BUILD A TWO-HOLER
BY "DO IT YOURSELF DAVE" CUMMINS
Very few layouts feature a custom outhouse, especially one with an actual turn-of-the-century prototype! In 1897 the Pacific Electric Railway built the original for the men working in the freight yards at San Pedro, California. They moved it to the yards in nearby Wilmington in 1917 and, over the years, modernized it with plumbing and electric lights. In the 1960s the Southern Pacific donated it to the Orange Empire Trolley Museum in Perris, California where it sits today.
Two-holers are fairly uncommon models but go together quickly and will add real "atmosphere" to any scene.
I built my model from wood because I plan to keep it inside except when I run trains. You could build it from styrene if you plan to leave it outside.
BEGIN WITH THE FINISH
Before starting construction you should plan how you want the finish of your model to look. You should stain and/or paint the lumber or sheet wood in advance; glue will seal out the stain. I used white glue to assemble my model. Yellow carpenter's glue might have been even better, especially considering the harsh treatment I gave the paint (I'll describe that later.) Had I used Goo or another solvent type cement the building would have ended up a pile of sticks! If you do all your staining before assembly, Goo would be fine.
The original building's last paint job approximated "traction" yellow with boxcar red trim. I began with a wash of India ink in alcohol, using 20 drops of ink in a Floquil bottle. Rubbing alcohol contains water and may cause warping so be conservative. My next stain was about 25-percent Floquil Rail Box Yellow to 75-percent Floquil Diosol thinner but you probably should cut that in half. The yellow came out too bright for my taste so I flooded it with lacquer thinner and scoured it with a tooth brush. Then I added more India ink/alcohol stain washes and rubbed it into the surface with an old rag. I stained the trim boards with a 50-percent solution of Polly-S Boxcar Red and water. The trim received the same alcohol and ink treatment. The result was an old, weathered outhouse.
THE FIRST CUTS
Square up the sheet stock before cutting any pieces with a machinist's square. First trim the ragged edge from each sheet to provide a square end. We'll do all our measuring and cutting from that end. Then, using the square, cut two pieces of sheet board and batten, each 3 3/4 inches long. Clean the edges so they mate perfectly and measure the batten spacing so it is the same across the joint as elsewhere. Glue the edges of each piece together to make a double width, pushing them tightly together to get a strong joint. Take your time because, unless the joint is perfect, it will show.
Cut the back to 4 1/4 inches wide and trim it so no batten occurs along either side. That allows the edges to remain clear for the corner trim. Trim 3/16-inch of the batten from the top and bottom with a single edge razor blade or X-acto knife so the top and bottom trims will fit tightly against the boards. We'll put them on later.
Cut four 1/16- x 3/16-inch slots where the roof rafters come through the wall. Cut them small for now; we'll file them out to fit the rafters later.
WALLS, TRIM, AND FRAMING
Begin the internal bracing by gluing 3 3/4 inch long pieces to the edges of each side. Add horizontal stiffening beams to the back wall, one at the bottom, one toward the top but be sure to avoid covering the slots.
Now let's begin the sides. Cut two pieces of board and batten 4 3/8 inches long, trim each to a width of 2 13/16 inches (remembering where the corner trim must go), and cut the roof line. Cut out the diamond (or that other pattern, if you prefer) and trim the battens as you did for the back. Cut two more 3 3/4 inch long corner braces and glue them 1/16-inch in from one edge, creating a right and a left side.
The front is a little more complicated. The front is really five separate surfaces: two doors, a center wall, and two side walls. We'll build five distinct pieces, then glue them together into a single unit.
First, the doors. We must layer 1/32-inch thick pieces over a 1/16-inch thick plain back. Sand any fuzz from the sheet, then mark centered, vertical lines down each side of each door, exactly 1 inch apart. They will serve as gluing guides. By now you should have colored and possibly weathered the doors; it will be extremely difficult to paint them later.
The center wall piece is a lamination. The outside is 1/4-inch scribed siding. The inside is any piece of 1/16-inch thick sheet. The door frame is 1/16- x 1/8-inch stripwood. Pacific Electric appears to have used something other than board and batten on the front wall. I used scribed wood to add visual interest.
The door frames go as high as the walls and form the sides of the ventilation opening above the door. The original had screens over the openings but I left mine open.
The side pieces are similar to the center but the inside lamination must be narrower to fit around the beam on the side wall.
Assemble the wall unit with care. I glued the center piece to the doors first, being very careful to keep the bottoms of each sub-unit perfectly straight. I also made certain the doors were vertical with the center unit, and that exactly the right amount of visible portion of the doors showed.
Next, take the same precautions and add the side pieces. If you have a vernier caliper, it might be a good idea to use it to be sure the visible part of the door is exactly 1 inch. Finally, cut two pieces of 3/32- x 1/8-inch stock one inch long and glue it in to represent the frame at the top of the door.
ASSEMBLING THE SIDES AND ENDS
Assemble the building by gluing the sides to the back, keeping everything square. Finish the sides by adding beams along the bottom and just below the diamond cut-outs. Then glue in the front wall. Stiffen it with similar top and bottom beams but keep the upper one below the top of the door.
I made the roof from 1/16-inch sheet scrap and cut it to overlap the ends by half an inch. Four pairs of rafters are inside the building and one pair is at each end. I used 1/16- x 3/16-inch stock as the closest available for 2 x 4s.
File out the slots in the rear wall so the rafters will lay in tightly. The upper surfaces should be level with the tops of the back and sides. Then cut back the tops of the door frames so you can lay in the front rafters.
Add two internal rafter supports from beam stock. One goes in front, the other in the rear. Cut 12 rafters, each 2 inches long, and trim each end at 25 degrees. Glue in the 8 internal rafters making sure their outside ends line up perfectly and their tops are exactly level with the sides.
Glue on the 1/16-inch roof sheets. Be sure they have no curl. When they dry you may add the outer rafters and the 1/32- x 1/4-inch capping strips front and back.
Add the trim, then finish off the woodwork by cutting two 3/16- by 1 inch door sills from 1/16-inch sheet stock and gluing them flush with the bottom edge of the building.
HARDWARE AND ROOFING
The only hardware the building needs is door knobs. I used Ozark Miniatures OM-87 Door Knob and Plate With Keyhole sets. I darkened them with Hobby Black, then painted them with thinned Floquil Reefer White. They were still a little too bright for my taste so I dusted them with gray pastel chalk to tone them down. Epoxy holds them to the door.
The roof on the original building still has remnants of both tar paper and shingles. My model has a tar paper roof, with 400 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper representing the roofing material. First I coated the roof with India ink, using an acid brush to spread it as evenly as possible. Then I sanded the sandpaper with 600 grit paper. That removed some blackness from the ink surface and slightly smoothed the 400 grit paper. I stopped sanding when the black ink had taken on a gray cast and looked old.
I cut the paper into inch-wide strips, then applied it from the bottom of the roof to the top, running the strips horizontally. The lowest strip should overlap the eaves slightly and you'll have to pre-bend the overlap.
I used white glue to hold down the paper. I spread a thin, even coat over the back of the paper, then held the paper to the roof edges until the glue grabbed. The fold-overs will take more holding.
When you add the second strip of roofing paper, lap it about 3/32-inch over the first and make sure the edges glue down tightly. If any glue seeps out, wait for it to dry, then go over it with a wire brush.
When I finished the roof, it still looked too new so I dusted it with gray pastel chalk, then airbrushed it very lightly with Testor's Dullcote.
I hope this article will help you with almost any large scale building. Even though I have built dozens of pieces of rolling stock, the two-holer was my first structure. I found the project small enough to be manageable yet complex enough to be a good first project.
BILL OF MATERIALS
1/16" sheet with 1/2" board and batten 1 sheet
1/16" sheet with 1/4" scribe 1 sheet
1/32" sheet with any or no scribe 1 sheet
1/4" x 1/4" stripwood 4 feet
1/16"x 1/8" 2 feet
1/32" x 3/16" 6 feet
3/32" x 1/8" 1 foot
1/32" x 1/4" 1 foot
Doorknobs 1 package
400 grit Sandpaper 1 sheet