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Space! At Last!

I finally have some wide open space to work in!  Now I can build again!  I'll run 3' wide shelves down the long walls and build a 6X6 dogbone near the door.

A Few Things I've Learned

I'm learning a LOT from tearing down this "permanent" layout. Here are a couple of tips:


1) Build your scenery with someday tearing it down in mind. I'm finding it a little difficult in dealing with the some of the techniques I've used in the past.  

2) Minimize the use of glue and nails and staples. They sure make tear-down a pain and have a way of hiding in wait to attack saw blades and maybe planer blades. I use a stud-finder to locate those *&^%*#/$^&'s and a good set of pincers to get them out.

3) Use screws when building benchwork. Don't use glue or nails. Tear-down and modifications are much easier if everything is all screwed up.

4) Mind where you place the screws. I wasn't mindful when I built the one I'm tearing down now and it's a nightmare jigsaw puzzle. I have hidden toe-screws and hidden face-screws on that monster. I'm anticipating uncovering that one screw head which will make it all collapse like a house of cards. With my new build, the only place I face-screw is to mount a framing member to a wall or to anchor one bench to another or to the very front. All the rest get toe-screwed (pre-drill a counter-sink hole first). The point is not to hide a screw head with other lumber or put one so close to where another piece will go that that piece must first come out before you can get a driver on the one you were after in the first place. So, disregard the conventional construction technique of building a bench on the floor and setting it in place on the wall. You will surely have hidden screw heads that way. Build it stick-by-stick in place and use clamps if you have to. Some day, I want my widow's handyman to say, "Wow! That huge layout came down sooooooooo easily! That old guy knew what he was doing when he built it."    Or do I...

An Alternative to Table Legs

I decided that the bench on this wall will need support in the middle.  It will have support on both ends from the bench on those walls tying into it.  I want to eliminate or at least minimize the use of table legs in the front on these shelves, so I'm trying my hand at making brackets out of plywood.  It took me two tries to get a usable template and it uses up a lot of my plywood, but I have a lot of it lying around.  The plywood I have is 1/2" thick.  I made two pieces and face-glued them together.  I believe that two 1" thick plywood braces on either side of the middle will support the middle, once I have the shelves anchored to the wall in the back.  Time will tell!  I hope they are not too skinny.  I want to preserve as much room as I can for wiring runs, etc.  I think the real strength in these brackets is in the gusset.  I'm using a saber saw to cut them out and it's going okay, if I keep in mind that I'm not building a piano.  The idea is for them to be under the shelves and under the scenery.  I'll paint them black and they should pretty much disappear.  If I had a flush-cutting router bit, I could use that to cut them out - if I only had a router. :) :) :) :)

Picking and Sweeping



The tear-down and re-build of my large Flyer layout starts with picking off all the accessories, buildings, control buttons, transformers, lichen, matting, etc.  Then I swept up all the loose stuff, including what loose ballast there was.  Next will be to take down all the wiring underneath.  After that, the track will get picked up.  That will take some time, as I want to clean and sort it along the way.  Here are some pics of what the stripped-down layout looks like.