Got three panel pieces permanently fastened which almost completes the right end. There are two more high-line pieces in that corner and they'll be installed in the next session. This session fixed a big piece (one of the largest). Instead of putting in all the risers then flopping the piece over them like I did when doing the original build in Germany, I attached a splice plate on one end and clamped the panel to it, then with the level sitting on top, shimmed up the other end with a riser and clamped it when it was close to level. I then went to the middle of the panel and clamped a riser there until it was exactly level. Once I got a few risers positioned so it was level and cross-level, I screwed the splice-end tight and went back and started to fasten the risers permanently also. In this way, I worked my way back to the free end and made sure everything was tight.
I've started using wooden splice plates since the Simpson Strong-tie sheet metal plates were flexing too much. I also replaced the Simpson plates on the high line since there as a small dip in the grade area at the splice. It's still not perfect and I think that one of the risers is a bit low and needs adjusting. It may not matter operationally.
I will say this, my back and hands are sore! It's a lot of moves that I'm not used to making to get under the layout and position yourself to reach all the screws. And one more thing: I've already put in hundreds of screws. Without power drivers I can't imagine doing a project like this.
On the high line I also fixed another small problem that occurred when I installed the wood splice. There was a small difference in thickness between the two pieces of OSB. This little bump may have replicated itself when the track was laid. To correct, I put a cardboard shim under the thinner piece which brought it up to an exact match with the thicker one. All the other panel-to-panel joints were on the same plane.
Here's a shot showing how long this railroad's becoming. Sorry about the focus. Next time I'll set the camera on the tripod, take multiple exposures and then use the focus stacking software for an infinite depth-of-field.
Here's an underneath shot showing all of those risers! Another nice thing about L-girder; if the girders aren't level, it doesn't matter since each riser cleat is individually leveled. This cancels out any irregularities in the girder system. If it was an egg-grate frame, the frame itself would have to be level and even throughout.
This is a good time to assess where we are are and how much more we have to go. I estimate that we're at the 25% completion point (for the platform only). Best to show a diagram to explain this.
Nine pieces have been installed so far (piece 1 and 2 were split since the rearmost portions on both are on the high line). The upper left end will be the second to last area to be finished since I like having the opening there to get to the chop saw. The last part to be finished will be the swing-out session at the lower right. I want the railroad to be stiff and stable before building that. With the pieces installed today, I'll be able to clear off the end table and make the modifications needed to match the new design. That shouldn't take long. Then I turn my attention to the front side of the layout. There's a lot of work to do there, but there is access from both sides. The table height of 43" makes a great stand-up workbench for doing all sorts of assembly operations. It's very convenient.