Building Display Frames

Living in an apartment, my modelling is often constrained to the size of a bookcase shelf.  Fortunately, the furniture from the “Unhappiest Place on Earth” known to most as Ikea, is very handy for building dioramas or tiles on.  What the shelves are less good at is being presentable when they are not in a bookcase.  The solution to this, is a few feet of relatively cheap project pine from the Home Depot, and a few hours somewhere with a saw and a flat work surface.

imgp6225rawconvMy Toronto Railway Museum “Railway Village Diorama”.  Built on an extended Ikea Shelf and set into a frame to make it look presentable on display.

Many months ago I wrote about model railroading in small spaces and the joys of Ikea bookcases.  I’ve got several dioramas built or on the go that are built on just the bookshelf, unlike the Railway Village where I extended the shelf.  This means I needed to build two different sized frames for Ikea shelves, and one for the model of 587 Yonge Street that I am building on a 12×12 inch tile.  So with what I needed to build determined, I quickly drew up some plans in AutoCAD at lunch on Friday, and figured out what lumber i needed.  Based on my plans, I’d wind up with less than 10″ of off cuts left over from two 1x3x8 and one 1x2x4 pine hobby boards from Home Depot.  So off, I went on Saturday afternoon to collect the lumber and screws, then down to my not in the apartment wood shop and workshop.  Having somewhere to go with tools is very handy.  I scheduled myself so I would be arriving there before the regular crew left, which meant that I would have someone else present for any cutting in accordance with the safety rules, but when I was drilling and gluing the frames, I could work on my own while not disrupting the regular restoration crew.

How to kill two hours on a Saturday evening, 20′ of lumber and some Ikea Shelves.  But, I now have three display boxes rough finished.

With the rough work in getting everything together, and an initial sand with the belt sander to even out the sides and soften the edges, I can finish the boxes at home at my leisure.  A bit of wood filler on the screws, and some detail sanding with sanding blocks or just sheet sandpaper can all be done on our balcony when it warms up again, and then a coat or two of satin black paint to make them blend into the background.  I don’t actually have any shows or events that I am planning on going to in the near future, though I may have an outing for one of them in late April at the Ontario Narrow Gauge show.  I am debating if I will have my narrow gauge shelf for Talyllyn in a state to attend, or if just the loco will go.  It will entirely depend on how productive the next couple of months are.

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