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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd start a thread and add to it as I progressed. Some problems are common to all scales, but each scale or gauge has it's own peculiarities. I'll add to the thread as it moves along and I hit any issue worth discussing. This will be an American Flyer setup, all prewar/postwar track, cars and locomotives unless noted differently. All steam, for now, to stay in era.

First, build a table. *L* This one may be overkill, but I don't lack ambition. It's 12' x 5' because the original S scale requires massive space to make turns and besides, I wanted to go for a large layout: I had the space.

Tabletop is 7/16" OSB, the frame is all 2 x 4 lumber, held together with some stamped-metal construction connectors and about a zillion woodscrews. Okay, not a zillion, but I know over a 100 because I ran out and had to buy more!

 

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Reck,

Awesome beginnings! I'm THRILLED that you've got a "Watch This Evolve" thread going. We're all on the edge of our seats!

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both. It has been a long time coming, Anton---between moving and all the settling in stuff, it had to take a back seat for a while. With the table up, though, it should move faster. My son is staying with me, this week, while my gf is back visiting in PA. He'll help me rearrange things in the basement to free up some space. It's nice to have some help instead of "honey, could you..." *L*
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Very nice Len! When were you planning on coming here to build mine? :D
Jim,

Your work always ends up looking better than mine anyway: I'll make the mistakes and you rectify them on yours!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
WOW I feel like a wild ape (before dinosaurs!) in 2001 space odyssey. Viewing the birth of a whole new world......Recker Style. OOOH, OOOh, scratch, scatch.

It still looks like a launch pad.:D
It does, huh? Maybe I should add some dinosaurs to take away from that effect? I was considering a small werewolf colony in one area, till I realized they'd only be about 2 scale feet tall!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
....and no, I still can't figure out how to multiquote!
 

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Next stage: adding Mother Earth to bedrock. In this case, bedrock is the table and Mother Earth is everyone's favorite, pink foam sheathing insulation in rigid sheets. My table is 12 x 5; the sheets are 4 x 8. Using three sheets and cutting them down to 4 x 5 gives me a smooth surface and plenty of scrap for future work: constructing terrain, constructing a second table, and so on. Some careful measuring followed by cutting against a straight-edge results in nice sheets that interlock at the edges.






Leftovers from cutting, and culls. Culls are what Home Depot et al call damaged materials. In my case, I was working with 3/4" thick sheets. At $13 and change per sheet, that adds up. Thicker makes the price rise quickly. 3/4" is thick enough for my 0" altitude "soil", but I'll need more to create terrain above that. The store had a damaged 3/4" sheet and a damaged 3" sheet. The guy working there was willing to half-price them to me. Since the 3" sheet was then still $15, I told him I'd take just the 3/4" sheet. I told him what I was using them for: his face lit up and he told me about his HO set when he was a kid, and that he'd like to get back into it. Then he got out his marking pen and repriced both sheets down to where I left with both. I gave him the site's address, so Dave, if you're reading this, thanks again!!!

Leftovers and culls:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Next phase....attaching the foam panels. I'm mindful of the fact I may have to break this puppy down and move it, someday. First step is to discretely mark where I have screws through the OSB panels to attach them to the 2x4 frame. I don't want to destroy the layout's edges, hacking away at the foam as I search for screws. A simple line will tell me where to look:



Next...theory. Humidity can play havoc with a layout: wood is a living thing, even when it's been shredded to make OSB. It swells and shrinks. One theory is to use as many screws as possible to lock it down to the frame. My own preference is to give it the freedom to do it's thing as uniformly as possible, so I use just enough screws to prevent the OSB sheets from sliding and let it float freely, beyond that. My belief is that if the entire sheet can swell move as one unit, you distribute the distortion over all of it and minumize the effect on the layout. Tack it down and the movement and distortion concentrate in the one area of least resistance. I'll find out, over the coming year, if I'm right. OSB, as TJ explained, is Oriented Strand Board. Around my neighborhood, it's often called "splinter board" because it's composed of large wood splinters formed into sheets.

Back to the table....laying down the foam sheets. I started at one end and got all three sheets to where I was satisfied: oriented properly to the table and each other. I turned them all Pink Panther side down---I doubt it makes a difference, but why give it a chance?

Materials for this step:



Foam doesn't absorb humidity and swell, but the OSB beneath it does, so the foam sheets are along for the ride. To allow that, I minimized the attachment to let them float. Two nickel-sized globs between foam and OSB on the narrow end, near the corners. For the center sheet, a glob in the middle of each short side to keep things from sliding and the sheets coming apart. On the last sheet of foam, two more globs on the short face. This will allow the sheets of OSB to move under the sheets of foam as it swells and contracts.

Credits: before I go further, I want to credit suggestions made to me by others as I planned this. Tankist was the one who inspired me to search for culls when I looked for foam---thanks, Anton! Macdaddy suggested the material for the next step (latex caulk), caulking the seams. Make sure it's latex and not oil based, and paintable.



The process is simple and fast: squeeze a long glob onto your fingertip, smear it down the seam, and go for more. Use it generously: thick works better at hiding the seam. When you get a thick smear down the seam, go back and smooth it. Mac suggested a wet fingertip; I found a tool I liked better, a cheap plastic window scraper with the blade-protector left on.



It goes on quickly and smooths well. Latex should have some flexibility and compressability to ride out the changes in the wood discussed earlier. Drying time: 2 hours.



By the way, dozer was the author of the suggestion to use Liquid Nails to attach the foam to the OSB: thanks, dozer! Thanks also to everyone who listened to my dummer ideas and patiently talked me out of them.

Drying time on Liquid Nails is 24 hours, so I'm done for today. Time to go cut grass.
 

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Reck,

Looking GREAT ... and very detailed planning and forethought, on your part ... well done!

I especially like the story of bartering and "train-talking" the guy at Home Depot. I'll bet ol' Dave walked away with a smile on his face, too!

Keep us posted,

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you, TJ!
Several hours passed and I just couldn't leave it alone. Temporary layout of the ground-level track. The semicircle in the back will rise as it moves from left to right. On right side, the existing track will stay at ground level and run through tunnels; the rear semicircle will find it's way uphill to cross the ridge on top of those same tunnels, using bridges.



I had an engine chugging around...funny! Only one power lead to the track, so it would race past the transformer and then start laboring around the track for the last half.
 

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Reck,

Congratulations! Track and actual train movement ... you must be thrilled!

I remember your layout drawings, so the pics and descriptions above make perfect sense.

What are you gonna do next ... screw down the 3rd rail inbetween the other two?!? :rolleyes::laugh:

TJ
 

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Discussion Starter #17
*laughs*...you must have been reading my mind, TJ!!!! I was just muttering to myself, "Screw that third rail!" :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Next item is to rig up the block-with-a-pen-in-the-gondola thing and roll it around the layout, marking the track's right-of-way. That comes, of course, after measuring all my cars to see who has the widest body and the widest swing on the curves. My guess it will be the aluminum observation car for length and an engine or the crane for width. By the way, if whoever posted that gondola trick would step up and identify himself, I'd like to credit him with originating that idea. For anyone using this thread to build a layout, I'll describe it in detail as I work through that part.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you, TJ! Credit for the device for marking the right-of-way edges around the track goes to Tworail, and thank you for your contribution to my knowledge. I should have guessed it was him: most great ideas start with Two Rails.:D
 

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I can hear Reckers singing....I....been working on the Rail Road.......,
Looking good Bubba!:D:thumbsup:

What's with the crossing?
Is that where a bridge is going?


Any updates?
She was gone a while I thought you would be running trains by now.:rolleyes:
 
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