Danby Saw Mill

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Well-Known Member
Hi! I would like to build the Danby Saw Mill by Keystone. It would be my first such kit, and I understand I will have to be methodical, patient, meticulous, and savvy.

What I ask, and hope to receive, is for a reasonably detailed description of how to commence one of these kits on the right foot, how to prevent the more common mistakes that people make (or even what they are, and generally any other helpful hints.

I would not impose such a burden on anyone...perhaps there is a ready resource on-line that you know? I would like to avoid ordering how-to's if possible, so any directions you could share would make my day.



Lazy Daydreamer
Selector said:
Hi! I would like to build the Danby Saw Mill by Keystone. It would be my first such kit, .., so any directions you could share would make my day.
I'm not familiar with Keystone kits and I couldn't find their website on a google search. Do they produce laser-cut wood kits?

I wish I could help, but I know only enough about woods kits to be dangerous! I took a stab at building a very old wood craftsman kit (a Campbell, I think?) that had been sitting in a friend's basement for ~30 years, before he decided to go ahead and use it on his layout. Didn't get to finish it, because conflicting family commitments forced me to stop making my weekly evening visit to Jim's house.

Have you posted this question across the street? I know that member "CNJ831" over there is quite talented at wood-based structure building (seen several of his photos), maybe you could PM him?

Best o' luck...


Railroad Photographer
Just follow the kit instructions. That's how most of us do it. I made mine over 20 years ago without any problems.


Well-Known Member
Thanks, both of you. The instructions say to stain the wood prior to assembly. But there is no section on staining. They suggest ambroid to assemble the structure, but neglect to give the builder tips on staining. I know that wood can warp, and have read that an alcohol base will prevent swelling and warping because it evaporates so quickly...or so I have read on line. Is this true? Should I stain both sides of the wood, and if I do, will water paints do?

Would there be an appreciable benefit to do as the instructions suggest and sand each little piece of wood with 600 grit prior to assembly? I think I am beginning to understand the term "a month of Sundays". :eek:

Bob, if my diorama turns out something half as good as yours, I will consider it a huge success. From you, especially, some guidance would go a long way.



Railroad Photographer
Stain the wood with a mixture of 90% rubbing alocohol and India ink, or black shoe die. Stain all of the sides, I've dipped mine in the stain at times. Use white glue or yellow carpenters glue to assemble. Sanding the wood is up to you, and depends upon the quality of the wood. Some stripwood I've worked with has been really fuzzy, requiring sanding. I've actually used some fine steel wool to clear off the fuzz, wrap it around a piece of wood and pull the wood though once or twice.

Do not use water paint to stain wood - it will certainly warp! To dry off the alcohol stained wood, I lay each peice across an upsidedown box top, the wood is only touching the edges of the box top. Using 90% alcohol is best because it contains less water than the stuff with lower percentages.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
Thank-you very much, Bob. I think that will get me started. I like your box-top idea...that's pretty sharp. I already have the alcohol/ink mix handy, so I will experiment with that. The wood in my kit seems quite nicely finished, so I will hold off on sanding or steel-wool stripping (another cool idea!).

The instructions say to build the model in place if practicable. I think I will build it on a thin, sturdy base so that I can remove it if the need arises.

(Now, breathe deeply.....ata boy,..., you can do this.)


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