Making The Components For The Whiteside Trestle
The original Whiteside Trestle was 780 feet long and 116 feet high. Our model is very close in scale and spans 13 feet (624 scale feet).

We needed 34 bents, 4 cut-stone piers, and 3 crib dams. The bents would be topped with 2, 13-foot stringers with cross-ties and track on top of them.

Our logs were made from .25" and .3125" diameter birch dowels. The dowels were textured with an abrasive bit (second dowel from the left in the photo on the left), and then colored with dry pigment in alcohol washes and weathered with india ink in alcohol washes. Cut branch scars were made with a wood burning pen.

A woodworker friend of Charlie Taylor's milled hardwood for the beams, cross-bracing, and stringers. The beams were cut to the 4 sizes needed for the bents and they were mortised for the splay (batter) needed in the log alignment. They were also drilled for the steel pins which we were going to use to connect the logs and beams.

The photos show the smooth hardwood before and after texturing and weathering.

The individual bents were built in the jig shown on the left. One, two, three, or four tier bents were constructed starting at the top with a beam clamped in place. The logs were cut to length and center-drilled at each end in a mini-lathe and pins were glued in. The logs were then glued from below a beam at each level from top to bottom.

Bottom tier logs were all cut extra long to allow for terrain variance and then temporarily secured to a footer for safe transport.

Pins protruded at the top of each bent to accept the horizontal stringers added later.

The full set of bents and crib dams are seen below.

The four cut-stone piers had to be precise in dimension and taper. Above left, you can see the MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) glued-up to thickness and in the process of being tapered. These would become the pier cores. Next, one-eighth inch thick basswood planks were glued to all MDF surfaces (above right) and then marked and carved.

At left, the piers (top and bottom sections) have had their first application of acrylic paint and medium. The finished piers are seen below.