Dan’s trees

“hello Al – great site – as winter continues in Eastern Canada I took to making evergreen trees they turned out pretty good – basically twisted wire and hemp rope sprayed with a clear matte paint or hair spray and the dusted with green dyed sawdust .

The trunks are pieces of drilled out grape vine as they have a very soft centre and the twisted wire is just slide through with enough to stick them in the foam base of my layout . this is my second batch so I thought I would send you a couple of photos – drying after dusted, in the snow 🙂 and on the layout

best regards


“Hi Al.

What you need to make a working windmill: Tip off a instant glue. Drilled out tiny bit wider. An extension straw for lubricant’s. And roundish piece of plastic from anything.And another piece of straw not drilled, instant glued, to the plastic round piece.

You see it glued to a T shape. Make sure that plastic post slips into the tip and moves cleanly around.A sewing pin small.A piece of aluminum from a food container cut 1 1/4 diameter .each time you cut a fin take a sliver piece off the next in line to make that gap you see.And 3 long thin round stick’s sanded thinner.cut 3 3/4 inches long.and a piece of balsawood for the stand .

The rest of the sticks cut into beams to go around the tower legs for support.once done.Take a pair of tweezers and carefully bend the blades to catch the max wind and operation.


“Hi Al

These are photos of a small HO scale machine shop (1.5″ x 3.0″) fully detailed and lighted inside. It was a resin kit modified to fit the space available but still is a credible building. It took me three evenings (total of 16 hours) from start to finish.

I have a scrap (I call it a BITS) box full of resin and white metal castings (some painted when I feel like doing something small in one evening like painting castings) made over a period of time that I dig into for all my detail parts in case anyone is asking.

I build these small buildings from time to time when I have run out of steam (pardon the pun) and do not feel like taking on large month long projects. It is these small buildings that keep me going as well as inspiring me to do bigger and better. They also help to populate the layout fairly quickly.

Thanks Al and keep ’em coming.



(Brian’s last post is here)

Now on to Bill:

“Al….Your emails have been a great influence on me. I have been collecting European N guage houses and rolling stock for some 35 years, always saying “Some day I’m going to build ‘my train’ “. My wife and my children never thought it would happen. After studying Dave’s videos and the Woodland Scenics book for what seemed ages, I finally decided to begin. Here are photos of my progress so far.

The support is the old pennisula from a recent kitchen remodel. I took the counter top off and added two small furniture dollies underneath.

As this project is in the garage, that gives me the convenience of moving the whole platform into the center of the garage so I can work around it instead of bending over it. And I have drawers and cabinets to keep “stuff” in. The base layer of the layout is 2 inch insulating foam from the local hardware store. The rest, so far, is styrofoam from Woodland Scenics and bits and pieces that I have been saving for months. So far it is all held together with hot glue!

I will send more photos as my work progresses.


A big thanks to Bill, Brian, Kim and Dan.

That’s all this time my friends.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get going on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

21 Responses to Dan’s trees

  1. Dale says:

    Nice trees, Dan.

  2. John Coffey says:

    This is all very good information on the trees and to make the windmill keep up the good news realy enjoy all of this.

  3. Paul in Golden says:

    I would love to see a breakdown (step-by-step) of Dan’s trees; the hemp rope idea sounds unique! Brian’s buildings are quite impressive–I’d love to see more of them as well!

    A lot of these tips are inspiration for the rest of us on a budget; I am always amazed at how many different ways a tree can be made, or how to make a building, rolling stock, or locomotive look better than what you can buy over-the counter. Thanks to you all!

  4. Excellent trees, windmill and machine shop. says:

    I always enjoy seeing the creativity of others. What I think are often missing on layouts are people – there are often too few! But does anyone have any suggestions about removing “manhole covers” from people after they have been painted or filling in the gaps between the bases if they are not removed? Any thoughts.

  5. builder Kim says:

    Manhole? Do you mean the plastic stand that the people sit on.If yes I use a very sharp crafter’s knife to remove the plastic stand.Cut carefully on the bottom of the feet.Thanks for the windmill comment was fun building them.I did 3 versions.That building is super nice.Love the interior ,tree’s are great as well.As for people I always add people to any building or what ever it may be.green houses lots.Try that windmill works better than static plastic you pay tomuch for.Would love to see others version of it too .

  6. Ed Anderson says:

    The craftsmanship on display is great to see. I have learned so much about building things using a collection of items most people discard. From a fellow who once could compete, you have inspired me. I have a tremor in both hands but I am going to try to see what I can come up with. You guys are the best. Ed

  7. dave says:

    Like the machine shop that’s a good one !! keep up the great work .

  8. builder Kim says:

    Hi Ed.Sorry about the hand tremor’s.I get them sometimes and I have to lay off for awhile.Im getting on in years .But not giving up yet.Keep your chin high my friend.Do the best you can,even if its to ask for help from other’s.Do so.Just direct what you want done.Keep building Ed take care.

  9. Thanks for the how tos just what i want for my layout the machine shop is great i like small buildings.

  10. bill says:

    I’ve been trying to find a good way to color sawdust but
    have not been successful. would love to hear dan’s method.


  11. Willie Kerr (Glasgow) says:

    Excellent ideas. Great to share these with other modellers.

  12. Dan G says:

    Bill the way I color sawdust is probably not the best but it works first I sort the sawdust by size through a series of screens or strainers . Then I have an old blender which I fill about half full of sawdust then I add tempra powder paint or liquid paint available at any craft store add water to get the tone of green or earth color you want ( remember to put the lid on the blender) then turn it on until the mix is an even color .
    From trial and error I have found the right mix so there is not to much liquid but enough to let the blender work .

    I then pour the mixture on a cookie sheet and let it dry out turning it over every once and a while . I have a detached garage with wood heat so the drying goes fairly quick . hope this helps

  13. Christine says:

    This one again. Nice trees I always feel I need more trees.

  14. John Reynolds says:

    Love the trees and the detailed Leviathan Manufacturing building…

  15. Lester Larrew says:

    The way I color sawdust is with cloth dye, just like you would using the dye to dye clothing. To dry, I use old cardboard. Before this site and got the tip of cardboard U let it dry on newspaper four sheets thick. I so enjoy this site

  16. Chet Karlewicz says:

    Thanks for the fine tips, I can’t wait to start my attempt at making the trees instead of buying them and I love the windmill

  17. how come you guys never give the dimensions? like the height of the wind mills? trees? etc.

  18. Robert Brady says:

    Great job on trees i’d buy.

  19. Hi all I posted a step by step “how to” some time ago on how to make the trees. It was on the old web site of Al. If Al could re post it it will give all the basic steps needed.

    Dan your trees look great.


  20. Charles Eyster says:

    I think that the detail inside of the machine shop is fabulous. Hopefully, viewers will look inside to caught and appreciate that level of detail from you. Kudos!

    I’d like to ask a question (HO) scale about the evergreen trees. The commercial trees are usually not much taller than the box car, and yet when I see carloads of lumber, they are about a half an inch (1.26 cm) in diameter. They would likely be almost double the commercial tree height if proportions were followed through. Rarely, do I see any layout where the trees are truly consistently modeled as living trees or logs on a load. Any comments are welcomed here. I able still unable to fix my access problem to the forum. Sorry.

  21. mickey bevens says:

    I loved the trees and I would like to know how to build them. The instructions and photo’s leave a lot of questions. When we write things, we know what we are writing about and tend to leave things out. I would suggest, if you are writing a how to, that you have someone ( wife, friend, lover ) read it first and see if they can understand it. That way those of us who can not read your mind may understand better. I loved the trees, I just need more info if I am going to build them. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *