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  • Topic: J&B RR Construction Log

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    • May 27, 2006 5:48 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      The redesign looks good, so I'm finally getting back into construction! The first thing to do was to buy a compound miter saw. It will also help put up some crown molding in the house...

      I also built a jig to help construct my own version of the ladder method. Using the miter saw, I cut a bunch of the 2x2 for spacers. The jig allows me to easily space them and provides support for screwing them together.

      Here's a shot of one of the plastic strips from Home Depot...

      Once I've put the spacer in place, I lay the plastic strip down with the appropriate curve and attach a strip to the other side. It holds the curve pretty well.

      Next, I'll paint it and then stake it in place. It's still a bit flexiible so I can change the curve slightly, but I can also adjust elevation and make sure it's level from side to side. While building my switches, I use a similar structure to provide support. I paint everything with Krylon Ruddy Brown Primer just to get rid of all that white.

      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • May 28, 2006 1:11 AM EDT

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      Lookin' good Bruce! The ladder method makes for some smooth looking curves too. Yours looks great. A nice feature of the aluminum code 250 I use is that I can simply brad nail it down bending in place as I go. I really like the ladder method although I'm using cedar instead of a composite material since I'm above ground.
    • May 28, 2006 9:30 AM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Richard,
      Thanks. Actually, I'll be using AMS code 250 flex track - in brass. I've found that it holds these curves quite nicely. I bought 4 boxes last summer, so that should be enough. Those other pieces are from a switch and track deal I picked up awhile back. I'm mostly using them for radius checks. I end up using the straight sections to build my switches and as rail for my bridges and trestles. It's all #250 in nickel silver, and already weathered!

      Actually, I'm starting to wonder if cedar wouldn't be a better choice. Yes, it will be in contact with the ground, but I'm not sure it's that critical. Of course, I suspect that Home Depot doesn't sell cedar strips.
      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • May 28, 2006 9:41 AM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      Bruce,

      Home Depot does sell "dog eared" cedar fence planking 6 feet long. These can be ripped to strips and used for many projects.
    • May 28, 2006 7:57 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Ric,
      Therein lies the rub...I'm not ready to buy a full size table saw. First of all, I really don't have the room. And, I dislike all that sawdust. So, I get to pay for someone else to do it! Plus, I'd have to get a truck to haul lumber. So, I live with my choices.
      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • May 28, 2006 9:53 PM EDT
      • Southern Illinois
         
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      Bruce,

      Its Summer, you can haul wood in your Miata(sp?) with the top down. How did you haul the plastic trim? I don't know if they have thin strips of cedar. Sawdust is a mess, ripping wood like that creates a lot of sawdust. Lots of sawdust.
    • May 28, 2006 10:53 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      Bruce.....I hauled 12 foot 2x10's in my old MGB......do you mean your little bug can't cope.......then get a garden tractor and a trailer......!!!!....grin
    • May 28, 2006 11:23 PM EDT

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      My wife, bless her heart, got me a portable table saw for my birthday. It's not quite full size in terms of the table, but does have a 10" blade and extendable sides to give you some decent surface area to play with. It collapses, rolls on two wheels, and is very easy to set up. I wheel mine out to the driveway to cut, and let good 'ole Ma Nature take care of the sawdust for me. The hose from the air compressor cleans the saw in short order, then the whole thing is collapsed and wheeled back into the garage.

      Now, all I have to do is find time to actually build the bridges for which I ripped the lumber.

      Later,

      K
      ____________________________________
    • May 28, 2006 11:40 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      Bruce.....as you know I use PT 2x lumber for roadbed.....but......

      ....When I was in HO, I used to get my wood cut up by a local lumber merchant, into splines for the laminated roadbed.......saved me cutting long strips on a table saw, and leaving half of it on the floor.

      Way back in the early 80's; based on my HO experiences; I tried laminated roadbed out in the garden.....then I tried the ladder method too......although we didn't have this "New" material then.
      I found through my experiences, that it was less labour, and easier to just use the PT and cut segments for the curves.....
      .....as far as durability; the PT has stood the test of time, but then I do go heavy with the "Pentox" or wood preservative.

      One thing that a few people who have tried the PT roadbed method failed to observe; is that the joining plates should be of the same thickness as the roadbed, and at least 18" long. Using anything less than 2" in thickness is a waste of time and money.

      But.......we all learn what works best for each of us.......and our location makes some methods work better than others.

      Fr.Fred
    • May 30, 2006 6:14 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Then there is concrete...

      I'm wondering which will be more labor intensive, the concrete reinforced with rebar? or the ladder method mentioned above.

      I also wonder which will cost more?

      I am facing a complete rebuild of the CR & TC, due to tearing the thing out last fall in preparation for a move that didn't take place. Now i get to correct all of my mistakes, and they are legion... ;)

      madwolf
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • May 30, 2006 11:09 PM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      ....yes there is also concrete......
      ......and yes, I have used it too........

      More trouble than it is worth......at least from my point of view.
      I suppose that if you know that the roadbed you are putting down today is where you will want it in 5 years' time; and you do it properly, with rebar, and a good trench bottomed with crushed stone......
      There is always the question of how best to attach the track to the concrete....some insert wood pieces into the concrete when pouring it. This only creates small catch basins filled with wood that sucks up water and rots......then there is drilling and screwing using those new concrete screws.......
      The bit of concrete roadbed I used is now buried under a flower bed.....would need a jack hammer to break it up.......the trackage changed and the roadbed was redundant......

      I have no idea of the cost of concrete, but it is labour intensive if you do it properly.

      As I have said.......my experience tells me to stick with PT 2x lumber. I've been using it since 1980........I seem to think over that period of time; one could develop some idea of how it will stand the tests of time.......but what do I know..........!!!!
    • May 31, 2006 9:46 AM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      You can't adjust concrete like you can a ladder roadbed. After frost heave or settling, etc.
      Ladders can be easily raised or lowered as needed.
      j
    • May 31, 2006 12:54 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Well, ok, I wasn't looking forward to all that concrete work, anyway.

      i already know how to work with wood.
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • June 25, 2006 5:41 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      To me, the real advantage of doing this ladder thing is the ability to do easements. Of course you can do easements with lots of methods, but these plastic pieces give me a natural one. I just bend the track to fit - and the AMS track is very much like the HO flex-track. I don't need a rail bender, I just fasten it down in place. It IS a bit more work than the PT method that Fred uses, but he is using sectional track - very successfully I might add. The rain is slowing me down, but here's a shot of the roadbed in place.

      I know that a lot of people like to float their track in ballast, but I firmly believe that a good foundation is extremely important to minimize future maintenance. Or, perhaps I should say that my experimentation with floating was a dismal failure?
      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • June 25, 2006 10:57 PM EDT
      • Floe Ice, Antarctica
         
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      " I firmly believe that a good foundation is extremely important to minimize future maintenance. Or, perhaps I should say that my expermentation with floating was a dismal failure?"

      Hear, Hear.

      Nice to see someone else voice that.
      I wonder if you'll get the same flame job I will?

      Watch for folks whp complain about having to work on the railroad for weeks to get it running.

      And that the maintenance required only allows a little operation annually.

      Floating track, followed closely by track power of any kind, and then ground level.

      Alll the railroads that operate flawlessly year-around in these parts are attached to something and no track power, most at least partly raised.

      The only issue I can see with your splines is roots.

      Big trees can raise up the ground under a section, but yu can dig out from under it and fix it easy.
    • June 26, 2006 1:28 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      What are you using for the stringers? You call them "plastic strips" but can you be more specific?
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • June 26, 2006 1:56 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Steve,
      I'm not sure ;)

      These are plastic trim pieces that I found at Home Depot. Nominally 1"x2", but actually measure about 5/8" x 1 3/8". As I recall, they come in 12 foot lengths, so you can get a nice curve out of them. They've got a whole set of shapes, but the rectangular ones seem just right for this.
      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • July 10, 2006 6:18 PM EDT
      • Burke, Virginia
         
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      Well, the construction goes very slowly for various reasons. This weekend I was out measuring grades for my track and we decided to reroute a section. It was either that, or build up around Jean's plants. That was vetoed. So, now I will move along the edge of the property and build up there.

      I'm trying to keep the grades under 4%; which brings me to another problem where my track will cross. I'm having a difficult time getting enough clearance below a cross over, so I'll be finding a new home for my Garden Metal Models bridge - it is just too deep. Luckily Richard provided some inspiration with his metal bridge in between trestle sections.

      Meanwhile, I continue to excavate. I'm near some big oak trees and have been fortunate not to run into any roots my pick can't handle.

      I'm also thinking of redoing the mill pond. It really is the wrong kind of formed plastic, as it has an opening on one end to allow another piece to join for a waterfall effect. In spite of a lot of silicone, I've never been able to seal this right. I'll have to search for a new pond with out this "feature".
      ____________________________________

      Bruce

      http://jbrr.com/

       

    • July 11, 2006 9:18 AM EDT

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      "Nice to see someone else voice that.
      I wonder if you'll get the same flame job I will?

      Watch for folks whp complain about having to work on the railroad for weeks to get it running.

      And that the maintenance required only allows a little operation annually."

      No flames here. Just COMPLETE agreement! I watched my outdoor railroad deteriorate into complete uselessness. I laid over 600 feet on floating roadbed, done to the "specs". Trenched, filled, compacted, refilled, floated then ballasted. What a complete waste of time!!

      After the first year it looked like a drunk had done the work. No matter how many times it was adjusted, releveled it still ended up in the same condition after a few weeks. I spent days working on it and NO time operating it. After not being able to use it for over three years I pulled about 1/3 of it and started planning an indoor pike so I could run in the winter too.

      Now that that is well under way I pulled another section of the old outdoor pike and filled in the newest cut to reclaim the another part of the yard. I will continue to pull the rest of the floated track. The plan put forward by the wife is to put down PT wood like Fred and TOC have done in the old sandbox area and use the oldest cut as a scenery feature.

      Maybe then I'll be able to have an outdoor railroad again.

      OK Fred....you Told me so!!!

      Andre'
    • July 11, 2006 9:35 AM EDT
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      Andre: Thats the boat I'm in now, though I only have about 300 feet down now. I'm pretty much halting expansion right now, and going back with PT and building solid, level benchwork, about 3-4" off the existing grade. Yea, it wont look as integrated into the gardens until I get a lot more fill, but yearly mainteance will be a ton less.
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      Bob, your Site Host and Benevolent Dictator.

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