CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

A Tale of Four Roofs

I hit a road block with my engine house project. While the first part went together pretty well the roof has really vexed me. I want a removable roof to show off the detailed interior, and it had to be strong enough to withstand handling. 

So, I first purchased a sheet of 0.012" thick brass on Amazon for about $15 which was 10" x 12" wide. I cut it to size on a paper cutter, and then bent it on a homemade "press" consisting of my desk edge, a 2x4 piece of lumber, and a tiny hammer. 

I over bent it, and then opened it up a little to match the pitch of my engine house roof. It looked good, so I roughed it up a bit with some 40 grit sandpaper so that glue would stick to it better and laid out the skylight window holes. When it came time to cut them out, I discovered my Dremel tool has a worn bearing and whined like a Banshee. Without it, I couldn't cut the openings in the brass for the windows. So I set it aside.

My second option was cardstock. While rummaging through our pantry looking for a suitable donor, I found my new roof masquerading as a cracker box. A suitable piece was cut to size, and then I laid out the skylight window openings. 

These were removed with a chisel blade, and some 4x12 stripwood was stained and attached. I glued on a couple of strips and then weighed everything down to prevent warping. However, despite my best efforts it started to twist and bow anyway. How the British do such excellent work in cardstock is beyond me, but they are experts and I am not. Dejected at the lost effort and wasted stripwood, I ripped up part of it and threw it to the side. 

Plan number three shuld have worked. I assumed that the individual pieces of stripwood were causing the roof base to warp, but what if I started off with scored wood sheets like I had used for the floor of the engine house? I could then add bracing strips to match the roof's interior pattern, and things would be fine. So, another order for wood was sent to Northeastern Scale lumber and when the scribed sheet arrived I colored it with my dark alcohol stain. I did both sides, then set it under glass and weights to dry flat for the weekend. And for the most part it did. But, it started bowing a little so I added some perpendicular roof braces. Despite adding weight to hold them flat while the glue cured, they not only broke free at the edges but caused the wood to bow in the opposite direction! How, I couldn't say. Very upset, I threw this attempt to the side.

Dejected, I finally turned to styrene form my fourth approach. I had avoided using it because I wanted to build an all-wood structure, but there was nothing in my arsenal that stayed flat like styrene. I took a piece of" grooved 0.040" thick styrene and cut it to size. I oriented it with the grooves on the outside where they will help later with laying out the courses of shingles. 

On the inside, I marked out the skylights (for the fourth time) and cut them out, and then glued down 2x12 pre-stained stripwood. I used tacky glue instead of wood glue and didn't use much, as I wanted the wood to float as much as possible. 

So far, so good...

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