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Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  02:03:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Back on page 2 of this thread, Terry Stapleton asked about how durable the carved wall surfaces are in the balsa foam. In my answer to him I was going off the very limited experience I had with the foam at that time.

I would like to update my response to his question as I feel that I have handled the foam enough to say that I was a bit tentative in my earlier assessment of the foam. Once the foam is primed and painted, it appears to be very durable. I have had my fingernail catch on various stone edges and have not experienced any issues with destruction of the stone surface. In fact, I have discovered that the foam is actually a bit difficult to carve/cut once the foam is primed and painted. I'm not sure at this point in time if the Gesso which I'm using as a primer is the primary stabilizer or if acrylic paints alone with do the job, but I'm finding that the foam is actually very tough and resistant to damage by accidental finger pressure or poking with pointed objects. Coupled with how strong the glue joints are turning out, using Tight Bond II wood glue, I'm feeling very confident that the material will be able to withstand the rigors of multiple train shows and lots of abuse by viewers.

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  07:59:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice job on those windows Kris. Nice update on using the foam.

Guess your ready to do the sliding door?


"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 12521 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  1:05:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jerry, and yes, moving on to the sliding door as your finely tuned crystal ball foretold.

Since this is a bit of a different door than what I have in the tutorial on building doors, I'll try to document a bit here what I've done to scratch build this door and hanger.

The hanger and wall mounting system will be constructed from styrene. I find that I can get styrene to look like metal fairly easily with just a bit of paint and chalk. I also think that the construction with styrene will allow me to obtain some fairly strong joints as the styrene is actually melted by the solvent to make a bond at the joints. As I don't have any very thin flat strap brass, I'll be using a bit of brass wire to form the door hangers and door handle.

First, to assist myself mainly, I had to make a sketch to help me mentally understand how the door hanger probably worked. I suspect that there were a few 'buffer' blocks or metal pieces to help hold the door away from the wall. I suspect that these buffer blocks were somehow attached to the main mounting plate behind the door.

I've shown the wall plans drawn by Michael Blazek which I'm using here. I've then shown how I suspect the door hanger assembly worked from a hand drawn edge view. Sorry.... I don't do CAD and this is just a quick sketch to assist me in the process of construction.

The first picture is of the plan set showing the sliding door in relation to the wall. The second picture shows a close-up of the plans to provide you with an idea of how detailed Mike's drawings are.

The last picture shows my sketch of the door and hanging assembly from an edge view.

Now... off to grab some styrene and wire...

As always, comments and thoughts are more than welcome. Please feel free to let me know if I've got the door hanging assembly wrong. I'm just guessing here.

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  1:55:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bummer Guys.... Someone isn't speaking up... How in the world did all of you, and me, miss that fact that the first two doors as I've built them would not work!

As I've built them, there is no break in the door header(s) and footer(s), making these doors more of a slider than two doors which swing outward...

Guess I'll get out a small saw and cut, or at least make groves, to represent the two door sides.

I can't believe we all missed that one!!

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 05/02/2015 :  3:10:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kris, I though they lifted opened into the mill like the door on the V&T freight depots.

It's only make-believe

Country: USA | Posts: 5656 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  6:24:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For the door hangers, you could use some of the Tichy Old Time Boxcar door hardware: https://www.tichytraingroup.com/Shop/tabid/91/c/doors1/p/3070/Default.aspx


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

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Premium Member

Posted - 05/02/2015 :  7:45:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great idea Dave... I knew that I should have waited for some feedback prior to continuing. But that sure is a viable option.

I have constructed the door using the guides and triangles/squares to keep things square and on a strip of Scotch Tape to hold the components together while gluing.

1) The door is constructed using HO scale 2x6 strip wood, including the header and footer bracing.
2) I primed a HO scale 1x6 styrene strip with Krylon 'Rust' colored primer from a rattle can.
You can see the components in the following picture.

3) I applied the 1x6 styrene to the header and footer bracing using Aleen's Tacky Glue.

4) Grandt Line 1 3/4 inch N-B-W's, #5046 were colored with Vallejo 'Burnt Cad. Red', #70814 using a small sable liner brush.

5) Remove the door assembly from the Scotch Tape. Trim and remove the excess header and footer bracing using a single edge razor in a holder/handle.

6) Use a stright pin to mark/make locating holes for the for the N-B-W's in the footer brace. Make sure that the holes are over the center of where a board is located so that the N-B-W bolt would not go between boards.

7) Enlarge the holes just a bit using a #76 (approximate size) wire bit in a pin vise. I installed four N-B-W's in the footer brace.

8) Remove the individual N-B-W's from the sprue using a styrene flush nipper. (I tend to use Xuron flush nippers. http://xuron.com/index.php/main/consumer_products/3/131 ) Cut the N-B-W head from the sprue as close to the head of the N-B-W as possible, using the bottom side of the washer as a guide.

9) Add a small amount of liquid plastic glue (solvent) to the appropriate hole in the footer and then place the N-B-W casting over the hole using the nub on the bottom side of the N-B-W as a guide.

10) Next, add a door handle plate. Cut a scale 10 or 12 inch length of 1x6 styrene to make the plate. Use a scale piece of square strip wood to obtain a square and accurate cut from the stock styrene strip.

11) Attach the door plate to the door using Aleen's Tacky Glue. Place the bottom edge of the plate at a scale 3 foot height.

**The door as it is currently.**

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/04/2015 :  8:28:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks all for taking a look-see. Appreciate the attention the thread is getting.

Moving on the the hanger assembly for the door. Please note that the assembly sequence is important due to the fragile and minimal gluing surfaces available for the creation of the window in the door.

The backplate to the hanger is a strip of Evergreen Strip .010x.080, #104.

11) Paint the .010x.080 strip with Krylon Rust colored primer from a rattle can.
12) Cut a length of back plate from the colored .010x.080 styrene. I cut my piece a scale 12 foot.
13) Attach the backplate strip to the wall using Aleen's Tacky.

The following picture shows the way I used a square and triangle while attaching the backplate to the wall. I aligned the backplate to be just at the lower sill on the horizontal window above the door.

The second window is a close-up of the attached backplate.

Buffer Blocks:
Buffer Blocks were cut from Evergreen .020x060 strip styrene, #123.
14) Color the .020x.060 styrene strip using the Krylon Rust colored primer.
15) I added two short buffer blocks to the exposed backplate and then a longer single piece which will be hidden by the door. The longer piece is to allow for as much gluing surface as possible. Note that the longer piece of styrene was aligned with the bottom edge of the backplate.
16) A scale 4x4 spacer was added towards the lower part of the area where the door will be sitting. This is to further add additional glue surface and to help hold the door away from the wall surface in the appropriate plane.
17) The backplate and buffer blocks were then painted with Vallejo 'Aged Pewter' (Reaper Master Series of paint colors) #09196. This paint was applied using a dry brush, stippling technique.

The picture below shows the addition of the buffer blocks and lower door spacer.

Door Hanger Plates:
Working on a flat surface, (I use glass plates) cut the 1x6 styrene pieces to length. Since I have 2x6 strip wood in my doors, I wanted to have the hanger plates cover two pieces of wood.
18) To easily obtain 12 inch lengths of 1x6 styrene with 90 degree end cuts, I made use of a simple cutting jig.
19) My glass plates have a piece of 1/4 inch square wood guides glued to the glass surface. I laid the 1x6 strip of styrene against the wood guide.
20) A piece of 2x12 stryene was placed at a 90 degree angle to the wood guide end, and then a small triangle was used to press and hold the 2x12 piece in place.
21) The 1x6 styrene strip was extended past the end of the wood guide, over the 2x12 strip stock and butted up against the edge of the triangle. Ths provided just a scale 12 inches of 1x6 extending past the end of the wood guide.
22) The 2x12 stock piece and triangle were removed while holding the 1x6 styrene stock in place.
23) The end of the wood guide was used to control the placement of the blade edge for cutting the 1x6x12 from the styrene stock.

24) Touch-up the end cuts of the two hanger guides so that the raw styrene does not show. Color using a toothpick end dipped in a drop of Vallejo Burnt Cad. Red and roll the toothpick over the styrene edges.
25) Attach the 12 inch lengths to the door, aligning the hanger plates to the bottom edge of the top door brace. Make sure to align the plates so that they fit appropriately over just two of the door vertical panels. Again, Aleen's Tacky was used.

Picture below shows the door with the hanger plates installed. Also shown are the window sash casting and the wood block used to hold the door piece while cutting the window opening into the door.

I have a few smaller 90 degree wood blocks which I find useful in a wide variety of different situations. These blocks are simply small pieces of 1 in thick wood glued together at 90 degree angles. I have added small slots in the joints to allow for the gluing of styrene and other components so excess glue does not marr the components surfaces. Some joints have the saw blade kerf which if often too large for the small dimensions we work with, so I will scribe the joint with a dental pick or x-fine hack saw blade to obtain a thin slot.

Door Window:
The window in the door was made using strip wood for the frame and a Grandt Line Outfit Car Window casting, part #5059. I was unable to use the frame casting as I destroyed both castings on the sprue trying to modify them. Thus, only the sash casting was used.

26) Apply painters masking tape to the backside of the door assembly. Trim excess tape.
27) Layout the window opening to be cut using the window frame casting. I used a 10x10 strip wood placed against the bottom edge of the top door brace to align/obtain the top edge of the window opening.
28) Cut out the opening using new #17 and #11 blades. Square the corners with a triangular needle file.
29) Polish the window opening edges with a piece of scrap strip wood. I used a scale 10x10. This will remove the small wood splinters and scrap painters tape from the edges of the opening.

NOTE: For the following steps, work from the front of the door, keeping the door on a flat surface so that the back side of the door is flat and all the surfaces on the front side are in the same plane. Only the bottom sill should be sticking out past the front surface of the door.
30) Cut and install the bottom sill. This is cut from 2x4 strip wood stock. Tight Bond II wood glue was used.
31) Cut and install the header using 1x2 strip wood.
32) Cut and install the two vertical side frame pieces from the 1x2 stock. You may note that I had to add two pieces of the 1x2 stock on the left side due to my opening being a bit over-sized.
33) Install the Grandt Line sash casting.
34) Remove the painters tape from the back side of the door.
35) Glue a over sized piece of window glazing to the back side of the door. The excess glazing is to provide a glue surface to hold the door assembly together around the window. I used Aleen's Tacky around the edge of the glazing.

Pictured below is the back side of the door showing the over-sized piece of window glazing. I have drawn pencil lines around the edges of the glazing to assist in viewing the size of the glazing sheet.

A close-up view of the door resting in place on the wall. Note the use of two pieces of 1x2 on the left side of the window frame in the door due to the opening being cut too large.

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Edited by - hon3_rr on 05/05/2015 12:21:35 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/08/2015 :  1:34:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, been a few days since an update so I thought that it's about time to show the completed door.

I want to thank all who have peeked in as there have been a couple hundred views since the last update and I don't think that they are all bots.

Base Weathering:
Once everything was good and dry I started in on the overall base weathering of the door.
36) A light wash of Silverwood was applied to the backside of the door. The face of the door was placed face down on a rag to help draw the Silverwood wash through the door slots. The wash was applied with a #4 round watercolor brush.

Hanger Assembly
The hanger sticking out horizontally above the door opening was made from a piece of .010x.030 styrene strip.
37) Color the styrene strip with Burnt Cad Red applied with a 2/0 liner. Make sure to get the edges. Set aside to dry.

Roller Hanger
38) Cut to length a colored piece of styrene strip, .015x.100, Evergreen #115. Cut to match the length of backplate currently mounted on wall.
39) Touch-up cut ends with Burnt Cad. Red using a toothpick.
40) Edge glue into position with Aleen's Tacky.
41) Test fit with door to insure that front edge of the Roller Hanger is even with the edge of the top door brace. Mine aligned perfectly.
42) When glue has dried color the top and underside of the Roller Hanger with Vallejo 'Aged Pewter'. Use the same painting technique as earlier to obtain the same coloring effects.

Roller Spacer:
43) Color a strip of .015x.010 styrene black. Allow to dry.
44) Attach to door header brace, the wood part only. When installed, the styrene does not cover the vertical door boards and is just behind the styrene piece covering the face of the top door brace. This piece of styrene will provide a small gap/space to simulate the hanger rollers.

Installed piece of small styrene strip (black) on top of the door to provide hanging door gap.

Hanger Assembly:-Continued
45) Fabricate the hanger assembly from the colored .010x.030 styrene strip. This will be fabricated from three individual pieces of styrene fitted together for make the hanger.
(Note: Paper could be substituted here but would not provide the thickness of the hanger I desired. Paper however, would be much easier to work with, so consider it as an option.)
46) Cut two pieces of styrene almost the width of the door hanger plates and glue into place. When gluing into place, leave a small gap to place a piece of styrene vertically under the edge of the top door brace.
47) Cut two small pieces of styrene to cover the width of the top door brace. Make sure that the cut pieces are even with both the top and bottom edges of the door brace when installed.
48) Cut very small pieces of styrene and glue to the bottom edge of the door brace, forming a hanger going around the door. Allow excess styrene to stick up above door surface while glue is drying.
49) Use a flush cut nipper or cuticle nipper to remove excess styrene so that the piece is flush with the top piece of the door hanger.

Detail Top Door Brace:
50) Drill pilot holes and add N-B-W's in top door brace. I added 4 castings; two castings between the hangers and one on each end just outside of the hangers.

Door Handle:
The door handle is formed using .020 brass wire.
51) Bend brass wire over end of square jaw pliers.
52) Cut excess wire length from legs of formed handle. You want only about 1/4 inch of length in legs.
53) Working on a wood block, use handle as a marker for drilling holes in the door handle plate. Simply press wire handle into place leaving small score/punch marks.
54) Using a slightly oversized bit, drill holes through the handle plate and door. I used a #73/.024 bit.
55) Clean brass handle in ETOH bath.
56) Color handle with blacking agent like Blacken-It.
57) Press handle into place with legs sticking thru back side of door. Apply a dab of Aleen's Tacky to back side of door over protruding legs. Use a glue which will dry here as you don't want a glue blob visible from angled or side viewing. I normally use 5-minute epoxy but I didn't have any handy.
(TIP: Use a small piece of wood, styrene or drill bit to place under door handle while being inserted to make it easy to keep the handle vertical and at about 4 scale inches from door plate.)


Final Touch-up and Weathering
58) Touch up the cut ends of styrene and door plate with Burnt Cad. Red as needed.
59) Touch-up with a light application of Aged Pewter applied using a stippling technique with a small brush to all of the door hanger assembly.
60) Using soft pastels (do not use weathering powders due the the adhesive contained in the poweders) apply a light coat of rust colored pastels to the metal parts of the door and door hanger. I also used some powdered pencil lead applied to sparingly to the top door brace. The lead was applied a bit more heavy on the bottom door plate and lightly to the handle plate. Golden Airbrush Medium was used with a small brush creating a paste mixture of either the rust or graphite prior to being applied. Excess coloring was removed by using a wash of the Air Brush Medium over the area with a Kleenex to absorb excess wash. Hold the door on the Kleenex and apply the wash with the brush, dragging the excess wash/color off of the door into the Kleenex.
61) Apply a diluted wash of Rust-All to the door, running the Rust-All down the door below the hanger plates. You will be able to better control the Rust-All wash if you apply a thin film of water with a small liner brush prior to the Rust-All application. If needed, apply water to the wash to further dilute and limit the rust stain coloring. Use a Kleenex to absorb excess wash or water.
62) Using a small liner brush, apply a diluted wash of Silverwood to the door base and around the door handle.
63) Highlight the metal areas with a light dry-brushing of 'Silver' Stencil Magic Cream Paint. (Obtain from Michael's/Hobby Lobby)
64) Apply very diluted washes of Rust-All running down stone wall below bluffer blocks and end of door hanger.

Below are a few pictures of the door in place.

Overall view of wall with door in place:

Close-up of door in place:

Hanger Edge Close-up:
Download Attachment:

Close-up of bluffer block coloring showing Stencil Paint coloring:

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/08/2015 :  2:47:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Now that is one fine looking door. Great weathering on that Kris.


"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 12521 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 05/10/2015 :  9:53:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For variety in the 3-D effects on this wall, I want to build a pair of door with one side open. The open door should show enough of the inside of the door to interior bracing and the door 'latch' hanger. This final opening in this wall served the Gilpin Tram which was a two foot gauge railroad. Ore cars were backed into the mill to be unloaded.

Large Door Opening
Frame Large Door Opening:
65) Using 2x12 strip wood and test fit framing. Carve foam as needed.
66) Lid stain cut ends of the frame with a light A-I wash.
67) Make sure to recolor/touch-up the black areas with paint as needed from the fitting process.
67) Line the door opening with 2x12 strip wood. Install the header first. Attach with wood glue.
68) Install the two vertical side frame pieces.
69) When the glue had dried, fill any gaps between the wood frame and stone wall with lightweight spackling.

Fabricate Doors:
(70) Using the colored 2x6 strip wood, cut door boards to length. Leave a wide opening at the base of the door for the track to enter the structure.
(71) Layout the cut door boards in the opening to insure fit and determine the number of boards cut. Adjust the board count as needed to provide equal number of boards for each door. Adjust fit and board count if needed with the addition of different width boards. Color any needed lumber of different width to match current coloring. Since my fit was fairly close and I had an odd number of boards, I added one additional 2x6 to my board count. As the opening will have one door ajar, the slight over-sized door widths will not be noticed.

Door boards laid out in opening to verify board count and fit.

(72) Lid stain door board ends, staining each board individually to avoid excessive wicking of A-I wash. Make sure to stain both ends of each board.
(73) Layout boards on double-sided tape using squares/triangles to keep boards straight and tight together.

Door boards laid out on double-sided tape.

(74) Cut four pieces from 2x6 colored stock to form the horizontal braces at both the top and bottom of each of the doors.
(75) Lid stain cut ends, again staining each board individually.
(76) Using wood glue, glue the horizontal brace boards into position. Align the horizontal braces with the top and bottom edges of the door boards.

Using a triangle to assist in the alignment and placement of the horizontal brace boards.

(77) Cut 4 pieces of 'Rust' colored styrene from the 1x6 stock to match the length of the horizontal door braces. Do this now as the cutting jig (in my case a Chopper II) is currently set-up for the appropriate length.
(78) Touch-up the cut ends of the styrene with Burnt Cad Red paint.
(79) Glue the styrene into place over the horizontal header & footer bracing using Aleene's Tacky Glue.
(TIP: Use a piece of square strip wood to tease and press styrene into place. The wood will not marr styrene surface like a metal object such as tweezers. The square edges of the strip wood can be used to remove excess glue from the styrene-wood joint.)

Styrene 'metal' plates in position on the horizontal door braces.

(80) Using 2x6 wood stock, cut to length and fit the vertical door braces. Four braces are needed.
(81) Lid stain the individual boards, both ends.
(82) Using wood glue, position and glue the boards into place. Use a small piece of square strip wood to help position the board, align the edges of the brace with the door boards and remove any excess glue.
(83) Using 2x6 wood stock, cut the diagonal braces to fit. Make sure the diagonal bracing matches the doors made previously. Use a #17 chisel blade held against the vertical bracing to make a score mark where the diagonal bracing needs to be cut to fit correctly.
(84) Lid stain the cut ends of the diagonal bracing.
(85) Using wood glue, position and glue the diagonal bracing in place.

Diagonal bracing installed.

(86) Remove doors from double sided tape.
(87) Flip doors over and remove excess brace/styrene using a single edge razor blade. Use the razor blade held against the door edge to obtain an accurate cut.

Fabricated doors for large opening prior to removal of excess bracing.

Fabricated doors for large opening ready for backside detailing.

(88) Repeat steps needed to build up frame on the backside (inside) of each door. **DO NOT** use double sided tape to hold doors in position unless some of the 'tackyness' of the tape has been removed from the side holding the door by repeated adhesion and removal from some surface prior to using the tape to hold the doors.
-- When adding the diagonal bracing make sure that the bracing is in opposite direction from the front face of the door.
(89) Trim excess bracing/styrene from door which may be left from the addition of backside bracing.

Test fitting of doors with double-sided bracing and prior to detailing and final weathering.

(90) From backside of doors, apply a Silverwood wash using a #4 round brush. Face of the doors should be on a rag to help pull excess wash thru door boards and wick excess wash away from the face surfaces. This will add shadows to the individual bards edges and bracing boards edges.
(91) Immediately after application of Silverwood remove the doors from the rag to dry. This will help to prevent accidental staining of face surfaces.

Detailing of large doors
(92) Working on wood block, drill pilot holes for N-B-W's into the front face horizontal bracing, both the top and bottom braces. I used four N-B-W's per door.
(93) Add the N-B-W's to all of the holes on the front sides of both doors.
(94) Add N-B-W's to only the visible holes on the inside of the open door. In my case, this was only the first three holes nearest the opening. The 'closed' door does not require any N-B-W's on the inside.
(95) Stipple the metal parts with Aged Pewter. Use a semi-dry brush. I used a #10/0 angular shader.
(96) Lightly dust with a 'rust colored' soft pastel mix all metal parts. (DO NOT use weathering powders.)
(97) Apply a light coat of Rust-All to all metal surfaces using a #2 bright brush.
(98) Using a piece of scrap 2x6 wood, cut and form a "L" bracket from the 1x6 styrene stock. (I did not have any styrene "Angle" stock available, so I made my own.)
(99) Glue the 'closed' door into position using a piece of scrap 6x6 strip wood at the base of the door. This 6x6 will provide the opening for the rail into the structure.

Closed door glued in place.

(100) Using a thick ACC glue, edge glue the "L" bracket into place on the inside vertical brace of the open door.
(101) Touch-up the "L" bracket with Burnt Cad. Red paint with a #0 round brush.

Close-up of 'door latch' which would hold a board across the door openings to secure doors closed.

Open door being glued into position.

Pictures of completed wall:

-- KP --
Life is to short to build all of the models I want to.

Country: USA | Posts: 7237 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 05/10/2015 :  10:13:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Kris, that completed wall really looks FANTASTIC!!!
If this first wall is the shape of things to come, than his mill is going to be a very beautifully crafted and authentic looking structure indeed!

Greg Shinnie

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Premium Member

Posted - 05/10/2015 :  11:13:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
, lot's of intricate work being applied on those doors Kris'..This project sure has come along very nicely indeed.
Looks like you have mastered the 'balsa foam'...Great techniques you've shown us along the way. It's been very interesting following along with you on this project'...


Edited by - quartergauger48 on 05/10/2015 11:15:08 PM

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Premium Member

Posted - 05/11/2015 :  01:14:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is looking really good!


Chambers Gas & Oil -- structure build
Quality craftsmanship with a sense of humor!

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Posted - 05/11/2015 :  02:10:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very sharp doors

It's only make-believe

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