Cabin car kit

Product review of a wood kit from
Marc Horovitz
Cabin car kit
Price: $95, postpaid within the US

Mostly wood kit for a cabin car (less trucks); fully painted; all windows and details included; instructions. Dimensions of finished cabin (not including skids): 13" wide x 7" deep x 8 1/4" tall

Pros: Most assembly already done; good paint job; checked packing lists supplied; simple assembly

No scale specified; walls could have been more closely fitted; some minor warping of parts made clamping necessary; some holes misaligned
Many years ago, the logging industry in this country was pretty rough and ready. The camps were itinerant, moving once an area had been logged out. Lumber companies often built portable cabins for their workers. When moving time came, these were simply loaded onto disconnects and moved to the next logging camp, once track had been laid there.

Camp 5 is the logging division of Supplied for review is their Feller’s Cabin Car #2. These kits are hand made in small batches. Our kit arrived well packed, with many already-finished-and-painted subassemblies, including walls, roof sections, and floor. Additional details were supplied separately in plastic bags. One thing I particularly liked was the fact that there were several packing lists enclosed with the kit, each with checked boxes, indicating that the kit had been carefully packed.

Along with the kit came three pages of illustrated instructions. Door and windows, made of white styrene, were supplied unpainted. For the purposes of this review, I did not paint them.

The walls are assembled to the floor with the aid of a rubber-band clamp included in the kit. You’ll need to drill 1/16" pilot holes in the corner blocks for the screws, using the pre-drilled holes in the building ends as guides. I found that three of pre-drilled end holes missed the blocks, so I had to drill new screw holes. This was not difficult. I then screwed the end walls to the floor, after which the side walls were glued into place. The fit of the corner blocks, preglued onto the floor, largely determines the placement of the walls. The corner blocks in my kit were not precisely positioned, resulting in some misalignment in the walls. Extensive use of clamps helped to alleviate this situation somewhat.

Once the basic structure was together, I installed the door and windows. The windows first needed to have their glazing glued in. The door is pre-assembled except for the knob, which is supplied as a round-head pin. The manufacturer recommends E6000 or a similar cement for gluing the door and windows to the walls, all of which was straightforward.

The finished roof panels were next glued into place. Each roof panel has corrugated aluminum already applied to it. There was some unevenness in the edges of the metal at the roof peak, which interfered with the installation of the ridge poles. I ended up leaving them off, which didn’t seem to make a great deal of difference. I glued the ridge cap on with the recommended cement. This cap is made of very thin metal, so care must be taken. A hole in the middle of the roof provides light from the clerestory.

The instructions say to assemble the clerestory in place on the roof, after gluing the glazing to the frames. I found it easier to assemble the clerestory separately, then install it, complete. It went together okay, although I did have the same problem with the roofing material getting in the way of the ridge pole. I left the pole off and just installed the cap strip.

All that remained were the wooden trim strips for the corners. These come unpainted and, for the review, I left them so. I glued them in place on the corners, completing the building.

The kit comes with two heavy skids, upon which the finished structure is to be mounted. While the prototype cabins may have been moved by rail, it would be difficult to mount this cabin to disconnects. Clearance would be an issue, as the structure is much wider than a typical railway car. Balance and center-of-gravity issues would have to be considered.

The finished building, though somewhat crude, is quite acceptable in a garden setting, particularly as a background building. It is heavily constructed and, if you use the recommended glues, it should hold up just fine outdoors.


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