Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rick's Ramp Project 05 - Construction Continued

The boards are dry now, so it's time to get the sticky stuff out and put them together.

There are lots of fine sawdust and splinters on the workbench from cutting, so using a 1.5" brush, I sweep the workspace.

First, let's make a jig for the bents.  We'll need a piece of .020 styrene, a 00 brush, Tenax 7R solvent adhesive (or whatever you like for plastic) a hobby knife and an supply of Cheetos in the bag.

I've got a bunch of plastic HO scale 6" x 12" beams, so I'll use them for the jig.  Remember:  wood jigs for plastic, and plastic jigs for wood.  Why?  The glues used for either won't stick to the other material.

The base beam is cut and glued to the surface, being about 2 scale feet longer than 20'.

I make a pocket for a piling with the left side of the piling at the zero mark.

All together I made five pockets spaced at zero, 5', 10', 15', and 20' for the five pilings.  Using a Sharpee I wrote information about the jig so that I know what it is.  I also put the scale, the material to supply and the date I made it.  The date can help me track back to what I made and when, usually by an internet search of "The Model Railroader's Notebook Ramp Project."  See, and you thought I was doing the blog for you!!

Te arrows show where to put the wood.  The "X" marks show that nothing goes in these pockets.

This is a test to see if you are tired or not.

So not EVERY photo is perfect, but this blog is way cheaper than Model Railroader videos.   I put a stained and distressed piling in each of the five pockets, then glue a cross brace over each of them in an angle.  After the first one I put small blue dots to indicate where the brace would go so they all look the same.  Folks don't always want to make jigs, but I wound up making ten or eleven bents total, and they are all perfectly the same with the jig.  It is worth the investment.

One by one, while singing "Who'll Stop the Rain" by John Fogerty, I put them together.  People ask how I have the patience to do something tedious like this over and over and over.  Honestly I find it quite relaxing and fun.

I flip each of the bents over after they dry thoroughly, and then glue another brace across in an opposite fashion.

Here are my stack of bents.  I went an made myself a sandwich and then came back to find them all dry.  White glue dries very quickly if you use just a tiny amount.  If you try to pull one of these boards off it will tear the wood, not the joint.

Using my super hand X-acto square, I put down the inner and outer joists and glue the end bents to either end, making VERY sure the assembly is square.  Once it is dry, mark off every 5 feet and glue the rest of the bents on.

This step took about five or six minutes.  See how nice that looks?  Now we'll cover it up completely, add dirt and bushes around the side and you won't see a darn bit of it.  Oh well, Rick and I will know it is there.  If you are ever over at Rick's layout, make him pick it up and show you the bottom!

Put glue on each of the remaining pilings and glue the remaining three joists on to the pilings, turn the assembly over and put a weight on it so that it can dry flat.  Weights are EVERYTHING in scratcbuilding.  That is how you get a strong bond.  I need more weights.

Once the assembly is dry (go check your email or something) you can start gluing on the side braces that would hold the pilings straight.  One of the distances was not quite right, so I intentionally broke the timber to make it look more worn.  See, making models is about being able to cover up your mistakes!  And you didn't believe me.

There!  The main framework is done.  Now we need to cover it with decking.

Using my handy calculator (I use it all the time) I figure out the width of a board, the length of the deck, and figure out how many boards I need.

We'll need about 27 of them.  I'll also need 15-20 for the ramp.  NOTE:  Scott screwed up the measurement and figured that out later.  You need 80 boards total.

The wood was distressed, the cutter set to 20' HO scale, and I cut out a pile of timber.  Time for another sandwich.


1.  Remember:  wood jigs for plastic, and plastic jigs for wood.
2.  If you need three or more parts, consider a jig or make a mold and cast it.
3.  Check the square of your structure constantly while building.

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