|Cardboard template in place to the west of Willow Springs|
I started construction based on the basic shape of the cardboard template. The first steps were to draw up a plan and make some lumber purchases at the local big box store. I picked up some 1" X 4" pine boards and a 2' X 4' 1/2 inch plywood "handy panel." Although I had thought about using L-girder construction, I decided to stay with the open grid framing I have used so far on the benchwork for the 4th Subdivision. I used the cardboard template to trace the curve on the plywood before cutting it out with my jigsaw.
|Working in the shop out in the barn|
Then using both the drawing and the actual plywood "top" as a template under the framing, I started measuring and cutting the framing boards. The one somewhat tricky part involved the angle cuts for the diagonal brace at the curved front of the section as they were not an even forty-five degree cut. Other than that it was just a matter of careful measuring and cutting on the miter saw.
While figuring out the basic construction of this new west end extension's benchwork, I also did some sketching of scenery ideas on paper and full size plotting on the plywood "top." With some flex track, I was able to mock up how the track might fit on what is essentially an S-curve through the scene. While the allotted space did not allow for the 150' Pratt Truss Bridge that I had been thinking about, I still wanted to include a bridge scene.
I had a small bridge from a collection of HO stuff from my younger cousin, James. Researching bridges a bit, I learned that this was a pony truss bridge (no connection across the top) and although not labeled, it was probably a Life-Like brand model. The bridge has some nice molded-in details and with a paint job, will look good considering its toy train origins. Doing more research, I found a prototype pony truss bridge with several nice photos on Bridgehunter.com: the Little Prickly Pear Creek Bridge, a BNSF and ex Great Northern bridge in Montana. So, with the bridge from James, now the creek, the bridge, and the scene have names; it will be the James Creek Bridge scene.
Having finalized the bridge scene concept, I went ahead and cut away some of the 1" X 4" stock for the grid framing to support the plywood base of the creek. I also have a cardboard template started for the creek base.
At this point, the next step will be to glue and nail the framing together for this new section of benchwork. Then, I will be able to clamp it in place, figure out the support system (legs etc.), and move forward with additional planning of the trackwork, bridge placement, and terrain construction. A lesson that I have supposedly learned is to complete the cork, trackwork, and electrical work before the benchwork is permanently in place, allowing me to tip the section up on a workbench rather than working from underneath. As I move forward, I will need to keep this lesson in mind.