Sometimes, It’s Just By Guess & By Golly…

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Milepost 806

In the previous post, I mentioned building my little watchman’s shed or maybe even a lineside telephone booth… whichever it is, the roof was a real challenge.

Originally, I had hoped to cut four triangles of plastic shingle material that I had in the scrap box to fit just right onto that small structure that is only about a half-inch square at the top. After two tries at the plastic, I knew that wouldn’t work. The pieces were just too small and there wasn’t any room for any kind of margin of error. So…

In the past, I’ve used some dark green scrapbook paper that looks like green rolled roofing material. I gather that the Nickel Plate used this in addition to green shingles depending on the application. I took the liberty of deciding that this was one of those situations and went to work on a pattern for the paper top.

There are two big advantages in working with this plain, non-textured paper; one, it can be cut out as one piece, and, two, it is cheap & abundant so an error here or there won’t necessarily result in a big delay waiting for more material to finish the job. I sat down at the computer and drew a triangle, a 60° triangle looked about right to my eye. I copied & pasted it to make a pattern then went to work with the scissors and glue. The sample on the right was my first attempt; obviously way too steep of a roof for what I wanted. I did make the pattern plenty big so I could see just how it would look and be easy to work with.

This is the pattern that looks way too steep. My next attempt was a triangle with a slightly smaller angle in the corners… 55° to be precise. When that one was done, it looked like the Dodge symbol, a five-sided pentagon. I cut it out and glued it together and got the sample pictured on the left above. That looks just about right.

The computer shrunk the design for me to the proper size and I slipped a scrap of the green paper into the printer and printed it out. Using a straight-edge and a hobby knife, I carefully cut out the piece then scored each of the fold lines to ease the final shaping. With a few folds, a dab or two of glue and a pinching clamp, the roof was done in no time. The added advantage of the black printed lines kind of looks like some roofing tar that would have been used to seal t he edges. After the glue set, I used some Walthers Goo, a very stringy, sticky adhesive that is great for gluing different types of materials together, to attach the paper roof to the top of the building.


It is indeed a very small building but using the paper and the computer made making the roof a whole lot easier. Next up, this little shanty wasn’t the only thing I built over the past few days.




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