Sunday, August 12, 2018

Aiden wires the layout

Just a quick post to say that we've started to wire the layout and Aiden was a big help.  Norm was working on track bed and laying cork so Aiden helped me install some bus wires.

We first measured how much of each bus-wire was needed and cut it too length.  We are using 14 gauge wire for the bus wires.  Norm pitched in and held one end and Aiden used a drill to twist the wires together.  A lot easier than twisting the pairs of wires by hand!!

Aiden used a drill to quickly and easily twist wires together

Once we had a bus pair of wires twisted together, Aiden crawled under the layout (he could almost stand!) and put the wires in the plastic clips that we had screwed to the bottom of the layout.

Aiden could almost stand under the layout!

He was a big help because I would have to have crawled under the layout on my hands and knees!

Putting the wires into plastic clips

We have started to lay track so future posts will focus on the track work and installing feeder wires onto the track sections and connecting them to these bus wires.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Readying the Layout for Track

In our most recent work session, we finished laying down the cork roadbed.  Then we sanded it to assure that it was level and free of bumps and any extruded silicone sealant.  We started sanding by hand with a 220 grit block, but found that to be hard going.  So we put a finishing sander to work with 180 grit paper installed.
Sanding the roadbed with the finishing sander was just the trick!
 Once the roadbed was sanded, it was ready for installing track.  We laid out the turnouts in their intended positions, then beginning at an arbitrary point on the layout, began to install track.
The layout with turnouts positioned at their intended locations
We drilled holes in each piece of track and all turnouts to allow nails to be driven through without splitting the rails.  Then we started the process of fitting the rail sections to the turnouts.  We were able to get track laid around about a third of the "outer loop."  We staggered the rails in each section by about four inches so there would be no kinks on the curves.

We've got a long way to go to get the rails fully installed.  We'll pick it up again when we're able to get together for another work session.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

More Roadbed!

As we explained in a previous post, we're using cork for the roadbed, gluing it to the plywood base with brown silicone sealant.  We had traced the planned rail locations using a pounce, or dressmaker's wheel, and then darkened the lines made by the pounce with a marking pen.  Following that, we inserted push pins at the mid-point of the lines, spacing them about every six inches or so.

The yard section of the layout, with push pins marking the centerpoint of the intended rail lines.
Then we laid out the cork against the push pins, cutting it to shape where needed to fit the turnouts.  We pinned the cork into final location to ensure that we had everything cut to fit the way we wanted it. 

A section of cork cut and pinned into location, ready for gluing.  This section will become the logging camp when the layout is finished.
Then, we lifted the cork sections and spread silicone sealant generously in the spot where the roadbed was to lie.  We pressed the roadbed back into position against the pins marking the center of the rail lines and, again using push pins, tacked the roadbed firmly down to the plywood base.

The main line and a passing track with the roadbed glued and pinned into position.
Because the silicone sealant is messy and because it was often easier to smooth it into place by hand, we wore gloves. 

The "hill" section of the layout, with all cork glued into position.  Note the test section of track pinned into position in the foreground.
Neatness didn't count here.  The fact that the silicone was spread around the plywood won't matter once we add scenery later.  We intentionally chose the brown sealant so any of it showing through the seams in the cork would not detract from the earthy appearance of the roadbed.

We laid one section of rail to test our planned method for joining sections on curves.  Since most of our layout is curves, this is especially important for us.  The method we'll be using is to stagger the joints in the rails by about six inches so no two rail ends appear side-by-side.  Although this is somewhat non-traditional, we feel it will make it much easier to avoid kinks in the rail at the point where joins occur.  Our test proved us right.  The fit of the rails when joined by our method was perfect and should lead to no derailments at those points.

The yard section with cork trimmed to fit and pinned into location, ready for gluing to the plywood base.
 In our latest session, we managed to get all the cork fit into final position and glued all of it except the yard portions.  We'll finish those in our next session and then start laying rail.  We're pleased with our progress and excited to see the bare bones of the benchwork taking the shape of an actual railroad layout.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Coal Tipple is done!!

     The Coal Tipple that I have been working on the past few weeks is finally done!  Aiden and I weathered the roof last week using white and light tan chalk.  We added the metal smokestack and applied a rust color to give it an aged, weathered look.  Then we added a rust wash along the roof to simulate rust slowly running down and off the roof.

     The past few days I've applied a diluted India ink wash to the sides of the building.  There is a little more added under the windows to simulate extra weathering from rain running down from the window sills.

     Finally, I painted and weathered the accessories that came with the kit.  This includes truck tires, a wooden barrel, a trash can and a wooden handled broom.  There were also a variety of posters/signs that that came with the kit.  I picked a few and weathered them using some light tan watercolor paint to make the white background paper look old.  I was really amazed by how much realism these accessories added to the tipple.  It really made the whole scene pop!

     Here are a few pictures of the final product:

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

We're laying roadbed!!

A new phase of the NF & CR Ry. has begun....we are laying roadbed!!  The benchwork is complete and we have moved on to putting cork roadbed down.  It was exciting to actually start to see the roadbed start to take form.  We had experimented with running some trains up the grades and around the curves by just taping some track to the plywood but pretty soon we will start to lay track as well!

Norm putting adhesive caulk down onto the plywood.

We are using an adhesive caulk to glue the cork to the plywood base.  Norm spread the caulk with a putty knife following the centerlines that we had previously drawn.  Since the caulk would cover up the lines, we put push-pins along the centerline.  This also helped in placing the cork...we were able to just press the cork against the pins to follow the centerlines.

The caulk was easy to spread...but a little messy!

Once the cork was down, we used additional push-pins to keep the cork in place.  It was a little messy but it all went together well.  Next time....we will wear gloves!!

The cork went down onto the caulk and was pushed up to the pins.  Additional pins were used to held the cork in place.

Aiden even got into the fun and helped nail down a few push-pins.  He is having fun helping with the layout but I think he really would be happier running some trains!!

The supervisor even nailed some pins down!

Finally, some pictures of the roadbed at the end of the day.  We are doing the outer-loop first so that we can lay some track and run some trains.  It will be both exciting and amazing to watch that first train make a loop around the layout!!

Cork roadbed going around the outer loop

Close-up of the roadbed.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Finished up the coal tipple roof

Aiden and I finished weathering the coal tipple roof.  We used some light tan and white pastel chalks to age the tar paper and then used a rust wash to add rust to the metal chimney pipe.  We also used the rust wash to show some on the rust washing down to the front edge of the roof.

Aiden adding some chalk to the roof

the weathered roof

  After we had fun working on the structure I had to put Aiden to work cleaning my shop.  He actually loves pushing the broom around and using the vacuum!!

Vacuuming my lathe

getting all the wood shavings off the floor

Securing the Subroadbed

In our most recent work session, we fastened down the subroadbed--1/2 inch plywood cut out to shape--so it is secure.  We installed risers to do the job.  The riser were made of scrap 1X3 inch lumber with a 1X1 inch rail fastened to the top for added support.  The riser rails were attached to the risers with wood glue and nails.  The risers were then screwed to the 1X4 benchwork at the correct height and the subroadbed screwed into the risers.

The risers were fabricated from scrap 1X3" lumber with a horizontal rail attached for added support

The subroadbed was secured to the risers with drywall screws
We completed the job of attaching all the subroadbed to the benchwork.

Aiden and Jeff securing the subroadbed to the benchwork

The elevated section of the layout.  Aiden is helping Jeff drill holes for screws to hold the subroadbed securely in position

We then made some conforming cuts in the plywood base to accommodate a planned gorge and river bed.
Aiden is cutting off a a projection from the end of what will be the logging camp portion of the layout
Even after carefully planning the elevation of the subroadbed, we discovered some places where the superelevation lay in the wrong direction or was higher than wanted.  We loosened the screws holding the risers in place and adjusted them to level them properly.

A check of the level showed the logging camp area to be out of level; we adjusted the lean of the riser to correct it
We are satisfied that we now have the benchwork in place, ready for laying track.  In our next session, we'll be laying cork roadbed and preparing to install track.  So we're getting closer to running trains!  It's getting exciting!