In the past, I've cut timbering strips from scrap wood or even scrap plywood. The plywood timbers give a satisfactory look if you're going to paint them a dark brown, especially if people will be viewing them straight on, so there's no chance of seeing the wood layers on the sides. I've tucked plywood timbers in here and there in Miss Frobisher's Cottage and Tall Chimneys. Nowadays I've become a bit lazy and prefer to use square dowels, and I don't have very many 2 x 4 board scraps anymore anyway.
So - for this demonstration, I'm using 3/8" x 3/8" square dowels. I got these at a craft and hobby shop, though I've also bought them in hardware stores and at places like Home Depot and Lowes.
Hobby shops carry dowels made of basswood or balsa, I like to use the basswood ones. Hardware and lumber dealers tend to have dowels of pine, oak, or other hardwoods.
The wash house needs a few timbers on a side wall, so here's how I make them.
First I cut the dowel to length, then, using my band saw, I cut a wiggly strip off the edge. A scroll saw would be great for this, but I don't have one - always meant to buy one, but just never got around to it.
After this sanding, sometimes the timbers will look perfect for your project. They may have just the aged look you're looking for. That's great - stop right there and use them as they are. Sometimes another light wash of color may be needed to cover up a few bare spots that may have cropped up after the sanding.
For the wash house, though, I'll want mine dark, so I'll be doing some more paint and brush work on them.
PS: for a true, beat up aged look, stick to basswood or pine. Hardwoods are just too hard. Balsa is a fine substitute if you don't have a rotary tool, because it's very soft. You can get many of the same effects using a hammer, screwdriver, old dried out pens, etc. to rough up the wood.
That's all for today. This tutorial has been brought to you by New England Miniatures.
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