The Undertaker
by Gisby

The last stop for our gunlingers...

This was by far the easiest of my Old West building projects. It was an experiment to see the building qualities of Sintra, a PVC sheet, used to mount/make signs. It's 1/8 in thick and an opaque white. (Other sizes and colours are no longer available.)

The plan was drawn on the sheet with a pencil, and the edges and window openings lightly scribed. I then scribed the planking, using an xacto and steel ruler and cut the pieces out with the same knife. Sintra cuts easily and cleanly. Great stuff.

Since it's PVC, model cement is useless. You can get PVC adhesives, but crazy glue works better. Run a bead down the edge of a piece and touch it to where you want it attached. A solid, strong bond forms INSTANTLY. Any details can be crazy glued on as well.

NOTE: The bond is instantaneous and quite permanent. You are better off putting a small dot of adhesive and joining the pieces, only running a bead into the joint when you have everything where you want it, This gives you a chance at repositioning everything.

I first made a base, scribing the board details on, and notching the ends. I drilled holes for the door hinges and hitching post.

As stated, I scribed the boards onto the four walls before cutting them out, but after drawing the plans onto the Sintra. I also marked the level for the second floor on the inside, and glued floor supports in place before assembling the walls.

The framing and trim are made from wooden craft picks. The doors are made from tongue-depressors on wire hinges.

I couldn't drill into the top door frames for the wire hinge (the drill is too short) So I cut a slot, using the framing and more Sintra to form the pocket for the hinge.

The roof is two pieces of Sintra, with triangular braces holding it rigid, The braces are placed so they hold the roof in place. The peak is a right angle, making it easier to glue the roof sections together without gaps or fiddly work.

Rather than gluing shingles or slats to the roof, I carved some (rather oversize) shingles. With Sintra, it was quite easy, just time-consuming.

I could have used wooden battens instead, or just made it with a flat roof.

Sintra is a joy to work with, and I have since used it for fences, wooden sidewalks, and other buildings.

Although it's sold new in 4x8 sheets, sign shops will often have useful scraps, and many displays thrown into the trash are made of Sintra.

I have been informed that Sintra is unknown in the UK. It's a rigid PVC sheet, about 3mm thick. It is slightly softer and more easily cut/carved than styrene. Thick plasticard or cardboard would both be acceptable substitutes.

These are the photos from the original March 2000 article: A different camera makes a big difference.