The January thaw is a wonderful thing. It is a welcome respite from the bitter Minnesota winters. It is that brief period of a week (perhaps two) when the temperatures approach and even pass freezing. As the week previous to the thaw had seen temperatures as low as -30C todays passing of freezing point was greeted with much jubilation. So, with a rush of blood to the head I ventured into the garage to cut the baseboard surface for the layout from an 8' x 4' sheet of 1/4" ply I had. The reasons to do this were:
Reason 1. So that I could see the size of the layout. It's all very well sketching an idea on paper and liking what you see. You can even work your plan up with the most detailed track planning software and come up with superb 3D CAD renderings. But when it comes down to it things still have to look right full size and I maintain that the only way anyone can do that is working full size. Some people make scale models of their layouts which is great for your basement filling opus but this one is only 4' long so it doesn't really matter. Now I can take this baseboard down into the hobby room and place items on it to see if everything will work as I envision it.
Reason 2. It's the January thaw! The past few years I've been building baseboards in the depths of winter when it's been in the low teens in the garage and the fluorescent lights have struggled to come on (and make funny noises when they do), and I've had the heater on at my feet and still had to come inside to warm up every 30 minutes. The joys of working in temps above freezing had to be celebrated. By heck! I even had a lighter weight jacket on and no hat to boot!
Now my woodworking skills are not the greatest but after some careful marking and cutting I ended up with this that you see below which will probably pass muster as the baseboard surface.My first thought was.
"Oh my! It's much deeper than I thought, It's three foot four inches deep I didn't expect it to look like that"
My second thought was...
"Oh Ho ho! It's three foot four inches deep! Belter!"
I've always a wanted a layout with real depth too it ever since I first saw Barry Normans' "Petherick" (about half way down this linked page) at a model railway exhibition many years ago. Now here is my chance.
Both Barry Norman and Iain C. Rice have both espoused a layout presentation theory of 3:1 of length to depth this one at 5' 8" x 3' 4" isn't even 2:1 so it might look a bit unusual. But heck! It's a triangular baseboard anyway. So I'm breaking new ground there. Looking at it now it could have its depth reduced by six inches and still look pretty good.
That then, is it so far. I'm going to get my father-in-law to cut me some nice square straight 3" deep strips of 1/4" ply for the framework. Because he's a craftsman woodworker and has access to the equipment to do that sort of thing. To be honest though when I get them back I'm really quite undecided wether to use those 3" strips as "L" girders or with softwood spacers to make "Barry Norman" beams, where two strips of ply are spaced apart by small pieces of softwood to make a strong, lightweight beam.
Anyway thats a thought for another day. For now I can look at the baseboard and dream of what I want this layout to be...