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I have started a mixed hydrocal / wood Ice House kit from Berkshire Valley for a customer. This is actually part of a multi-build that includes multiple sets of the Atlas O Ice House for the same customer.

2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 007

As is usual for plaster kits this one arrived with a broken wall.

2020-08-24 Hollis hydrocal kit [2)

I glued it together then used joint compound to fill in gaps and try to hide the joint glue lines.

2020-08-24 Hollis hydrocal kit [1)

The kit instructions call for gluing the walls together in a certain order. I sanded the sides and back to make them fit better but only glued two walls together. I will let this set up over night then move on. I plan on using either joint compound or Squadron putty to clean up the glue joints.

2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

In the mean time I started on the wood deck. The instructions call for staining the wood first before gluing however I am not much on staining - prefer to paint so I started on the bents. The kit comes with full size patterns for the three different types of bents. All the wood pieces come cut to length. I made copies for the required number of each bent style then used double side tape to hold down the 1/8 inch sq posts. I used a 123 block to line up the ledger to the pattern then attached the ledger and sway braces. I will let these cure over night then attach ledgers and braces to the other side. Before gluing the wood together I roughened them up with a steel brush then lightly sanded the fuss off.

2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002

The last thing done today was to set up for the second style bent however I discovered a problem. As shown below the
pre-cut short post is not long enough. it is supposed to go under the ledger. Fortunately I have extra wood in stock.

2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House post too short

The kit also comes with a mix plastic and metal doors - these were put aside for painting.

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  • 2020-08-24 Hollis hydrocal kit (2)
  • 2020-08-24 Hollis hydrocal kit (1)
  • 2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 007
  • 2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-08-25 Berkshire Valley Ice House post too short
Last edited by Joe Fauty
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Did some more work

Glued another side on to the main building. I cut spacers this time to make sure the walls lined up. As stated above every thing is glued with white Elmer's Wood Glue.

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I painted two doors (interesting one is plastic and one metal) plus a plastic roll up door.

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I started with a dark gray base coat then misted on dark taupe followed by khaki. I am going to mix a solution of black paint to make a wash and see if I can enhance the grooves in the 'wood'.

2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

I started the roll up door with a black base coat then followed up with dull aluminum.

I finished the second side of one bent (see below) then stopped. I was searching the net for finished photos of this kit and ran into one in which the builder (Gralnik??) added an A-frame roof. I am thinking on this but if I do I will need to make new bents with taller posts or see I can cut the post on these bents once the floor is added.

2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

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  • 2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 005
  • 2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-08-26 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

Glued the last wall in the main building and started the small annex

2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

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One thing I learned working with wood was always dry clamp before committing to glue. It is no different when working with plastic or hydrocal. Even after initial sanding I found some air gaps due to wavy edges and promptly sanded those smooth. Not shown is one glue joint on the main building I applied some Squadron putty to. I will take a photo once I sand it down. Depending on how it looks I will apply putty to the other glue joints.

I continued to glue the deck bents. I have decided to build them to instructions then later see if I can build a separate roof structure. I took one roof post from the Atlas O Ice House kit to use as a measuring tool for the Berkshire Valley kit.  This post measures 2 3/8 inches or about 9 feet.

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2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 004

According to the instructions I am to start gluing the individual bents to the annex and main building in order to complete building the deck however I have chosen not to do this. I will have to figure out another way to complete the deck for two reasons
1. I don't want to ship the structure with the deck attached to the building as I think this will present a major  issue since the deck is made from very light fragile wood.

2. The instructions assume the building has been painted and all the wood has been stained. I plan on building the entire deck first then painting.

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Images (4)
  • 2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-08-27 Berkshire Valley Ice House 004

The instructions call for gluing the first few bents to the ice house then proceeding. since I will ship the deck separately I made a glue jig instead.

The horizontal outside beams come in 10 and 12 inch lengths (total deck length is 22 inches). I clamped each bent to the jig in its proper location then using super glue and wood glue attached the four beams. I got a little concerned here since the deck started looking like a roller coaster superstructure instead of sitting flat.

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

 

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Once I started adding the diagonal bracing things started to settle down. I used super glue here since there is very little glue surface and it would take too long for wood glue to set.

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

 

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This is where not gluing the bents to the ice house was an advantage. It was a lot easier gluing the inside diagonals with the deck separate and upside down then trying to glue them with the bents glued to the building.

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2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 007

The instructions call for gluing floor joists. I was not sure how to interpret the instructions so thought it would be a good idea to glue a set of joists against the deck posts then space the remaining joists. I ended up cutting an extra joist to make things look better. right now the deck is built according to instructions. I am going to contact the customer and ask to be allowed to add a roof. If I do so then I will need to trim some of the posts to end up with a flat surface once the deck flooring is attached.

I made also add some reinforcement to the deck joists since I need to plan for shipping. Once the decking is attached the extra wood should not be visible.

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 011

With all the floor joists glue din I went back to the ice house. I had filled in the joints of the main building with Squadron putty. I decided to use spackling compound on the joints of the annex. After sanding both I really could not tell any difference - however the spackling compound is a whole lot cheaper than Squadron putty.

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 008

After sanding the top and bottom flat I added the roof supports then glued the annex to the main building using my highly advanced proprietary clamping tool.

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 009

2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 010

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  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 004
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 005
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 006
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 007
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 011
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 008
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 009
  • 2020-08-29 Berkshire Valley Ice House 010

Did some work on the base and roof structure.

I added the cross bracing on the base

2020-09-05 Berkshire Valley Ice House [1)

Then built the sides for the roof structure. To make the posts line up with the base posts I marked positions on the the '2x12' ledger then used a right angle to glue the posts on.

2020-09-05 Berkshire Valley Ice House [3)

I'm still not sure how I am going to glue the roof posts to the base floor. Every thing is going to be a butt joint. If I had known at the start I was going to make the roof the posts would have been sized to include the roof.

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  • 2020-09-05 Berkshire Valley Ice House (1)
  • 2020-09-05 Berkshire Valley Ice House (2)
  • 2020-09-05 Berkshire Valley Ice House (3)

Below is the roof structure. I used super glue to attached the roof posts -

2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House [2)

then used wood glue to attach the horizontal beams plus some end rafters. Tomorrow I will see if the sub-roof is strong enough on its own not to bend. If not I will need to think of more supporting rafters. Either way I will probably need to glue supports to the sub-roof to keep it from curling up during paint.

2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House [3)

I started to glue in the flooring. As can be seen the scribed wood sections are warped. I used super glue at the ends and wood glue in the middle then weighed down the sections with 123 blocks.

2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House [4)

2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House [1)

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  • 2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House (1)
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  • 2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House (3)
  • 2020-09-09 6 Berkshire Valley Ice House (4)
Last edited by Joe Fauty

I finished gluing in the floor work and added the sub-roof to the roof structure. Again I used super glue and wood glue. Once I get the fence railing on, the roof structure should stiffen up considerably.

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I will sand the roof smooth than plan on using 'tar paper' (heavy black paper I first paint black then gray then sand off the gray in spots to reveal the black again).

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  • 2020-09-11 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-11 Berkshire Valley Ice House 004
  • 2020-09-11 Berkshire Valley Ice House 005

The railings were glued on (super glue) yesterday. I will be designing a swing gate for the track side today. There will be three. The holes in the railing where the swing gates go were cut out after the railing was glued on. Gluing one piece is much easier than trying to align and glue separate railings.

2020-09-14 Bershire Valley Ice House 003

 

2020-09-16 Bershire Valley Ice House 003

 

2020-09-16 Bershire Valley Ice House 004

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  • 2020-09-14 Bershire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-16 Bershire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-16 Bershire Valley Ice House 004

I designed a drop down 'swing gate'. I was unable to find working hinges in O scale so ended up with the design below.

After gluing the gate planks together I glued an 1/8 inch spacer to the bottom then some 'stem' wire to the spacer. I drilled holes into the ends of 1/8 inch bass wood, rounded the ends then cut them to length. When I tried gluing the assembly to the platform the wire came off the spacer. what you don't see is an 1/8 in angle I glued over the wire and onto the spacer.

2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

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After gluing the gate to the platform I ended up gluing an 1/8 piece further down as a stop so the gate would not drop straight down.

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With stop this is as far as the gate will swing down. I still may buy some chain to attach the ends of the gate to the posts.

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Some views of the platform

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2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 006

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  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 007
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 004
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 005
  • 2020-09-17 Berkshire Valley Ice House 006
Last edited by Joe Fauty

I started work on the ice conveyor. The kit comes with two white styrene strips that once thin vertical pieces are glued on gets painted black. since the conveyor was going to end up black I used some black styrene stock I have then wnet over it with flat black paint.

2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 007

I needed to let the paint dry so started the Atlas O ice house kit. I was going to give this a separate post but it is a pretty easy build (at least the house). Every thing is basically keyed to fit its mating piece. below was about 40 minutes of work. The base has slots that main building fit into. One is supposed to glue the walls into the base and with each other however since I want to paint the base a different color I did not glue the building onto it.

2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 002

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2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 006

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  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 007
  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 002
  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 004
  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 005
  • 2020-09-18 Atlas O Ice House 006

I installed the ice conveyor but built it differently from the instructions. Instead of gluing the black styrene to the platform and having to figure out how to mask it when I painted, I glued to bass wood right angles to the platform that the styrene will seat into. The black clips are old oven clips I used to use to clamp lids on ceramic microelectronic packages when sending them down the sealing furnace.

2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001

2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002

2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

2020-09-20 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002

2020-09-20 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

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  • 2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 001
  • 2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-09-19 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003
  • 2020-09-20 Berkshire Valley Ice House 002
  • 2020-09-20 Berkshire Valley Ice House 003

I put the Berkshire Valley kit aside for a day or two so I could assemble one the two Atlas O ice platforms. While a little more involved than the ice house the platform was fairly easy to assemble. I have it in sections to accommodate painting like items. Only issue I ran into was (probably missed reading this in the instructions), there is special end U-shaped cross brace that has holes in it for a ground level platform. It is still sitting on the bench. I could have either drilled holes (most likely mess up position) or just cut off the pins on the platform. I chose to cut the pins. I will be shipping the platform separate any way. The customer can line up the conveyor to the main platform and glue in place.

2020-09-22 Atlas O Ice House 008

Above is the bottom of the upper deck. The cross beams have holes in on the bottom for the U-shaped cross beams and holes on top for roof the posts. I glued the cross beams to the upper platform then glued the platform to the U-shaped posts. As a result I had difficulty mounting the roof posts in correct positions. Next platform I will glue the cross beams onto the U-shaped posts first then use the roof posts to position the upper platform on the cross beams.

2020-09-22 Atlas O Ice House 009

The ground level platform is on the left and the base (will be painted concrete) is on the right.

2020-09-23 Atlas O Ice House 001

Above is the assembled platform. The stairway on the left is not glued to the platform. the roof panels are not glued in place, the ground level platform is not glued to the upper platform and the conveyor structure is not glued to the platform as yet. also the little white shed is not glued in as yet.

2020-09-23 Atlas O Ice House 002

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  • 2020-09-22 Atlas O Ice House 008
  • 2020-09-22 Atlas O Ice House 009
  • 2020-09-23 Atlas O Ice House 001
  • 2020-09-23 Atlas O Ice House 002
Last edited by Joe Fauty

I have been assembling the second Atlas O platform which is going much faster than the first. Learning lessons from the first build I deviated from the instructions and instead of gluing the floor supports to the underside of the floor sections I glued them to the U-shaped platform supports first. I found out from the last build that gluing the floor supports to the flooring first did not ensure holes on the supports would line up with the holes in the flooring for the roof posts.

2020-10-01 Atlas O Ice House 001

Meanwhile I painted the plastic roofs for the Atlas O and conservation boards for the Berkshire Valley buildings. I stated out with flat black then misted on some dark gray followed by a textured paint called wrought iron. The gray tends to add age to the roofs.
Since the Berkshire Valley roofs are flat I may glue on some N scale black ballast to give a rougher appearance.

2020-09-29 Atlas O Ice House 001

2020-09-29 Atlas O Ice House 002

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  • 2020-09-29 Atlas O Ice House 001
  • 2020-09-29 Atlas O Ice House 002
  • 2020-10-01 Atlas O Ice House 001

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