Monday, December 16, 2013

079 The Navajo Mining Railway - Prepping to Lift the Curve

Normally on the weekend I get a little more time to work on the layout, but Christmas keeps us busy along with Taylor's basketball games (we won 22-2) and parties.  But I did squeak in some time!

I need to cut the gaps between the sections so that I can mount the curve.

Below you can see where the two sections meet.  I'll grab a straight edge and draw a line for sawing.

There are a lot of lines on this board, so to keep from making a mistake, I draw a little "tick" mark on the side of the line here and there.

Carefully I remove the big section and slide it out where I can cut it safely.  It's about 5 degrees outside here in Utah, and the garage is a balmy 19 degrees, so I'll just eat the dust and saw it in the basement.

I have a reciprocating saw...but it never gives anything back.  We'll use it and a pair of safety glasses.

Oh, before I forget!  Thank you Super Thayne 13 the Viking for giving me a box of Scotchlok connectors for wiring my railroad!  They will come in handy.  I visited Thayne early today to discuss the placement of a turnout on his layout.  Always fun to see Thayne.

There!  Lots of little pieces.  Each piece has a letter that corresponds to the big curve piece so that I can easily put them back together.

Using a coarse sanding block, I sand the cut edge in all directions.

We're about to start heavy construction, so I brought some things down from the shop.  It is very cold out there so I don't want to make too many trips.  Here are the screws I'll use for mounting the risers.

I'll also need my handy Kobalt ratchet screwdriver with an assortment of bits.

We'll use the counter sink and screwdriver combo for the cordless drill.

I double check the positioning of the curve section another time, and then fasten it down by countersinking and installing two 1 5/8 drywall screws directly into the framework of the section.  This lines up with the red line (above) that marks its place on the section.

Next, I'll test fit the #5 left hand turnout.  This isn't going to work.  So I've got a choice, either find a tight wye turnout, or hand lay it.  This turnout is in a very bad spot for hand laying, so I'll try my luck at the hobby shop tomorrow.

I need to mount a plywood board across the gap, so I'll need a "riser" of sorts to hold the one end.  Using a 1x1 Hemolock moulding I cut a 5" section and countersink it for screws.

Don't leave valuable turnouts on the work area!  They are delicate and expensive.  Carefully put it somewhere safe, which for me, is on the mantle.

Using glue and a cordless screwdriver, I mount the block so that its top is level with the bottom of the plywood.

In the cold shop I found the remaining 5" board and cut it to 19.5" and fit it into the gap.  After countersinking and screwing, I thoroughly sanded it flat.

The flat area here needs to be stable as there will be a turnout here that is not reachable.  I'll go the extra mile and put in another board below the track, then I'll screw the roadbed to this block and make it very durable.

The plan now is to make risers for later installation.  I always try to do these several at a time.  We count them up.

So that I minimize mistakes due to my lack of an ability to remember anything with children in the house, I right down my cut list, put on my coat, and head to the shop and my chop saw.

I come back 10 minutes later with a box of blocks!

Using my cut list I layout all the risers that I need.  There are:

  • 3 each 4" risers at 1.5" wide
  • 3 each 7" risers at 1.5" wide
  • 2 each 4" risers at 7" wide

One by one I carefully square them up and glue them with Elmer's Wood Glue.  This is a strong enough bond for them.

Each block is fitted, the extra glue wiped off if any, and left to dry.

Once these have about 24 hours to cure thoroughly, we'll get out the clamps and start putting in the curve.

Comments?  Ideas?  Suggestions?  Please post a comment below!


1.  Sanding wood prevents painful splinters
2.  Using wood glue often gives you a bond strong enough that you don't need screws or nails
3.  Build a ton of risers at a time, and make them slightly longer than you need.  You can trim them later.

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