Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Serjt-Dave » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:45 am

Some excellent woodworking there Tony. When you've done yours you can pop round to me and finish my ones off. LOL.


Tony Wilkins
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:33 pm

For several years, my work desk had resided in the garage amid an assortment of cupboard units. The edge of Green Street visible to the left.
The baseboard on its side on the floor is not for this layout but part of the NAG group's layout I was temporarily storing for them at the time.

Before I could assemble the new base units, things needed to be rearranged. The desk was temporarily moved to the end of the garage and the existing cupboards shifted around to create a continuous set of units. The new ones were then assembled and positioned as required to achieve a level top surface.
The following picture has been used before, but shows part of the new arrangement before the doors were fitted.

One of the things that had been putting me off doing this was the fact that I did not have doors for some of the old units and didn’t much fancy making them from contiboard. However, when the time came, the task proved less difficult than feared. My main concern was drilling the recesses into the reverse side of the door for the special hinges, with only 15mm of chipboard, the remaining chipboard at the front of the recess becomes very thin and if one breaks through the door is ruined. I had purchased some new cutters from Wicks for this job, but they turned out to be pretty useless as they wandered something chronic. In the end I resorted to an old cutter that I had that was getting very worn. I managed to resharpen it well enough to do the job and all the cupboards now have doors apart from the wall mounted one seen above, which is used more as a set of shelves.
The next job was to fit the work tops. These are a mixture of 30mm worktop and 18mm contiboard. I needed slightly more clearance than the worktop provided in order to be able to stow part of Green Street under the layout. Another set of 4 T girder frames was then made together with the support units as before.
The next job to tackle was the scenic baseboards, the subframes noted above. These had been on the society sales section for some time although unbeknown to me already sold to a fellow NAG member, who subsequently decided that they were not quite what he wanted. In the end I somehow acquired them thinking they would save me some work. They are 1500 x 750mm close to the 5' by 2'6" dimensions I had originally planned, but were only 3" deep rather than the 4" I needed. I had hoped to try something along the lines of the open topped baseboard systems. However, the Lea valley area is almost billiard table flat and the wide trackbed required in places, made this largely impractical, so a rethink was required. A gradient profile I have of the line shows the gradient through Brimsdown as 1 in 801 for over a mile, so that is effectively level to you and me.
The first problem was fitting the pattern makers dowels to the existing subframes. The end corners already had two 5/16" holes drilled through them. Being jig drilled, they seemed to be consistently accurate. I wanted to use the outer hole of each pair to locate the dowels in. Since a Fosner bit uses a central pip for guidance, this could not be used in this case due to the existing hole. However the pin of the dowels happened to be a perfect fit in these holes and after much thought decided that the only way I could reuse the holes was to place the dowel reversed, with the pin in the hole, so the circular body of the dowel stood proud. Next I took a scrap piece of 9mm ply and cut a hole through this with the Fosner bit using the pillar drill to ensure accuracy.

This piece of ply was then placed over the dowel body and securely clamped onto the end of the baseboard. The dowel was then gently tapped out from the rear so that the layer of ply could be used to guide the perimeter of the Fosner bit whilst cutting the recess for the dowel. The same method had to be used for all four dowel recesses of each baseboard interface. Obviously a pair of dowel halves being fitted each side. I was pleasantly surprised how well this worked for the most part, there being only a few that needed some adjustment, this mainly being due to wear taking place in the ply guide as I proceeded.

The second hole will be used to bolt the boards together, at least to begin with.

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Tony Wilkins » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:58 pm

Having fitted all four scenic baseboards with their joiner dowels, the next step would have been to put them all together, however, this had to wait as a certain thread on Turnout construction proved a major diversion for several weeks. During the course of this time I also spent many happy hours printing out umpteen sheets of the Templot track plan as a background task at about 15 minutes a piece due to their shear size (double A3) and inevitably one of the ink cartridges ran out part way through, so a new one had to be ordered. Eventually the temptation to see how it was all going to look became too strong and I glued the sheets together in baseboard size sections (6 to a baseboard), put the scenic baseboard frames together and laid the printouts in situ. This was the result. It certainly gives a good impression of the scale of the thing.
Any apparent kinks in the track, such as in the head shunt in the left foreground, are optical illusions caused by the paper sagging between the ribs of the baseboard frame below.
Scenic plan 1.jpg

That cupboard is going to have to go!
From the other end one can see that the clearance is not quite as bad as it first appears, however the final surface the baseboard will be about an inch and a half higher than this and there will be several buildings including the station buildings, which are quite tall in that area, so from a scenic point of view, the headroom will definitely need to be greater that it now is. So I may lose the lower shelf as well.
Scenic plan 2.jpg

Note the three tracks curving off the edge of the baseboard in the foreground. This was the next job to be tackled as the success of this area is crucial to the operational interest of the layout. I wanted the baseboard interfaces to be at right angles to each track meaning a saw tooth arrangement was called for. This I regarded as the first make or break part of the project. The second being the lifting flap across the entrance doorway still to come.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Le Corbusier » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:03 pm

Wow Tony .... looks pretty exciting :thumb
Tim Lee

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Martin Wynne » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:39 pm

39 years developing Templot. And counting ...

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Tony Wilkins » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:30 pm

These two pictures show the difference in the height and width between the two sets of baseboards at the interface, the inch wide strip on edge being the difference to the underside of the baseboard top surface.
Scenic plan 3.jpg

The layer of bare ply visible is glued to the end of the near board and carries the dowels. The end face of the adjacent baseboard is painted white.
Scenic plan 4.jpg

Note that the surround of the wide baseboards are double skinned. This helps keep the weight down but provides greater strength, but was to prove usefull in another way as will be seen shortly.

Tony Wilkins
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:57 pm

Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Tony Wilkins » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:37 pm

So now we come to the really tricky part, positioning the saw tooth join. Firstly I printed out the bridging board full size from Templot using a combination of centre lines only and background shapes as this would provide the working template.
This was carefully positioned against the subframe and map pins carefully placed at all the crucial places that is the corners and changes of angle. The yellow pin is at the reference point, which was checked several times before proceeding.

The red lines are the edge of the baseboard frame.


The plan was then slowly rolled back removing each pin in turn and replacing in the hole it had made thus.

Vertical pencil marks were then made on the edge of the frame using a square against each pin hole as reference marks.
This is a very useful method of transferring dimensions from paper to wood and is in fact a very old one.

The same method was used to transfer the pattern to a spare piece of Sundeala board I had available. I decided not to use it in the end as it was not quite big enough. Basically mark the holes and join the dots.

In the end, I decided to use a piece of 9mm ply for the edge pieces on the grounds that as the bridging board is likely to be removed and replaced fairly frequently, so Sundeala board may be too prone to wear. The edge profile was transferred to the piece of ply in the same way and the profile cut very carefully using the band saw. Various pieces of ply were cut and shaped to produce the result I wanted. It ended up a right jigsaw.
Green Streets sector fiddle yard board stored underneath.
Pictures and explanation. Pencil marks against some of the corners faintly visible at full size.

The top surface as already mentioned is 9mm ply. The vertical edges are 6mm ply. The tongue pieces are the nearest thickness I could find to be a good fit in the gap of the sandwich frames. These were built up slowly by gluing and clamping a few sections together at a time and leaving to set before attempting the next bit. Viewed from underneath. The right hand slot fits over one of the internal spacers between the two ply layers and helps locate it.
It will also be noticed in the above picture that I have also screwed it into place temporarily. Gluing can wait until I am certain I have everything right.


The edge profile of this unit was later transferred to its counterpart by placing this upside down on the underside of its opposite half and running a fine pencil along the edge of it. Clamp together first if possible to prevent any movement taking place whilst doing so.

Tony Wilkins
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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:57 pm

Re: Brimsdown-The last grand project.

Postby Tony Wilkins » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:54 pm

I now needed a baseboard to join the bridging board to.
This has actually already featured in a previous post posing as a baseboard built my preferred way.

With the diagonal added.

However, it also now has a corner cut down and in-filled. This to support the other end of the bridging board.
Again this is made from 9mm ply but with bracing made from 18mm ply.

However, the underside is the interesting part and by far the most intricate.

The tongues locate the board accurately and the strips of ply behind them control the vertical height.
The two strips of wood behind these are spacers for added strength and ensuring that all is vertical, which my first attempt without them wasn't.
The other end mates with the baseboard pictured above and has a dowel on its underside to ensure accurate engagement.

Which fits into this,

This is the only baseboard so far to use traditional full length legs with screw adjustable feet at floor level. They were quickly cobbled together using some existing legs that came with the acquired layout baseboards and may yet be replaced. Green Street's main baseboards are stored underneath and hence dictate this baseboard's minimum length.
Bridging board in place.

Although it is possible to duck under quite easily when in place, I wanted it easily removable when not needed. I have spent some time trying to ease the fit, but still sticks a bit in places, so further sanding cannot be ruled out. It is though difficult to work out where it binds as it was cunningly designed so the problem is hidden from view when in place.
Here are the boards with the track plans in place.

This is the factory visible in one of the prototype pictures I posted earlier in this thread, the first black and white one half way down page 3. It was only when I printed out the track plans that I began to appreciate just how big it was, about 6 ft from front to back if modelled in its entirety.

This was the moment of truth as a further small baseboard visible, just, under the plan toward the top left of the picture needed to be made.
If you think this was all carefully planned to the nth degree, that is something of an illusion as much improvisation has been needed along the way.
I had worked out from Templot how long this needed to be, but this dimension differed somewhat from what I now measured. After investigation I realised I had miscalculated somewhere and the discrepancy was actually 2mm, which I could live with. One of the perils of using the walls for reference is that the building is not square. For instance I know that one side wall is 2" shorter than the other. This throws the end wall with the up and over door out of square. Guess which end they started fitting the roof from!

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