The "light" at the end of the tunnel . . . how others view Stoneworks products and efforts. (PLANS and BOOKS have their reviews located within those product pages.)


"This is an unusual review in that I'm examining a company and its concept as much as its products. Garden railroaders are always looking for building materials that are both realistic and weather resistant. Natural stone fills this bill admirably.
   Stone, by its very nature, has no inherent scale. It only takes on scale as it is cut and used for certain jobs.
   Stoneworks is a relatively new company. It introduced itself and its products at the 1998 Garden Railway convention in Santa Clara. The company is almost single-mindedly dedicated to the use of natural stone as a modeling medium. Toward that end, it has published a 20-page catalog primarily containing natural stone from quarries around the country, stone-working tools, and stone-working information for modelers (See their web site at:
   The catalog, in addition to being an interesting reference in its own right, offers complete kits, like stone foundations for Pola buildings (to be reviewed in a future issue), a stone, water-powered mill that contains its own 500 gph pump, cabins with stone foundations and chimneys, tunnel portals, slate sidewalks, and more. Also available are bulk packs of stone for random-course walls and foundations, and quarry stone of different varieties available in small sticks. These sticks are intended to be cut to shape by the modeler for his or her specific uses.
   Working with real stone is probably out of the experiential realm of most garden railroaders. To bridge this gap, Stoneworks offers an informational booklet series. Each booklet covers a specific topic, such as "How to cut and build with real stone" (#7001, $1.75); "Tunnel portals - stone and concrete" (#7011, $4.95); and "Post rock fence" (#7019, $.50). Each thoroughly covers its specific topic, discussing, where necessary, stone cutting, types of stone, placement, tools and their uses, molds and forms, use of cement, and more.
   It is unusual for a completely new material to be made available to modelers. Working with stone is not difficult (I've done some myself) and the resultant finished project will necessarily be unique. Stoneworks offers stone in a wide variety of colors, textures, and hardnesses and can offer advice on the most suitable stones for specific jobs. This forward-thinking company not only sells the product and the tools with which to work it, but it offers itself as a resource. I suspect we'll be seeing a lot more real-stone structures in the garden". -M.H.

June, 2000
 pg 128

 Product Reviews
 Marc Horovitz

Worksheets: How to Build A Stone Arch Bridge

Price: $4.95

Twelve-page guidelines on how to build a model of a stone-arch bridge from actual stone.

Pros: Interesting insight into stone bridge construction, both model and full-size; photos of completed model stone bridges; bibliography of books relating to stone bridges; clear set of guidelines for building a model stone-arch bridge
Cons: Reproduction quality is variable; information could have been organized a little better; stone-working techniques are not discussed here (but are available in other publications from this company.)

"This monograph starts out with a discussion of stone-arch bridges and the individual shapes of the different stones used in their construction. It continues with general information on two techniques for making arched panels. This is followed by four pages of bibliographic notes and suggestions for places to find actual stone bridges. After this is a good section on designing your bridge and what tools and materials (in addition to the stone) you will need. There is a section on estimating the stone you will neeed. Actually, this section is how to estimate how much stone you'll need to buy from Stoneworks. You can, of course, cut your own, but there you're on your own when it comes to estimating how much you'll need.
 The booklet finishes up with an illustrated, step-by-step guide to making a stone bridge. The pictures are clear and the sequence easy enough to follow that anyone with an interest should be able to build an arched bridge from real stone. On the last page are some unusual prototype conditions with suggestions on how to model them. I found the pamphlet to be both interesting and informative, a valuable reference for an unusual type of modeling".


Oct 2003
 pgs 129
 Book Reviews
Marc Horovitz

How to Model in Stone & Cement
by Mary Abel-Lavely and Tom Lavely
#7050 - 52 pg, softbound, lavishly illustated

"Stoneworks must surely have created what, to date, is the definitive work on modeling in these materials. The book, with an introduction by Jack Verducci, contains chapters on cement casting, real stone construction, casting masters (molds), and modeling in 1/2" scale. It takes you step-by-step through the construction of a small house with a stone chimney, stone-and-cement tunnel portals, and stone-arch bridges and viaducts.

   The book is profusely illustrated with black-and-white and some color photos. While the photo quality isn't always great, all pictures are clear and easily understood. Materials, tools, processes, and techniques are all covered in depth through the illustrations and clearly written prose, making this type of model building accessible to anyone who has the desire to give it a go. The book is a significant contribution to our hobby. Highly recommended."

Aug 2012
Vol 29 Issue 4
 pgs 82 & 83
 Product Reviews
Kevin Strong

The corner bakery


1:24 scale corner storefront kit Laser-cut styrene components and plans to build (out of concrete or other material) a small corner storefront in 1:24 scale (#7207 - includes multiple individual products, each available separately); recommended for intermediate/advanced modelers.

"So, does the end justify the means? I'd say, "Yes." These kits are not for the beginner. Expect to spend some time cleaning and puzzling some things out, and expect it to take more than a few evenings to put all the elements together. When all is said and done, though, you're left with some really well-done architectural details tha would have taken far, far longer to scratchbuild."

Feb 2012
Vol 29 Issue 1
 pgs 78
 Product Reviews
Marc Horovitz

Get ready to build

#7104 Assay Office
#7105 Glade Creek Mill

Plans and instruction sets for making cast-concrete strucure in 1:24 scale; assay office includes two 24 x 36" plan sheets, printed one side; eight page 8 1/2 x ll" booklet; card with fraction/decimal/metric conversion talbe and 3" ruler; Glade Creek Mill includes the same with the addition of a third plan sheet.

"The finished structures, when properly painted, are virtually indistinguishable from whatever material they are intended to represent. Add to that the fact that you actually made the building yourself and that it can be expected to last many years outdoors, and you've got a winner."




Feb 2013
Vol 30 Issue 1
 pgs 80 & 81
 Product Reviews
Kevin Strong

The little stone depot

#7109 Stone Depot Plans and Parts Kit $58

1:24-scale rural stone depot plans (#7209) and parts kit; stone, cement, and laser-cut styrene kit; intermediate skill level. Dimensions: 5" wide x 10" long x 10" tall

"This was definitely a learning experience for me. I'm a little hesitant to call certain things "weaknesses" because I'm not sure how much of it is inherent in the kit versus me feeling my way. If nothing else, consider it extra commentary on important steps you don't want to miss. The reality with these kits is that the "kit" part is really the templates, doors, and windows. How you build the walls is entirely up to you. There' s no need to use concrete if you're not comfortable with it. This station could be just as easily built with a core of Styrofoam or wood, simply gluing the blocks to the outside. Wall templates could be used to cut out the walls instead of creating a mold for the concrete. In that light, the station kit itself could be very simple, since you can easily tailor it to match your construction comfort level. But, still, every once in a while it's fun to venture into deeper waters and the instructions with this kit make that pretty straight forward."

Oct 2013
Vol 30 Issue 5
 pgs 77
 Product Reviews
Marc Horovitz

Cast in stone

DVD Update: How to Model in Stone & Cement

by Mary Abel-Lavely and Tom Lavely,
Running time: 17:03 minutes

"The quality of the video is generally good. Shots are clear, well lit, and lucidely explained by Tom Lavely. Because of the fast pace and relatively short length of the program, this is a video that will bear watching several times. If you've been interested in building structures for your railway out of cement, or have just heard about it, but were afraid to take the first step, this DVD should help to smooth the path for you."



Feb 2014
Vol 31 Issue 1
 pgs 76
 Product Reviews
Marc Horovitz

Build a grist mill in 1:24

#7116 Three-Story Mill

Full-size plans and construction guide for building a three-story-grist-mill structure in cement (#7116); three 24" x 36" sheets of drawings, photos, and instructions; one four page 8 1/2" x 11" pamphlet of stone- an cement-mdeling tips; one sheet of color photos of prototype mills for reference.

"Building structures in this manner (Stone & Cement technique) is both innovative and creative. It is a flexible technique that allows you to vary the building size, placement of openings, and finish. If this is your first foray into this method, I would recommend starting with a smaller structure, as well as purchasing the company's book, Stone & Cement (#7051, $19.95), as the information supplied with this plan set is probably not enough to get a biginner up and running.

However, if you're already an old hand at concrete construction, this structure should be a straightforward build that will yield an impressive addition to your garden railway."



Dec 2014
Vol 31 Issue 6
 pgs 75 &76
 Product Reviews
Kevin Strong

Bridging the gap

#4250 Box-Plate-Girder Bridge Kit

1:24 scale, box-plate-girder bridge Kit. Laser-cut styrene for one 15 1/2" section of a box-plate-girder bridge. Dimensions: length, 15 1/2"; height, 3"; width, 6 1/4"

"Overall, I'm impressed with this kit. It goes together fairly easily (once the rivets are sorted out), and the curve on the ribs gives it a bit of elegance that you don't find on many bridges. While I currently have no place on my railroad for this bridge section, it will look just as good sitting on a shelf beneath one of my locomotives."

Note: "rivet" now inserts to smaller diameter hole.



August, 2004
 pg 122
 Product Reviews
Marc Horovitz

Modeling Views:
Glade Creek Grist Mill, WV &
Belpre Depot, KS (Santa Fe RR)

Price: $5.95

Reveiw Garden Railways Magazine 8/04 pg 122 – "Stoneworks has come up with a new wrinkle in modeling aids – the ModelViews series. These 11"x17" sheets, containing up to eight color photos of a specific structure, are not intended to supply a modeler with compelete information regarding a building, but just to help out with details – things like, "What's the back side look like?" or "What color is it really?" or "How might it be weathered?" or "What does it look like in its natural setting?"
    We were supplied with two review samples: Glade Creek Mill in West Virginia (#7601) and Belpre Depot in Kansas (#7605).If I was modeling either of the structures, I would find lots of detail information in the supplied photos. The color and contrast are good and details are easy to see.
    The photos are laid out attractively and the ModelViews would make interesting wall ornaments or place mats in addition to their intended functions."


Note: Since 2004, we have currently exhausted inventory on several Modeling View subjects. Check in advance of ordering.



". . . the rock work was fantastic and rather easy to do. What a surprise." G.P.-Colorado

"I am really impressed with your stuff." S.S.- Arizona
"WOW. That's all I can say. . . . When the UPS driver found out what was in the heavy box he made me open it. " B.D. - Colorado
"Thanks for your advice and a high-quality product." J.L.-Pennsylvania