Monday, January 13, 2014

Rick's Ramp Project 07 - Construction of the Deck

It's Friday night.  Children are in bed asleep.  Wife is out with friends.  Time to work on the model!

Tonight's entertainment is Scotty Mason's Building Craftsman Structure Kits Volume 2.  This is a great video and perfect to listen to while I'm working.

The ramp is totally dry now, so we just need to trim up some pieces.

Using a sharp razor blade I trimmed off the ends of the boards in several places.

Now that the construction is winding down and finishing is about to begin, I mark areas that require some repair or attention with small colored dots.  That way I don't miss fixing them.  This dot reminds me to add some black stain next time I have the bottle open.

We still need 50 more planks for the deck.  I carefully set up the cutter and get the wood ready.  Once I cut the first board I check it against the rule.  20 feet!  Check!

Color dots have lots of uses, so I keep a sheet handy.  I change between scales a lot as I build stuff not only for my layout (O scale) but for others and in other scales.  I'm working with HO tonight so I put an orange dot to remind me of the scale I'm using.  This prevents incorrect measurements!

I distressed the wood and then cut about 50 planks.  Time to make 'em black!

We have almost finished assemblies now, and it would be a shame to ruin them.  To protect them I put them in a high sided steel pan and put them up on a shelf, out of the way.  Black dye will destroy virtually anything it touches.

I dyed the planks and started a second bottle of stain for a lighter stain since I seemed to be staining about every hour lately.  The pan I'm using doesn't lend itself to pouring, so I use a large dropper to transfer the stain into the bottle.

A quick clean up of staining materials and we're ready to go at it again.  The parts should be dry and I got a sandwich and milk.  We're good!

I check the ties to make sure they are dry and mix them up in the pan.

Using tiny drops of white glue I begin putting on the planks.  My trusty 30-60-90 triangle is made of aluminum and quite light, so I sit it on top of the joists to help me stay straight.

Gluing about 1/4" at a time, I slowly make progress.  Some glue gets on my fingers, so I try to make sure to clean them frequently.  The boards are just gently pushed together.

Once in a while I turn the assembly over and put a heavy weight on it so that the planks will dry flat.  It only takes a few minutes, and then I start again.

Taking my time, going slowly, checking the square...progress is made.  Scotty Mason is giving me some great tips as I listen along.

The glue is spread on very thin, and you need only just enough to see.  It bonds very tight and dries quick if you use this method.

I turn over the model and let it dry about every inch or two...this time I need coffee.

I'm using Elmer's White Glue...and not School Glue which is water soluble.  I put a small amount of glue on an index card and apply it with a toothpick.  The toothpick gets wiped off and changed out frequently to prevent strings and globs of dried glue.

I glue all the planks up until the very last one.  This one I'll take time to test fit and make sure it is going to be wide enough and straight enough.  Glue...and done!

This time I put the weight on and let it sit for about 30 minutes to let the deck get good and dry.

Not too many leftover parts, but we'll keep them just in case something needs to be replaced when the heavy weathering starts.  Always make extra parts!

Nice looking deck!  Now we need to detail it and mount the ramp.


1.  Take your time when doing repetitious work, and allow glues to dry.
2.  Use an aluminum angle to help keep your work straight.  Just a few scale inches off is noticeable to the naked eye and even more so to the camera.
3.  Practice using less and less glue for every model and wash your hands every 30 minutes when working on a large project to keep glue off the model.

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