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Loveably weird
I decided to build a foam lined engine cradle. I used the dimensions from my Athearn Genesis Big Boy to design it. I highly doubt I will ever have a piece of rolling stock longer than that!

I have some egg crate foam from an RC transmitter case I no longer use, and thought that would be ideal for lining the cradle. The foam would hold the engine securely, but not be so tight as to damage it. I bought a 6" 1x6 for the cradle itself, and did some hen scratchin' to come up with a plan. As it turned out, the 1x6 (actual dimension 3/4" x 5-1/2" inch) was the perfect size for building this! The foam is 2" thick, leaving 1-1/2" between the foam. this will be perfect for securely holding an engine without damage.

I cut out the pieces using my power miter saw. One of the ends got cut 1/8" too short because I cut on the wrong side of the line. :oops:

Here is the cradle mocked up. the parts are just standing there, nothing is fastened together. I noticed that the other end came out just a bit short as well, so what you are looking at here will actually be the bottom of the cradle. This way the top edges will be flush, and the boo-boo's won't be as noticeable.

I drew some lines and marks to indicate where to drill pilot holes for the screws. The cross marks are where the holes will be drilled. There will be a screw in each corner, plus three more along the bottom and one more on each end.

When drilling pilot holes for screws, drill the hole in the outer piece the diameter of the threads. I(f the hole is drilled the diameter of the screws shank, you will never really get the screw tight. It is the head that really holds the two pieces together.
My preferred screw for projects like this is a fine thread drywall screw. They hold very well, and have less chance of splitting the piece they are screwed into. I like to use a screw that is twice as long as the top piece. In this case the top piece is 3/4" thick, so a 1-1/2" screw is what I would use. I still have a bunch of these from when I was building my benchwork.


Here are the sides with the screws positioned in their holes. I glued the sides to the ends with Titebond yellow carpenters glue, and then screwed in the screws.

Here it is glued up and screwed up, in more ways than one! :oops:
While I was installing the screw for one of the top corners, I sort of went too fast and it split the wood! :mad:
I opened up the split with my fingers, put some thin CA in the split, and clamped it. When the CA cures, that should hold it pretty well. I'll let this dry a couple of hours, then put the bottom in.


Active Member
Did you say you ised CA? Why?

Wood glue will be plenty strong for this box - the bond will actually be even stronger then the wood itself. No need for screws here whatsoever (as you discovered wood can split)


I only used glue, don't remember if I used CA; or, Elmer's Carpenter's Glue and it doesn't matter which as there would be no reason to not use CA, it'sa personal choice!. Mine has open ends and I built it for working on my locomotives. It's built from a piece of hard board and pine window trim and a piece of 1X2. Of course, I've been told if there isn't photos of it; here, than it didn't happen; or, it doesn't exist! I guess for not existing, it has been very handy!
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Active Member
I guess there is indeed little difference for this application and CA surely does work. With that for gluing wood I preffer to use wood glue at all times unless clamping is impossible. In that case the fast grab of CA is of benefit, otherwise I preffer workability of Elmer's to perfectly align parts.

Either way, its the screws that are ruining the picture here :)


Loveably weird
I used CA to glue the split in the corner, and Titebond yellow carpenters glue to glue the pieces together, just as the post says.
The cradle is to hold the engine securely while I work on it.
Tests revealed that the cradle is a little too tall, so I used the table saw to cut 1-1/2" from the top all the way around. I need to add some filler foam to the sides behind the egg crate foam, as it doesn't hold the engine as securely as I would like. I also plan to remove the top layer of protrusions to get a better view of what I'm doing. My Mantua 4-6-2 Pacific volunteered to be a model for me.

I plant to use latex paint to paint the wooden parts, the use the low temp setting on my glue gun to attach the foam. I don't want to do the painting inside, and it's too humid today to work outside, so it may be a bit before this gets painted.

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