Friday, December 24, 2010

Potter's Pond - in memory of Mr. Potter

My good friend and fellow model railroader Mr. Potter passed away recently and I wanted to post this picture of "Potter's Pond" that is located behind the roundhouse (on my layout) in his memory. Mr. Potter was an avid N scaler that had a super layout featuring over 400 feet of double main line. He will definately be missed!

Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Curving hardboard for coved corners

I recently added curved (coved) corners in the train room addition using the "brute force" method. I took flat hardboard 4' x 8' x 3/16" panels and forced them into the corner. This was an extremely difficult and frustrating method.

I'm getting ready to cove a corner in the expansion area and decided to use a curving method that I had used previously on some fascia board they worked very well. Here are the steps (refer to the picture below):

1.) Clamp boards on the edges using C-clamps evenly spaced (spring clamps will NOT work for this).
2.) Tie a rope to one of the end C-clamps and thread it through the other clamps going back and forth from side to side.
3.) Push on the face of the hardboard to start the curve and then tie off the other end of the rope.
4.) Wet the back (unfinished side) of the hardboard - I used a pump up sprayer because of the size of the panel. You just need to wet the back - don't soak it.
5.) Wait for awhile (I never looked at the clock) for the hardboard to "relax" a little.
6.) After waiting push down on the long edge "just enough" (I don't know what that is, but I do know what "too much" is!) and tighten up the rope. Take your time so you don't break it!
7.) Repeat steps 4 - 6 as many times as necessary to get the curve that you want. NOTE: the board will relax quite a bit back to its original shape when the rope is released so you will need to curve more than the final curve. If you're looking for a 90 degree curve you will need to curve is 110 degrees or more.
8.) After the back of the hardboard is COMPLETELY dry seal it with a good grade sealer. NOTE: latex paint is not a sealer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paul's "Reality Check" block of wood video

Well, you had to be there, but you see.....Paul had this block of wood...and he was racing around the basement with it held high...... Enjoy!

Friday 12-3-10 at Paul's home

(Text by Paul; pictures by Rick)

Another productive night on the San Pablo, Sonora, & Fresno! Rick, Steve, Ken, and Bob showed up, and I got to show off the progress I've made on setting the route for the narrow gauge main line on the upper level. Then we cleaned off the table that Donna and I had filled with eBay and train show stuff so we'd have a place to work. Our first project turned out to be making 4 plywood bases for gingerbread houses for Donna to have her girls' reading class decorate. She was happy with Bob's work, and the rest of us unloaded the plywood from the pickup truck and brought it down to the basement. Then we discussed the parameters of going up one more level on the helix. Bob and Steve stuck a 2X2 across the helix opening, and Bob used his beam compass to generate a center for a 42" radius curve, and we made sure the outer edge of the proposed curve fit within the constraints of the existing structure. Bob and I figured out the needed inner and outer radii. Then we brought one of the plywood sheets in to the table, and we traced the inner and outer radii of the helix curve onto the plywood surface. Bob was trying to minimize waste, so the first curve started at the corner of the sheet, but I wanted a full semi-circle, so we relocated the center to the middle of the bottom edge, and we drew the complete arc. Ken the Wise suggested we draw a series of short arcs of the correct radii on the portion of the sheet inside the full semi-circle, so Bob got to show off his geometry expertise by located a series of different centers along an entirely separate arc, and we got half a dozen partial circles in the available area - enough to make an entire semi-circle, probably. Then we brought in the other full sheet, and drew a single semi-circle on it. I'll cut out the figures tomorrow in the daylight outside.

We had gone to Costco earlier today, and they had strawberry cheesecake cakes on sale, so that - plus strawberries and grapes - was what we had for snacks. The cake went pretty early...

Rick and Ken left a little early, so Bob, Steve, and I looked some more at the splines I've completed on the narrow gauge, since Steve is considering using splines on his upcoming layout. The 3 of us actually installed a spline along the wall so Steve could see how it's done. As I was finishing installing the clamps, Bob and Steve decided to measure how long the narrow gauge main line actually is. And they came up with 100' 2", or 1.65 scale miles. We discussed where the operating features would be located, and operating schemes to be used. Lots of fun! I always enjoy these work nights, because so much of what we need to get done is much more difficult when we work alone. Some of it is impossible alone, but is fun and goes quickly with a group of like-minded model railroaders each sharing their expertise and experience and point of view.

And next week we get to move Ken's layout to his new palace!