Here in central California summers are very hot and dry. Being outside can be uncomfortable, so we wanted to create a naturally cool (cool as in temperature) area for our son. Since the ground here is full of clay, we thought a cob layer on a playhouse with a living roof would provide sufficient cooling ... and it works! This play area is one of the coolest spots on the property during the blistering hot summer heat. It also stays bone-dry inside during the winter.
Since I used scrap-wood and earth already available to me, I only had to purchase a few items. Total Cost: $30.00
Rather than focus on building the actual structure, this instructable covers the cobbing part of the project.
This project was spaced out over two months to give each step plenty of time to dry, settle, harden and adjust.
Step 1: The Structure
Using some leftover wood from a previous construction project, I was able to put together a sturdy frame to hold the living roof (which is very heavy). I also used some oak limbs for columns in the front. Those limbs might look thin, but the oak-wood here is like iron, and will probably outlast the rest of the structure.
The living roof is around 5 inches deep, with a layer of roofing tar at bottom (dried properly), thin layer of gravel on top of that, a layer of old cotton rug found at the local thrift store on top of that, and finally the soil. I have 2-by-4s spaced out to help hold the soil in place (you can just make them out in the photo). Also, plenty of drainage along the edges for excess water to run out of. Note that there is plenty of roof hanging away from the house all the way around.
Step 2: Underneath the cob: stain, paint and moisture barrier
To keep the wood dry, we caulked and painted the inside, and then stained the outside with a dark brown stain. Tar paper was used as a moisture barrier between the plywood and cob to prevent rotting. You can see the black tar paper against the plywood. I then added some scraps of wood strips around 1/2 inch thick, and put a layer of wire fencing on top of that.
The result: sturdy wire fencing held 1/2 inch away from the surface. This will be what holds the cob in place.
You can also see that I have brought in rocks and earth around the base of the playhouse. This gives it more thermal mass, which is how this structure stays cool during the hot summer. Thermal mass will absorb the heat and release it at night.
I also added sand in front of the house for comfortable barefoot playing.
Step 3: Muddy Muddy Cob
Now comes the fun part: mixing and mudding. The dirt where we live is naturally clay, so the only thing we had to bring in was sand. Luckily, when our neighbors moved out the month before, they left a large sandbox full for us to use.
The sandbox was almost impossible for the kids to play in during the summer because it was in the sun, and also had turned into a kitty litter box. Burning hot sand with stinky cat poo — yuck!
Converting the sandbox into a more fitting play structure for our climate was the right move.
As there are plenty of websites that cover mixing cob, I will forego that here. I will just go so far to say that most of the websites I read about cob were people building serious houses, so they were very rigid in their requirements of fine-sifting the dirt and carefully measuring the mixing amount.
Since I was building a mere playhouse, I was not so hard on myself. I simply dug up the natural clay, mixed in sand and straw, and plopped it onto the house.
It was a lot of work! Even this tiny playhouse required quite a few wheelbarrows full of clay that I had to dig up. We have a seasonal creek bed that I can dig as much as I like. It had plenty of tiny gravel bits, clay and sand already, so I just mixed it with the sandbox sand until it felt right.
You have to use your feet to get the mix really blended well. Don’t even waste your time trying to do it with the shovel.
Mix the mud, straw and sand until it is like peanut butter. Plop it on the wall starting from the bottom. Continue until it is completely coated.
Let it dry for a week or more.
Step 4: The Final Layer
Once the thick layer of mud has sufficiently dried, there will be cracks all over. Not to worry, that is natural. The final layer will take care of that.
By making a mix of some slightly sifted clay, sand and cattail fluff, you can add a final layer that will seal those cracks and provide a lovely light brown finish. It does not take many heads of cattail, as each head will put out a huge amount of fluff.
You can also use horse manure, which also has a fine fiber in it that will work. I used a mixture of both the cattail and horse manure, since some nearby neighbors have horses and it was easy to get. Once it is mixed up and dries it does not smell like horses or poo, just a clean sort of earthy smell.
You can see more photographs of this project on my original Instructables post.
Photos by Adam Robertson
Reposted with permission from Design Fixation.
Some of you may remember Faith's Fifteen Minute Dress. Next up is Faith's Twenty Minute Dress. This particular garment works well as a beach coverup, or you can cut longer fabric panels to wear it as a regular dress.
Below are detailed instructions. Wherever you see black dotted lines in these images, that's where you'll sew. For larger views of the illustrations, visit Faith's Twenty Minute Dress on Design Fixation.
Tools and supplies: Besides the fabric for the dress, you'll need elastic for the waistline. Assemble a scissors and needle and thread for your tools — it's that simple.
Fabric: I recommend using a stretch fabric — I used a printed jersey. I prefer my hems raw when I'm using jersey, but feel free to hem the raw edges once you've finished constructing the garment if that's what you prefer. Cut a single piece of fabric measuring 26 inches wide and 36 inches long for the back of your dress. You'll also need two narrower panels that are 9 inches wide by 36 inches long for the front. The last piece of fabric required for this project is a narrow strip of casing (for the elastic) that's 44 inches long. To determine the length of elastic you'll need, measure just above your natural waist.
Step One: Sew together the right sides of the 9-inch-wide fabric panels at the top (indicated by dotted lines in the above illustration). Then, measure 10 inches down these panels, and sew from that point down to the bottom.
Step Two: Sew a seam along the top and bottom of the fabric strip that will be the elastic casing. Sew all the way around from the inside edge of one of the 9-inch panels, around the large back panel, straight across to the inside edge of the other 9-inch panel. Thread the elastic through the casing and secure on both ends with a small seam.
Step Three: Measure 11 inches from the top. With right sides together, sew from that point down the front center of the dress all the way to the bottom. Then turn it right side out, and you’re finished! Enjoy your new frock.
Need another sewing project? Check out Sewing Fixation for more sewing tutorials for all skill levels. Automatic downloads mean that you will be up and running in minutes. And if you liked this tutorial, you might also like Faith's 25 Minute Dress project.
Photos by Design Fixation/Faith Towers
February is usually considered to be the month of love, but based on the ample wedding materials I have been receiving in the mail, it seems more couples get married between April and June. Along with the union, of course, comes subsequent anniversary celebrations. If yours is coming up, this DIY gift tag tutorial is for you.
I love soda can DIY gift tags because they are sturdy and interesting (because of the punched holes), plus they boast a gorgeous brushed silver sheen. They also happen to be über easy to make.
To start, pull out a can or two of your favorite soda or sparkling water. I didn’t wash mine out, and they weren’t sticky on the inside.
Use regular craft scissors to cut the top and bottom off of your soda can. You can punch a hole in the can with a thumbtack to create something for the scissors to wedge into initially.
You should end up with something that looks like this:
Trace around a business card or other similarly shaped piece of hardy paper. You should trace on the printed side of the can (the side that won’t show in your final product).
Next, trace a slightly smaller rectangle. Put the small rectangle on the other side of the large rectangle and fold in the edges of the large rectangle to secure the small rectangle. This is easier done if you snip the corners off (which I have not done here).
You will end up with this:
Now, whip out your thumbtack and start punching a design into the aluminum. As a fair warning, this process is not for the “faint of thumb”.
Once you are finished, use a regular hole puncher to put a hole anywhere you’d like in the tag. Tie in on your gift for your recipient, and you are done! It can be your secret that you made the tag from a soda can! As a bonus, this DIY gift tag can be hung in a window or on a Christmas tree for years to come. It’s a pretty and cost-effective way to recycle.
Note: As an alternative, you could make a similar but more malleable project out of aluminum foil. Be warned that an aluminum foil tag would easily fold or crinkle, though, while this tag is virtually indestructible.
A couple of years ago, I found a fantastic piece of scrap iron at the salvage yard -- an access grate, something like a manhole cover or storm sewer cover. It’s about 36 inches across and best of all says “DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE” on it!
The “High-Voltage” lettering struck a chord with me, as I’ve been on a bit of a journey of self-discovery these last few years, working on electric vehicle and related projects.
This post will take you step by step through making a patio or lawn furniture table entirely from scrap iron. I wanted to name this project something like HIGH VOLTAGE TABLE, but with projects I’ve worked on before, people might assume that the table was somehow battery-powered or featured an electric motor!
Nope, this is just a table, but it was made completely from scrap metal, and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.
Let’s start by taking a look at the tools and materials needed for the project.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The scrap iron patio table is a basic metalworking project. Essentially, it’s an exercise in recycling, welding and grinding.
Being able to weld is a fantastic skill. If you don’t have any experience welding, I highly recommend that you learn from a friend or through a class at a technical college.
Even if you don’t own a welder, that’s no reason not to learn. There are now “hackerspaces” and other tool-sharing groups and collaborative workspaces which provide specialty tools and training to members. For example, in my area, we have the Milwaukee Makerspace. Members who don’t own welders or shop space for them, use the welders at the Milwaukee Makerspace!
For this project, I used the following items.
3-foot diameter cast-iron grate. (This could be any material, but the unique grate is what makes it special for me.)
1 1/2-inch diameter steel pipe (about 6 feet)
1-by-3/16-inch flat iron stock, about 18 feet long total. (This is the same material I used as the corners on an anvil stand.)
2 ea. 3/8-inch bolts, nuts, and washers
Spray paint and primer
To build the project, I used primarily an angle-grinder and welder.
4 1/2-inch angle grinder
Metal-grinding, metal-cutoff and flapper discs for angle grinder
In addition, a face shield is highly recommended for metal grinding.
Step 2: Making the Legs
Because I already had a large, single piece of scrap iron that was essentially the entire top, I started the project by working on the legs.
I wanted the table to be a low height for use while seated -- what you might think of as coffee table height. What else is nice about that height is it can double as a footrest or additional seating. So, I measured my ottoman and a few chairs, and decided that 18 inches tall would be about right for the table.
I cut four pieces of 1 1/2-inch-diameter steel tubing to 18 inches long. This was all recycled scrap tubing that I have on hand for projects, purchased by the pound from a junkyard.
I measured each piece to 18 inches long, marked all the way around the tube, and then cut it with a cutoff disc in the angle-grinder. A speed-square is handy for marking all the way around and ensuring that the cut is at 90 degrees. If you have a metal-cutting chop-saw, that makes it easy to ensure your cuts are square.
Bolt-On Leg Feature:
Welding to cast iron isn’t easy. And I’m no master welder, either. I’ve also decided that any time a person can make something collapsible, foldable or easy to disassemble, one should. If nothing else, it makes it easier the next time you have to move or even carry the item through a doorway.
With this in mind, I decided to make the legs removable from the tabletop. The grate already had two points that were originally used to bolt it in place. I would reuse those as points for mounting the legs. Because of that, only two of the legs would need a bolt on them.
So, I took a piece of scrap iron, about 2 inches wide and 5 inches long, and prepared it to become the mounting points for the legs.
To start with, I drilled two 3/8-inch holes through the metal.
Next, I set a 3/8-inch nut on top, and then ran a 3/8-inch nut and bolt into it from the other side of the scrap metal plate. That would hold the nut in place, and keep it from moving.
I then welded the nut in place, and repeated with the other hole.
After that, I set one of the legs centered over the nut, so that the nut was INSIDE the leg, and welded the leg in place. Then I did the same with the second leg.
Once both legs were welded to the plate (with nuts hidden inside), I then used the angle-grinder to cut the plate in half and separate the two legs. The reason why I did this, instead of building the two legs independently of each other, is that sometimes materials are too small to handle easily. For example, on a small plate of steel, there may not be much room for the ground clamp of the welder. Other times, it’s hard to clamp a work piece in a vise. Working on both legs together and then cutting them apart at the end made it much easier to work with and weld.
Once I had two legs with end-caps and hidden nuts welded inside them, I could run the 3/8-inch bolts through washers, through the grate, and tighten them into the legs.
At that point, I could balance the table on the two bolted-on legs, and prop it up with the two unattached legs.
Next, I would need to weld all four legs to each other with some sort of cross-bracing.
Step 3: Cross-Bracing
Not only do the legs all have to be connected to each other, but they also need cross-bracing to give strength against folding and twisting. To do this, I would make an iron “X” connecting from the top to the bottom of each pair of legs.
I decided that I would like the cross-bracing to meet about 3 inches from the top and bottom of each of the legs, so I put a 3-inch mark at the top and bottom of each leg.
I then set the legs on the top of the upside-down table, and measured from the upper mark on one leg, to the lower mark on the other. That distance was roughly 27 inches.
I then cut eight pieces of my 1-inch-wide iron flat stock to that length, but with an angle on the end, instead of square to match the angle they would go.
I used the flapper disc on the angle-grinder to brush off the area on the pipe where the ends of the cross-bracing would go.
With the two bolt-on legs in place and tightened down, I tack-welded the cross-bracing to the weld-on leg, up to the next leg over. I then made sure the leg was square in both directions (using the speed square) before tack-welding the cross-bracing to the loose leg -- the one NOT bolted to the grate.
I did this on both sides, so the cross-bracing went from low on the bolt-on leg to high on the loose leg, to low on the other bolt-on leg, to high on the second loose leg, and back to low on the first bolt-on leg. In this way, the tops of both the loose legs were squared up and held vertical.
After that, I welded cross-bracing from the tops of the bolt-on legs to the bottom of the loose legs, making sure the legs were square.
After everything was together and square, I went back and made solid, full welds at all points.
I also brushed the rust off at the mid-points of the cross-bracing, and then welded there.
Not all of my welds were pretty, so I decided it would be a good idea to clean them up a bit.
Step 4: Clean up Welds
I had a bit of trouble with my welder while working on this project, and actually had to switch over to a different machine while working on this. That, and I’m not actually that good of a welder anyways. So, I put the grinding disc on the angle grinder and went to cleaning up those welds!
Mostly, I just tried grinding down anything ugly. After that, I tried smoothing out the transition between the cross-bracing and the pipe.
Once I did that, I switched back to the flapper disc and used it to polish up the welds.
All that’s really needed after that is painting!
Step 5: Painting
To paint, I simply used a couple of “rattle-cans,” that is, spray paint!
I like the Rustoleum brand, as it really does seem to work especially well with rusted metal, which seems to be what I paint most of the time.
In this case, I used two of the spray products -- rusty metal primer and matte black enamel. I followed that up with some detail work using a clear coating.
I first painted the base with a coat of the rusty metal primer, and then with a coat of the matte black. I painted the top with matte black, and also flipped it, so that I painted both sides and the interior edges of the grate as well.
While painting the top of the table, I wiped the still-wet-paint off one of the letters, and liked the result of the shiny letter on the dark background. I decided that I would like all the letters to be like that, but wanted it to stay rust free, so it would continue to be shiny.
Step 6: Finishing Steps
Once the base and the tabletop were both painted, I used the flapper disc on the grinder to take off just the surface of the paint on the top of the lettering.
Next, I masked off the area around the letters, and then sprayed them with a coat of clear protective finish.
With the top on the base, I bolted it down, and snugged the bolts.
I found that the shine of the bolts detracted a bit from shiny letters, so I painted the bolts with the matte black spray paint.
Once dry, the project is finished!
Step 7: All Done!
So that’s it!
Use it as indestructible patio furniture. It will be pretty impervious to weather, and unlike plastic lawn furniture will not blow away in a windstorm. Because it’s an open grate, rainwater won’t accumulate on top either.
The table is also a good height to act as a yard or garden bench for sitting or working.
At the moment, it’s still winter in my part of the world, but I look forward to the summer when this table will hold up picnic dinners, beers and BBQ!
For lots more photographs of this project, visit the Instructables website.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
I do those things. Usually. When I feel like it. More often than not, I do those things, but I’m a human person living in modern times so sometimes I don’t.
I’m a firm believer in doing what you can when you can. Use your recycling bins, but if you’re close to a mental breakdown from cooking, working, cleaning the house, dealing with a broken toilet, a screaming child and/or a slightly insane boss … don’t beat yourself up over throwing that one recyclable container in the garbage because the ease of doing so is the only thing keeping you from jumping into the nearest volcano.
The five people who live off the grid wearing clothing they made from leaves and eating only bugs, (that have died naturally) aren’t the ones saving Mother Earth. It’s the rest of us who are doing what we can when we can that are. Their acts are commendable of course, but the majority of us have real houses with real jobs, real lunches to pack and real(ish) volcanoes to avoid.
Which brings us to my next point of interest. Plastic. I use it. I’ll admit it. I have sandwich bags and plastic wrap, and cat poop bags. All plastic. Other than the poop bags, I reuse them all a couple of times before I throw them in the recycling bin.
But we seem to go through a lot of sandwich bags and a lot of plastic wrap. And it irks me for a variety of reasons. It is definitely a waste. And it’s definitely expensive. And it’s definitely ugly. Other than when you get that absolutely perfect, glass-like seal across a bowl with your plastic wrap. That, of course, is a thing of artistic beauty like nothing else.
So when I came across these reusable food wraps by Abeego made out of beeswax coated cotton, I was intrigued. The second I saw them I had romantic visions of these beautiful food wraps encasing healthy sandwiches and expensive cheeses. Just looking at them made me feel good.
So I had to make some immediately. A quick search of the Internet led me to believe I could make a similar version with only cotton fabric and some beeswax.
I did it, they turned out great and now you can make them too. In case you too want to feel good.
1. Gather a few pieces of 100 percent cotton fabric and put them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.
I used leftover scraps from this project, and flour sack tea towels from my screen printed tea towels that didn’t turn out well.
2. Preheat oven to 150 to 170 degrees F (depending on your oven, mine doesn’t go lower than 170 degrees).
3. Shave and then chop a couple of ounces of beeswax.
You can use an old candle or buy beeswax beads, or a whole hunk of beeswax for this.
4. Sprinkle the fabric with a light layer of beeswax.
About this much. Maybe a teensy bit more.
5. Put them in the oven for 10 minutes (or until wax is melted).
The fabric will be soaked through with wax when you remove them.
6. Take them off the hot baking sheet IMMEDIATELY.
If you leave them on for even a few seconds they’ll cool down and stick to the tin foil or the beeswax will become clumpy.
Your beeswax fabric is now done!
Now it’s all about refining it if you want to.
You can leave it just as at is or you can finish the edges with pinking sheers.
I’ve also added a couple of buttons and some butcher twine for closing one of mine.
They’re beautiful. I love them.
Care. All you need to do is rinse the wraps in cool water and give them a little rub with a dish cloth. Don’t use hot water or your beeswax will melt.
Use. I’ve used mine for several weeks and they’re going strong. I’ve used the Beeswax wraps to wrap cheese, sandwiches, carrots, a Portobello mushroom, bowls of soup (like cling wrap) and cut vegetables.
Opinion. They’re great. They really do work. The warmth of your hands allows you to mold the beeswax to whatever shape you want and it stays there.
Problems. They smell strongly of beeswax to begin with. The fella took exception to the carrots on his lunch smelling like beeswax for the first little while, but the smell has faded.
So, reduce, reuse, recycle. When you can. When you can’t? Avoid all volcanos.
See more of Karen Bertelsens projects at www.theartofdoingstuff.com.
This article originally appeared in Make Vol. 33 and is reposted with permission from the author, Saul Griffith.
Not only do I enjoy making things, I also love making food, so any opportunity that combines both is hard to pass up. Friends of mine were getting married, and being the beautiful and unusual people they are, planned a potluck wedding. I decided to do what I’d been hoping to do for years: cook an entire animal on a spit. My wife and I had a small lamb and pig both spit-roasted at our wedding and it was a culinary highlight. How hard could it be to do myself?
A few friends volunteered to help (thanks Pete Lynn, Dan Benoit, Joe Brock, and infinitely Mose O’Griffin). At the local farmer’s market I met the lovely people from Fatted Calf, a San Francisco charcuterie. They were delighted to supply me with a lamb, and also recommended a great book, The River Cottage Meat Book, that included directions for making a spit and cooking on it.
It was the Thursday evening before the wedding when I went to pick up the lamb. The store was full of people buying sausage or some prosciutto. The store went dead quiet as the butcher, having just completed salting and preparing “the beast,” brought it out slung over his shoulder. I think everyone in the shop came to me with some comment or story of shared excitement, jealousy, or encouragement. I knew at this point that despite having no idea what I was doing, this particular cooking experience was the type of making that brings communities and people together in a social experience.
That evening we elected to build the rotisserie spit that I thought would be the simplest, most easily transported, and easiest to store.
Sheet metal for the fire pans and drippings trough. We used a 4 inch by 8 inch sheet of 16-gauge mild steel.
3 Metal rods or pipes to hold the pans and trough together
2 Adjustable sawhorses to support the rotisserie, height-adjustable for temperature control (good idea, Dan)
Steel pipe, Schedule 40, 1½ inch diameter, 10 inch length for the spit
Baling wire to hold the roast on
Windshield wiper motor, high torque, low speed to drive the spit
Solar panel to power the rotisserie (thanks, Fenix International)
Bicycle wheel to gear down the rotisserie speed
Steel pipe flange fitting
Scrap of wood or metal to adapt the flange to your bike wheel
2 Eye bolts larger than pipe diameter
Various wood screws, nails, kite string, etc.
1. Cut the sheet metal into three 8-feet-long pieces: two 18-inches-wide for the fire pans, and one 12-inches-wide for the drippings trough. Cut holes to thread the pipe through.
2. Cut the metal pipes to size and assemble the 3 troughs. Bend the drippings trough deeply and the fire pans shallowly.
3. Bolt the eye bolts to the top of the sawhorses.
4. Drill and tap the flange to match the hole spacing of the disc brake tabs on the bike hub.
5. Connect the flange and hub/wheel to the Schedule 40 pipe. To adapt the flange to your disc brake or hub, drill a disc of wood or metal to match the hole patterns of both parts.
7 a.m. Wedding day — I get up, but have my 3-year-old son and 3-month-old puppy to look after. (My wife is baking the wedding cake.)
9 a.m. I’m now worried; I haven’t made progress on anything, and from reading the book I’m estimating a 6- or 7-hour cooking time with a 5 p.m. eating target. Mose arrives. Sigh of relief.
9:05 We get the fire started in the 2 fire pans. We have enough old eucalyptus logs to cook a bunch of animals, even though it does consume a surprising amount of wood.
9:15 Start preparing the animal itself; we decide to figure out how to spin the animal once it’s on the spit.
9:20 Read hilarious section of River Cottage Meat Book: “Let’s not be delicate here, the pole goes in the a**hole and out the mouth.” Learned that there is indeed nothing delicate about cooking a whole animal.
9:25 We use too much baling wire and my hands are bleeding, but the lamb is tied to the pole. All I did to prepare the pipe was drill some holes for pushing wire through. You should think a lot more about how to keep the lamb from rolling around. Systems with orthogonal spikes seem very popular.
9:45 Lamb goes onto the spit above the coals. We’re cooking at last. Seven hours until dinner; if everything goes according to plan we’ll have minutes to spare!
9:55 We attempt to drive the spit at a recommended 1 to 3 rpm by connecting solar cells through an inverter to produce 12V. There are problems with both the inverter and the drive mechanism.
10:05 Our friction drive made of a BMX bike peg against the bike tire doesn’t work well, and doesn’t give us enough gear reduction. The motor moves about 100 rpm, and the friction drive is only about 20:1.
10:20 Switch to using the battery of a 1959 dune buggy. This turns out to be a bad idea but is awfully fun.
10:30 Back to solar panels, and with the arrival of Joe Brock we have a new idea: a capstan drive. It works perfectly. Fortunately I have brought a splicing tool and some old kite string that makes an excellent belt. We just wrap a few turns of the string around the motor axle.
10:40 Everything now appears to be working. The lamb is moving at 2 to 3 rpm and the only thing to do now is tend the fire. And baste the animal. And drink.
4:40 p.m. Still basting and drinking, but it’s now time to go watch our friends get married. Quickly check the temperature with a meat thermometer: 140°F deep
in the thigh. Perfect.
5:10 They’re married! I’m ready to carve. So is Mose. People line up, and it’s done. I can’t believe 75 pounds of animal can disappear so quickly.
Sometimes making is solitary, sometimes it’s social. Both are beautiful things.
If you’re setting out to build a cabin or building a shed, take the time to create a scale model first. It’s the single biggest advantage you can give yourself when it comes to saving money and getting a great finished result.
The purpose of scale modeling is three-fold. First, it makes it easy to visualize the shape of the cabin, shed or barn you’ll end up with. Second, building a small version of your project lets you figure out the framing details and construction challenges you’ll face. And finally, scale models reduce the stress and uncertainty you might feel as you invest the time, money and energy into a full-size building. Scale models deliver real piece of mind.
I built my first scale model in 1988. It helped me settle on the design details of the 3000 sq.ft. home my wife and I built and live in now. I’ve also used scale models to design sheds and cabins, and helped others do the same.
There are two main approaches to building a scale model. If your finished building will have a wood frame, take the trouble to cut and build your model with scale lumber. The details you face building the model are a dress rehearsal for your work on the full-size building. If you’re working with SIPs, ICFs masonry or any other non-frame construction system, then 1/4” foam board available at any office supply outlet is the ideal model building material.
To learn more about scale model methods that might help you, check out Steve Maxwell’s video at http://goo.gl/xAuHb