Getting started: The benchwork
I decided to build my layout on open-grid benchwork with extruded insulation foam on top. I love how larger layouts use L-girder benchwork to run tracks at various heights with scenery and other tracks above and below, but I don’t really need (or want) to do that with this layout. Most areas are more or less flat so I don’t need those elevation changes (don’t have room for them anyway). The foam is easy to attach track to and run wires through and you can carve and sand bumps and shallow waterways into it where you need to create some definition to the land.
I made the frames using extra wood I had lying around and left over from other projects. These include 2x3s and pieces of ¾ plywood ripped into 3” sections. Before installing the frames, I drilled wiring holes in down the centre of the cross-pieces to run the wiring buss. As you can see, the side under the window is built with plywood, the one closest to the camera is made with 2x3s. I’m sure a purist would cringe at mixing up the wood like this but that’s what I had on hand (the wife was on me to get rid of it, not sure if this is what she had in mind but oh well). Besides, the wood becomes invisible eventually anyway. As long as it’s study, it doesn’t matter much what you use.
|Benchwork beginnings. Yes, the lighting sucks. You can see the layout will take on a U shape.|
|Here's the benchwork on the south wall. Used plywood here because that's what I had. Small layouts are a great way to use up old lumber!|
Next I added the foam top, using the correct calk for foam. I’ve heard that some caulks and glues will attack the foam, so you can’t just use any old adhesive for this step. You can see the layout at this stage below.
|Here it is with the foam added. Ready for track...|
In the next entry I will, with some reluctance, get into the topic of DCC and reveal what DCC system I chose for this layout! A track plan will also be posted, just as soon as I draw one in a digital friendly format. You can see how much trouble I'm having with this Blogger template!