Stencil on the side of a BN caboose at East Lewiston

Monday, August 6, 2012

Benchwork baby...benchwork!

The last few weeks have been fairly eventful.  In spite of planning, planning some more and ultimately planning just a little more, I finally decided it was just time to stop with the excuses and get going! 

Rather that start construction during the winter, when the weather here in Texas is temperate, I decided to start in the summer, when Texas is at its hottest (It was 107 degrees yesterday)!  Why do things easily? 

Benchwork construction seems to follow Newton's law of motion.  I've been on a roll with plenty of momentum since late June.  Framework for the staging loop, PFI Mill, the East Lewiston yard and east approach to the depot are built. Below are some pictures of the progress so far...

Building a layout in a living room presents some interesting situations.  Here I have an L girder spanning three large windows.

I'm using an L girder on the under side with triangular bracing to support the benchwork.
Here in Texas, home builders aren't particularly concerned with minor details such straight or square walls!  Shims were needed at several locations to attach the L girder to the wall.

Two shims were required to screw the L girder into the wall at this location!
Plywood for the staging loop on the peninsula.  The PFI mill will be about 6 inches above it.

The myriad of legs supporting the peninsula for the staging loop and PFI Mill.

I used stamped metal brackets screwed into the legs and floor boards to anchor the peninsula and keeping it from getting bumped out of place.
There is still about 25% of the framing to do in the main layout room, including an interesting engineering project spanning the room's balcony overlooking the front foyer of the house.

The opening in the room, with a balcony, overlooking the foyer.  This presents some interesting engineering for supporting the framework and backdrop.  Its important to leave some of it open for air circulation and the banister needs to stay in good condition as well.

Another view of the opening to the foyer.  There is a single L girder spanning the opening, with a 2x4 leg support underneath.  You'll notice in the foreground that the framework has no back to it where it buts up to the wall, but does at the opening.  I built this piece separately, then dropped it in.
My goal is to have the staging loop and main line in to the yard, as well as the trackage for the paper mill in and running by Thanksgiving of 2012.  Boy, putting it out there in cyberspace makes the goal much more real!  More later...I have plywood to cut!