Nail hole making tool for scratch building

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by XavierJ123, May 5, 2007.

  1. XavierJ123

    XavierJ123 Member

    Found an old 1988 Model Railroad Craftsman magazine that talks about a tool that produces nail holes perfectly for scratch building structures. It was a clever little device marketed by Wayne Hume of Vintage Reproductions and looked like a cross between a leather working tool and miniature cowboy's spurs. The device is a wheel with sharp points projecting out at equal distance from the center to make nail holes. It was called a rivet embossing tool. Does anyone market a tool like this now?
  2. CAS

    CAS Member

    I know what your talking about. Just seen a photo recently in a past post, but i can't find it now. I will keep looking for the post.

    I will be buying one soon too. I am gonna try a office supply store (perfing wheel), or a fabric store. Im gonna also check out Wal-mart today, in the sewing section.

  3. woodone

    woodone Member

    Take a look at Micro-Mark. I think they have a tool just like you are refering to. It comes in a differant number of points that it makes per inch. Might be just what you are looking for.
  4. Jac's Lines

    Jac's Lines Member

    Yes, Micromark definitely has these. The only problem is that the teeth of the wheels leave a squarish rather than circular hole - this is more of a problem with larger scales I think, and the teeth can be filed into a circular shape. Woodworking stores and fabric stores also sell them as "pounce wheels" (they are used to trace patterns from paper onto wood or fabric).

    Tools and Supplies for Building Scale Models | Micro-Mark: The Small Tool Specialists

    Back in the days of yore, a lot of the old masters used a slightly dulled pin or needle in a pin vise.

    Tichy Train group sells rivet castings that can be dropped into drilled holes or glued to the surface of a material. This link is to the HO page.

    Tichy Train Group - CMA
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The pounce wheel will give perfectly spaced holes - but I have two concerns:

    1) The spacing of the teeth may not be right for all scales or for all applications in one particular scale.

    2) When have you ever seen a perfect row of nail holes...? ;) :D Rivets, yes, but nail holes - not so much in my experience... sign1 has a couple of different ones for a decent price - try the item search function.

  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I agree with Andrew about nail holes. Nails are driven into wood one nail at a time, the carpenter is not going to try to measure the nails locations to get each one perfect, they just bang 'em in. I think realistic nail holes on scratch built projects need to be put in one at a time with a tool with a single point. It will take longer than with a ponce wheel, but when you are finished with a ponce wheel the nail holes won't look right and it is one of those things that you can stare at for the longest time and think "that just doesn't look right but danged if I can see what is wrong!"
  7. SB7

    SB7 New Member

    Hello to all:

    Doctor Bens sells a Ponce Wheel built for 1. HO/N scale nail holes as well as 2. S/O

    DEBEN LLC Publication & Products Doctor Ben's Scale Consortium[SIZE=-1]Search Results. Found 109 product(s) for Doctor Ben's Scale Consortium (1-50 of 109) ... Doctor Ben's 1/8" Baby Building Blocs Buy 6, 7th FREE ...'s+Scale+Consortium - 57k - [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]scroll down the page until you see the following[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1] 1. Doctor Ben's Fine Scale Nail Hole Tool HO/N Scale
    Products for Discriminating Scale Modelers
    PRICE: $15.95
    [SIZE=-1] [​IMG]

    [SIZE=-1] 2. Doctor Ben's Fine Scale Nail Hole Tool S/O Scale
    Products for Discriminating Scale Modelers
    PRICE: $19.95
    [SIZE=-1] [​IMG]

  8. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    I think that I just recently pointed out the following elsewhere on this or perhaps another forum but it's worth repeating.

    Long rows of nail holes in wood siding have become an accepted, even expected, detail on complex, scratchbuilt models these days, especially for those influenced by Sellios and his F&SM. However, in most cases, they are a distinct departure from reality.

    Any well built and reasonably maintained structure will not distinctly show indications of nail holes. Actual exposed nail holes lead to a much quicker failure of the siding and a need for replacement, a situation rarely allowed to occur on an occupied building.

    Further, in the case of clapboard siding, the securing nails are hidden by the next overlapping board above and should never be visible at all! The only nail holes that might show would be a few securing the ends of sprung boards.

    In the case of novelty or other types of wood siding, where securing nails might be applied to the exposed "field", either the carpenter, or more usually the painter, will follow up and fill in all the nail holes, priming, and painting over them such that they will be invisible.

    Only in the case of a seriously neglected or deteriorating structure, whose paint and puttying jobs have totally failed, might one expect to see the nail holes becoming apparent. If a model structure has even a reasonable amount of paint on it, long rows of nail holes are a mistake, not an embelishment. The only exception I can think of is where temporary or small out buildings have been errected or perhaps in the old west when a town's buildings were constructed in haste.

  9. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Thanks for that post, CNJ999. I've always wondered where the nail hole fascination came from. I have used this technique myself on structures where I imagine the wood may have deteriorated, but even then, wouldn't there be a little rusty or gray dot where the nail HEAD showed, not a HOLE?
  10. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Definitely true, CNJ. I don't think it stops with nailholes. Models are in genreal, over detailed, over weathered, and over dramitized in order to garner attention. But I think the real world does not always scale well enough to be an interesting model. I bet the number of tunnels per mile on model railroads far exceeds that in real life. The track denisty on the average model railroad is also way out of proportion. How many places in the world can you stand in one place and see multiple mainlines?

    There is probably a psychological reason for this. But it is what most modelers seem to like. The ordinary is too boring, I guess.

  11. CNJ999

    CNJ999 Member

    Galen - In general, nails used to secure various types of flush-mounted siding are countersunk by the carpenter. So, indeed, shallow holes would initially be present. However, these holes are usually filled with a form of putty before paint is applied, specifically to avoid the nail holes from showing.

    If, through extreme age and lack of any maintenance, the putty fails and falls out, the siding will eventually show small nail holes with rusty centers. But such a condition and appearance is highly unlikely for an occupied building.

    Kevin - Yes, you are correct, many hobbyists do seem to go to extremes in their model building. Likewise, the magazines often seem to promote this aspect. The fatal flaw in doing so to the extreme is that, rather then making the layouts more realistic looking, they instead become increasingly caricaturish.

  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Many outbuildings like barns and sheds may have never had paint, and nails can actually be driven just below the surface simply by pounding with a hammer. The "holes" in our models then serve to show that the building was constructed in this manner, more than they are there as a "scale representation".

  13. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I think 'caricature' is the operative word in these cases of 'extreme weathering/detailing'. Yet, there is something doggone fascinating about all the clutter and rust.

    A parallel pet peeve of mine is overweathered steamers. Many would make a shop foreman cringe before becoming irate at the slacks who let it get that way.

    Still, one of the benefits of creating our own little worlds is doing it however we please. Personally, I think there ARE many fascinating prototypes out there with loads of character, without the caricatured look to them. Just check out the Library of Congress Historic American Engineering Record database for hours of inspiring structures, many derelict and run-down, because that's when folks decided, "Hey, somebody better take pictures, measurements, etc. of this thing before it falls down and it's gone forever!"
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I would put George Sellios' Franklin & South Manchester in this category, along with Malcolm Furlow's work. The "wrong side of the tracks" was bad, but that bad??? ;) :D

  15. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    Seems like there are strong opinions both positive and negative about Furlow, Olson et al who popped up in the 80's with heavily caricatured western railroads. Personally I love the overall look, even if the work is done a bit too quickly, sometimes producing a sloppy or half-baked result. They have been characterized as "John Allen knock-offs" which is really harsh and yet a compliment in some way, just by association with Allen.

    As for Sellios...I'd love to see that layout in person. He was influenced by the G&D as well, but I believe has taken urban scenery, albeit caricatured, to staggering heights (and widths and depths as well!). The F&SM is no G&D knock-off, but stands on its own as a tour-de-force of one man's creativity and imagination. The two layouts may have this in common, but are very different in many respects (geographic locale, emphasis on display running vs. operation, etc.)

    Anyway, as for nail holes, the original intent of this thread, I have used a number of tools from dental pics (ask your dentist for the leftovers...they are constantly changing these tools, for which we should be thankful) to an old sewing needle mounted in a dowel, to the point of a needle file.

    Another good place to find actual nail holes...stacks of used lumber and even better, piles of used crossties. There are a number of real-world examples of run-down and worn-out where this technique can 'legitimately' be used.
  16. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    You know Micro Mark has one too, but it better suited to creating rivet detail on brass sheet.
  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    One final kick at the can - I absolutely agree that they are masterpieces and monuments to creativity. But I still say that they are characatures of the real world, and there are many other model railroads (well known, and lesser known) that are more true to "the prototype".

  18. SB7

    SB7 New Member

    Hello To all:

    I cannot speak pertaining to over weathering, I guess its in the eye of the beholder (creator) as to how he/she feels when and if the model/structure/diorama is ultimately finished!

    Came accross the following read what Chuck Doan says about weathering on the bottom of the second page, but most of all enjoy the photos taken by one Mario Rappinett a master rr modeler who lives in Austrailia.

    Again enjoy:

    http://www.modvid. body_workshop- _railtown_ _jamestown. html

  19. SB7

    SB7 New Member

    hello to all continued

    Hello to all continued:

    Sorry could not get the link to work

    Go to finescaleminiatures at yahoo groups, once sighned in, find the post by Mario Rapinett workshop dated Tue Jun 26, 200717k their ie a direct link within the post.

  20. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Slightly off topic ...

    I'm not a model RRer (I'm a card modeler), but I love to read your threads because many of you produce such jaw-dropping miniatures. So, please forgive me for asking a "Model Railroading 101" question. :)

    There seems to be a core issue about how to make something appear "reaslistic" - does realism mean "technical faithfulness to a prototype", or does it mean making something "look real"? The latter approach uses more artistic license, but if taken too far, sounds like it can result in "caricature".

    When I design scale structures, I always confront this problem. The way sunlight plays across a 100 foot brick wall is just not the same as the way multiple-source indoor household lighting plays across a 10 inch scale wall.

    No matter how acccurately you reproduce the colors and textures, they won't look exactly right because the distances are so much shorter than reality, and the illumination is not "scale light". Light reflecting off a building-sized object half a mile away is just not the same as light reflecting off a hand-sized object two feet away (you guys are dealing with exactly this effect - color desaturation - when you talk of things like "scale black" paint).

    I try to compensate for this by the use of some "artifical" shading and weathering techniques that attempt to re-introduce some of the effects of natural light at real-world distances. To my eyes, this makes a miniature look much more convincing. But for some of you, the same effects might be classified as "caricaturish", or not being precisely true to the prototype.

    It looks to me like it's a difference in goals. Some builders seem to go to amazing lengths to technically and physically reproduce "reality" as accurately as possible, just at a smaller scale. I have a hard time understanding the point of that, outside of some kind of academic exercise.

    Others seem to be aiming to give an enjoyable visual impression of reality at a small scale. For me, this seems a much more satisfying pursuit. I want something that gives me "the feeling" of a full-sized building seen at a distance. A physically-exact replica may be technically more faithful to the prototype, but if it looks less convincing than another, less "accurate" but more "artistic" approach, then I wonder if something visual isn't sometimes lost in the pursuit of "accuracy"?

    Which would you rather have hanging in your living room - a photo of a woman in a kitchen, or an oil painting of a woman in a kitchen? You could probably find all sorts of "faults" in lighting, perspective and technical detail in the oil painting which would not be true to the "prototype", however ... which one is more satisfying to actually look at?

    Please forgive a non-model RRer for asking about something which is probably old, oft-tread-upon ground around here, but I keep coming across this issue. Since I am hoping to market some of my designs to model railroaders, I'm trying to understand how you guys approach this issue.

    Thanks! :)

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