"The Original" Kittom Lumber Co.

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by Doctor G, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Back when I modeled in HO scale I had a fairly large fictional layout that depicted the logging outfit of the Kittom Lumber Company in the 1930s. It was set in Eastern Tennessee and took up a big portion of the basement of the house we were living in at that time.

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    It was a lot of fun but the kids grew up and moved way and we moved into a smaller home. As the eyes got weaker I wanted to try my hand at larger scales. Without the basement for a larger empire and selecting On30 as my next modeling adventure I decided to build some mini layouts.

    What follows is a pictorial history of the construction of "the original" Kittom Lumber Company. This will be the story of a backwoods outfit in Kentucky or Tennessee that was the starting point of the lumber empire that would come in the 1930s. The era I've chosen to model is 1900– 1910. Rough temporary trackage is a hallmark of these logging outfits. The early geared locomotives are just starting to come into favor and there is some primitive steam powered log moving equipment.

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    As this is a ” mini" layout there is a fairly simple track plan. The overall size is 48 inches by 30 inches.

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    I am also trying to break from traditional wooden bench work and the layout will be constructed of Styrofoam and aluminum structural pieces. I have already been to Lowes and loaded up on essentials.

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    Also I am breaking from the past and will model this layout in the dead of winter. I am fascinated by the modeling techniques that re-create patches of snow, ice, and bare trees. This little mini will allow me to throw out all the stops on scenery construction and creativity. I hope to learn many new techniques.

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    Thanks for looking and I hope to add to this story on a regular basis.

    Doc Tom
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  2. nevadablue

    nevadablue New Member

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    Watching from here Doc!
  3. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    I am using 2" aluminum channel around the base of the mini layout.

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    Construction adhesive at work here to secure the foam panels to the channel.

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    Hoping for strength,rigidity and light weight.

    Squared aluminum tube will be mechanically secured to the frame of the base to give it a "backbone" and allow for passage of wiring.

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    The whole layout will sit on top of a industrial grade plastic cabinet from Lowes.
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    Interestingly the cabinet has some built in grooves at the top that fit the square tubing nicely. A nice surprise.

    I hope this little guy is light and robust enough to take to train shows.

    Doc Tom
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  4. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Well after the liquid nails set up the bricks were removed and here's what the base of the new On30 mini layout looks like.

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    Corners were mechanically fastened with Sheetrock screws. Liquid nails is good stuff but always feel better when structural pieces are "glued and screwed."

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    Next up the square tubing "backbone" of the layout was placed and secured. Used the E6000 glue for metals that I learned about in my Garden Rail Roading days to "G&S".

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    It all went together nicely and the tubing fit perfectly in the grooves on the top of the Lowes plastic cabinet.

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    I like the look of the burnished aluminum and think it will go well with cold colors of the layout in winter to come.

    Now, the fun begins......building scenery. Put down some liquid nails adhesive and start building up layers of cake.

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    The Guys at Lowes were a big help ripping the 48"X30" slabs of styrofoam on their big wood cutting rig. We had an enjoyable time talking about their generational modeling activities using foam "dragons, snakes and warriors" carved from foam block and made on 3D printers. This just might be the future of modeling making.

    Thanks for looking. Doc Tom
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  5. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    Doc G, you have made a train hospital complex!! :)
  6. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Thanks "Z" man.

    You mean like this:

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    Doc Tom
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  7. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    Man, you must have the most awesome wife!! :)
  8. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    another beginin! this is going to be fun!!
  9. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Thanks Bill. A lot of experimentation will happen on this little mini.

    Doc Tom
  10. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    My next steps are to enlarge the HO layout plans from Carl Arendt's very nice micro layout website to On30.

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    In HO the layout is 18" X 48". I widened it to 30"X48". I picked a 30 " width to be able to get it out and through doors and hallways if I did take it to shows or train clubs to exhibit.I had to use some math to make the conversion in size and scale.

    I was helped greatly by PECO templates of their On30 turnouts http://www.peco-uk.com/page.asp?id=tempO165

    I downloaded the full sized templates and using spray adhesive mounted them to foam core board. These were then cut out as in the picture.

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    I need two wye, 3 left hand and 1 right hand turnouts.

    Using the templates, some math and a grid pattern I was able to transfer the layout plans to one of the 30"X48" foam panels.

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    I noted one area of concern in the "valley section" of the layout.The tail from the engine house is pretty short and I will need to slide the real track around to add a few more precious inches. Fortunately, there is only one locomotive on this layout, the short wheel based On30 Bachmann Heisler.So I think I get it all to fit snugly.

    Thanks for looking. Doc Tom [​IMG]
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  11. subnuke

    subnuke Moderator Intelligence Extraordinaire Moderator

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    Doc, big thanks for sharing your building log with us. This will help people see the thoughts and methods of scratchbuilding, which apply to all modeling endeavors.

    Like the use of blue foam over plywood. With proper bracing that stuff works well. I build all kinds of projects with that material and love it. Most recently I used it as the structure for a TV antenna I built. For cutting, I use a knife blade (instead of saw blade) in my jig saw and it makes good cuts without all the mess.
  12. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Thank you Subnuke. I agree it is an excellent material to work with and I'm noticing it is increasingly used in model railroading. Another interesting way to cut the foam is to use a hot wire.

    http://www.micromark.com/Hot-Wire-F...zX5DlBEsJjiEkc5DbALAby-Y8U3bDp73LbhoCqXvw_wcB

    This too makes little mess but the fumes are toxic and best to do this outdoors or in a well ventilated area.

    What I will do is build up the landforms much like a topography map. I will use the Dremel tool to sand and carve in rock strata. More to follow soon. Doc Tom
  13. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    A small steam powered horse makes its way to the Original Kittom Lumber Company.

    A 14 ton Heisler Locomotive from the Stearns Manufacting company was born at their shops in Erie Pennsylvania in 1896. She headed to Dixie to work in the growing lumber industry at the turn of the 20th century. Much like its sister "A.W.Stevens Lumber #1-s/n1007 the Kittom Heisler first went to Mississippi to work the expansive pine forests of the sunny southland.

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    These were the first 14 ton models built. As evidenced on the locomotive above wheel counter weights were NOT part of the early locomotives manufactured. Retro-fit kits of cast weights that could be bolted between the spokes were later made available by Stearns.

    After working several southern logging outfits Kittom Lumber's Heisler made it to the wilds of the Kentucky/Tennessee border in 1910.It was a "fourth hand" purchase with a new paint job that helped to disguise the 19th century technology that was its parentage.

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    Management was happy that it would fit in the planned engine house. They were itchin' to put it to use.

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    Doc Tom
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  14. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    A BLUE LAYER CAKE FOR KITTOM LUMBER

    I finished cutting up the blue foam panels for the mini layout. From a 4'X8" sheet I cut 14.5" X48" panels and "dry stacked" them.

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    I cut the panels to leave a 1" slot in the center.

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    This is where the scenic divider will be placed. And, of course, it too will be made of blue foam board.

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    I laid the top layer on so you can get a sense of proportion.This layer will have a 1" slot down the middle as well to accommodate the scenery divider.

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    The top of the layout is 50" from the floor. The whole layout without the cabinet/pedestal weighs about 10 pounds and is easily lifted with one hand. So far NO WOOD used in the construction.

    Hopefully the electric wire foam cutter arrives this week and I can begin to rough in terrain contours. I will also sand down the edges of the panels to give the layout a more finished look.

    With a layout this small I went overboard to give it some height for dramatic scenery below track level.

    The height of the layout ,including the divider, off its removable base, will be 30". It should be easy to get in and out doors.

    Thanks for looking.

    Doc Tom [​IMG]
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  15. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    The Beginning of Topography.

    When I was in HO scale, I built my model railroad scenery with cardboard strips, plaster cloth and plaster castings.

    I read in the model railroad magazines that Styrofoam insulation board was becoming more popular for use in scenery construction. For one of the mountains, on my previous HO logging outfit, I built up a layered Styrofoam creation as an attempt to "go modern." I was using an ordinary kitchen knife to cut the board and tried to smooth the edges using the surfoam tool.

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    Do you remember this tool?



    This turned out to be quite tedious and I ended up with bits of blue plastic everywhere.

    I wanted try something completely different this go round. After cutting the panels to a manageable 14.5" X 30" I was able to take them to the workbench and using "score and snap" remove large sections using a straight edge and box cutter knife.

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    With this new creation "The Original Kittom Lumber Co." I wanted to use some of the newer techniques for working with foamboard. I found that the hot wire foam cutter from Woodland scenics was a much better way to carve and cut foam board

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    The hot wire can be adjusted to cut an angle in the foam.

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    As the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee are somewhat rounded I wanted to use this feature to bevel the edges of the boards and make rounded hill tops. I followed the outlines I had traced out earlier.

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    I was able to do this in minutes where previous work with the surfoam tool would've taken hours and caused quite a mess.

    There definitely have been some improvements in the hobby of model railroading.[​IMG]

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    Thanks for L[​IMG][​IMG]KING.
    Doc Tom
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  16. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    This is fun! I haven't had any luck recently trying to upload photos, I'll have to try again.
  17. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    How do you like working with the Peco track and switches?
  18. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

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    Tom your stuff looks like it is loading, mine won"t. what browser are you using?
  19. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    It is really well-made!! Not too expensive. I am being very careful to follow their instructions about placing insulated track joiners to avoid short circuits with the" electro frog" turnouts. Especially using DCC. The Drop in tsunami sound decoder is working well in the Heisler locomotive. I do not want to burn it up!!:hammerhead:

    Doc Tom
  20. Doctor G

    Doctor G Active Member

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    Hi. I noticed you were having problems. :violin: I am using Firefox as a browser. So far no trouble. Maybe Zathros will be along soon to help you with this issue. Doc Tom