Large Scale Central

Source for scale lumber?

Does anyone know of a good source for scale lumber in western red cedar? The guy I used to get it from on eBay apparently is no longer in business.

I bought some scale 3 x 9 strips from Ozark Miniatures last fall. Just got around to using it today and found out it’s no good. One edge is not cut straight, so each piece is narrower in the middle than at the ends.

I looked at Kappler but they want five bucks per piece! At that rate it would cost me nearly $300 just to build a single ore bin, and that’s not including the larger pieces used to frame it.


for most projects i use my table saw to cut 2"x6" x8’ stock to the near desired size, then pas thru the planer to finalize the thickness. smaller sizes are cut on the MM small table saw.

currently cutting up some scraps from another RR to build the frame for Ophier tram house.

Al P.

I agree with Al. A good mini hobby table saw is well worth it’s price in savings.

How much do you need Ray? Maybe one of us with a table saw could cut it for you?

Ray, I too was seriously bummed with NW Precision went out of business back in 2017. Northeastern Scale Lumber seems to only do pine, ditto the small stuff from Mt Albert. And SPJRR went out of business.

Yeah, Kappler’s pricey. But if they have the size you want (all in F scale) it’s cheaper buying a 50-pack.

I have a Proxxon mini table saw, but I didn’t want to wear it out cutting 100’s of feet of cedar. So I got a bandsaw. I’d like to get a planer, as Al suggested, to get a nice finish though. But that’ll have to wait till another year.

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Ray you peaked my curiosity with this request, so I called JWLumber? in El Cajon California. I requested a current price on a piece of 1"x6"x8’ clear western red cedar. Clear simply because I doubt you will want knots that may break out of the wood. The price quoted was $72.64 for said board.
Knowing that the actual size of this piece will be .75"x5.5"x8’ i took liberty in just guestimating the number of pieces you will get if you rip the board in .125 strips (1/8") and guestimating the saw blade to pulverize .125" (1/8") with each pass.
Therefore I figure if you rip the board you will get 10 useable strips you can then cut to 2’ lengths giving you a total yield of 40 pieces which so far have cost you $1.815 each.
How much do you feel is a fair price for some ones time, tools (and we all know those are not cheap if you need accuracy), knowledge, and effort to cut you the lumber you want?
JMHO, YMMV :sunglasses: :innocent:

Great thoughts Hollywood.

I think though the yield might be double that: 5.5/(.125+.125)= 22 @8’, or 88 @2’. Or $0.83 per 2’ stick.

And good point on the clear. I’ve recently paid around $20 for 1x6x8’ white eastern cedar, but there’s so many knots I’ll have to rip twice what I need and crosscut between the knots.

FWIW, Karin, who ran that NWPL operation, was quite proud of their selection of clear and tight-grained cedar planks. And what great prices! I had no idea how unique their service was until I tried to roll my own…

This is a nice price for 100 1/2" x 1/2" x 11.5" cedar, bummer that they’re so short. Maybe email them for longer length options?

Never claimed excellence in math so thank you Cliff. But even at your $.83 per 2 foot I’d expect to pay better than $ 3.00 each in bulk, let alone for a single piece

If anyone is interested I have a large quantity of Mt Albert 1:20.3 Scale Lumber that I am slowely selling.

This is redwood and comes in mainly 2 ft lengths.

If you are interested in any please send me a message.



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I bought some packages from Stan a few years back. I used it on my Mik build in January. Very nice stuff.

I’m fortunate to be able to salvage old WRC and/or Redwood signs that I use as a lumber source for milling my own on a table saw. My saw isn’t good enough for accuracy on plank thicknesses and I don’t have a planer. If I have the size and quantity in my Mt. Albert lot, I’ll go for that over mill my own.

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Like many I use a table saw, I have a median size one I got at Home Depot, a Ryobi 10". On YouTube I found ways to cut thin strips on the table saw, the safe way, I even made a jig for cutting them safely and all the same size, pretty easy for me to do. My sister remodeled a cabin on the lake and she had a lot of redwood and cedar 2x4’s and 1x12’s that became and unlimited supply for me. The cost of wood today puts scratch building at a much higher price then years ago, so getting for free always works for me. You may even have friends that would cut the wood for you, I’m always cutting wood for someone who doesn’t have the tools, or the knowledge to do it. trainman

On YouTube the guy that has the channel, UB Railroad, builds everything from scratch, he visits many places of business that throw away there scraps, it’s a model railroader delight. I’m always amazed at what you can do with someone’s else junk and trash. UB RR G scale indoor layout ub railroad the short version - YouTube You should watch this guy’s videos, you can probably save thousand and learn the quick and simple way to do things.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. In the end I decided to bite the bullet and order it from Kappler.

You use wood…I thought you only used Styrene and then made like like wood… :thinking:

Yeah, I still use real wood for a few things. Mainly items made of heavy timbers, like trestles, ore bins, and headframes.

The stuff I ordered from Kappler is great. The pieces are all accurately and consistently sized, and are sanded smooth too. Also, I miscalculated how much I would need for this ore bin. I’ve got enough wood now for several projects – so the price isn’t as bad as I’d thought.

I have a very old Craftsman 9" table saw. Cast steel deck but only 20" x 17". I use an 80 tooth carbide blade. I take out the throat and cut one from a piece of 1/8" sintra, put it in place with the blade all the way down. Raise the blade while the saw is running and let it cut the sintra with the blade to the height you want/need. I hold the sintra throat in place while doing this with the fence. Now you can adjust the fence as close to the blade as you want. I cut 1/16" strips using this method, You could probably cut thinner strips if you needed them as the throat has zero clearance.

I have a table saw and a band saw…I can use any peice of wood to make any size lumber I want. It takes up space and makes a lot of dust but saves effort and money to get the piece I want immediately. I can get one or a thousand.

My table saw with a good blade leaves an excellent finish. Thetable saw can produce consistant size. My band saw makes rough cut lumber just fine. The band saw is for rough work and precision isn’t that high.

My band saw is the go to for making wood shingles by the pound.

Northeastern Scale Lumber is a good place to purchase scale lumber. I have purchased a number of supplies from them.

I will throw my two cents in. I admit to not being real fair when it comes to this topic as a wood worker also I have all kinds of neat tools. But for my scale lumber I use cedar fence boards. At least in my area they are cheap and plentiful. certainly cheaper than buying more common dimensional stock like 1" (3/4 finished). I use my full size table saw to get it down to manageable pieces. Then I built a mini table saw out of an old cheap rock saw that I had. But something like the a real mini table saw would be nice. I would not recommend a actual planner for final thickness. Get a thickness sander. something like this thickness sander.

Heck looking at that price I might even buy one. I tried using my full size one and it doesn’t work very well.

And on that note, if people want western red cedar let me know, Its light weight and very plentiful around here. I may even see if I can source some scrap wood from some of the cedar mills. But at the very least red cedar is not hard to come by. And I can cut it into shipable sizes and mail it to you.

A couple notes on cutting small scale lumber on any table saw and especially a full size one. Two absolute musts in my opinion. A zero clearance plate for the blade. Easily made from thin plywood or masonite. Use your normal plate to trace the shape cut it out and get a snug fit. Then raise the blade up through it and there you have it. Now the thin strips cant fall down into the saw. and then the other thing I recommend is Microjig “grr ripper”. Get the add on thin 1/8" leg and then use it.

These two things will make getting strips down to 1/8" safe and easy. After the 1/8" you really should for safety reasons move to a thickness sander from there.