Weekend Re-Construction

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KB02

Well-Known Member
The latest expansion of my layout has been a bit of a pain. It is in the basement and along a wall where, despite our greatest mitigation efforts, we still have a bit of a ground water issue from time to time. And there is a window where, when the spring melt comes, snow and ice like to accumulate... and melt... and seep through the window. Now while I am sure that a healthy amount of silicone would seal up this window, I also like to open it on nice summer days or when I've been working on things that should be worked on in well ventilated areas and I need a little fresh air. SO, with all that in mind, I build the benchwork along this wall to be modular should I need access to this wall or the window. Here is how it looked this morning:

The triangle sections left and right are individually removable:

And here is where you may notice one of the biggest issues. These removable sections have curved track. In case you are considering doing this: DON’T! This has been such a nightmare. Due to the facts of wood expansion and contraction and the 85 or so different reasons you should bring any wood you plan to use to build a layout into that actual space to let it acclimatize first, I, for some reason, decided to ignore all of that and my track work suffered.

So, it is time to tear it apart and rebuild it properly… or at least as properly as I can.

Let’s start with pulling it apart. First the Trestle comes out:


Then the southeast corner:


Then I can pull out the 8’ long straight section:


And strip it down of track:


The plan is relatively simple: To preserve access to the wall under the window, I am going to cut down this 8’ section, secure both ends to the layout as it secured to the walls on either side and make a 4’ drop in section that I am pull out if need be. SO, with a little bit of measuring and cutting, I wound up with this:


That’s better… well… not BETTER better, but it’s getting there.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
With the old long section in pieces, I set to work on building the left side first. I basically took off the legs from this side, turned them around and screwed them in towards the end of the new shorter section:


The trestle scene will pop right back into place, but since it is no longer going to be removable (when I'm done), I'll replace the split track with solid rail to eliminate 2 of my 11 trouble spots.



This section is currently held in place with strong magnets. Since they won't be needed, I've considered taking them out, but since they're Gorilla Glued in, I might just leave them there... still deciding that...

Anyway, same plan for the other side. Turn the legs around, secure everything together. One solid section to round a curve:


More track work that needs to get done, but that's part if the fun of it, right?

At least when I am done I shouldn't have to worry about subtle temperature and humidity variations playing a part in whether a train will derail in the these curves or not.

So that leaves me with my new drop in section:


And with some new end plates made up for each section, my bench work is back in business:


May not look a whole lot different, but it is going to be a tremendous difference in the reliability of these track segments.
 

max diyer

Well-Known Member
With the old long section in pieces, I set to work on building the left side first. I basically took off the legs from this side, turned them around and screwed them in towards the end of the new shorter section:


The trestle scene will pop right back into place, but since it is no longer going to be removable (when I'm done), I'll replace the split track with solid rail to eliminate 2 of my 11 trouble spots.



This section is currently held in place with strong magnets. Since they won't be needed, I've considered taking them out, but since they're Gorilla Glued in, I might just leave them there... still deciding that...

Anyway, same plan for the other side. Turn the legs around, secure everything together. One solid section to round a curve:


More track work that needs to get done, but that's part if the fun of it, right?

At least when I am done I shouldn't have to worry about subtle temperature and humidity variations playing a part in whether a train will derail in the these curves or not.

So that leaves me with my new drop in section:


And with some new end plates made up for each section, my bench work is back in business:


May not look a whole lot different, but it is going to be a tremendous difference in the reliability of these track segments.
Good planning and a great weekend project. Have fun!
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Didn't quite get as far on the project as I had panned on Sunday. Wife was battling a cold and the kids needed attention. But I have made up my mind that the magnets that were holding in the trestle scene are simply going to have to remain in place... unless I can think of some way to get them out without destroying them. Gorilla glue is awfully tough...
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
And as sure as the wind will blow, the designer will change their mind. The magnets have been pulled from their wooden graves. It actually wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. With my dremel, I made a plunge cut right down beside one the magnets as a test and put a screwdriver in the slot and pried it out. I was surprised at how easily it came out, actually. So, the other 5 had the same treatment and now I have six magnets to use should I need them.

Anyway, back to work on the track. I got the PC ties glued in place for the north and south main lines:


Then got the track soldered in place:


After a quick coat of paint to match the rest of the ties, It's ready for ballast:


Sorry some of the images are sideways. For some reason, the ability to edit photos in Flickr is not available right now.

I'll wait to cut the rails until I have the rest of the tracks in place, but now it is on to the other side of the lift out. Just waiting for the glue to cure on the PC ties there.
 

max diyer

Well-Known Member
KB - I find it interesting how someone else builds. What your doing is pretty cool and I will be following your progress.
Very good photography - clear, especially the close-ups. Good job!
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Thanks. That's the great thing about a forum like this. We can all watch and learn and from each other. :)
 

Flying Switch

New Member
Just a minor suggestion. Since you have to contend with some fairly significant changes in moisture because of the window, letting the wood acclimate before fixing it in place is naturally a good idea but you may want to supplement that with a few woodworking tricks to direct any anticipated wood movement away from the roadbed. For example, the wooden rail facing out on the corner section will expand and contract vertically with humidity changes, so you may want to re-affix it so that your top screws on the ends are nearer to the top of the piece, and then drill the bottom screw holes somewhat slotted vertically (only in that piece, not in the leg to which it is affixed), When the piece expands and contracts, the top will of the piece will stay more fixed and the expansion will be absorbed to and from the floor rather than the layout top where the track position is critical.
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
What about installing a small gutter under the window, slanted slightly down toward the right corner, to a down-pipe right in the corner with a bucket on the floor under it. Worst case scenario is the bucket overflows when your not there. Just paint the leg bottoms with urethane and maybe putty [puddy?] around them so water doesn't get to them. Putty the gutter too so water can't slide behind it.. :cool: M

PS. Since it's a, what ?, 1' wide shelf there, why have the liftout section in the first place ? Why not just stand on a stool or such to open/close window ?
 
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max diyer

Well-Known Member
The leaking window problem needs to be addressed from the outside. There are window
wells that will stop the seepage. And you will need a cover for the well. Keep the cover on
until you want to open the window. It will keep snow, leaves, debris, animals, the neighbor's kids,
etc. out. There is a wide variety of styles and configurations available.
 
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KB02

Well-Known Member
Yeah, the water issue has been an ongoing battle that, at the current point in time, I seam to be winning (great... now I've jinxed myself...). I've done French drain, new windows, and next spring will be re-leveling the yard. The high water table in the area doesn't help, but when the spring thaw hits, the windows sometimes look like fish tanks (leaky ones).

When we bought the house, the previous owner told us they never had water issues in the basement... boy, did they lie...
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
Here's one more: You sound like you have some $$ to burn...[good job, good income]..So, why not remove the window altogether and put a swamp cooler down there for hot days and a floor heater/s for cold days ? In any event I still don't get the need for the lift-out module, it being so narrow..
I'll bow out here...M
 

PrairieKnight

Active Member
KB ... that is some very nice bench work. It is nice to see a fellow "cellar dweller" not letting an old leaky basement ruin a great hobby. I do hope that this is the last time that you will have to take anything apart on your lay out. I have the same concerns and issues in my basement that you do. While it sounds like things are well in hand and you have a great plan going forward, I would make one suggestion should you ever have to do something like this in the future....casters. In one of your photos that showed the legs, I noticed there were metal "feet" attached to the bottom of the legs to keep them off the floor. If you have the room, could you put the different sections of your layout on casters instead of the feet that you currently have on the legs? I did this on the two sections of my L shaped layout. I can separate the 4x8 from the 2x8 and roll them away from the area of the basement where I have the layout in the event that I need to do some clean up in my 107 year old basement. I asked if you have the room..... because I am wondering if it would be possible not to have the layout right up against the wall with the window presenting the problem. I realize that not putting the layout against the wall will create an issue with the two sections on either end of the section you just fixed.
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
P.S. My posts above do not mean I don't like your work.. Au contraire..Nice track, benchwork and pics...
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
No worries, MHinLA. :)

As for room, I really don’t have the room for it all to be mobile; but that’s a great idea.
 




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