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Telegraph poles

Page history last edited by Ian Stock 13 years, 7 months ago

Ian Stock

This is another of those small features that anyone with a modicum of patience can do, but which has a surprisingly big impact on the overall model. My first attempt at making some was relatively crude, but I have since developed a rather more accurate version. They add both height and proportion to a model, and emphasise the true narrowness of the track gauge when using NG, as  they somehow force one to reappraise the crucial height/width relationship.


I have not added wires to mine as I felt they would be both a hazard to local wildlife, and would probably be regularly pulled over by same. If one did add wires, the important issue would be to find a medium that hung in the correct manner.



Two poles like those described below seen in this view of Russell leaving Minffordd (LBR)


Materials needed:


·         15mm or thereabout diameter hardwood dowel.

·         5mm square section strip wood

·         3.2mm white plastic tube

·         1.5mm diameter brass rod.

·         15mm diameter plastic tube or copper water pipe.

·         Household pins or equivalent.

·         Black plastikard.

·         Wood preservative.




1.       Cut the dowel into desired lengths – I use about 30cm per pole.


2.       Cut the 5mm strip into desired lengths for cross-bars – I make them 8cm long.


3.       Cut the brass rod into short lengths to make insulator mounts – I make them about 15mm long.


4.       Mark off the 3.2mm tube into about 5mm lengths for the insulator pots. Using a needle file, make a groove round the tube about two-thirds of the way along the section. It might be possible to turn this using a slow-turning mini-drill as a ‘lathe’, but the tube melts easily. Once the groove is made, cut the tube into a 5mm length and repeat as necessary. There are many different designs and colours of pot.


5.       Cut as many insulator pots and mounts as necessary. Glue the pots onto the pot mounting rods, fixing the pot at one end, with superglue. There are also many different designs of pot mounting, such as those with curled lower ends; these would need mounting to the cross-bars before the pots were stuck in place.


6.       Using a 1.5mm bit, drill the cross-bars to accept the insulator mountings; insert and glue these in place.


7.       Using a razor saw, make two parallel cuts into the pole, about 2cm from one end, and remove the waste between them (I use an old screwdriver as a chisel for this); this is to create a recess for the cross-bar. A tight fit is desirable. You may need to make more such cuts if you want multiple cross bars.


8.       Cut the top end of the pole to a pitch, as with a roof-ridge – this is done to aid drainage.


9.       Glue the cross-bar(s) into their recesses, and pin through with a household pin or equivalent, cutting the waste off at the back.


10.   Cut a small piece of black plasticard, about 2.5cm x 1.5cm, fold it in half and glue over the pitched top end of the pole.


11.   I have never bothered with footrests as the poles represent small ones up to about 20 feet high; some experimentation might be needed to represent these convincingly.


12.   The completed pole can be inserted into either copper or plastic tube to protect it from soil moisture, and to allow the pole to be planted more securely – local cats like to use mine as rubbing posts! The tube also makes it less messy to treat the timber, which needs to be done next, using a suitably dark finish wood preservative.


13.   Ensure that you plant the finished posts at a suitable interval – too far apart loses the effect, while too close together makes the scene look crowded. I normally go for about 5 – 6 feet apart, depending on suitable locations.


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