Sunday, March 8, 2020

A “tribute” industry for the layout

What might I mean by a “tribute” industry? I suppose it could mean a lot of things, but in the present case it turns out to be an opportunity for a tribute for my late and very good friend, Richard Hendrickson. (If you don’t know or don’t remember who he was, you might like to read the post I wrote after he passed away, which I entitled “In memoriam,” and can be found here: .)
     This all arose at the recent Cocoa Beach meeting last January, where, among other attractions, the Bob’s Photos sales room is always active. I hadn’t actually visited the room yet, when my friend Jeff Cauthen told me there was a Santa Fe passenger photo there that I really ought to see. So I went around to the room, and sure enough, here it was:

It may not be immediately obvious, but the point of interest was the lower right foreground sign, which I enlarge here:

These are even Richard’s initials, R.H., which really stood out when glancing at this photo. And those who didn’t know Richard likely wouldn’t realize he was a skilled woodworker, but he enjoyed that kind of task, and in fact did all the window and door trim when his new house was being built in Ashland, Oregon, so this lumber and millwork company is quite appropriate.
     An important point to make about this sign is that it is obviously the product of a sign painter. There are inconsistencies in some letters and in the shading. I made the same point about signs in my recent clinic about using typography in model railroading (you can read the handout for the talk at this link: ).
    My layout doesn’t have space for a lumber yard, but I can readily imagine that such an industry is located off the railroad, thus picking up its shipments of lumber at a team track. Then the sign would be used on a truck which might show up at that team track to receive a load.
     Now the “& Son” part of the sign is unnecessary (though Richard did have a son), and as it happens, the last two letters of his name are not “EN” but “ON.” Both changes are easily made while adjusting the sign for model use, and removing the wires which cross the image. The “skew” tool in Photoshop allows the sign to be squared up. I also moved the words beneath the name so they would be close to centered. Here is a rough intermediate stage:

     With further squaring up and contrast adjustment, I printed this out in a suitable size for use on HO scale vehicles. I tried it out on two trucks. One was a flat-bed trailer being used for receiving lumber at a team track (you can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish):

I also tried applying the sign to a delivery-type box van, suggesting the reach of the business beyond its own premises.

     Whether these or other trucks may end up with the Hendrickson Lumber signs, remains to be seen, but I am pleased to add this industry to those that are visible on my layout.
Tony Thompson


  1. On my HO SP-theme railroad I have a flag stop, at the start of a long passing siding, named Thompson.

  2. That's a great looking sign. And that's a very impressive Santa Fe train passing by!

  3. Well done. In this day of modeling having to be very prototypical, nice to see a long standing habit of naming industries/businesses for friends.