We start off with a pre-cut sheet of plywood, A side up. This board has been cut to a width of 32", slightly wider than I need. I'm going to use a variety of measuring instruments including: dry wall square, 32" ruler, 48" ruler, carpenter's square, tape measure and a 12" ruler. I'm also going to use a set of colored Sharpee markers to indicate which line is which. Only two colors are cut lines: green and red. Red is a critical cut dimension, and green is a non-critical cut.
I start off by trimming some of the board off the front and cutting out the shape of the layout for this section. I'll mark it in green since the cut isn't that critical to be precise.
My oldest helper is constantly at my side. She goes and gets supplies, hands me markers, and cuts out turnout templates. She is quite helpful, actually!
I'll use a blue marker and draw in the 2" deep canal. I will actually cut this piece of, so I lied. Blue can be a cut line, too! This will be mounted at ground zero and serve as the water base.
Since I'll need to continue this board along the length of the layout for probably another foot, I'll square off the end so another piece will fit snug.
Using my drawing with a graph of 2" per square, I carefully measure each line and make sure it is placed corrected. If I'm not quite sure, I draw it in pencil and then ink it later. I draw all track work in pencil and then ink over it.
Supervisor #2 has brought her step ladder over to see what is going on. Guess I should have made the layout a bit higher!
This board is basically and upper and lower lever. There is now a red cut line to split the boards in half. I've drawn the dock rail center line in black.
Net we need to put in the mainline and several turnouts. For easy placement and comparison to my drawings I drew in (in pencil) one foot graph lines on the board. This makes it easy to know where to put things. Dry wall squares are MANDATORY for this kind of work as they are cheap and very useful.
I made copies of a right and left hand #5 turnout from Walthers. These will be marked with a center line on each track and positioned where they go on the layout. This is quick, cheap, easy and very accurate!
The main line is six inches from the front of the board, so I draw it in with a pencil. The turnout at the left end is then placed and taped down with tape.
One by one I draw the track center lines and que them up to the corresponding turnouts. This went really fast! Either that or I've just done it a lot of times and it goes quickly. Good, accurate track plans make for easy cookie cutter work.
There! We have drawn in all the trackwork and cut lines. We are ready to move it to the saws in the garage...depending on the weather outside. Its very cold.
This whole step only took about an hour or so while also playing with the children. Tomorrow we'll either cut this board or draw the other sheet.