My Second Sierra West Model

I just received my Water Tank and Handcar Repair kit today. Of course I opened box and had a look at what was inside. I am not going to post pictures of me opening the box or of all the great parts inside. Karl has already covered that in great detail. I am looking forward to getting to work on my own build and posting pictures and comments of my work. I hope you follow along and comment and make suggestions about how I can improve my model. Thanks Randy


  • Looking forward to it Randy
  • how could we not?
  • For sure Randy! Will be following along closely.
  • Thanks Bryan, Kevin, and Ken. I plan to grain the wood for the siding and add some knots tonight. It begins. Randy
  • Looking very forward to following your progress on this great kit Randy. I know you will have a great result after you have had a great journey through the build.

    Keep us all updated as you go along.
  • Thank you Karl. I worked on graining and detailing the siding tonight. I did things a little differently with the knots. I will post pictures tomorrow. Randy
  • Look forward to seeing what you did with the knots…
  • Ken, there is only a slight difference in technique. The biggest difference is in the material I use. I do not care for knots that stick up from the surface of the board. A few like that would be fine but not all. So instead of using toothpicks I use 1/16 inch balsa wood. Balsa is softer and will cut off easier when I trim the knots at the end. I sharpen the wood in an old crank pencil sharpener. IMG_1325resized
    This results in a nice point that will go through the hole in the board.IMG_1327resized
    I then go on with the usual technique of making a hole in the wood with the tip of a hobby knife, enlarging it with a bead reamer, and then glueing in the pointed balsa wood. IMG_1301resized
    Here are three boards with the balsa wood in place and the glue dried. The pile of wood at the top of the picture is the wood I plan to add knots to. this is about half of the siding.IMG_1324resized
    As I said at the start I don't like knots that stick up proud of the surface of the board. I use nippers to cut off the extra balsa wood.IMG_1341resized
    This leaves, to me at least, an unsightly big blob. IMG_1342resized
    I then us a razor blade to slice off the blob of balsa and glue. I cut from both ways until I can not feel a bump. IMG_1343resized
    Which leaves a nice tight flush knot.IMG_1352resized
    As I said Ken not a big difference but one I used on my Truck Repair and I liked the results. I hope Brett doesn't mind all the pictures. Thanks, Randy
  • Great result Randy. A couple of things I like to do to change the appearance a bit. I punch a hole in the stripwood and then insert the end of the toothpick and force it in just a bit to distort the wood around the toothpick. This gives some nice effects. Angling the toothpick at a steep angle will give an oblong knot and I use a rather dull pair of side snips and slowly squeeze and crush the toothpick a bit before actually cutting it off. I then turn the board over, good side down on my glass, and force the wood down around the cut off toothpick to make sure it’s flush.
  • ken: i'm gonna have to try turning the board over and mashing it onto the toothpick next time i do an oblong one. thanks for the idea....
    randy, your process may be made a little shorter by using a flush cutting toe nail clipper. i use one and it usually picks the glue glob right up with the stub that[s being cut off.
  • Thanks for the advice Ken. As you can see I have a lot more wood to add knots to. So I will be sure to try your suggestions. I will let you know how things work out. Thanks again, Randy
  • Kevin I may give that a try. Thanks, Randy
  • You bet Randy! Fun to see how many different ways a simple knot hole can be created. Hey Kevin no problem! I like to do that to keep the knot from standing proud of the piece of wood.
  • edited October 2022
    I like to keep them flush also.... so, I came up with the "nail clippers" about 15 years ago.
    Clip and then flip the board and push the knot flush to the outside, then clip the inside if needed and sand flush on the inside with a nail file, if the interior is visible.

    Your knots are looking great Randy with your method also.
  • I've been looking for a sharpener like that!
  • I like to shave off the bulge with a razor also.
  • Thanks Ken, Karl, Mike, and Bryan. Last night I got most of the rest of the knots installed. I have about six or seven more boards to work with. I will do those first then start cutting of the extra balsa from the other boards. I don't want any one to think I was not following Brett's great instructions. I did grain the wood and put in saw marks before the knots. I was just covering Ken's comment about wanting to know what I was going to do with the knots.
    So back on track. I grained the wood using three different steel brushes shown in the picture below.IMG_1328resized
    about half of the wood was grained with the pipe brush, and about a forth was done with each of the other two brushes. here are three boards with one done with each of the brushes. IMG_1298resized
    The one on the left was grained with the yellow brush, the board in the middle was done with the brush with the long stiff bristles, and the last board was grained with the pipe brush.
    I then went on to adding the saw banding marks with a razor blade.IMG_1297resized
    I was rather proud of myself while doing this. I only cut one board into two pieces.IMG_1299resized
    I plan to finish up the knots tonight. The next step will be to stain this batch of wood. I am just waiting for Rich Rands to get back with me to tell me what color he would like the wood to be stained. Thanks for reading and for any comments. Randy
  • Randy, I'm a big fan of a stiff wire brush that fits better in your hand like your middle brush. I find it much easier to use than a card file or the bottom brush in your picture. I found one that is much smaller and easier to control at Northern Tool. It's made by Hobart. Listed as small wire brush-steel 770108
  • Thanks Bryan. I will look it up and see about getting one. Thanks Randy
  • edited October 2022
    Bryan, I got out my sprue nippers from PBL and they worked just fine. However, I still hit the tops of the knots with a razor blade. Ken I tried the pressing the knots to the glass and did not like the results. I think because the balsa wood is so much softer the ends smashed out to the size of a pancake.
    The wood is stained. Rich likes a more gray color than Brett's instruction calls for. I used Joel's coloring suggestion, from his Truck Repair build, of white and black chalk for the largest part of the wood.IMG_1353resized
    Some of the oversized knots can be seen. Also two spots where I scraped with a razor blade and sanded to get rid of the big knots. The rest of the wood was stained closer to Brett's instructions. I used the 408.3 and 408.5 chalks with a little black on a very few boards.IMG_1354resized
    The boards that are a little more gray will be used on outside edges of breezeway where the boards would get more sun and rain. The third from the right will go next to the opening and the fourth from the right will be next. then the other boards will be used randomly. I am going to try to put the siding on at least one of the walls tonight. Thanks Randy
  •'re right, the much softer balsa would tend to smush rather than push back through. Didn't think of that when I mentioned it...good example of what not to do! Boards are looking great and you're keeping the saw banding subtile and not overdone.
  • Wood work is spot on.
  • Thanks Emery. Now I need to go back and reread Dr. Grunge's Wood clinic to add more details to the wood.
  • I like the color
  • randyp said:

    Thanks Bryan. I will look it up and see about getting one. Thanks Randy

    i got one and bryan's right. it's my #2 brush, my main brush being the smaller plumbing brush.

  • Nice greyish color on the boards.
  • Thanks, Robert for your support. Here are a few of those grayish boards being glued to the fraim work. Bret's instructions always says not to use too much glue. I like to use an old denial pick to apply just a little spot of glue.IMG_1425resized
    Here is the front side of the repair shed with all the boards it place. I am waiting for the glue to dry before I cut off the overhangs. IMG_1426resized
    It looks like I got the board just above the left side of the door a little catawampus. I am not going back and try to fix it because I think it adds a little more interest to the wall above the door. The short boards down each side of the door now do not line up with each other. Again I think this adds interest to the wall. However, it will not make a whole lot of difference because these boards will be mostly covered by the open doors. Speaking of doors. I thought the heavy doors would have rubbed against the header above the door. So I went back and sanded the sharp edge off the header.IMG_1427resized
    Thanks for looking and any suggestions or comments are welcomed. Randy
  • Love the wood texture in the super close up.
  • Agree with Bryan, the up close pics really show how great of a job you did on this wood.
  • Excellent detail work on the wood Randy.
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