Sunday, January 14, 2007

36 Miles of Barbed Wire: Part 1

...cobra snake for a neck-tie...?

No Savage action to report this week. Only Darrin showed up and the scenario I had cooked up wouldn'y work so good with one person so I shanghaied Darrin into helping me get started making some barbed wire for the Vimy Project (see post below).

Now I figure I want to have enough to potentially make three rows completely across the table. The table for this years scenario (the Fourth Division) is 4'x4'. So that's 12 linear feet of barbed wire in 4" sections.... so 36 4" sections of barbed wire. Good thing I had Darrin to help out, getting started would have otherwise been a rather daunting task.

So what follows is part one of How to Make Barbed Wire (....the Tim Brown Way).

So the first thing I had to do was run out to the garage and see if I could find any 1/8" MDF already ripped to 1" wide. I did. This made me happy becaue it is dang cold here this week and I didn't want to spend any more time out there than I had to. It looked like I had a fair amount, three or four stips about 3' long. I wasn't sure if it was 12' but it would be a good start. As it turned out I had plenty.

Part two was cutting the stips down to four inch sections. I did this in the house with a little hand mitre saw as it was too dang cold to stay out in the garage and use power tools. that's Darrin in "the Tick" shirt there.

I cut a big pile.

While I was cutting them Darrin started cleaning them up. This involved running them over a sheet of sand paper to bevel the edges. then he pre-drilled the holes where the posts would go.

When I was finished cutting I stared banging in the 7/8" finishing nails that would be our posts. I also filed down any points that were poking through the other side.

Yeah that's right; finishing nails. So these aren't the kinds of things you want to be clumbsy with and leave on the floor where anyone might be walking around in socks or bare feet... or tin soled shoes...!

There's the pile of them.

The next step is to apply "Base Goop" from experience having made these before it is easier to apply any texture to the base BEFORE you string the barbed wire!

The "Base Goop" is the same stuff I use on my figure bases. It's a mixture of acrylic gel, model railroad balast, and dark brown paint. It gives a rougher etxtre than simple aplying glue and sprinkling on sand. It looks more like earth churned by hundreds of tousands of tons of high explosive shells.

there's Darrin aplying the base goop. He's ninja fast at this, hence the bluriness. No, I'm kidding, it's actually a long slow tedious task. There was just poor lighting and I hate using a flash...

Long way to go. the container by Darrin's hand is what I mix the base goop up in. It's the plastic part from a blister pack of figures. My guess this one came from a battlefront platoon pack... I save them all for mixing goop. I have quite a stack, but as I'm buying less and making more of my own they will over time dwindle away...

...And presto! Bases for three 4' long strecthes of barbed wire. next I think I'll actually do the base highlighting before I string the barbed wire then I don't have to worry about working around the wire.

and I'm going to have to do this all again next year. "WHY!?" you may be asking, when these aren't atached to the table, could I not just use them for next year's scenario? Well, because when live the megalomaniac dream five years from now and do the entire Corps on one big 16' long table... well... I'm going to need enough barbed wire to run the length of the 16' long table aren't I? (BAW-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!)

Stay tuned for part two: Stringing the Wire and Finishing Up.


  1. Wow. That's a lot of barbed wire!

    Thanks for putting together the how-to bits of the blog. Very informative!

  2. Hey Tim, where do you buy the 1/8 MDF?

    1. I can't remember. Co-op Home Centre, maybe? Or maybe Windsor Plywood...? I bought a few 4'x8' sheets of it a while back and they last quite a while.