What drives your interest in the craft? What keeps you going during the hard times when you feel stuck and don’t know why? What brings you true joy?
I emphasize craft and precision because those are qualities I’m drawn to and want to see and develop in myself. They are the lens that I see and understand the world through.
Something you learn quickly about working in metal is that it’s slow going. If you want to do good work, it’s even slower. Mistakes are harder to fix and carry more consequences than styrene or other common modeling materials.
Truth be told, I’m just fine with this reality, I’ve wanted to slow down and be more deliberate in the work for a while and I’m finally beginning to see progress in that quest. Recently, I’ve realized that the time at the bench is my time to use as I see fit. I’m learning to ignore the cultural obsession we have with speed. If I truly want to embody the qualities of craft and precision, then the work can’t be rushed. Those qualities demand their own time and attention.
Many though, would feel overwhelmed by such a long drawn out process or from the lack of immediate results. Many would decide that brass isn’t for them and give up, rather than admit to their own impatience in developing any kind of skill with the medium. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a personal choice and no one is forcing it on you. You decide what this craft means and the best way of practicing it in a meaningful way that feeds your soul.
The center sill starts with quarter-inch square tubing that is cut to length with the ends beveled to match the slope sheets. I marked out the holes on six scale inch centers for the 0.6mm brass rivets from Scale Hardware, then drilled them on the Sherline mill. I cut away the bottom side of the tubing to turn it into a channel and silver soldered a five scale inch wide by 0.010 inch thick flange on each side. The rivets were placed and then soldered from the inside with a lower melting point solder to avoid ruining the previous work. Once the rivets were secured, I trimmed off the excess shaft and smoothed the interior wall surfaces.
In the past few weeks I’ve learned a great deal about my working methods, assumptions and approach. I’ve learned to develop different habits that produce better outcomes than my old ways of doing things.
We all bring vastly different degrees of motivation to the craft. We’re drawn to different aspects of trains and railroading, each having their own unique requirements and focus. It’s so easy to believe that our particular area of interest is universally fascinating to everyone. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As captivating as I find metal working, I understand how inaccessible or even irrelevant it can seem to others. In some ways it feels so ancient and old school given all the rage around digital technology that seemingly produces stuff out of thin air. That’s fine. Building in brass isn’t for everybody. I’m following my own interests and want to explore where this can go. I’ve attempted scratch building in brass before but this time it feels different. I have a sense of greater clarity, the work feels more intuitive, more enjoyable, more authentic. I’ve made a commitment to develop the skills to do good work. I know the blog may take a hit in terms of traffic and commenting but that’s fine too. The road less taken has been the theme here from day one.