Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Model Building 101 - Display Shelves

My small scale fleet collection all started with my getting Hallmark Ornaments for Christmas presents.  As the years progressed and my collection grew, I decided that I wanted to display those ornaments along with the rest of the collection.  I accomplished this by redesigning some bookcases to allow me to hang up the ornaments.  This worked well because for some of my models, I've installed eye hooks to allow them to be hung as well.  Over the last two years, the size of the collection has exploded.

Bookcases 1-3 = Star Trek Starfleet Ships
Bookcases 4-5 = Star Trek Alien Ship
Bookcase 6 = Space Battleship Yamato Ships

It took some time to work out the best way to run a hanging wire so I figured I would spare you the headaches I went through and share my mad methodology.

When I recently moved to the new starbase, I needed to wire up two new bookcases to allow for further expansion of the collection.  This provided a great opportunity to snap some pictures as I went.

Consistancy is the key to making a great looking display case.  My goal was to have all of the wires the same height and distances apart on each shelf.

That being said, you will definitely need a ruler and perhaps a Sharpie marker.

The measurements that worked best for me was having the hang lines be 9 inches above the shelf.  Once I had the height established, I made two marks for drilling.  The one mark was 4 inches from the back of the bookcase and the second mark was 3 inches in from the front of the bookcase.

I then used a 5/64" drill bit and made some starter holes in the 3 and 4 inch marks.  You do not need to drill all the way through the wall of the bookcase, in fact, it would look much better if you didn't do that at all.

I went out an bought some Hillman 3/4" screw eyes to tie the hanging cables to.  You will need a total of 4 screw eyes per shelf in your bookcase.

Start installing the screw eyes, but do not screw them all the way in yet.  Put them in far enough that they don't wiggle around.  This will be important later.

I had also purchased some Hillman 15 pound Invisible Cord.  You can use the 10 pound stuff as well or maybe even something lighter.  In fact, the lighter the strength, the easy it is to tie off.  You just need to factor in how many models and thier weight you will hanging onto the cord.  This was all the hardware store had at the time I bought mine and I was in a rush to complete the shelves so I rolled with it.

The back of the cord packaging shows you to use what is called a Fisherman's Knot.  In actuality, it is called a Clinch Knot.  Here is a quick pictorial idea of how you tie one.

Here is what is called an Improved Clinch Knot.  I actually like this one better but the ticker cord may be more difficult to tie off with.

Start off by tying one end of the cord to the first screw eye using the clinch knot or improved clinch not.  Measure off enough cord to stretch across to the opposite screw eye.  Cut the cord.  Then start tying off the cord to the opposite hook, but bee careful to keep it as tight as possible.  It is OK is you are slightly loose, but if the cord ends up hanging too much, it won't work.

At this point, the screw eyes become a little more difficult to turn.  I finish screwing the hooks into the wood until you no longer see the threads or the cord is nice and tight.  I found that a nail gives you a nice leverage tool to turn the screw eye.

Repeat these steps on the remaining shelves and before you know it, you now have a display case that allows for hanging of models as well.

And that is all I have to share on this subject.

I hope you found this article, as well as my entire mini-series of articles as useful and informative as I did while writing them.  Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions below.

So for now, "Live Long And Prosper!"

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