The Sawmill Project kit #308

edited May 2014 in O Scale Builds
Sorry all for the extended absence from the forum. I had a lot going on and got in a modeling funk. That funk was snapped last week when this arrived.

We join this project already in progress...

I'm going to do my best to document this build. I feel I have learned a lot from my previous builds and from watching other's builds here.

I started by distressing the boards. I used the brush in the pic below lightly to give the first set of grooves. It has very stiff bristles. I followed up with a lighter brush to enhance these grooves and give some smaller, finer ones. I then wiped down each board with steel wool to remove the fuzzies. (save the sawdust! but gather it up before using the steel wool)

For coloring I am using Rembrandt chalks. I use a blend of colors so I can change the darkness/lightness on sub assemblies but still have the same color. For this I used 408.3, 408.5 & 234.5. I scraped on the color, brushed in with alcohol then scraped on and washed in 704.8 & 100.5 to add the gray. This assembly with be the darkest. As I move up I will add more 408.5 and less 408.3 and by the time I get to the roof there will be no 408.3 and I will add in 408.7. Should make for a smooth and natural transition as this will progressively get lighter looking like bleached out wood. Once dry I brushed out the grooves with a brass brush, brushed on some IA and once dry gave a light sanding with 220 grit paper. There is a technique in the manual that I just ran across last night for the floor boards that I am going to try when we get to that point.

Assembly of the beams is very straight forward using the template and using 1" metal blocks helped me keep them lined up and right on the lines on the template. One note: the instructions say when laying the cross beams to stop at the beams marked with an x. The first set of beams covers the x's so mark them before taping these beams down to the template. There is also 1 minor discrepency with the template and the photos in the manual with the length of 1 of the cross beams. I went with the template markings. Shouldn't make a difference either way. Also noted is that the lever for the live rolls on the pilot was broken off multiple times and left off. Mine broke as well when assembling the machinery. I plan on leaving it off until the floor is installed then glueing it back on.

Joe did a nice job of documenting the inside of the box so I won't do that again except to show what's inside the casting boxes. I was going to count them but I don't have that many fingers and toes. Let's just say that the resin box is 4x6x2 and full to the top. And there are more templates that you could imagine.

With the sub floor nearing completion I test fitted some of the machinery to line up the blower and rope spool.

I've been brushing, coloring and cutting the dowels that will make up the legs for the sawmill. That is not a fun job. How can round wood be so much harder to work with than square wood? I also have the terrain contoured and the glue is drying on the layers. I went with 1 layer of plywood and 3 layers of 1/2" foam. I will be incorporating this into my layout so I will be able to secure it with brackets to the plywood.

The level of engineering and operations management to put this kit together is mind boggling. Kudos to Brett for bringing this to market.

I'll take some better pics as we move along with the camera. These were just quickies with the ipad.

I promise to make subsequent posts shorter and cover less steps.imageimageimageimageimageimage


  • Bryan, this is wonderful. Thank you for returning and thank you for promising exquisite detail. I am new and am profiting from the detailing that is outlined in these projects. It is going to be especially interesting to begin seeing the sawmill build logs come to life. Please go heavy with your picture count.

    John Maguire
  • Great to see you with another build here Bryan, and this one is certainly going to be spectacular, due to the quality of your modeling combined with the magnitude of this kit.

    Your colouring of the wood for the sub floor looks perfect. Bretts chalk and alcohol technique really is awesome and your assembly is flawless.
    Having your saw and carriage in the pictures really starts bringing things into perspective.

    That big box of resin castings looks pretty danged full, how about dumping it out on the bench and showing us some of what is in there ????

    After following and admiring your previous builds on the forums this one is definitely something I will be following closely every step of the way.

  • Looking forward to your build Bryan!
  • Hey Bryan: Thanks for posting this build, I will be following along very closely. This is going to be good....Joe CCCModOn30
  • Bryan I've been looking forward to someone starting this huge undertaking as I have one on order with Brett as well and will be following very closely. Thanks for explaining your progression in shading as you work up the building it makes perfect sense and thanks for suppling the chalk numbers
  • Looking Good.
  • Thanks all for the comments and encouragement. If anyone wants to get theirs started as well then feel free to add it on here.

    I've just about got the dowel legs done. Those are a royal pain to work with. The best way I found to tackle them was to use my handy dandy super stiff brush and rub like crazy. Then hit with steel wool. I have been gathering the extra chalk dust from my workbench as I progressed and stored this in a bowl. I mixed up a slurry of chalk and IA (black and brown) to paint the dowels. I used a razor saw and mitre box to cut to length. Then colored the tops and hit with a final coat of IA (black only). If I had it to do over again I would spring for the tabletop power saw.

    Since I used 1/2" foam and the instructions called for 3/4" foam I decided to make my grade using 2 pieces of foam instead of 1. So the timbers had to be cut 1/4" longer on the lower side. No big deal with that. The long timbers were installed and then the short. Then the "cutting to size" fun began. It was so much fun that I cut away some of the grade to fit the timbers instead of cutting the timbers. I can fill this in with dirt later.

    Attached here are a front and back shot of the entire dio. A close up of the grade. And a closer up of the timbers. I took several of these to check for alignment. There are a couple that will need to be tweeked. Notice also that not all of the timbers are sitting flush. I'll find the timber(s) that are raising it up and mark the foam and cut out a divot to make it sit level.

    I took the base out for a first coat of dirt colored paint and sprinkled on a light coat of dirt to dry in the paint.

    From here I will finish the carriage drive and move on to the rollway.

    Oh yes. There is a pic of the castings for Karl.imageimageimageimageimage
  • Remember this is a sawmill with heavy machinery going back and forth. Some of the "leg" dowels may over time become a little off the vertical !??
  • looking great! I will be following this build.
  • Great progress Bryan, really looking impressive. Our group had our train meeting at my shop last night and as a proud Papa, I showed off the sawmill kit. The large box of strip wood and the 134 page construction manual was a big hit....Joe CCCModOn30
  • Bryan, this is awesome. I'm impressed with how much you get done and especially how good it looks. Thank you for including details on how you do things. I need that. I don't seem to be ramping up to a level of production that is close to what you are doing. Keep it up!

  • Thanks guys. Joe, I'm sure the kit was a big hit. It makes quite a first impression.

    John, this has been the quick part. By quick I mean working with large timbers vs small boards and just glueing over a template. I'm thinking that when the work gets more detailed that it will probably slow down considerably.

    Haven't had a lot of time this week to get much progress but I really would like to get the rope, rollaway and headframe done in the next few days so it is ready for the base.

    The land grant authority took a very dim view of my idea of an extension on the layout to house the sawmill so I have to go back to the original plan of installing it in the current space allowed. This will make for some extra work but it will fit fine as it's location has been planned since day one. The extension would have created a space for a large machine shop though.
  • Bryan good start. Keep us updated. Even the little things you do. It will make it easier for those who follow.

  • edited May 2014
    I got the rollway under way. Note: for the rollway skids the instructions call for 3 pieces of .04x1/8. You will need 4 plus a couple of 6x6. And apparently I missed where it called for the spacing on the deck support brace (the 2x6 hanging off the deck but not covered) because the deck boards are supposed to end up flush with the pier support. Mine cover the pier support. Oh well. It looked right on the template.

    When I finish the walkways that cover the overhanging 2x6 I will add a few more boards to the top of the rollway. I'm thinking this area would also be covered in bark so I'll add that much later on.

    The rollway trestle is easy to get off center. I had to make several adjustments and looking at the photo probably need to make one more.imageimageimageimage
  • Moving along and doing a fine job.

  • Bryan-
    Gotta say, the coloring on your wood is fantastic. Combined with the weathering on the plates and NBWs in those most recent pics, this looks spot on to my eye.

    Did you take those pictures outside? If not, what kind of lighting are you using?
    Well done! Looking forward to more.

  • Thanks.
    Bill, I also liked the way the plates turned out. They were painted rail brown with a floquil marker and had some brown/rust powder applied. Then I used some dark steel pigments from AK Interactive applied with a stomp to the edges and highlights. I love this product and plan to use it more during the construction.

    The pics were taken indoors. I am using LED track lights. The temperature is "natural" or "outdoor" light.
  • Bryan, you are moving right along. Is the grey real or the result of your lighting? ? I really like it. You have nice texturing also.
  • John, that gray is very close to the real color. It's probably somewhere in between the gray and brown that have appeared in the pics here.

    Does this look like concrete? I started by spraying with camo tan then gave a very heavy dry brush of light gray. After dry I used chalks as described in the manual to give a mottled appearance and washed with IA. Lightly drybrushed with the same light gray followed by cream color. Add another coat of IA. The streaks are AK "Streaking Grime" and at the bottom is "slimy grime dark" . I'll attach the pillow blocks and sawdust blower next.
  • Very nice.
  • edited May 2014
    Looks exactly like concrete to me. Beautiful job. Superb. Hard to believe they are resin castings, so much character and depth in them, Brett really did a superb job on those masters and your colouring of them is dead on.

    Karl. A
  • Bryan those concrete blocks look like old concrete blocks. Love the mossy finish around the bases and the stain marks look great.
  • blocks look like nice. Well weathered and coloring on them.
  • Nice coloring on the concrete.

  • thanks guys. I was very pleased with the way they turned out. I would recommend to anyone to try the streaking effect. Search youtube for "using AK Interactive streaking grime". You can also use tube oils to get the same effect. It's something the military modelers have down to great effect.

    Well I made the cut to place this in my layout. It's back to plan A since the preferred plan B cut nixed. I cut it down to 30" from 36" I removed the plywood and am glueing the foam to it. I will adjust the risers for the new depth.

    I started planning for the lighting. I marked the spot where I want the wires coming up from the bottom. It will be in the workshed behind the sliding door. I cut off the corner of the plywood underneath this circle and will store the power board and wires there so they are out of the way. I will sink a tube in the circle area as a conduit. I will be able to hide the wires with junk and weeds underneath. To get them around the mill I will paint them brown and run them across the tops of the ceiling beams.
  • Bryan, I'll say the same as everyone else - you have the concrete nailed. Excellent. That is quite a layout you are working on. Can you show us more?

  • Hi Bryan,
    WOW!! SUPERB!!!
  • edited May 2014
    Thanks for checking in.

    John, I started a layout thread but never really kept up with it.

    So I did a test fit on the diorama into the layout and got it all leveled out. There will be very good viewing from 3 sides and the 4th will be at an angle but still in plain sight.

    I got the initial layer of dirt down. It sure does look barren. It's the same dirt mix I have used all over the layout. Sandy clay from under the topsoil in my backyard. I let it dry then sift through a metal colander. For the top layer I will sift again through a tea strainer. The conduit for the wire is visable here. It's a simple plastic tube.

    I got a shot from underneath as I am adding sawdust and debris before the floor goes in. I plan on using lots of sawdust.

    I also had to add a retaining wall to help transition to the rest of the layout. It took up less space than a slope.

    Brett says this is the halfway point in the manual. I think that is optimistic.
  • looking fantastic Bryan the dirt underneath really 'grounds' the whole structure at this point. Pun definitely intended...
    Having your concrete supports in place on a base is definitely showing off the preplanning for things to come.
    The retaining wall with the sloped tops and nbw detail is a great transitional area to the rest of the layout, I really like how that looks.
    I wish I had dirt that looked that good in my backyard, unfortunately I'm stuck with Mississippi clay.....
    Really enjoying following your great progress.

  • This is looking good Bryan the dirt really makes the mill look like part of the landscape.

    I was wondering where those concrete supports would end up being used and now I know, everywhere you look there is more detail to discover.

    Nice job on the retaining wall, I wasn't sure how to work the slope into my plan but I think you may have solved that for me. Hope you don't mind if I borrow that idea from you?

    Keep up the great work, looking forward to your next update.

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