Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday at car stop #1

Some long time residents still call this the Cedar Heights stop because before amalgamation the area was known as Cedar Heights. The raised platform stop is a relic from the interurban that used to come by here a few times a day. Today it’s all streetcars. The interurbans, along with the cedars, are gone.

I still think of this as Cedar Heights, but force myself to call it The Strip. Ok, well, out here it’s the ragged end of the strip. To the east are the leftovers from the rural past, and to the west is Ocean Boulevard and the modern present.
On the rural end, Ma hasn’t given up even though city creep is knocking on her door. She built a second bed-and-breakfast right across from the stop. It’s not fancy, but it’s clean and the food’s good.
Both of Ma’s Places, and more or less all the businesses behind hers, were designed by this fellow, Earl Lloyd Moore, back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Making things yourself from plans was a thing back then. You could build what you needed and save some money too, so all was good. 
That era’s passed, but the buildings and businesses are still going strong. They’re now into organic this and artisanal that, so they’re keeping up with the times.
Years before these ones were built, some Moore designs got built just north of here. My dad was still a 'chopter pilot then and took me flying when he needed to keep his hours up. There were a couple of Moores near the pad he flew out of. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen them. One was falling down, but I still have a couple of photos I took leaning over the side of dad’s Kaman.
That brick one is the old PB Paper Company. These days it’s a craft brewery.
This one is a lumber yard. That’s the one that was half fallen down the last time I saw it. I should drive up there one weekend and see if it’s still there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

E. L. Moore in the 21st Century: The Combination Houses

[E. L. Moore's Stucco House and Green House - two of the Combination Houses]

At the September meet-up I saw two little houses that weren’t associated with any particular E. L. Moore construction article. I chalked them up to something that Mr. Moore built for his friend Fred Kelley. It turns out they were meant to be the subject of an article, but an unpublished one. I came across a manuscript called Combination House Plan while going through some of E. L. Moore’s letters and manuscripts. It described how to build three houses based on variations of a single plan. One was clapboard, the second stucco, and the third brick. The descriptions of the clapboard and stucco versions exactly matched what I referred to as The Green House and The Stucco House. Unfortunately, I saw no brick house. 

Combination House Plan was written sometime in 1969, which corresponds to the date E. L. Moore wrote on the bottom of the models. This now 47-year-old, unedited manuscript is shown below. It contains references to figures and photos, but none were included with the document. I’ve left those references in for completeness and inserted my own photos to try and fill in. 

I’d say the project isn’t one of Mr. Moore’s most significant. The models are handsome and well built as is his standard; however, they aren’t fantastically imagined or include a tale that would add them to his ‘canon’. However, if you’re an E. L. Moore aficionado the manuscript contains a number of important features. I think this is the only project where he modelled stucco as a wall finish, and he explains his technique in the text. He also goes into detail about simple methods for modelling panel doors and window shutters, pens to use for lining, and a digression into how to paint a curtain effect on the inside of window surfaces. And speaking of digressions, there are also some thoughts on pen tips and the ‘60s generation gap, which in our smart-phone gapped age, hardly seems noteworthy at all :-)

E. L. Moore

A couple of fellow model railroaders have complained that there is a dearth of small conventional inexpensive house kits with which to fill their villages. One asked if I couldn’t come up with a plan which might be used in building, say, three different styles of houses. I can’t provide a kit, but this just might provide an answer to the low income housing shortage if one exists.

My design calls for a basic unit 20’ x 30’, a wing 12’ x 15’, and a porch 6’ x 15’. By switching these units around one may combine them into four differently styled houses as shown in Figure 5. Or, by using different sidings one may get as many as a dozen variants from the plan. I built three test houses, as pictured, and combined them into three styles, each built of different siding material so as to arrive at a cost figure. 

I found the balsa stucco job could be built for about half a buck, the clapboard siding for about a dollar, and the one in brick for a little over a dollar and a half. I wish I could promise they could be produced at the rate of, say, one an evening, but the best you can expect is one house in about four evenings, or, if you’re speedy and willing to put in seven days a week, possibly you could turn out two. Three hour evenings, that is. If your union boss will allow longer work evenings, that puts a different light to it.

These houses, although simple in design, have a bit of class afforded by the simple expedient of contrasting color shutters, which cost nothing but the time it takes to make them. The cottages are reminiscent of the building boom of the late twenties, and you’ll still find some of them around today.

Here are three lists of materials (in HO):

Stucco 27” 1/16” x 4” balsa
       6” 1/8” x 3”        “
       36” 1/16” square stripwood
       12” 1/32” x 1/16”
       12” 3/32” square
       6 sq ins acetate

Clapboard 18 1/2” 1/16” x 3 1/2” Northeastern clapboard
          6” 1/8” x 3” balsa
          9” 1/16” x 4”
          36” 1/16” square stripwood
          12” 1/32” x 1/16”
          12” 3/32” x 3/32” stripwood
          6 sq ins acetate

Brick 19” 3 1/2” x 1/16” Northeastern Brick
      6” 1/8” x 3” balsa (or 1/8”) [sic]
      9” 1/16” x 4” “
      48” 1/32” x 1/16” stripwood
      12” 3/32” x 3/32”
      6 sq ins acetate

A general description of building procedures follow, with exceptions as noted, due to different siding materials employed.

For the clapboard house, cut the sides and ends as in Figs 1 and  2 -- sides to be 16’ x 29’, and the ends, after cementing on the 1/16” square stripwood corners, 20’ wide, 16’ at eaves and 23 /1/2’ at peak. Scrape the lower two feet of each piece smooth -- the foundation brick paper will later be cemented here.

An exception to above is made when cutting out balsa for stucco and brick sheet for brick house. These sides should be full 16’ x 30’ and the ends 20’ wide as the corners will need to be mitered are joined.

The wing as shown in Fig. 3 has sides 11’ long, 15 3/4’ high and two similarly shaped ends (rear one not shown may be of balsa) and after cementing on the 1/16” square stripwood corners, should be 15’ wide, 15 3/4’ at eaves and 20 1/2’ at peaks. Of course, in the stucco and brick structures the sides and ends will be a full 12’ long and 15’ [sic], and the corners mitered to fit.

Window and door openings next. I lay mine out using rule, razor blade and awl, for accuracy. Window openings in the stucco and clapboard houses are all (with exception of attic window openings which are 2 1/2’ x 4’) cut 3 1/2’ x 5 3/4’, and these cased sides and top with 1/16” square stripwood, with bottom sills of 1/32” x 1/16”, and will then take 2 1/2’ x 5’ windows. Attic windows are cased with 1/32” x 1/16” all round. Door openings are 3 1/2’ x 7 1/2’, cased sides and tops with 1/16’ square stuff, with .020 or 1/32” x 1/16” for bottom sill. Exception: brick house has window openings 3’ x 5 1/2’ and are cased all around with 1/32” x 1/16” and doors are 3’ x 7 1/2’ openings and similarly cased.

Window stops (against which acetate windows rest) can merely be strips of thin dark paper cut 1/8” wide and cemented to inside wall so that they overlap window openings about 1/32” all round.

Walls should be assembled in order they are shown in plan. After assembly I added inside corners of 1/8” square balsa strips and floors of 1/8” balsa (or 3/32”) to true units up.

At this point it would be well to choose your colors and paint. A word here, too, is due about obtaining our stucco effects on balsa. I mixed my paint, a little rust and quite a bit of white until I had the desired shade, then loaded this with finely sifted sand, stirring frequently as I brushed it on. When dry I added two more coats of straight paint the same shade, all being thickly applied. When dry I stippled the surface with a shade darker paint and the resulting effect was quite realistic. I used tan, here, for trim color. Now, you can add brick paper, 2’ wide, around bottom.

The plans call for 14 2 1/2’ x 5’ window and 2 2’ x 3 1/2‘ones. These, I laid out in detail, with a sharp pencil, on white card, a portion of which is shown at top of Fig. 4. I taped my acetate over the card, rubbed it lightly with powdered pumice (kitchen cleanser or talc will do) and with pen and ruler I inked the lines using black drawing ink. Cut appart with scissors or razor blade, fit and cement in. I’ve always taken it for granted that every one knew what a pen point was, and that in use it is stuck into a pen holder. Until, that is, a college student disillusioned me and showed me how wide generation gaps can be. I buy the points at an office supply store, 6 for 25¢, and find Gillot #170 fine and Gillot #303 medium to my liking although Speacerian points come in a great variety of styles. I prefer these to modern drawing instruments. Too, I sometimes use frosted acetate, one side dull, the other glossy when see through clarity is not needed. Ink the dull side. And fit with glossy side out. A nice touch before inserting windows is to use brush and water colors on the inside, giving a curtain effect.

I made my doors of thin cardboard previously painted of desired color, then with a dry ball point pen, impressed outlines of panels and cut an opening at tops for acetate. A tiny brass nail of lill is pushed through an .020 hole, the head simulating a doorknob.

The roof next, of 1/16” balsa, 15 1/2’ x 34’, each side. Two sides may be got from a 4” width of balsa by adding a 1 1/2’ wide strip to one of the sides. Top edges of each side should be beveled. A longitudinal strip of 1/16” balsa (or other available thickness) about 1/2 inch wide may be slipped in from peak to peak to strengthen ends and help support roof in the middle.

The placement of the wing will decide how its roof is to be cut. If attached to the side of the basic structure you’ll need to cut away 15’ of the eaves and set the wing in place. Using 1/16” balsa again, cut the two sides according to the outline at top of Figure 3. If the wing is set against the end of the larger unit, then cut pattern on dotted line.

Shingles are desirable for this type of house, and I added an overlay of 1/32” balsa to mine and burned my shingles in with an electric burning pen. However, Shingles Galore are advertised in these pages and will do admirably. 

For variety I gave the stucco house a roof of simulated metal which I painted red. To make this I used 20 lb bond paper, a little heavier than ordinary typewriter paper which has a tendency to split, taping 3 1/2” x 6” sheets over Northeastern .040 spaced corrugated roofing, then using a dry ball point pen as a tool, ran it down every fourth groove. When completed I turned it over and painted it. Aluminum paint may be used, and to take the shine off go over it with diluted Floquil primer. This material is easily cut and fitted and cemented to roof.

I added brick ledges below and above windows and above doors on the brick cottage. For this I painted a sheet of 1/32” thick card stock to match brick. This varies, but 5 parts  caboose red, one of yellow, one of tuscan, and one of white (brushfuls) is average. I rule across this with white ink making lines 1/16” or less apart. Cut strips from this 1/16” wide and cut lengths as required for doors and windows.

The one thing that fancies these little homes most is perhaps the shutters. I painted 3” x 5” index cards the desired color, then outlined each 1 1/2’ x 5 3/4’ shutter with light razor cuts as designated by dotted lines in drawing (see top of Fig. 4). This sample area shows a variety of designs from which to select. I using tan or green I filled in the designs with brown or green ink. However it gets pretty tedious ruling in a lot of lines so after the first lot I selected styles requiring less work. After completion cut apart along the previously razored lines and cement in place beside the windows. The attic shutters are 1 1/2’ x 4’.

Out last bit of carpentering concerns the porch. Form a base 5 3/4’ x 14 3/4’, using strips of balsa, making this 2’ high, and cover with brick paper. Add to top a 6’ x 15’ piece of 3/32” balsa then an overlay of 1/32” which should be scribed. Cement against house. I cut six squares from 1/32” x 1/8” stripwood and positioned these on floor as base for the upright roof supports. Add two 3/32” square stripwood uprights, 10 1/2’ long against the wall of the building. 

Form the porch roof of 1/16” balsa, 7’ x 17’, adding 1/32” thick stripwood to each end as in Fig. 4. Cement roof rear to top of upright, then add the four front posts, these 9 1/2’ high, being sure they line up properly. Make railing by lightly cementing the ends of two strips of 1/32” x 1/16” stripwood, each about 2 1/2’ long, to a piece of cardboard, having previously outlined railing and baluster positions with pencil. Slip a strip of waxed paper between rails, cut your balusters or rungs of 1/32” stripwood and cement them in about one scale foot apart. Then cut off lengths as needed and fit between uprights.

Add steps. For the front ones I outlined the steps with pencil on paper, cemented the paper to 1/32” x 1/8” stringers and cut the step conformations with razor blade. For others, I merely cut balsa of 3/32” thickness to the required width, overlapping the pieces, cemented them together forming simulated concrete steps.

As a variation I used a piece of Northeastern’s three color terra cotta flagstone and made an open terrace for the brick cottage and thereby saved myself a bit of labor.

I made the chimneys of 1/4” square balsa, each 5 1/2’ long, adding a bit of 1/32” balsa around bottom and a narrow strip at top, covering with brick paper and cutting a wedge shaped slice from the bottom to fit the roof -- drill a hole in the top and she’s ready.

Prototype builders have been juggling plans around for many a year, using one set of plans for several style houses, so we’re right in line there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday at car stop #3

Stop #3 is on Sinatra at the intersection with Ocean. From here you can walk to most anywhere on the strip. Right over there, across the track, are a bunch of odd places that I think of as The Block of Unfulfilled Potential.

Everything over there is either unfinished or has no signage or lights or tenants. You see that ’60-ish building over on the right? It’s an acupuncture clinic, but you’d never know by looking at it. A few years back it was restored after an infamous moxibustion-fireworks incident. It was in all the papers. Today, it’s back to normal, but no signage or lights; you just have to know it’s there.
Over on the left is Stella’s Starlight Yoga Studio and Used Record Shop. After an extensive reno to add modern upper levels and refit the ground floor for the record shop, the business never opened. I think they ran out of money, but I’ve never seen a for lease sign on the place. That tall red thing beside it is the new post office building. They made it look like a giant mailbox so people know what it is. Not a bad idea. But, like everything else on this block, it’s not finished.
The main thing here is a sidewalk that leads to Scarboro Square Station and The Bookery. But, even that is still waiting for lights, so nobody uses it at night.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday behind Ma’s Place

I walked over to Ma’s after dinner and found Cal and Andy discussing whether or not to take the new excursion train diesel out for a little run before dark. They got it back from the paint shop in the afternoon, and its Moore Green is still pristine. Just needs a company logo. Diesel 54 where are you? Out in Ma’s sunflower patch, that’s where.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

HOJPOJ Reno: Getting back in the groove

In December I set aside work on the HOJPOJ restoration and focused on getting my layout running for the Christmas holidays. I'm returning to modelling projects now that the holidays are well over. To ease back in I added a layer of Scenic Express Summer Lawn Flock & Turf to the base. When completed, some yellow flocking was lightly sprinkled on top to suggest dandelions. 
Moving back to the building, I started to sort out the smokestack guy-wire situation. A couple were shredded and torn and had to be replaced with new black thread. I spent a lot of time staring at the article and the model trying to figure out where all the threads go. And I noted that on the model were dried glue spots indicating where threads were once attached - a couple of which didn't match the article's photos. In the end I settled on what I think is an acceptable approximation given that the article isn't clear where a subset of threads attach. The threads left dangling are to be glued to the base.

Well, that wraps up repairs to the building. What's left are making the outbuildings and installing everything on the diorama.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

E. L. Moore on selfies

On April Fool’s Day 1962 E. L. Moore submitted a manuscript to Railroad Model Craftsman that would eventually be published as build a Covered Railroad Bridge in the June ’62 issue. Hal Carsterns, editor of RMC at the time, wrote back on 4 April with the good news that he’d accept the manuscript and a request to provide a little biographical material. The covered bridge article was one of the earliest E. L. Moore articles to be published in RMC, so they likely still didn’t know each other too well. Here’s the reply from Mr. Carsterns to set the scene,

April 4, 1962

Well, Eee Ell . . .

I hope we do pick up a lot of Model Trains readers. What with Uncle wanting more and more postage money and other prices going up, we could use a few new readers.

The covered bridge don’t look too bad and it sorta fills a void in our scheduled June issue planning. So – barring any catastroscopes [sic] or last minute changes – the bridge will be in our June issue.

And how about rushing up a photo of you with a brief history.


signed Hal

H H Carsterns

There’s a number of E. L. Moore projects that I’d classify as his high-end, precision builds and the covered bridge is one of them. A few more were to come over his career, but for now, the demand was for some biographical material. This request seemed to touch a nerve – and a humorous one at that. Let’s read!

April 8th, 1962

The Editor,
Himself . . .
R. M. C.  etc.

Ah no, my kind sire, no thumbnail sketch, I beg of you. It would only bring envy to the hearts of those readers who are less fortunate . . . this finding a railroad modeler among the unbedeviled by telephone, television or wife. One who shares none of their wearisome worries over a failing battery or an out-of-date driver’s license, but who is still agile enough to side-step the mad speed demons who are caught up in the mad whirl of today’s rat (or should we say, monkey?) race.

The ape, racing to the moon, holds no fascination for me . . .  I much prefer the sedate company of the tomcat who suns himself out on the back porch.

Happy dreams . . .

signed E. L. Moore

E. L. Moore
525 Oakland Ave., Apt 3
Charlotte 4, N. C.
P. S. Being a photographer, I find it highly unprofitable going around taking pictures of myself – besides it offends my sense of good taste, if any.

This one, taken at nine . . .  or perhaps it was after the ninth drink . . .  I forget which, is still a good resemblance, although I now part my hair on the opposite side.

signed ELM

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday at stop #4

Dead centre at Feynman Beach is car stop #4
The streetcar is the easiest way to get here. It drops you off and picks you up right at the beach, and comes by every half hour like a Swiss watch. But today I’m being the hypocrite: I drove down.
Thursday morning there’s usually some free parking spots nearby, and I had some errands to run later, so I took my van. 
That’s my Dodge in the middle slot. The lot is on Mels Way off Sinatra. Sinatra’s one-way - his way you might say - so if you don’t approach from the right direction, this little lot is tough to get into.
If you insist on driving, there’s a handful of spots on Strayhorn Lane, but the road is narrow and it’s tough to get in and out. On the weekends, forget it. And don’t park at Mels if you’re not going into Mels. They’ll tow your car away. Listen to this hypocrite and take the streetcar.
Not too many people here at this time, but that beachcomber's here everyday. He must have combed this beach clean. I have no idea what he’s looking for. Loose change maybe?
Way down the other end is a great barbecue. Fantastic location. 
Right on the beach and stop #4 is nearby. 
There’s a walkway out front that goes up to Ocean Boulevard, and there’s a few factories on the other side that provide a regular crowd. At lunch time, there'll be a mix of people from all walks of life: surfers, nerdy book buyers from the WBB and The Bookery, workers from Cal’s and Bunn’s and Vicki’s, school-skippers from the beach, the occasional physicist, tourists from Ma's guest houses, swimmers and their parents from the pool, not to mention people like me who just love some good brisket. 
Cal’s is running around the clock these days, so there’s even some barbecue to be had after hours. I suggest a burger and the sweet potato fries.
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