Friday, August 26, 2022


Casting about for summer projects, I decided to tackle more trees for my forest.  I settled upon “furnace filter” speared onto trunks as my basic construction technique for Douglas Fir—the dominant tree in Western Oregon.  I described the technique in my first post on this topic:


I settled on using tree materials from Coastmans Scenery Products:  Coastmans supplies finished trees, tree kits and separate materials:  trunks and branch material.  So far, I have just used the kits, but am about to move to using just the trunks and branch material (mat) as I don’t need much of the other material in the kits, at least for trees well into my forests.  


My first efforts toward making Douglas Fir models were a bit disappointing.  Following instruction by Roger Rasmussen at the 2018 NMRA_PNR Convention in Portland, I split the branch mat material into thin slices before gluing them to the tree trunks.  My efforts left a bit too much space between the disks such that the trees really did not capture the bulk of foliage I see all around me here in Oregon.  That left me disappointed and led to the long wait until this second effort.  As with most artistic ventures, one learns by doing.  I just needed to move that process along.


My earlier blog post (O Tannenbaum!) describes the basic procedure, but I will briefly recap here.  Working over oven pans to capture and control the ground foam that sheds from the branch material mats, I tore suitably sized “disks” of material.  Actually, the “disks were more like squares, but they get further shaped by tugging on the mat material and later trimming it on the developing tree.  I used an awl to poke a hole in the center of each “disk” and then slid the disks down onto the trunk, gluing them in place with white glue.


Making trees.  Working over oven pans helps corral the ground foam shed from the branch material mats for reuse as flocking.


Once the branch material glue sets, further trimming with scissors helps shape the tree.  Spray adhesive is applied and then the ground foam is sprinkled liberally upon the tree “branches.”  Upon reflection, my first effort spaced the branch disks a bit too far apart.  I also did not apply quite as liberal a coating of ground foam as I did on this second round.  As I expected, I needed to augment the flock from the tree kits with more ground foam.  Coastmans uses Woodland Scenics Conifer green Coarse Turf (T1366) on the branch mats, so it is easy to augment the ground foam supply.


Flocking the tree branches.  The three trees on the left have been flocked.  The three on the right are ready for flocking.  Note the space between the thin branch disks on the second tree  from the right.  The flocked trees had similar gaps.


The trees for Round Two.  Most are nine inches tall.  The two in back are eleven inches tall—still short for old growth Douglas Fir.  Both are suitable for layout scale.


I am much happier with my second effort at tree making.  The keys to success were a bit closer spacing of the branch mat disks on the trunks and a more liberal dusting of turf “flocking.”  With this success, I am ready to start my production line.  Think thousands of trees….

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