The Cowtown Chronicle
by Gisby

A couple of years ago, eM-4 did some test cuttings on various materials for laser-cut Old West buildings. I've had those test pieces sitting on a shelf since then.

This piece uses the 3mm plywood piece as a front. I chose the plywood because it has a woodgrain that I found pleasing.

The first step was to scribe a bunch of craft sticks so that each represented two boards.

Next, I glued the sticks together to make the side walls, leaving a hole for the side windows.

Each window (and door) is 2 craft sticks wide, so I just used two short pieces under the window, and two short pieces above.

While these set up, I glued the floor together.

I let these dry overnight, under some books so they would stay flat.

The next day I trimmed the floor to size, as wide as the building front, less the thicknesses of the two walls.

I measured the height of the building front, and the building rear (theoretical at this point) and drew a line on the side wall from those points.

I glued a coffee stirrer along this line to strengthen the wall top, and trimmed the two walls to that line. (They are easier to cut as one sheet.) I also framed the side windows.

At this time I built the rear wall, leaving space for the window and door. I let them dry overnight, under books. (Happily, the front piece is exactly nine popsicle sticks wide)

The next day I framed the rear window and door, and assembled the building.

I made the front walkway from different craft sticks (narrower but thicker) and the awning from popsicle sticks and matchwood.

The awning supports are cut from long, thick, fireplace matches, but doweling would do as well.

I added the walkway and awning, front door & window framing, and a rear step, and let the building dry.

When all was dry, I sprayed the whole building with flat lacquer, to seal the woodgrain.

I painted the trim, and tried to lighten the scorching where the laser cut the wood.

I then stained the whole building with a light Magic Wash, following it with a light drybrushing with several light wood shades.

The sign was created with Photoshop, and was sprayed with flat lacquer (front & back) before trimming. I painted the back with white glue, and positioned it on the building.

I then used a piece of wood to scribe the boards into the sign, and trimmed it with more craft wood.

The roof is a piece of Sintra, with locators glued inside. After priming I glued a patch to the roof.

It is painted black, weathered with greys and browns.

I'm pleased with the result: I like the laser-cut wood, it gives clean details and nice, sharp angles. (Which makes my work better too)

I enjoy working with the various wooden pieces. I assume I'd get better results more easily with basswood strips, but the cost would have been higher. Aside from the frontpiece, it's made from scraps.

It is a pleasing addition to my meagre collection.