Making Tools and Sweating Buckets

Being a hobbyist, more specifically a train hobbyist, has made me use more raw skills than any other hobby.  It involves all the skills of building plastic models–the prepping, the painting, the assembling, the disassembling, the repainting,  It involves a fair bit of math– measuring angles, radii etc as well as re-measuring those same angles and radii.  It involves a bit of electronics–soldering, wiring, re-soldering, rewiring.  And it involves a bit of carpentry–constructing platforms to build the train on, backdrop holders, rebuilding those same things, quite possibly several times.
An example of the thick sprue channel
I am no carpentry whiz–as I mentioned before, that is my brother’s department.  Nonetheless, I try not to bother him with things I should be able to handle.  I build my last train table myself and managed to do a fine job (though, I wish I hadn’t taken the advice to build the thing on a hollow door–plywood would have been better and it would have been much easier to wire.)  Some friends even commented that I did a decent job (that is why you have friends by the way)  I managed all of this without a serious collection of power tools.  Hand saw, mitre box, and workbench can take you far.
Besides giving myself a virtual pat on the back and feeling smug about my self reliance, it does bring me to today’s blog idea–making tools, or at least making do.
The cleaned up model I am working on–sanding still required
Today I started work on a DPM (Design Preservation Models) Hayes Hardware kit.  Having spent a lot of years building car models from the US, Japan, parts of Asia and Europe, I can say that car modellers have it way easier,  You clean up a bit of flash, fill some gaps and you’re ready. With these kits I had to cut off a lot of extra material, (I have never seen such big sprue channels) and you aren’t really provided with a nice tab system for keeping things together,  What really irked me was that I was told I had to “level the draft corners”.  The building doesn’t even come squared.  The edges are bevelled!  Why would they do it that way?  Granted I found no injection marks, but still!  I would like to see what a Japanese company like Tamiya could do on buildings. (I have a Japanese model of a convenience store but it came pre-built, so I can’t really compare.)
The recommended rotating the model around a piece of sandpaper tacked to a piece of wood.  Sounds good, but wouldn’t it be better to have the sandpaper glued to the wood?  Whether it is better or not, I do not know.  However, that is what I did.  I got a piece of wood, cut it to size with my trusty handsaw, and glued two pieces of sandpaper to it.  Now, I have what they asked for, built to my specifications.
The sanding tool I made
The negatives; it took me some time (finding the piece of wood, getting it down from its high storage area involved moving and setting up my not so light ladder, marking the cuts, cutting it, cleaning up, gluing and waiting for the glue to dry) and when the sandpaper is used up, I will have to make another one.
The positives; I feel very manly.  (in which case I feel entitled to a beer)  I feel self reliant.
All in all, I am confident that I can go to the next stage in the building process.
If anyone would like to comment on the outdated tools they use, or the tools that they have made, that would be wonderful.
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