Sunday Projects and Trackwork Progress

In the past few weeks I’ve had the chance to visit and work on two other friends layouts. I wrote about my visit to work on construction on Jason Shron’s Kingston Subdivision layout, and Trevor Marshall beat me to writing about our get together to operate his CNR Port Rowan layout. This has gotten me really motivated to work on my layout and see it start moving forward again, and today, I had a free afternoon before my Grey Cup party to get going on some small projects in advancing it.

IMG_0680An easy task to start, drilling holes in a block of wood to make a pen holder for a new tool organizer unit.

I’ve been on an ongoing project to better organize my workspace and layout room. That’s starting to hit the workbench again. I bought a new laser cut wood tool/paint organizer from Amazon, it looked like it would do some of the things I wanted in replacing an old plastic tool rack. It does, but not well, so I’ve started to make modifications. The image above shows an additional block of wood drilled out to take pens and markers in a deep opening in the organizer. The next step is the tool organizer area doesn’t have tubes or dividers beneath the holes in the top. When I started to put things in they just flopped about. That will drive me crazy. I have wood I can modify to fit in the opening beneath the laser cut top panel, and then bore out holes in it with spade drill bits to create tubes to keep things from flopping about. It will take some time, but I’ll make the thing work they way I think it should.

With that simple task (it honestly took longer to clean up the sawdust from six holes and one cut than it did to make them!), my motivation from recent visits saw me move on to do some actual work on the layout I’ve been avoiding.

Drilling holes in the throw bars for the switches that are the first ones leaving the CPR staging. these will access the two sidings at Hinde & Dauche Paper.

I’ve been stalled with getting any track laying done for a couple of reasons. At one side, I need more sets of hands than my own to get the trackwork across the peninsula gap laid down, its complicated and has some tricky curves. The other end, I’ve been stalled afraid to drill holes in the throwbars on the hand made switches my friend Dan made for the layout. We broke one throwbar on the monsterous bat’leth after it was installed, which still hasn’t been fixed. I’ve been very timid about drilling the throw bar holes in the rest of my switches as free hand micro drilling isn’t one of my better skills. That said, I realized I have two spare switches that I’m not using, which meant two chances to practice before moving on to a switch I need. After taking some time, and a lot of thinking, I managed to drill two #62 holes in the throw bars on the spare switches, so I dutifully moved on to the layout ones. I managed to drill two holes in them as well. It was a slow and steady wins the race effort to drill the holes through the copper throwbars, drilling, taking the drill out to check progress and clean out the hole before moving ahead, then carefully filing the burrs out and cleaning the underside so the hole will take the turnout wire when installed.

Track from the east, gluing down the switches after drilling the throw bar holes.

With the switches prepped, the next task on the list was an outright easy one. Apply Alex Clear Caulk, and lay the track! The two switches and one short piece of siding into the backdrop were laid in less than ten minutes, and then my heritage brick made another appearance to do what it does best, and be just heavy enough to hold down track as the caulk cures! I’ve run a number of freight cars through the switches, and all seems to be good, and cars stay in place on the siding, a sign that it’s probably actually level!

Back to the west end, and starting to fiddle around with learning how to install the Fast Tracks Bullfrog Switch Machine.

My final effort of the day was to start looking at how the Bullfrog Turnout is installed, and testing the installation on the first switch at the CN end of the layout. I can see this is still something that I’m going to need to take some time on, and probably consult with friends who have installed them before on their layouts. I think I am getting close, but the hole beneath the turnout is slightly off location, and I think to make it work I will need to reverse the mechanism with a bell crank. Not impossible, but it requires a level of precision that sometimes I’m not sure I have, especially as the mounting will be straddling a layout frame support. As is often the case, every couple of steps forward brings a step sideways or backwards, but today was another day where the layout eeked closer to being ready to try and run a train on it!

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