Holy Cow! He wasn’t kidding about the trains…

Believe it or not (no, you can actually believe it), I finally managed to get the first table for the model trains built. Not perfectly, mind you, and I have made a decision to make one final adjustment on this one, but considering I haven’t done anything like this in 5 years, I’m pleased with the outcome.

So of course, you’ll probably remember the design I came up with for tables a few weeks back.

The design for this was pretty good, and I went ahead with the minor modification, based on a suggestion to use 4 foot legs, since that is apparently a standard in clubs. I’m not saying I regret that decision. It was a worthwhile tryout, but it’s just too hard to reach across to the opposite side of the table, which is up against a wall for me, let alone my kids, who are only 5 foot tall at this point. So In a week or so, I will take the tables, remove anything from them, turn them on their side and cut about a foot off of each leg. 36 inches is sufficiently high enough for what I want, and well within range for the kids to work on things with me.

At any rate, Eli ad I got started a week ago, cutting the legs. But before we could, I had to mount the miter saw onto the stand we built.

We encountered a small design flaw later on, but the current table performed reasonably well, so Eli and I proceeded to do a simple clamp down / stop-block and cut the 4 legs down perfectly.

We did the exact same thing after that and made the 6 foot long rails out of 1 x 3 x 8s, again, using stop blocks.

Right after that, we cut the 4 cross rails and put all of these aside. Because the next thing I wanted to make were the 4 corner reinforcements… These also serve as mounting points for the legs later on. The mounting / reinforcements are more 1 x 3, cut into 4 – 1.5 inch long segments, and 4 – 2.25 inch long segments, and then glue and brad nailing them to form L shapes. After that, we left them to try for a bit and had some lunch.

After that, we attached the sides, counter-sinking the holes for #10 screws. The only problems we had here is that the #10s were a bit large for the boards, and given the less than premium quality on the screws and the lumber, we had a few small splits. Still, it was reasonably successful, so we took the final step of cutting down the top panel, and getting it attached. That was the last time we had last weekend, and so there we stopped for the time being. That was on Friday evening (August 16th). We had a bunch of parties to attend, so we didn’t get back to it until this weekend.

But in between, I did get a few new things for the collection.

Two more GEVOs to match Eli’s original #800, and a new Conrail SD70MAC to go with the other I have, #4134. I also received in 2 sets of SBTX Bethgon Protein Hoppers by KATO, for a total of 16 of those cars. A feed mill is intended to be a central piece of the layout, so it was only fitting for this layout. As you can see, that set is long… I couldn’t even fit the entire thing on my desk, which is a solid 5 foot wide work space… good thing I planned for a larger layout, right?

So yesterday, I got up and got back to work on the table. With help from Eli and Caidi, I was able to get the 4 legs drilled out, get supports in place and get the bolts for support and the ones for leg levelers all in place. It was a good 6 hours of work, but in the end, we were happy… well, except for determining that we need to make the table shorter. That was the original plan, but I got some advice to consider 4 foot tables. It was worth a try, but frankly, that’s just a bit too tall for what I want at this point, so I’ll be satisfied with the tables when we take them down just a bit.

I think you can see why the table is just a bit too tall… but it’s OK, the adjustment to the leg height is a small matter, and perhaps 10 minutes of work, and I can’t complain – it was a worthwhile experiment, but just not the right thing to do here.

And so, today, for the first time in almost half a decade, I am running model trains of my own. Big thank you to my children for helping me, and an even bigger thanks to my wife for putting up with my insane obsession. I can’t wait to involve her in the scenery!

Sorry for a bit of static and shakiness in these videos… I did these with my phone.

At any rate, there will be more to follow soon, I promise.