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Forum topic by Gene Howe posted 01-24-2011 07:10 PM 956 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gene Howe

5663 posts in 2086 days


01-24-2011 07:10 PM

Recently, I acquired about 100 HO cars and engines.
Just beginning the process of acquiring track and controllers.
Eventually, I’ll want to build buildings and scenery. If possible, I’d like to avoid the expense of micro woodworking machines.
My question to you all is, do you think it’s possible/advisable to machine 1/8”-1/4” wood like balsa to the tolerances needed for small, detailed projects with a full sized table saw (Shopsmith)? What saw blades would you advise. I can only use a 5/8 arbor.
My shop has a router table for a Dremel, another router table with a 3 HP router, small strip sanders, but no small disk sander, a band saw, a Delta 16” scroll saw, a lunch box planer and a “V” sander that does a good job of thickness sanding.
If any of you folks have done any model work, PLEASE chime in.
Thanks, everyone!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton


23 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1629 days


#1 posted 01-24-2011 07:51 PM

Dremel with router table, band saw, scroll saw, disk sander and “V” sander for thicknessing are about 99% of what you need. Some nice handtools like fine toothed back saws (dovetail and/or tennon saw(s) or a small Japanese Dozuki), a razor saw, chisels, low angle block plane, perhaps a small model makers plane and a good set of Xacto knives and some small rasps cover about all the tools I can think of that you might need. I haven’t done much RR modeling in several years, but I work on small scale detail work all the time as a Jeweler, jewelry pattern maker and I also have been into RC airplane modeling.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1655 days


#2 posted 01-24-2011 08:04 PM

I’d use your bandsaw before the table saw.
The dremmel tool is a great little machine for minitures as well. I built my entire farm yard at 1/64 th scale many years ago. I did purchase a small disc-belt sander while doing that project.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2505 posts in 1434 days


#3 posted 01-24-2011 09:07 PM

I once built a large HO train layout – for making ties I used a scroll saw, make a mini sled to make your life easier. Everything else use basswood and a razor saw. For “rotten” ties, use balsa wood, distresses easily and looks good. For scenery, use hydrocal instead of plaster if you can get it, very strong and can make it very thin – papermache thickness can almost stand on.

Also check out http://www.micromark.com

-- David in Damascus, MD

View swirt's profile

swirt

1945 posts in 1630 days


#4 posted 01-24-2011 09:14 PM

Get a Zona razor saw with the little aluminum miter box for crosscuts

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5663 posts in 2086 days


#5 posted 01-25-2011 02:03 AM

Thanks to all of you who replied with some great suggestions.
I think I have a pretty good idea of what I need.
Thanks again.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

487 posts in 1797 days


#6 posted 01-25-2011 02:26 AM

You can easily cross cut 1/8” balsa wood with razor blades. I used to do that when I was kid for a school project. You can a the end of a piece of L channel aluminum as a “miter box” make square cuts.

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5346 posts in 2735 days


#7 posted 01-25-2011 03:11 AM

just curious——what are HO cars? Train sets???

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

1831 posts in 1655 days


#8 posted 01-25-2011 05:40 AM

“ho scale” is a railroad set. 1/87 scale.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2505 posts in 1434 days


#9 posted 01-25-2011 06:49 PM

Is it possible to create and and post a list of mills that ship with web addresses. This could help all of us. If this could include various countries, it would be a great resource for all. I have looked on the web and got really odd results but there are a lot of people that have worked with these mills. If we do create a post for this, make sure you check with the mill first and find out if they ship
Just a thought.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Belg1960's profile

Belg1960

803 posts in 1723 days


#10 posted 01-25-2011 11:57 PM

Gene, you have found one of the best sites for reference in Railroad-line.com, I have been a member of that forum for about 6 yrs and watched in the wings for several more. My interest in MRR leans towards building structures and dioramas. I have found that if you are looking to build a layout or build structures, just like in woodworking quality tools make the difference, but that is not to say that the person doing the actual modeling has a big part of creativity and craftsmanship just like building our projects here. If there are any direct questions you have I will be very happy to help if I can and if I can’t I can steer you to the right person on the RRline forum.

I know many people swear by Micromark and I like their stuff as well but their prices are not the greatest. For what you are describing the tools you have will be overkill, not to say the tablesaw or band saw could not be used but to give an example for a scale 2×4 it comes out to .023” x .046 so to cut this small the waste from both of the larger tools would be more than what the actual final dimensioned piece would be.

I currently looking at making myself a manual cutter to slice my own scale lumber from basswood or maybe even balsa. Again if interested contact me offline or here if the host doesn’t mind us discussing on the forum. Pat

PS By the way MRR is my favorite hobby with woodworking a very close second.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2505 posts in 1434 days


#11 posted 01-26-2011 12:21 AM

I will have to look at this

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1773 days


#12 posted 01-26-2011 12:43 AM

I have nothing to do with other than a happy costummer
and I don´t think you will regret buying the brand
and most of there miniature tools are made to cut industrial spec.

take a look at proxxons tools they have from dremel kinds of tools to microtablesaws
its a german tool factory

here is the Danish site
http://www.proxxon.com/dk/

and here is the com site
http://www.proxxon.com/

good luck with your new Hobby :-) making diorama´s is a great creative hobby

Dennis

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5663 posts in 2086 days


#13 posted 01-26-2011 02:45 AM

Thanks for the links, Dennis.
Neat stuff, for sure.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Pop's profile

Pop

419 posts in 2604 days


#14 posted 01-26-2011 07:10 PM

I’v sold Proxxon. Super good stuff, but pricey. I built several display HO gauge layouts at my 1st job out of high school (class of 59) a toy store. Since then I’ve built several architectural models. Most were 1in. = 50 ft. some were real buggers like the positive model of a power plant hollowed out of a mountain. My last was a 1/2 in. = 1 ft. of a proposed shop. Not a lot of detail but lots of fun. I’ve never had miniature machines. A 1/8 in. blade on my bandsaw, Get yourself a Shopsmith 1-1/4 in. blade arbor & a hollow-ground blade. Also buy a blank insert to make a zero clearance saw insert. This set up is what I use on my Shopsmith for fine work. The hollow-ground blade is a steel blade on carbide teeth & made for small work. I have a big assortment of Xacto knives & both Proxxon & Foredom rotary tools. I’m not saying run out and but these things today but they do come in handy.

Pop

-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View Pop's profile

Pop

419 posts in 2604 days


#15 posted 01-26-2011 09:26 PM

What I meant to say was a steel blade without carbide teeth. Most of model making is figuring out what to use to represent something. My scroll saw & band saw were the main cutting machines I used for most modeling operations. After that xacto knives & razor saws. I had to end my earlier comment before I was through. Here’s a couple of photos of the proposed shop model 1/2 in. = 1 ft..


1st. shop layout. Reworked it.


Yep! That little gut at the work bench is me.


All the ittey bitty machines & shop furniture.

Oh! Bi-the-way I’ve got to build another one this summer. There’s been major changes in size, design & machines

Pop

-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

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