Mel.  What you had done 30 years ago is what I'm getting ready to do now.  If my modeling is half as good as yours I will be happy.

Very nice!   Thanks for the feedback.

 

TF

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Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:43 PM

A 30-year Trestle still standing strong built out of Basswood with a glue that accepts stain.

I am intrigued here.  I know common carpenter wood glue will repel stain.  This glue you have used that accepts stain is something I am very interested in.  I am not familiar with that but sure would like to be.

Again a beautiful Trestle Mel.

 

TF

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 1, 2019 10:04 PM

I think balsa wood is great for modelling certain things like retaining walls and other structures made with squared timbers, but not for anything that will potentially be put under stress or bumped into.

This is one of my favourites. You may recognize it from the East Broad Top RR:

Dave

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, December 1, 2019 10:23 PM

I use Aleene’s wood glue for all my wood projects thanks to my wife.  I also use it to attach Campbell shingles and for the last few houses I used stain on the shingles to darken them.
 
 
 
 
Mel

 

My Model Railroad   
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 11:13 AM

Track fiddler
I'm still looking for some ideas here guys. I can build my wooden bridges out of any species of wood that I want.  I'm just not sure what the best choice for the most robust wood to use.

Don't ignore a frugal alternative to commercial scale lumber, that being the "craft sticks" from Forster (called Mini-Sticks I think) that you can find at a craft or art supply store.  A plastic bag of 500 sticks sells for just a few bucks.  They are nominally 2 5/8 inches long and are reasonably consistent in size and length.  I measured them as scaling out this way:  in N, they are 1' x 1' by 35' long.  In HO they are 7" by 7" by 19 feet long.  In O they are 3" by 3" by 10.5 feet long.

Also available are the Woodsie Dowels from Loew Cornell, and also available at Michaels and other craft stores.  I measure them: in N, 11" diameter and 34 feet long.  In HO, 6.5" diameter and 18.5 feet long.  In O, 3" diameter and 10.25 feet long. 

In both cases the quality of the wood is good, perhaps not great, but good, and they are strong.  Takes stains and wood glues well.  

Dave Nelson

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