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Shingles. Actually shakes. In search of a better way.

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  • Member since
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  • From: Boyne City, Michigan
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Posted by navyman636 on Saturday, December 3, 2022 4:35 PM

Dear Matt - I sometimes think I should cut every other word before I post something, because I can tend to go on.  Your choice of the word 'treatise' was a kind one; others might have said otherwise :)

My problem is that I really love and am fascinated by this stuff, in the real world and on our models.  I've been tremendously lucky and have had wonderful educational opportunities of all kinds.  One of them, maybe the most important one, is that after being around and watching things for 70 years I now know better than to expect everything I do to come out perfectly, or stay that way over time. As I write I'm looking out the window at all the big cedar planting boxes I was so proud of having built two years ago.  Now they just sit there screaming, "repaint me!"So much for perfection, huh?

Fences in need of repair, a roof that has seen better days, and everyone's old friend - rust - ought to appear more often in our models, I think.  Making everything perfect is as unrealistic as it could possibly be.  Artful weathering is great, but it can't create a sagging roof.  When I look at a model railroad layout where no roof is missing a shingle, I imagine the roofers in that town must be the busiest (and wealthiest) guys in the county.  Not a single broken window in that factory??  Aw, g'wan.  Not on this planet.

And I'll admit to at least once having stopped for a maybe less-than-well--advised beer while doing the occasional roof repair around the farm here.

I've been working on my 9-stall roundhouse for over a year.  Last week I finally added a bucket of paint that someone had kicked over.  The worker is standing there getting dressed down by the shop foreman, who, of course, got splashed with the paint.  Remember all those times our teachers told us "neatness counts?"  One of them must have been married to that guy in the roundhouse.

Then we can segue to the conversation about how much we need to strategize about making at least a few things wrong, to make it look right.

Have fun, buddy.  That's the whole point.  Best wishes!

Gene

PS:  If you're building an American town in the 1950s and you haven't yet put in a homeowner standing in his front yard yelling at the kid who just swatted a softball throuh his living room window. . . you know the rest.

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, December 2, 2022 12:45 AM

navyman, thank you for the time and effort you put into this treatise. I read the whole thing and it was very interesting and very encouraging. I did decide to use the Campbell roll -- here in the northwest there would be plenty of shingles, and if Mr. Perkins was feeling flush in those first few years, why not splurge for good shakes?

navyman636
You can even install a roof wrong and be accurate, because that happened often enough,
That was what I was thinking as the first rows of shingles went on in not quite perfectly straight rows. I just said, "Sometimes it was hard to get good help even back in the mid-1950s."

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by navyman636 on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:16 PM

From my 50-year career in historic preservation I can say from experience that while there are no end of textbook definitions of roofing shingles and shakes - which are similar in use but not the same thing - anything of any material and appearance whatsoever, laid in small pieces along nailers of many kinds, to cover a roof qualifies as a roofing shingle or, if wood, a shake.  It's wide open and has been from time immemorial.  Standardization of any kind is a recent development, so it usually doesn't apply for a historic building such as you illustrate.  So you can do whatever pleases you, or meets your need and resources, just like people have done for the past few thousand years.  The extent to which you make choices can include a range of justifications too.  My point is that you can make your roof look however you want within a very broad range of possibilities, and I guarantee there's a prototype out there, or was historically, to prove you correct.  You can even install a roof wrong and be accurate, because that happened often enough, and fixing the error could be costly and take time.

As far as nomenclature and definitions, they could easily fill a large book, all discussing and describing the exact same thing.  Therefore, literally every other person who posted a comment offering a description, name, dimention, etc., is completely correct and accurate, although nobody is exclusively so.  People will call them what their experience and preference leads them to call them, or what a marketer has convinced them to call them.  But there are common usages.  A cedar shake, in common parlance from the days of its common usage, is not sawn anywhere, but split.  Both sides are rough.  You could always, and still can order them in any thickness you please and other dimension as well, as long as you can get someone to make them that way for you, or make your own.  The fact that you're building a model railroad tells us useful information about materials availability, because with a train depot in town, you could order from far and wide.  Otherwise you were limited to what was available nearby unless you were willing and able to cover enormous costs for transport and put up with often shocking delivery delays.

What material was the handiest, to get and to use?  Did the guy want the best roof available at that time and place?  Was the roof intended to be part of the show (I'm thinking colored or other fish scale shingles laid in a design)? Was it a DIY job and did the roofers know what they were doing?  (there's a joking corollary between the quality of a roof installation and the proximity of a known tavern.)  To what extent was cost a constraint?  How old do you want it to look, which will have an effect on things like coloration, wear and stain patterns, how the exposed edges are holding up, etc.  Answer a few pertinent questions however you please, and your building has a new backstory to go with the new roof.  I love that about modeling.

As far as any wood shingle or shake curling, that is strictly a factor of the wood itself and, as another poster correctly pointed out, the way the roof itself was ventilated.  The top usually won't curl unless the roof is laid very badly, because that's where the nails, and the force of the next layer of shingles is.  The bottom end will curl, if it does at all, in a direction determined by the wood grain.  Thus it could be up or down, unless the roofer knows to look at the individual shake for its grain characterists before installing it for uniformity.  

Looking at your specific statements, I wonder if you might not have some success getting close to what you want using party store or craft store crepe paper instead of any sort of plain paper.  If you can find the crepe that's a very close pattern, using it thoughtfully can bring you VERY close to cedar shakes.  BTW, only modern shakes are ever saw-cut, fully or partly.  Sawing adds a LOT of time, work and cost to making a shake.  All the others were, for centuries, just split, often using a tool called a froe, which splits wood along its grain.  A froe for shake-making usually has a blade long enough to cover the diameter of the logs it'll be used on.  One good whack, and off pops a shake ready for use, whether the wood is dry or not.  You could even curve a froe to whatever arc you wanted, to cut curved shakes for a curved roof.  You'd just have to hope for the wood to cooperate while splitting it.  You could also shape them by soaking them good first.  Since shakes were usually irregular in width, who cared if a few broke.  If made from wood anywhere close to decent quality, they usually broke nearly straight, and unless you were buying and using expensive shakes none of them were exactly rectangular anyway.  So use the pieces too.  All such shakes or shingles have a rough, unsmoothed surface that is the primary visual characteristic of shake rooves.  The other main characteristic is their color and hue as they age in place.  Painting or other treatmant was rare and only for the wealthy and showoffs.  But with the paint available when shakes were common for roofing, you wouldn't paint anyway because the paint always ran in the rain and streaked the building.  It never lasted long enough to be worth the cost or effort.

When I used crepe paper to make shake shingles I gently stretched it along a strip of cardstock that I'd already prepared with an end-to-end thin coating of thinned paper glue, allowing the bottom edge of the crepe to overhang the backing by 1/8 inch or so, to mask the paper underneath.  Don't worry too much if you press down on the crepe paper, because even scrunched it will often continue to have a good pattern mimicing the appearance of froe-cut shingles.  Every strip will look different, just like the reveal of any shake roof.  If you mess a strip up, just make another.

If you make some laying them up along cardstock, remember that given the slightest opportunity any paper will curl.  Make sure you lay them down fixed well enough to last for the planned life of your building without the need for avoidable repair.

I painted mine quite successfully and without trouble.  If you glue it to a backer paper, let it dry completely (!!!) before painting.  Brush or spray painting - I've done both using several kinds of paint (basically whatever I had laying around at the time) - are simple, as long as you use a light touch, not soaking the paper too badly, almost like dry brushing.  It might need more than one coat to cover to your satisfaction, so there's your opportunity to use different tints and hues to replicate the ways the shakes age.  You might even throw in an occasional "brand new replacement" shake to accurately render the never-ending need to repair all such rooves.  They worked really well when properly installed, but were hard to maintain, especially back when nails were far more costly than even now, and less readily available.  (Don't forget to put a cask of nails somewhere around your shake-roofed building.  In real life they were a constant necessity)

Such shingles in the real world often had their thick end, if the wood they were cut from didn't have a completely even grain, exposed at the bottom, the thin end being used for nailing.  Because it was going to be covered by the next layer up, the top, thin end didn't need the strength or protection; the thick end is for the visible bottom.  It had to survive the wind, rain and sunlight, and was the better and common choice for that reason.

If a shake roof appears very neat, orderly and exact, that means the builder or owner spent an awful lot of time and probably money choosing which individual shakes to use where, likely rejecting quite a few in the process, or using the off-casts where they'd be less visible.  There are precious few straight lines unless the shakes purchased were cut to exact length and perfectly installed.  They'll be nailed mostly along a straight line - but not always - but the bottom ends may look raggedy.  Nothing unusual there.

Building a roof this way, on a model or at 1:1 scale is a lot of work.  But when done, you'll never stop admiring it and being glad you made the effort.  Best of luck!

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Posted by crossthedog on Thursday, December 1, 2022 10:47 AM

HO-Velo
Matt, Big Tim's chimney is hydrocal and extends little below the roof. Winged it cutting the hole, with the chimney fastened to the underside of the styrene roof with epoxy. Missed the hole size and covered the gaps with 'flashing', though in retrospect, and as Dave suggested, angled pieces would look better.

Well, it looks really good. I also really like the missing section of siding. Very nice model.

HO-Velo
Btw, cut the hole before shingling the roof.

Whoo!--Nick of time you mentioned this. I have shingled almost all of one side of the roof and was working my way up the other side, but I will still be able to cut a hole now before covering that area. I wondered about this, but the instructions clearly said to shingle the roof and then cut the hole. I suppose this was to obviate cutting short rows of shingles around the chimney.

And @Dave, the kit actually provides a paper template for the flashing. It's unclear whether I'm supposed to use the template or something else, but I will use something sturdy.

Thanks guys. 

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Thursday, December 1, 2022 9:30 AM

crossthedog
support that chimney

Matt,  Big Tim's chimney is hydrocal and extends little below the roof.  Winged it cutting the hole, with the chimney fastened to the underside of the styrene roof with epoxy.  Missed the hole size and covered the gaps with 'flashing', though in retrospect, and as Dave suggested, angled pieces would look better.  Had the chimney on my home reflashed a few years ago, the roofers painted the metal flashing to match the roof color. 

Btw, cut the hole before shingling the roof.

Regards, Peter

 

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, December 1, 2022 8:42 AM

hon30critter

 

 
rrebell
I have many buildings with Campbell shingles and they look very relistic but you have to install them correctly.

 

Hi rrebell,

You have just changed my opinion of Campbell's shingles! Obviously your method will make them look much more natural.

Thanks,

Dave

 

Thanks for the feedback and the fact that it comes from you adds to that as I have seen a lot of your work.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 1, 2022 6:23 AM

crossthedog
which might work if I cut my hole in the exact correct location.

Hi Matt,

If you use some chimney flashing around the chimney, the hole doesn't have to be perfectly accurate. You can make flashing out of heavier paper strips folded into an 'L' shape.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 6:11 PM

HO-Velo

Big Tim's displays a Campbells roll paper shingle roof...

    

Peter, how did you support that chimney so that it is straight up and down?

My Perkins chimney is cast metal and very heavy, and the instructions just say to cut a hole in the roof and "insert chimney". My worry is that it will a) fall through, or b) angle outward. I've actually put an extra 1/4" x 1/4" brace going up the back wall for the bottom of the chimney to stand on, which might work if I cut my hole in the exact correct location.

-Matt

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 12:27 AM

rrebell
I have many buildings with Campbell shingles and they look very relistic but you have to install them correctly.

Hi rrebell,

You have just changed my opinion of Campbell's shingles! Obviously your method will make them look much more natural.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by crossthedog on Monday, November 28, 2022 11:52 PM

Just to close this thread out with a bang, I see that over on the Bay right now you can pick up six rolls of Campbell shingles for 99.95. Plus twelve bucks shipping. Caveat emptor.

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Monday, November 28, 2022 9:13 PM

rrebell
Hayward

Not far, San Leandro, near I580.

Peter

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, November 28, 2022 9:06 AM

HO-Velo

The circa 1956 S.F. east bay area house my late parents used to own still sports it's original shake roof, as do many other houses in the neighborhood.  

Big Tim's displays a Campbells roll paper shingle roof.  

Nice scenes Doc Wayne, and your heavy lift traveling crane is something special.

Regards, Peter

    

 

I live in Hayward, looks a lot like homes around here.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Saturday, November 26, 2022 10:18 PM

crossthedog
pressure washing the cedar shake

Matt,  Enjoyed your pressure washing story.  I recall my Pop and some of his neighbors always hiring the same guy when they needed shake roof repairs.

Saw your Perkins build on WPF, nice work and that big decal looks great, like those clamps too.  

Thanks and regards, Peter

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, November 26, 2022 4:55 PM

HO-Velo
Nice scenes Doc Wayne, and your heavy lift traveling crane is something special.

Thanks for your kind words, Peter.  I always enjoy seeing your photos, too.

hon30critter
I'd better shut up now before I upset any more members of the forums. I can see doctorwayne just seething with my comments about wood shingled roofs!

Dave, most of my seething is directed at the idiots around here who have almost no skills for driving, and absolutely no consideration for others...if I had a bazooka, I'd remedy the situation fairly quickly.

As for wood shingles (or asphalt, slate, and metal ones) one of my delayed projects is to use pinking shears to create the look of diamond-shaped shingles that were common years ago, and are now coming back in-fashion. 

I'm going to use them on the transfer warehouse, shown below...

...but the fly in the ointment is that there are six curved-roof dormers needed on both the front and rear sides of the roof.  I have a feeling that that will make the shingling job much more difficult...even though I have drawings of the curved dormer's construction

...I might have to get out my rolls of Campbell's shingles, and let their drawbacks catch the eyes of the beholders, with their curled-up  and lumpy shakes.

Wayne

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, November 26, 2022 3:56 PM

crossthedog
Hi Ed. I followed your link to the roofing page on the Minuteman site, but that page seems to be malfunctioning because none of the product images are showing.

Maybe not so much of a malfunction but more of the site owner simply not bothering to upload photos.

I have heard from other forum users that Minuteman Models is having trouble fulfilling orders. That goes for Scalecoat paints as well Indifferent

There are other manufacturers of laser-cut shingles. GC Laser might be an option.

https://www.gclaser.com/ho-shingles-ridge-cap/

You might want to see who handles similar products that can readily be ordered in Canada to avoid shipping costs. 

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by crossthedog on Saturday, November 26, 2022 1:51 PM

Peter, I've never seen that Big Tim's model before. It's very nice. The slope on that roof is very much like what the Perkins will have. The shingles/shakes look good.

One of my jobs in college was pressure washing the cedar shake rooves we have around here. I would have the generator sitting on the opposite side of the house from where I was working with the hose coming up over the ridge, and wrapped around my waist. I leaned into the curl of the hose a little, that way if I slipped the hose would tend to provide a lifeline rather than drag me off the roof. I learned to work in bare feet for better grip. I came off the job covered in mud and moss like a swamp monster. The pressurized water could cut a shake (or a toe) right in half before you knew what you'd done, so I learned to sweep the nozzle at just the right arc and distance from the shakes to remove the moss without removing more wood than necessary. Done right, I left the house with a bright, new-looking cedar roof. Some rooves had been left too long uncared for, and the shakes would simply fly apart. Those occasions were double-plus ungood. Homeownder not happy; supervisor not happy. 

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Saturday, November 26, 2022 1:01 PM

The circa 1956 S.F. east bay area house my late parents used to own still sports it's original shake roof, as do many other houses in the neighborhood.  

Big Tim's displays a Campbells roll paper shingle roof.  

Nice scenes Doc Wayne, and your heavy lift traveling crane is something special.

Regards, Peter

    

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Posted by crossthedog on Saturday, November 26, 2022 10:54 AM

gmpullman
I'm familiar with the Minuteman ones and have had good luck with them.

Hi Ed. I followed your link to the roofing page on the Minuteman site, but that page seems to be malfunctioning because none of the product images are showing. You can still BUY them, but you can't see them. Do you recall which of the Minuteman roofing items you used for the feed mill in that second photo you posted above?

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, November 25, 2022 11:29 AM

To Ed's and Sheldon's point about the unlikelihood of seeing many new shake rooves in 1950s America -- whether because of prohibitive cost or of the likelihood of their having long since been replaced -- I noticed that the new purveyors of this model, J.L. Innovative Design, did not bother with shingles OR shakes, but opted for a modern tar roof. 

I have the original Durango Press model, and the image of the finished model on the instruction booklet for my kit shows the Campbell-style shakes. I have to say this tar roof looks pretty realistic, but I wonder if they just did that because they were in a hurry and needed to get a photo to the marketing team. I notice they were unable to cover the metal windows and doors with enough coats of paint to make them look truly white. They don't look weathered to me, just insufficiently painted, and I had the same problem, as I noted in a different post (and thanks again to those who pointed out some options for styrene windows). 

-Matt

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by crossthedog on Friday, November 25, 2022 10:59 AM

In a word, gosh!

I didn't really expect much of a response since I was just thinking out loud, and almost didn't post about it, but I'm glad I did. For starters, I always thought shingles were the asphalt or composite 3-tab bundles that my dad and I reroofed our house with. And I thought any wood roofing was referred to as shakes. Thanks for the education about shakes versus shingles. I'm trying not to be embarrassed that I didn't know better.

Secondly, the discussion of outsized details is interesting, whether it is desireable to emphasize certain things beyond their real-life dimensions so that they can be seen better, and I'm not sure yet where I come down on it. But I think I would like to be able to look across my layout and see that there is a texture of shingles or shakes on a roof, even if in the real world the distance would occlude those details from my eye. I guess my ethos would be that where they diverge, I would prioritize effect over prototypicality.

Finally, thanks to several of you who posted pictures of your rooves. Those photos showed me that the Campbell rolls can look quite good, and that there are some other attractive options that I'd never even heard of.

Thanks all,

-Matt

 

 

 

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, November 25, 2022 10:26 AM

I have a couple of Lasercut kits that came with Campbell shingles, and I've used them for a couple of scratchbuilds.  I'm happy with the results.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, November 25, 2022 8:31 AM

I have many buildings with Campbell shingles and they look very relistic but you have to install them corectly. You have to white glue the seamless edge only, then once dry you have to paint them in a water based stain of your choise (mine looks like dirty water) and put weights on the created sheets to dry (this gets rid of most of the cupping, if not all). Then you trim the shingle edges on the top and side of the cardboard sheet. 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, November 25, 2022 8:22 AM

hon30critter

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Do you see any wood grain thru the paint on any of these houses? I hope not, my customers would fire me. 

 

Hi Sheldon,

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I'm in favour of using somewhat oversized details in some cases in order to suggest to the viewer that the modeled structure (or whatever) has a certain texture to it. Emphasis on the 'somewhat'. You are absolutely correct when you point out that in reality, things like wood grain are practically invisible in 1:1 situations let alone in HO scale.

I believe that the intent of the original purveyors of the Campbell style shakes was to give them some visible texture but they took the concept way too far to the point where roofs that have their 'shingles' on them look like they have some hideous disease! Again, that's my own opinion. Absolutely no disrespect intended to all of the modelers who have used the Campbell style shakes and are happy with them!

I'd better shut up now before I upset any more members of the forums. I can see doctorwayne just seething with my comments about wood shingled roofs!EmbarrassedSmile, Wink & Grin

Cheers!!

Dave

 

Dave, I think some of our details will always be oversized, there is no getting away from that. 

And we should all build and select our models based on what looks good to us, and what artistic aesthetic we wish to convey.

I will use my favorite example - George Selios and his F&SM - he is a craftsman of the highest order, but I don't care for his style or his "caricature" interpretation of the great depression. Others will disagree.

But my eye, and my mind, says a model built in 1/87th scale will always be effectively viewed from a bit of a distance, especially if you are building a layout like mine, with deep scenery and expansive views. 

If you look at the second building Ed pictured, not only does the roof have an appropriate texture, the destressed paint is very realistic in that the bare areas have the veriegrated greys of distressed wood, without any "fake wood grain" that would be grossly oversized and not seen until you were very close to the building.

The effect is perfect in my mind.

But to the OP's question - should they be thicker? - well I answered that above - not if you are building a scale model........

Wayne used what was available, and his models generally have very good "balance" in terms of detail, texture, color, etc.

Are the Campbell shingles the best representation? I never thought so, but we did not have lazer cut stuff 40 years ago.

One last thought about real life houses, I am so happy every time I manage to save a house, really old, or somewhat newer, from the fake woodgrain world of vinyl siding and pressed aluminum.

I'm getting off here now, have a layout to build.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 25, 2022 3:18 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Do you see any wood grain thru the paint on any of these houses? I hope not, my customers would fire me. 

Hi Sheldon,

I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I'm in favour of using somewhat oversized details in some cases in order to suggest to the viewer that the modeled structure (or whatever) has a certain texture to it. Emphasis on the 'somewhat'. You are absolutely correct when you point out that in reality, things like wood grain are practically invisible in 1:1 situations let alone in HO scale.

I believe that the intent of the original purveyors of the Campbell style shakes was to give them some visible texture but they took the concept way too far to the point where roofs that have their 'shingles' on them look like they have some hideous disease! Again, that's my own opinion. Absolutely no disrespect intended to all of the modelers who have used the Campbell style shakes and are happy with them!

I'd better shut up now before I upset any more members of the forums. I can see doctorwayne just seething with my comments about wood shingled roofs!EmbarrassedSmile, Wink & Grin

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 25, 2022 12:46 AM

Over 30 years ago, we bought a property, right next door to us, that had a two storey house, plus a detached storey-and-a-half two-car-garage, with an attached workshop.
The garage roof was in pretty rough shape, so I set about removing the shingles (three layers of them) then discovered that the fourth layer, at the bottom, was cedar shakes, and as Dave mentioned, over 4" boards on 4" spacing.

At that time, the town had a spring and fall collection day that allowed homeowners to put out relatively large items or large piles of bagged or boxed refuse.  I hustled down to the grocery store and filled-up my truck with all of the banana boxes that they had on-hand.  For two and a half years, I had 20 banana boxes waiting at the curb, filled with rotten shingles and rotten shakes on those pick-up days.

I did end-up covering the 4" planks with plywood, then put on new asphalt shingles. 
We eventually sold the house, but also severed-off (and kept) a half-acre-or-so, which included the garage.  It's no longer used as a garage, but is now over 180 years old (with no curled-up shingles or shakes).

Wayne

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 24, 2022 10:53 PM

gmpullman

Hello,

My favorite HO shingle are the laser-cut variety from Minuteman Models or I believe American Model Builders offers some. There may be others. I like your idea and I have used the old Campbells shingles but for most commercial structures in the 20th century cedar shakes would probably not be an option. 

 CP_union4-a by Edmund, on Flickr

Cleanly cut, easy to apply available in several textures and colors. I used real copper foil for flashing on the tower above.

https://minutemanscalemodels.com/collections/ho-roofing

You can order some Scalecoat paint while you're there, too.

GC Laser, Motrak and Bar Mills also offer laser-cut shingles. Try a couple and find the ones you like. I'm familiar with the Minuteman ones and have had good luck with them.

 Feed-Mill_shingle by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Good Luck, Ed

 

Ed, those are very effective an realistic looking roofs to my eye.

Truth is, wood shake or shingle roofs varied in use by region, and as you commented, not likely to see too many very far into the 20th century.

Slate, and standing seam metal, both far more universally common before asphalt roofing became available and popular.

So even if you are modeling an older building on your 1950's, 1970's?, 1990's? layout, likely the roof would have been replaced even if it started life with a wood shingle roof.

Sheldon 

    

  • Member since
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  • From: Maryland
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, November 24, 2022 10:41 PM

OK, I've been pretty busy and not spent much time on here, but I have a few thoughts.

I'm not saying the Campbell shingles/shakes look all that great. 

BUT, going back to Matt's orignal comments, NO they would not be thinker. 

#1 Perfection Blue Label western red cedar shingles are only .45" thick, at the butt edge, and the taper to near zero.

.45" divided by 87 = .005"

The AVERAGE piece of paper is .004" thick.

In my humble opinion, there are far too many people willing to accept over sized details, on structures or rolling stock, just so they can see them from too far away.

The texture of a roof, even a cedar, slate, or tile roof, is pretty subtle at our viewing distances in HO scale.

It's just like wood grain showing on the siding of a building. Unless a building is a neglected wreck, there is no wood grain you can see from 30' away, or the 260 scale feet that a 3' viewing distance represents.

And even when buildings had wood clapboard siding, you could not see woodgrain thru the paint at 6" away in real life, let alone 10', or 50', or 260'.

I HATE vinyl siding with molded in wood grain - so not what ANY old building EVER looked like when it was new.

Go out in the world, look at some buildings from 250' away. That might be a good standard for how your models might look more realistic.

Just my view, the view of the guy who builds models and restores old houses like these:

  

 

 

Even the slates on some of these roofs are less than 1/2" thick - remember .00574712" thick in HO scale.

Do you see any wood grain thru the paint on any of these houses? I hope not, my customers would fire me. 

Sheldon 

    

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,744 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, November 24, 2022 9:26 PM

Hi Matt,

For purposes of this discussion, I'm going to use the word 'shingle' to represent both shingles and shakes. As was previously explained, cedar shingles are sawn on both sides and have a relatively flat appearance. Cedar shakes are 'hand split' leaving one side rougher and their thickness can vary. They have a much more textured appearance.

I sold roofing for a long time and I got to see a fair number of cedar roofs. I never sold cedar roofs but we got lots of calls to replace them with asphalt shingles. My personal opinion of the Campbell style shingle strips is that they don't look realistic even if you are trying to model shakes. As PC101 has pointed out, the horizontal convex cupping appearance is pretty rare. Even the cheapest cedar shingles or shakes don't usually warp in that direction. They may curl in the opposite direction, i.e. concave where the outside corners lift up, or they may curl up slightly from the bottom, but the degree of curling would be virtually invisible from an HO perspective.

Having said that, sometimes it is better to have things slightly out of scale so the the effect is more obvious, but the Campbell style roofs are just too distorted, again IMHO. (Sorry doctorwayne).

I like the look of the paper bag shingles. Card stock or heavy weight printing paper would probably look even better. My only comment would be to reduce the amount of vertical curling so that it is barely visible.

I will also add a couple more (probably useless) bits of information. If you live on the west coast in North America or close to it, the shakes or singles will usually be of very high quality. That's because the source is relatively close by, Unfortunately, if you live in the eastern part of North America, the cedar roofing is crap by comparison. Almost all the shingles come from the west coast but they seem to keep the godd stuff for themselves. If you can afford to import the good shingles from the west coast, then you can get a decent roof but the costs are horrendous!

Also, if you apply cedar roofing over a continuous surface like plywood or boards with no spacing, then you can expect to get a lot more concave curling and the shingles may not last as long. A traditional cedar roof would be applied over 4" boards with 4" spacing with nothing underneath. That allows the air to circulate around the shingles so they don't retain as much moisture. If you are modeling a cedar roof it will almost always be on an older building so the odds are that the building would have used the 4" slat construction. (I'm not suggesting that you model that part unless the building is derelect with some shingles blown off). My point is that this makes the Campbell style shingles even less authentic.

Further, the steeper the roof, the better the cedar shingles will perform. IIRC the minimum for a traditionally installed cedar roof with 4" slats is 8/12. There are lots of fancy houses with cedar roofs on shallower pitches, but they rely on some sort of membrane under the shingles to keep the house dry.

Too much information and too much splitting shakes hairs!!!EmbarrassedSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 15,209 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, November 24, 2022 8:36 PM

Hello,

My favorite HO shingle are the laser-cut variety from Minuteman Models or I believe American Model Builders offers some. There may be others. I like your idea and I have used the old Campbells shingles but for most commercial structures in the 20th century cedar shakes would probably not be an option. 

 CP_union4-a by Edmund, on Flickr

Cleanly cut, easy to apply available in several textures and colors. I used real copper foil for flashing on the tower above.

https://minutemanscalemodels.com/collections/ho-roofing

You can order some Scalecoat paint while you're there, too.

GC Laser, Motrak and Bar Mills also offer laser-cut shingles. Try a couple and find the ones you like. I'm familiar with the Minuteman ones and have had good luck with them.

 Feed-Mill_shingle by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Good Luck, Ed

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