Low on materials….but getting there.

So all my roadbed is now laid down, but I can’t lay track as I have no joiners. I assumed I didn’t need them, that I’d slide the loose rail of the flex into the ties of the next strip, but Micro Engineering doesn’t have a loose rail, the ties move! On the bright side, I also drew out all my trackwork on the plywood. I’m using 1/8″ Midwest cork strips for the mainline, and 1/16″ self cut cork board from a hardware store for sidings and whatnot, and sanding the transitions. The pulp mill and sawmill will be on the plywood. I used printouts from the fast tracks site (www.handlaidtrack.com) to see where my cork strip needed to go, as I’m planning to handlay turnouts using their jigs and templates.

I drew the lines with constant reference to my track plan on the laptop, using a ruler, tape measure, and a stick of 1×2 that I have holes strategically drilled in at radii 8″-30″, as well as pivot holes at +1/2″,-3/4″, and -1 1/4″ so I can do any radius down to the quarter inch. I think I missed the centre on one of them, so I’m just going to lay it by eye in the end…

Also got the first of a set of custom detailed and painted H16-44s in the mail, and shot it on a transition from the cork board to plywood. 1/16″ doesn’t sound like a big difference until you think about it – That’s 10 scale inches, and the rail itself is just under 9″, so while you won’t see it standing up, it will show itself in photos. I put the bolt in the bulkhead flat to get the rail down flat, I’ll have to remember to weigh it down while the glue dries when I actually lay it sometime in September or October! I used two photos (lazy) to get a good depth of field…they are aligned properly, but there was no in-focus shot of that particular bit of rail. Still, shows how it bends.

 

 

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Progress!

Well, yesterday was spent fixing up earlier mistakes, and today was spent fixing up yesterday’s unanticipated problems. First, I decided to experiment…I removed the sagging L girder carefully and completely.

Next, I moved the small brace to under the flange of the girder (had to move a joist to compensate) and added a spare 38″ bit of 1×3 to the inside.

Popped it back up and added an extra pair of legs under the south end of the pulp mill, unbraced against the L girders but braced against each other.

After that I had to move the risers into a proper position. Now, because I measured everything from the floor, after the L girder sagged all the risers in that section were too high relative to it, so I had to lower them all once the girder was in its proper position.

After that, I attached the subroadbed to those delicious smelling cedar 1×1 cleats, and ran the wiring bus from the eventual location of the booster and circuit breaker to the top of the helix. NOW I feel like I’m making progress! Tomorrow I’ll start putting cork down for the pulp mill, but that’ll take a lot of time to accurately draw out the track lines.

Lessons learned: I made the subroadbed only slightly wider than the cork roadbed strip. I’m getting the feeling this was a big mistake…we’ll see what happens when I start putting in scenery in a couple weeks.

Don’t put the joists to close together you can’t fit your smallest clamp or drill in.

Don’t have risers directly above the girder.

Finishing the subroadbed – It’s not easy.

Well, had a bit more than a week off in terms of construction due to a nasty flu…anyway, came back and picked up where I left off. Finished cutting the roadbed for the section from the end of the plywood to McCormack Creek (it’s that big hole beside the helix) but problems began arising extremely quickly.

My method for checking the height of the risers has been this: Measure from the floor to ensure an accurate height. Here’s where the problems arose…that wood that I made the pulp mill out of? It had a warp in it. I thought I took care of it…I sat on the bow of it while screwing it in to flatten it down, and used heavier screws and risers than normal. Somehow, the south end still had a 1/2″ sag in it. Made another riser ( visible in the close-up shot of the side of the plywood) that was supposed to raise it to the proper height and try to flatten out the bow. It seemed to work, so I moved on to the rest of the risers, putting cedar cleats on them. Cedar isn’t recommended for this application, but it was the only cheapish 1×1 at my crappy local lumber store, and it smells REALLY good. Anyway, after finishing all the cleats, I come back to discover that there’s a 1/4″ discrepancy between the end of cut roadbed and the plywood. I re-measure the plywood to discover it’s sunk by 1/4″ since I screwed it down. EXTREMELY VERY NOT GOOD. After some investigation, I found that the warping of the wood was so strong (It was 3/4″ ply) that it actually managed to bend the L girder where the web was joined. You can see the bend in the photo, but keep in mind it’s shot from below – it’s worse than it looks.

So now I have to go back and redo 3 or so risers, as well as try to fix this bending benchwork. The plan is to add another pair of braced legs after taking off the plywood sheet. Thing about that is that I screwed it from the top so I could get my weight on it, so I filled in the screw holes with drywall patching stuff. Now I have to dig that up, put more on and sand it down…too much work! I also plan to add about a 5 foot section of 1×3 (or whatever I have for scrap) to the underside of the lip of the girder, going from the plywood to the other side of the join in an attempt to shore it up. Then, with luck, everything will be level and I can move on…

TO TRACKLAYING!