Category: "Ivy Hollow, RFD Post Office - HBS Creatin' Contest 2019"

Mail Wagon in real life

by brae  

After discovering the Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum, I figured I would try to find the real deal within road trip distance.  As luck would have it, there's one at an old post office about 40 minutes south of me.  And, further to my good fortune, a lovely blog reader generously offered me her collection of miniatures magazine and a few books.  Since she was also south of me, I made a morning of it.  I met with her to pick up the magazines and then headed over to the Oak Park post office.  This is a beautiful building, but there is no dedicated parking.  Luckily, it was a nice day and the library parking garage was just across the street.

The mail wagon did not disappoint.  :D

I knew the cabin itself would be skinny, but you can see just how wide the wheel axles are in relation.

It's very shiny, so I had to be mindful of not getting my own reflection.

Now I have detailed pics of the undercarriage and detailing of an actual mail wagon.  As much as I love the idea of the sliding doors on some examples I've seen, I will likely go with the "easier" hinged doors and sliding upper window.

Ivy Hollow - screen door, part 1

by brae  

Before I can build a new frame for my Houseworks door and screen door, I need to build said screen door.  I'll want the screen door to be fairly thin but stable enough for hinges.  I'm using the sandwich method I used on the Otter Cove modern door with a few changes.  In fact, the solid door I'll be using is the leftover part from Otter Cove's door frame.  :D

I started with a new package of Aluminum Micro-Mesh by Scale Scenics. This material is finer and stiffer than the screen material that came with the Greenleaf screen door, though I do like the black a little better.  I have tried painting this mesh before without success, so perhaps I will try some blackening product on it to see if that will work.  If not, I hope the silver metal won't be too much for a darker color door.  If so, I might have to change my planned trim colors.

The package comes with black cardstock to show off the mesh, so I used that for my inner portion.  Nothing goes to waste that can serve a purpose.  :]

I cut a rectangle the size of the Houseworks door.

I cut the mesh to fit as best as possible over the Houseworks door.  I will build an outer frame similar to the solid door.

I marked the rough placement on the black card stock.

I cut out an inner rectangle that would encompass the mesh.

Using the solid door as a guide, I cut a border from 3/8" by 1/16" strip wood for the top and sides, and 1/2" by 1/16" strip wood for the bottom.  I went with wider boards not only because the mesh is limited in size but also because I need the door to be substantial enough to function.  If you look up vintage wood screen doors, you'll find a lot of heavy, substantial doors.  I can hear the bang as it slams shut in the wind.  :D

The cardstock fits over the strip wood, and the piece of mesh fits inside the cardstock.

Another set of matching wood strips completes the other side of the door sandwich.  :]  I'll add some crossbars and supports later during the final assembly.

None of this is glued, because it would never stay together during the painting process.  I'll paint the initial coat on these pieces (and crossbar strips) and attempt to darken the mesh next, then I will assemble and touch up the paint.  Stay tuned....

Ivy Hollow - new walls

by brae  

I'm using the kit walls to make my new ones.  Why bother altering when I can cut new ones fresh?  It's a shame to waste the material when a few cuts and a few additions will make the shapes I need, and I have plenty of scraps without having to buy new boards.  For the new roof piece, I will use a fresh board since I want completely stable boards in the front and back, but the walls will be covered with exterior and interior finishes that will stabilize any patches or joins.

I used the foam core board patterns to mark the original walls.

I'm not especially worried about a precise fit since the finishes will cover any gaps.

I cut a plywood scrap to complete the missing portion of the gable, using the factory corner for the peak since it would be straighter than any cuts I could make with hand tools.  :]  I will wait to cut the new window openings after I know the furnishing placement inside.

Using a carpenter's square and wood glue, I attached the gable to the walls.

The plywood is slightly thinner than the mdf, so I made sure the outside was flush by weighing down the join with canned goods.  The wall on the left shows the original window opening.  I will wait to patch this opening once I know where the window placement will be, if I put a window on this wall at all.

To keep the walls from bowing while the glue dries, I added more cans on the bottom edge as well.

Rare find

by brae  

Along the way of researching, I often run into old books due to the era I choose to emulate in my builds.  Making a turn of the century mail wagon led me on such a journey.  There are other books I'll mention, but this one is a true gem.  It's called Plans and Dimensions of U.S. Mail Wagon of 1880 by A.S. Dodd.  In 1951, Jack D. Rittenhouse published a reprint of the article from a magazine called The Hub and limited it to 295 copies.  Given the rarity, it's not surprising to find that there are only seven libraries that have a copy, six of which are universities.

I tried to obtain a copy through interlibrary loan, but the request was denied due to the item's status as non-circulating.  The closest locale was over 700 miles away, so a road trip wasn't really in the cards.  I wrote to the Wyoming State Library to see if their copy was circulating since it didn't indicate that it was not.  A staff member replied that they would send it out of state but it would have to be kept on the premises of my local library.  That was perfectly acceptable to me, so off my request went.

It showed up a short time later, and the library staff indicated I could see it on my usual Bookmobile stop since the Bookmobile was considered library property.  But, I wanted to be able to take my time and perhaps make some copies if it turned out to be a good resource, so I waited until the upcoming weekend to head to the library.  My boyfriend and I went to the library and saw an amazing bit of history.  While not particularly useful for my project, the booklet was simply wonderful.

The booklet was set into a card folder to protect it, but it was still worn from handling and age.  I don't know if libraries still stamp due dates with the modern barcode technology, so it might have been checked out since 2003, or maybe not.

The copy was held together with tape in some places, so we gingerly made copies and took photos.

When we got home after dinner, I did another quick google search and a copy popped up on amazon.  The listing indicated it was in like new condition and included a 1981 stamp of the very mail wagon featured in the booklet.  It was pricey, but when it arrived, it was more than worth it.  :D

There's a little separation of the outer page along the fold, but other than that it is perfect.  The stamp sleeve has been signed by the publisher.

Such a great addition to the original reprint.

So, now we know there are eight still floating around for sure - seven at libraries and mine.  :D

Ivy Hollow - more trials

by brae  

I decided to build the walls on top of the floor board instead of having it inset.  I will have to be more careful to make things square when I assemble, but this gives an additional 5/8" in interior wall height and solves some issues I could foresee with the angled wall joining the side and front walls.

I wanted to try something, but I traced my current walls onto paper to save the templates before I made any alterations.

Since I thought about not using the gable window, it seemed shame to lose the shape of the kit as drastically as I did in the first draft. I cut the side walls back to the original roof pitch to see what it would look like.  I think I'll go with the former option.

While nice, this shape just doesn't appeal to me in the same way for this particular build idea.  I think I fell in love with the inspiration picture too much to go with anything other than "house" shaped.  :]

For comparison, here is the original mockup.

Either way, I'm pretty much sold on the smaller attic windows, and it seems everyone else was in agreement.  :D  Should make for a tad more swearing than usual while attempting to make tiny awnings.  haaaaaaaaaa

So that's it for now.  I need to build the door frame and screen before I finalize the angled wall.  I will also go back to the furnishings just to be sure what I want included will indeed fit.  This is why I tend to leave a kit in dry fit so long, leaving me time to discover other possibilities and desires for the build as I seek out inspirations and research the real deal.  :]  Right now, I'm imagining postal supplies, mail, packages, a desk of some sort, the mail sorter/teller and a countertop, possibly with a gate or lift-top entry.  If I have a hard time filling the space with only mail related items, I might have a few sundries for sale.  I have a few surprises up my sleeve from my research, too.  Stay tuned!

If anyone is interested in the Hofco windows, I put them up on eBay.

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