Making Progress

It always entertains me to walk in to a lumber yard and request silly things like “A 1x6x8 and a sheet of 3/4 inch insulation, cut so it’ll fit in the van,” or “Do you have a hot wire cutter?” or “I need a 2x4x12 and a 2x4x8, cut in to 39″ lengths. And the scraps.” I always get the most bemused reactions. And then, when I explain what it’s for, the bemusement turns to amusement and I am either indulged with good grace or longsuffering.

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I got a 3% incline set from Woodland Scenics and installed it (you can see the white across the top/back and to the apex of the X) and then a couple of 4% starter sets because they’re quite a bit more flexible and less expensive. Since the starters go to 3/4″ (approximately, but close enough for my purposes), I got a sheet of 3/4″ rigid foam insulation instead of the much smaller riser sheets that WS offers for a similar price. Last night, I set about adding a 1×6 to the outside edge of the table, since my engines fell off the edge of the table once or twice when they took the top corner too fast, and I didn’t want that becoming commonplace.

I asked Tim to help me secure the addition, and when he discovered that I was using a hot razor and power tools, he got all in to the project and not only fixed my front ledge, but got involved in helping me with the grades on the left end of the table.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe ran out of risers before we ran out of inclines, so the run up at the bottom right of the X crossing still needs to be done, but I did get quite a lot of the underlying structure done on the left hand side. The right hand side, I can’t do much right now. The vertical bits are mostly exposed bluffs, and I need a couple of acoustic ceiling tiles (or pieces thereof) to do that scenery. The flat river bank, I don’t want to commit too much to scenery until I know what and where my models will go. And I don’t actually have those, yet.

I got the mostly-level farmland filled in and was starting in on the hills-made-of-crumpled-paper part when I discovered that our masking tape had congealed in to an unsaveable hyper-sticky blob. Today, I have some errands to run so I’m gong to try to get some new masking tape and some more news print while I’m out. Once those hills are formed and well secured, I can start letting Olin play with it while I work, because it should be mostly operational.

Somehow in testing the tracks while we built the grades, I discovered that I miscalculated exactly how many track pieces I’d need, and so I’m short a few to complete the double circuit. I knew I was short a Right turnout, but I have also somehow come up short for like two curves and at least three straight bits… Which makes no sense whatsoever, because I went through and counted them obsessively.

Also, my Santa Fe Flyer engine has gone mysteriously missing and all my children proclaim innocence… So I wonder if there isn’t a naughty-kid stash somewhere.

In related TTFH news, I spliced in some wires and got power to the switches ad theoretically Cab B, and managed to figure out how to make Cab A go all the way around the outside loop. A couple of the switches make the noise but don’t actually move, though, and the entire inside switching yard doesn’t seem to actually have any switches connected to it, which clearly means that I need to do some more experimenting. I was trying to get that table operative enough that the kids would leave us alone to work on the other one while they played with that one, but of course that was a vain hope. “The outside loops work, run the train on the outside parts,” apparently translated to “Push the engine to the middle of the table where it doesn’t work at all and you can’t reach it any more, and then whine about it.”

Oy vey.

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