Monday, January 6, 2014

Rick's Ramp Project 03 - Lumber Selection

Let's begin the construction by building the bent jig.  A bent is a column of pilings held together for a structural support.  These pilings are not angled, but are straight up and down.  We need nine sets of them for the model.  Here is the design again...

There are five pilings per bent, each spaced out five feet apart.  They are capped with a 12" x 12" timber to support the decking.  The pilings have a cross brace on either side that keep them for moving from side to side, and it is on both sides of the pilings in an alternating fashion.  Anytime I've got to build three or more of an item, I make a jig or a mold.

My next step is to go raid the wood cabinet and see what stock I have.  I pulled out some dowels, timbers and planks that I think will work.  We'll use these for the critical dimension of height.

Someday I've got to figure out a better way to sort and stock my wood and plastic stock.  Right now both are in tub bins.  It is very hard to find anything or to see if I'm out of stock.

I pulled out stock wood that I believe I'll use for the model.

The heavy timbers that will hold up the decking will be 12" x 12" in HO scale.  I quickly sketched out how they would look.

Wood comes in many different varieties.  Never is any wood exactly alike.  The dowels are hardwood and quite strong.  The rest is basswood of varying hardness and grain.

We'll make the deck planking out of this standard dimension wood, which come out to about 9" x 2".  After seeing some prototype photos this is probably not quite thick enough, but will do for this model.

I'm using a 3/8 dowel which translates to about a foot diameter in HO scale.

Timbers for the deck support are 12" x 12" each.

Cross members that support the pilings will be these S scale 2x4's that I had left over from an unfinished project.  They are about the size of a 4"x 6" board in HO.

Ok, we have timber and plans.  Let's build us a ramp!


1.  Some models don't have to be 100% prototype or copied from the real McCoy.  Use the wood you have instead of buying more and make do.
2.  Use NMRA standards for producing structures near or on the track.  They are free and easy to understand.
3.  Hardwood dowels are VERY hard to cut.  Consider square beams or making your own dowels from basswood using a draw plate.

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