Martin Tärnrot

Creating Lumber Stacks Pre-1960 Style

Martin Tärnrot
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Duration:   7  mins

MRA Contributing Editor Martin Tärnrot makes lumber stacks for flatbed cars—the type of lumber stacks that were made when everything was done manually, before 1960. The lumber was stacked on the car manually and then a cage was built around the lumber to keep it in place during transportation.


Up until recently, lumber stacks were difficult to build—you could build them from laser-cut kits or manually from styrene strips or lumber. (We have a video that shows other methods for making lumber stacks.)

But with the advent of 3D printing, you can print the lumber stacks at home. Just buy an inexpensive set of 3D drawings and you can print as many as you want. If you have a large layout with a lumber theme, these are really useful. After 3D printing, all you need to do is paint the stacks.


Martin downloads 3D models to print the lumber stacks from He downloads Cargo-0003, Lumber Mega Set. After about two hours, the stack is ready in the printer. Martin shows how to clean it and remove the supports. Then it needs to be post-cured, which can be done outside in the sun or in a post-curing unit.


Now it’s time to paint the stacks. Martin uses an airbrush. He mixes yellow, white, and brown, and after painting, puts the excess paint into a mixing tray. He adds more brown and a drop of black, then creates a wash from this by adding 50% thinner. Using a brush, he paints the wash all over the lumber stack. He advises to let it dry for two or three hours, and it’s ready for assembly onto the flatbed.

Martin thinks it adds an extra dimension of realism to actually load and offload the cargo at destinations. Now with the ease of 3D printing, creating these lumber stacks is much easier than building them plank by plank. The level of detail of what can be printed is excellent too.

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