Friday, April 29, 2011

Uncle Charley’s Bookery: Books, books, books, and more books

1965 must have been quite a year for E.L.Moore. As far as I can tell, he published 6 articles about building structures in RMC, and I think that was the most articles he had published in a single year until then:
Ye Olde Corner Drugstore
Tonsorial Parlor
Small Manufacturing Plant
Major Hoople’s Brick Warehouse
Yard Blacksmith Shop
Uncle Charlie’s Bookery

I thought publishing 6 construction articles in one year was pretty impressive, but I later found out that Mr. Moore was just getting cranked up in ’65, because the following years typically saw 8 or 9 articles per year! An impressive legacy of fascinating scratch-building projects to say the least. I wouldn’t have time to build 6, let alone 9 in a single year. I find that his projects seem deceptively simple; and they are with respect to technology, but not in the number of steps and phases of construction.

Interestingly, 4 of the ’65 projects also had interiors of one sort or another, which I’m finding really adds to the total build time. They’re not all loaded up with HO-scale books, but they do have their unique construction challenges. I haven’t really built all that many interiors; in fact, I think it’s just one: the ersatz servicing area in the engine house – and that was many years ago! Well, ok, now that I think of it, there was the viewing area / interior in the Buddha’s Overlook project, although it’s far from a full interior.

The Bookery’s shelved books were rather pleasant to make. I followed the instructions in Mr. Moore’s article, but instead of painting the book spines with brush and paint, I used a selection of coloured, fine-point Sharpie pens. This made the task easier and faster. I also considered skipping the step of indenting the book strip at each spine edge with a knife. This didn’t work out because the indentation prevents the ink from bleeding between spines and gives you a nice sharp division between books.

Window blanks ready for trimming & inking.
Where the books gave some pleasure, the windows took some away. Well, the flat windows were a chore, but, surprisingly, the front bow window was rather easy. Mr. Moore stated he used commercial windows for the flat ones since he had some suitable ones around.

Inking a window on a template.
I tried to make the flat ones look sort of like the ones in his Bookery using his old-school inking method. My window openings weren’t quite square so there was some fiddling and finessing needed to get each window to fit properly. The window beside the side door was particularly troublesome and required 4 attempts to get something that was acceptable - over enthusiastic trimming and sloppy inking on my part conspired to try my patience. On the other hand, the bow window was very easy to make and install, and went in on the first attempt. I made my version in 3 pieces; whereas, Mr. Moore made his from a single clear sheet with folds to make the bow. All my windows are held in place with Micro-Krystal Clear.

This poor thing donated the fireplace horns.
Mr. Moore’s Bookery has a clock above the fireplace mantel. The fireplace reminded me of the one in my father’s house, but his has a set of steer horns on it from a long ago trip to Texas. I liberated a set of horns from a donor toy cow leftover from a project in a larger scale, painted them a bit, and glued them above the row of oversize books on the mantel.

I think I’m in the home stretch now. I’m in the process of standing up the walls, attaching them to the base, and adding some furniture.

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