Sunday, July 27, 2008

Layout Progress as of 7/27/2008

Progress on the CSX Dixie Line is finally fully underway! After receiving quite a bit of negative feedback regarding my construction using 1x3 pine lumber for my benchwork, I started over from scratch using 1x3 boards ripped from 3/4" sheets of cabinet grade birch plywood. Wednesday, I purchased the first 8x4 sheet of this material from The Home Depot, plus two 8x4 sheets of 1/8" Masonite that will be eventually used for the backdrop (these won't be needed for a while, but since I was buying the plywood, I had a sturdy surface to rest the very flexible Masonite on for the ride home). I had Home Depot rip all three 4x8 sheets down to 2x8 so I could transport them home in the back of the SUV.

Thursday, my good friend Rob came to the rescue and allowed me to borrow his table saw to use for ripping the plywood. His saw was still in the unopened box, so I spent the evening assembling it and then ripping the first half of the plywood into nine 1x3's with the help of my wife Shelley. On Friday, we ripped the remaining 1x3s and I began assembling the wall brackets. Upon completion of the first wall bracket, the quality was obviously vastly improved over the previous pine board construction: stronger, sturdier, squarer, and just darn better looking! Here is the first completed wall bracket using the revised plywood construction:

Saturday I finished the first set of five wall brackets (I can get five brackets out of three 1x3s so I built them in batches of five) and mounted them to the wall in the train room. Here is the first bracket mounted in place:

The wall bracket immediately to the right of the doorway required some special trimming so it would fit around the switch plate for the room lights. The cutout ended up a bit sloppy, but it was as clean as I could get it while trying to maneuver the jigsaw around the arms of the already assembled bracket:

I finished installing the first batch of five wall brackets on Saturday evening:

Sunday after church I was able to complete the next batch of five wall brackets and get them all installed, completing one entire wall of the layout room. Take note that the layout depth along this wall is 11" deep and there are three levels at 42", 57" and 69" from floor level to the tops of the joists. The top two levels will result in a nod under across the doorway into the layout room, while the lower level will employ some type of gate, possibly a swing out but most likely a drop-down type. Here is the completed wall from a few different angles:

Next up on the agenda is to build the benchwork along the short wall to the left of the doorway (this is the blank wall visible at the far end of the room in the last picture above). I am not sure when this will actually get underway, because this particular section will require some special planning and attention. The lower level along this wall is where the CSX crosses the Etowah River in Cartersville, GA and the terrain will dip considerably here to allow the tracks to be elevated about 6" (about 80 scale feet) above the river.