N-Scale Water Tower

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by kevdog77, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. kevdog77

    kevdog77 New Member

    Thanks to everyone for your encouraging words on my first scratchbuilt structure. I appreciate it. On to the next project!

    I've been looking for a kit/plans for a modern water tower in N scale, but I haven't been able to find one. I really like Walthers new HO water tower kit, but they don't seem to care much for us N-scalers anymore. I had come to the conclusion that if I wanted a water tower, I'd have to build it myself.

    The problem is, shaping styrene to the curves of a modern water tower would be difficult to say the least. I was at a loss on how to proceed until a trip to Michael's with my girlfriend this weekend. I was browsing the woodworking aisles when I saw some pine whittling blocks. They measure 1.75''x1.75''x5'', which is pretty close to the size I was looking for. So, I picked up a package of blocks, and a bunch of extra X-Acto blades, and went home to whittle me a water tower.

    Three days, 5 blades, and two X-Acto hand wounds later, I've got a water tower shape I'm pretty happy with. I still need to file and sand it down, but I wanted to show you all progress photos. I'll show you the finished product when I'm finished.

    If you've never whittled before, a few tips: draw the item you're whittling on each side of your block of wood first, then go over those lines with a NEW X-acto blade. Cut light at first, so the grain doesn't take you away, then go deeper. Once you've done this on all sides, use short, light shaving motions AWAY from your body. Make sure your non-cutting hand is away from the blade (thus the two hand wounds. . .) To remove large sections of wood, use a coping or a jig saw. I also used a small wood chisel in some places to cut away larger pieces of wood. When you think you're done, put it down and come back to it in a few hours. You'll find something you missed. The whole process feels a little strange at first, but you get the hang of it pretty quick. I'd also recommend doing an Internet search on whittling. There are some very informative sites out there.

    My water tower measures 1.75''x4''. There is an untouched block of wood in the picture to show you what I started out with. Good luck if you decide to give it a shot!

    Attached Files:

  2. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member


    I had a tower like that in my hometown! I think I know what you're making here!

    I got an idea for you: Rather than sanding it by hand, why not trying to turn it on a Lathe? You can even use a power drill, if this is small enough for your chuck. I've turned all sorts of stuff using this method, including the little red water barrel you see as my icon on the left of this post. It's very easy to do, and will save you many a sore muscle sanding that by hand!

    It's off to a good start, keep us posted on your progress!
  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Kevdog, you can't whittle a water tower outa wood! Wait a minute, you did, I guess you can. Love it to death! Can't wait to see it finished. When you can see it in your minds eye, the details will all work out once you dive into it.
  4. belg

    belg Member

    Kev your drive to create your water tower is very high so I hate to suggest this now but while you were at Micheal's did you look at the beads? A couple of different size beads a small piece of appropriate size dowel and maybe a little durham rock putty to fill in the little hole on top and viola. How are the wounds healing nothing to serious I hope?:)
  5. kevdog77

    kevdog77 New Member

    I don't own a lathe, but I was thinking about the power drill thing. I may give that a shot.
  6. kevdog77

    kevdog77 New Member

    Nothing that a little super glue couldn't fix! I can't believe how fast the cuts healed after I super glued them closed. I can't recommend it enough.
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    hehehe what's a hobby if it doesn't promote the growth of scar tissue, right?
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Interesting project and "how to" so far kevdog77
    Looking forward to see the progress to a finished water tank
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Fantastic! I think you should get another block of unwhittled wood to show people the origin of your tower when they comment on how neat it looks.
  10. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Great job so far kev. Be sure to post pictures of the finished product.
  11. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Looking good Kev. I admire your determination. Ain't it good to know the hobby that provided the scar tissue also provided the first aid???


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