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From: "Tupaczewski, Paul R \(Paul\)" paultup AT alcatel-lucent DOT com
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 14:26:52 -0600
Subject: Layout progress
"DSC_7209_resize.jpg" - image/jpeg, 1053x700 (24bit)

Hi folks,

In-between a lot of family activities over this past Thanksgiving Day
weekend, I finally bit the bullet and started layout construction on my
1975-era EL Boonton Line. Attached is what I got accomplished over a
token few hours. What you're seeing here is the "anchor point" of the
layout - specifically, Port Morris, NJ. In reality, it's only the east
end of Port Morris - the west end is where those five studs leaning
against the wall are. The two leaning studs on the perpendicular wall in
the distance represent the boundary between Port Morris and Lake
Hopatcong. The piece of plywood on top is only temporary - I wanted to
get a feel for what trains would look like here, so I had to indulge
myself. :) Formally, I will be putting up Masonite spline subroadbed
on risers here, with homasote for roadbed on top - so the track base
will be a good 2" higher than the plywood piece shown here. Nice
eye-level running here, but for those vertically-challenged, this is the
highest part of the layout. The run east out of Port Morris is downgrade
pretty much all the way to Little Falls, NJ. The track will drop in
elevation by ~18" over that distance (roughly speaking, that's over a
track length of 134 feet, so it's an average 1.1% grade). It will then
climb back up to Great Notch (25-1/2 feet away, climbing 7" for a grade
of 2.2% - a little steeper than the prototype, but more exciting for
operation!). Lastly, it will descend to Croxton Yard with a pretty steep
grade of 1.8%. But that's looking WAY into the future! :)

If you're interested in the benchwork, read on, otherwise press "DELETE"

I decided to hang the layout off the block wall in our unfinished
basement. To save valuable inches (really!), instead of formally
studding out the walls and putting up drywall, I instead am using
concrete anchors to put 5/4"x3" spruce studs on the wall, laying flat to
conserve space. I painted the block a sky blue color ("Wild Blue Yonder"
to be specific) to brighten up the room, then drilled holes in the
concrete for Tapcon anchors. Two of them are all that is needed to
anchor the studs very securely. I've cantilevered the joists off the
sides of the stud, bracing them more with a longitudinally-running 1x2
L-girder, and adding occasional 45-degree supports. The outside edge of
the joists also have a 1x2 L-girder to give dimensional stability to the
structure - it creates a stiff "box" type of frame that prevents lateral
sway of the joists.

Why so minimal on the supports? My workbench is being mounted under the
tracks here (that's what the horizontal 2x3 attached to the studs is
for, to support the back of the bench), and I needed a clear space here
for the tool pegboard as well. Since the joints are both glued and
screwed, it is EXTREMELY stable. I put a 50-pound weight on top and the
structure didn't budge. I was once told by someone that "people tend to
overbuild their benchwork," and now I believe it!

Next step - put up the rest of the studs and finish up the Port Morris
benchwork before moving west to put up the staging yard. Yahoo! :)

Future progress photos will follow.... comments and suggestions welcome!

- Paul


Image EXIF Data:
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