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Small crates and tea chests

Mikkel

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I’ve been making my own crates and tea chests from printable veneer. Today I installed them in the goods depot at Farthing.

 

 

 

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The mezzanine floor at Farthing was used as a storage facility. Traders could have their wares stored while awaiting dispatch and distribution.

 

 

 

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Space was literally at a premium, and this floor was always tidier and more well organised than the busy decks below.

 

 

 

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Farthing wasn’t far from Britain’s first Nestlé factory, built at Chippenham in 1873 for the manufacture of condensed milk.

 

 

 

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This part of the goods depot was inspired by the balcony floor at Hockley Goods, which seems to have been used for similar purposes.

 

 

The following is a description of how the crates were made, summarized from the workbench thread:

 

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I like the smallish wooden crates that could be seen in goods depots before cardbox boxes became common. So I began by designing a few of these. The top one above is photoshopped from a pic of an original Nestlé crate. The rest are tongue in cheek :)

 

 

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I wanted to capture that light wooden look of a new crate, and wasn’t quite happy with the texture of ordinary paper. After searching the web I came across these veneer sheets intended for creative photo printing. I bought mine from Crafty Computer Paper (no connection).

 

 

 

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It’s important to note that these sheets only work with top loaded ink-jet printers. They will jam if you use a printer where the paper bends over on itself. I have a cheap top loaded Canon IP2850 printer, which cost about 30£ a year ago (colour cartridge included). It does take the sheets, although each sheet needs to be pressed down gently when the rollers try to “grab” it. I would be weary to do this on a high-end printer!

 

 

 

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Test prints suggest that the wood effect is pretty much as I had hoped. The lettering comes out OK I think, although I’m sure a more expensive printer could give an even better result.

 

 

 

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The veneer sheets can be cut fairly easily with a normal scalpel.

 

 

 

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I've experimented with two different ways of building the crates. The first and most laborious method is to cut out each side separately, and glue them on a block of laminated plastic rod as seen above.

 

 

 

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This method gives a fairly neat final appearance, as seen above. This pic also shows the texture of the veneer, and how the different shades of the sheets can be used to add subtle variety: The ones on the left are from one sheet, the ones on the right from another.

 

 

 

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A quicker method is to cut each crate out in one piece, and lightly scribe the rear of the veneer at the corners with the back of a thick scalpel blade (a sharp scalpel or deep cut will break the veneer). The crate can then be folded and glued with a good quality card glue or similar. You inevitably get a light tear at the corners though - so this method is best for crates that aren't seen close up.

 

 

 

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I've made rows of stacked crates by glueing individual sides to the front of a long block of laminated styrene strips, as seen above. Saves time, and can't be seen once completed.

 

 

 

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The fake rows can then be stacked and glued or just blu-tacked together.

 

 

 

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The tea chests are based on real ones but photoshopped to fit my setting and period.

 

 

 

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The metal edges on the "East India" one didn't really come across as I hoped in the printing...

 

 

 

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... so thanks to Dave and other RMwebbers I tried using the dull side of foil for the metal edges. I cut the foil in strips and then fixed it with card glue to one side first. It can then be bent around the edge and stuck to the other side.

 

 

 

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It’s worth the effort to spend some time cleaning up the edges afterwards. With a ruler and sharp scalpel, edges can be trimmed straighter and narrower as required. The superfluous foil can be scraped off leaving no visible mark. Small problem areas can be fixed with a quick lick of metallic paint. The veneer is very forgiving, so paint can also be scraped off if necessary.

 

 

 

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The crates are strenghtened inside like this.

 

 

 

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The tea chests represent different types and sizes, some with metal sides and some without. Judging by photos I have seen, the metal edges don't seem to have been common until the 1920s or so.

 

 

 

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As mentioned earlier, the sheet itself is quite forgiving and glue and paint can be scraped off without leaving much trace. The lettering is another matter. The print on the right has been treated to a light coat of Vallejo matt varnish!

 

 

 

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Finally a comparison between a veneer crate, an earlier paper-printed effort (right) and a parcel made from Manilla envelope paper. The crate has that nice and square look.

 

Thanks to all who have helped and contributed to this little project, see the discussion in the workbench thread for more ideas and suggestions.

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I love the result Mikkel the stacks of boxes in the first photo look just right.

 

Don

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Absolutely delightful :)

 

Another compelling read Mikkel and the photos look amazing.

 

As Don says, they just look right :good:

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Very impressive Mikkel.  I had been thinking about tea chests for my own layout, I suspect that even the thinest veneer would be too thick in 2mm though.  Perhaps I could produce some artwork and print it on matt photo paper (just because I would expect to get a better resolution than on plain paper - I can feel a little experiment coming on) :-)

 

Ian

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Yep! You've done it again my friend :)

Erm......would banana crates be coming soon ?

Excellent photography Mikkel, it just draws me into the scene, thank you for posting them with a summary, BIG pat on the back.

 

Grahame

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This is a great and very useful entry.

Thanks for the link to Crafty Computer Paper.

Is it possible to add your designs on a PDF for free use.

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What a cracking way to to make crates and tea chest,thinking outside the tea chest!.

Well done Sir! 

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I love the result Mikkel the stacks of boxes in the first photo look just right.

 

Don

 

Glad you like it Don. The tea chests were your suggestion originally. It was fun to search for photos of them, from all over the world.

 

 

Absolutely delightful :)

 

Another compelling read Mikkel and the photos look amazing.

 

As Don says, they just look right :good:

 

Thanks Pete. As I mentioned earlier the crates are a bit overscale in order to make the printing readable. It

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Fantastic work Mikkel.

 

Any chance of an Edwardian style 'black & white' shot? 

 

Be interesting to see other designs appearing as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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According to Fyffes web site they have been importing Bananas since1888, so potentially within your c.1900 time-frame

http://www.fyffes.com/home.aspx

 

Many thanks Don, no way around it then :-)

 

I wonder if we can make these multinationals pay us a few pennies for promoting them! On second thoughts, maybe it's best they don't know what we're doing with their brand names...

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Fantastic work Mikkel.

 

Any chance of an Edwardian style 'black & white' shot? 

 

Be interesting to see other designs appearing as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

Thanks Mark. I'll see what can be done about black and white versions. As for other designs, well it looks like banana crates are an option! 

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Mikkel,

 

I've tried to post here but unable to so I've dropped you a comment on the other blog ( that one with your wagon ) hehe !

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Fascinating- absolutely superb! A PDF would be wonderful for those of us lacking such input skills for drawing...

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I think it is good to choose appropriate materials when building models and these packing cases show the benefits. 

 

When I made sandboxes for GWR No.184, I cut small wooden blocks to the correct dimensions and then added a 'wrapper' of thin brass sheet, with a separate lid  I have also used pieces cut from plastic erasers as formers; these have the benefit of being cut easily with a knife.  Perhaps your crates could be built in the same way.

 

This is the second time I've felt that I bought the wrong printer last time I changed.  My earlier model provided a straight-through path from the back, for single sheets of inflexible materials, while my current one lacks this option!

 

Mike

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Hi Mikkel, Those crates look great, very effective, I must remember your technique when I come to the fine detailing of 'Snitzl Town'.

 

Snitzl

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Hmmmm.....

 

23_Banana_crate.sflb.ashx

 

Looks like it got serious around 1901/1902: http://www.fyffes.com/gns/the-blue-label/our-story/1900.aspx

 

For the benefit of younger  modellers (post decimalisation and from our current throw-away era), the marking on the box " 10/- " (ten shillings or 50p ) would be the refundable value of the box added to the price of the contents. A deposit to ensure that Fyffes got their box back.  

The blue logo was introduced in 1929 , how did they identify their boxes, assuming that they used them, before that date.. Opening another can of worms!!!

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Hi Mikkel,

 

I'd be wary of banana boxes unless you can find evidence of transport by rail. Elders & Fyffes came into existence in 1901 but, as Don mentions, the "Blue Label" brand was not introduced until 1929. Green bananas were transported at near constant temperature by sea and by rail in bunches and were packed into the vans at Avonmouth with straw. See also Atkins et al on Banana vans. They were then taken to ripening warehouses all over the country. Most of the warehouses were in urban centres, though there was one at LLandudno Junction by 1910. They were then distrubuted in boxes to wholesale and retail customers. Although it's possible, I've yet to see any evidence that this was done by rail.

 

Nick

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Fascinating- absolutely superb! A PDF would be wonderful for those of us lacking such input skills for drawing...

 

Hi Richard, thanks - problem is I lack those drawing skills too or I would have done it in a smarter programme than Word. I'm trying to see if I can put together a PDF file and Job has also offered to have a look.

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I think it is good to choose appropriate materials when building models and these packing cases show the benefits. 

 

When I made sandboxes for GWR No.184, I cut small wooden blocks to the correct dimensions and then added a 'wrapper' of thin brass sheet, with a separate lid  I have also used pieces cut from plastic erasers as formers; these have the benefit of being cut easily with a knife.  Perhaps your crates could be built in the same way.

 

This is the second time I've felt that I bought the wrong printer last time I changed.  My earlier model provided a straight-through path from the back, for single sheets of inflexible materials, while my current one lacks this option!

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike, plastic erasers - well no one can say railway modelling isn't a creative hobby! I'll see if I can find a plastic eraser to test it out on. Sounds very rubbery :-)

 

You shouldn't regret not buying the Canon 2850, the printing is OK but it's no miracle. In fact I'm not sue that it's the sign of a sound economy that a brand new printer can be had for 30

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Hi Mikkel, Those crates look great, very effective, I must remember your technique when I come to the fine detailing of 'Snitzl Town'.

 

Snitzl

 

It's hard to imagine that  Snitzl Town needs any further detailing, what with the standards you are working to! :-)  I would be very interested to see how others would solve the design of these, my approach works but there must be a smarter way of folding them.

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For the benefit of younger  modellers (post decimalisation and from our current throw-away era), the marking on the box " 10/- " (ten shillings or 50p ) would be the refundable value of the box added to the price of the contents. A deposit to ensure that Fyffes got their box back.  

The blue logo was introduced in 1929 , how did they identify their boxes, assuming that they used them, before that date.. Opening another can of worms!!!

 

Hi Mikkel,

 

I'd be wary of banana boxes unless you can find evidence of transport by rail. Elders & Fyffes came into existence in 1901 but, as Don mentions, the "Blue Label" brand was not introduced until 1929. Green bananas were transported at near constant temperature by sea and by rail in bunches and were packed into the vans at Avonmouth with straw. See also Atkins et al on Banana vans. They were then taken to ripening warehouses all over the country. Most of the warehouses were in urban centres, though there was one at LLandudno Junction by 1910. They were then distrubuted in boxes to wholesale and retail customers. Although it's possible, I've yet to see any evidence that this was done by rail.

 

Nick

 

Many thanks Don and Nick for this. I have become quite enamoured with that crate so it's a shame that it seems too late for my period. Modeller's license is tempting but there are lot of other goods to model, and maybe someone else on here with a later modelling period will be tempted to do it for road vehicle transport.

 

Below is a 1900 patent for a banana crate that I found on Google patents. I have no idea if it was ever used in the UK (I think it's a US patent) and there is the issue that Nick mentions that banana crates might not have been used on the railways at all. Which raises the question of how to model 4mm banana bunches!

 

Description of use: A bunch of bananas or other fruit is placed within the sack, and the top of the sack may be closed, as shown, to secure the fruit. The fruit thus arranged will be held in the sack out of contact with the crate proper, and the bruising of the fruit is thus prevented. This arrangement provides an efiective means for transporting fruit of ,all sorts.

 

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