Author Topic: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?  (Read 5192 times)

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CacheJunction

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Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:41:13 PM »
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I'm really excited about this! I hope it works out. I've always wanted to make a brick engraved smoke stack so that I could have whatever size I needed for whatever industry I have. I will need at least one brick stack for my layout. Anyway, last night I put a 3/4" oak dowel into the laser and tried the brick pattern on it. It worked really well, except the heavy grain ruins the brick pattern in those areas. This is a picture of it after I primed it.



I thought I would try pine next, to see if I can get less of a grain effect. Then I will try a tapered dowel for the final test. Anyone have any ideas what will work best? Is there something readily available besides pine or oak?
David C
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C855B

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2014, 08:47:35 PM »
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THAT'S amazing. Another coat of primer, maybe?

Oak has a pretty strong grain to it. So does pine. Regular ol' cheap dowelstock is poplar, which has a subtle grain. It might work. Try birch if you can find it, as well.
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Philip H

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 08:47:56 PM »
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David,
There probably are speciality hard wood dowels out there but I would guess he price would Make them prohibitive to sell. I'd look for another dowel with less grain. An easy way to tell is just put some water on it before lasering. Or just sap the dowel with a clear spray finish before you paint it to seal t he grain.
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VonRyan

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 12:00:03 AM »
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THAT'S amazing. Another coat of primer, maybe?

Oak has a pretty strong grain to it. So does pine. Regular ol' cheap dowelstock is poplar, which has a subtle grain. It might work. Try birch if you can find it, as well.

Or Ash, Holly, or Box Elder.
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LV LOU

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 12:35:31 AM »
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Or Ash, Holly, or Box Elder.
Oh man..Do NOT use a laser on Holly!!! Holly burns like the worst combination of chlorine gas,farts,burning oil well,Sulfuric Acid, and burning plastic you can imagine!!! I had a Holly bush in my yard I cut down..I tried to burn it,first branch,the smoke was so bad,it almost killed me..I kept the heavy branches,though,the wood is pure white..Drying in my shed as I type,LOL!!
 That really looks great..I'd think though,that Oak would be about the absolute worst wood you could use for it.Super hard,lots of voids,sap,heavy grain. I'd try Poplar.I use it for gun grips occasionally,it has a really fine grain,and is dirt cheap..You can get it right off the shelf at Lowes.but not dowels..
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 12:43:32 AM by LV LOU »

nkalanaga

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 02:47:37 AM »
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Our local True Value hardware store has an entire rack of poplar dowels, in sizes from 1/8 inch to at least one inch.
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CacheJunction

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 08:31:56 AM »
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Poplar sounds like the best bet to try next. I'll get some over the weekend and let you know the results.
David C
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nickelplate759

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2014, 08:51:24 AM »
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My first thought was basswood, but I can't say that I've seen basswood dowels offered for sale.
 
My second thought was that you should probably pre-finish the dowel with sanding sealer (before you engrave it), but I've no idea how that will react to the laser.

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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

LV LOU

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2014, 09:13:00 AM »
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THAT'S amazing. Another coat of primer, maybe?

Oak has a pretty strong grain to it. So does pine. Regular ol' cheap dowelstock is poplar, which has a subtle grain. It might work. Try birch if you can find it, as well.
Birch is a good choice too,but it's not a common wood for sale.Only place I've ever seen it in wide use is plywood,and gunstocks.It's a fairly hard,fine grained wood,but not used for much because it won't take stain..They use it for military gunstocks and low end rifles because it plentiful,cheap,and tough..It has to have a finish put on it that has stain or color right in it..
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 09:15:48 AM by LV LOU »

peteski

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2014, 12:18:41 PM »
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I never liked bricks (or any masonry) represented by laser-cut wood.  My suggestion would be to try plastic of some sort.  I know that lasers and styrene don't get along well, but acrylic can be cut without problems.

Why not try an acrylic rod?  Or take this one step further and mold a tapered smoke stack from urethane resin and try to engrave bricks on that?  I'm sure it will be a stinky project, but the end result might be very good.

BTW, how do you handle engraving a cylindrical object?  Does the laser cutter include some sort of lathe-like chuck which rotates as the laser burns the image in?

I'm also curious as to how much laser time this type of engraving takes. I suspect it is quite long.  Which means the end product will be very pricey (unless it is used for a master to cast copies from urethane resin).
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CacheJunction

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2014, 07:23:07 PM »
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If they had basswood dowels, that would be my first choice because that is the one wood I know works really well. My wife bought a birch dowel today and it looks really good compared to the oak.



I'll post results tonight or tomorrow.


I never liked bricks (or any masonry) represented by laser-cut wood.  My suggestion would be to try plastic of some sort.  I know that lasers and styrene don't get along well, but acrylic can be cut without problems.

Why not try an acrylic rod?  Or take this one step further and mold a tapered smoke stack from urethane resin and try to engrave bricks on that?  I'm sure it will be a stinky project, but the end result might be very good.

BTW, how do you handle engraving a cylindrical object?  Does the laser cutter include some sort of lathe-like chuck which rotates as the laser burns the image in?

I'm also curious as to how much laser time this type of engraving takes. I suspect it is quite long.  Which means the end product will be very pricey (unless it is used for a master to cast copies from urethane resin).

I know its a preference thing, plastic versus wood, but I can't relate to plastic. It always looks like plastic to my eye. If done right, wood looks the most realistic to me. Here is my station wall:



I've yet to see a plastic, resin, or plaster texture that was true-n scale that matched wood to my taste. But I know its not an argument, just apples and oranges.

I bought the rotating attachment with the laser. Its basically just two sets of wheel pairs that you rest the object between. I've etched wine bottles and glasses with it, but I really wanted to make brick smokestacks.

I thought it would take a long time to engrave as well. I went surprisingly quick. Its 3/4" diameter so the circumference is less than 3.5". Maybe 7 minutes to do a stack 5.5" high?
David C
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Dave Schneider

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2014, 07:31:16 PM »
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David,

I have been following your various tests and am impressed. I have worked with laser cut bricks from Monster Modelworks and have thought they look nice. Working with wood requires some different skills versus styrene, and I am slowing learning them.

Would you be willing to comment on the model of laser you are utilizing, and the approximate cost? If not, I understand.

Best wishes, Dave
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CacheJunction

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2014, 10:01:52 PM »
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David,

I have been following your various tests and am impressed. I have worked with laser cut bricks from Monster Modelworks and have thought they look nice. Working with wood requires some different skills versus styrene, and I am slowing learning them.

Would you be willing to comment on the model of laser you are utilizing, and the approximate cost? If not, I understand.

Best wishes, Dave

I can't say enough good stuff about Monster Modelworks. Jimmy Simmons is the best. He did all my cutting for me before I got my own laser. His brick was inspiring. It drove me to discover my own method. I think between the two of us, we offer two good options. His is less expensive, and mine is dead-on N scale size.

I bought an Epilog, which is the same as Jimmy. It was about $13K? I don't remember exactly.
David C
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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2014, 10:13:45 PM »
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The thing that makes this stand out is the irregular shapes of the bricks.  I think this makes the brickwork look more aged.

...so when you get it figured out, sign me up to buy a couple!
Regards,
Paul

CacheJunction

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Re: Brick Smoke Stack...out of wood! But what kind?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2014, 11:06:49 PM »
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Here is the birch:



I'll put some prime on it and show the results tomorrow. Looks a lot better grain wise.
David C
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