Someone asked if the fascia would make the right corner, hope this answers the question.   In case the question of the apparent gap comes up, that's by design, we're interested in the proper curve around the radius, and all of that will be covered by the Homasote that will come to the outer edge of the table and be wrapped by the finish layer of the fascia.

All the main level fascia is up, and we're moving on to the Homasote.



Cutting the Homasote is interesting, Tom has a great tool for the job.  While you can use a saw, it's pretty messy, so he uses this little gem.


A few passes with the knife and we have a clean cut with minimal mess.



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Bosch makes a knife blade for the jigsaw - I use it for foam and homosote - my shoulder complains after a few of those hand cuts these days

looking good, men!

Thank you Carl,

I find Bosch thin knife blades burn up rather quickly cutting Homosote at any reasonable speed.  The Homosote is rather dense, so within 5 feet or so  the blade starts to warp from the heat and curls to  one side giving a crazy edge.  If you grind a knife edge on a worn out saw blade it can last a bit longer because it is thicker and resists the heat better.

5 or 6 passes with a super thin Airway #6 knife blade makes production work quick and clean in my experience.  We even use it for hand cutting most plywood underlayments.

Cutting with a vacuum equipped 32 tooth metal blade has given me the best saw approach.   I used that combo for cutting around the round columns.  Both for the plywood and Homosote.

Last edited by Tom Tee
Tom Tee posted:

We each have a life, this is being built in our down time.

Although some days it doesn't seem like it!

gunrunnerjohn posted:

You can take one Mark, but you can't take mine!

That's a deal, John!!  I don't blame you one bit!!  

A minor milestone.  Worked on the Homasote today, all of it is cut and fitted.  Of course, the minor task of screwing it down and sealing all the seams is yet to come, but this step has been completed.  I even have a full sheet left over.

The fun is all the curves and edges, so all those had to be marked, then flip the sheet over and cut it.


We had a low spot right at the liftgate, so that was leveled before the Homasote went on.


Cut out the curves...


And at the end of the day, a blank canvas!



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All Seams will first be sanded with a vacuum equipped oscillating 100 grit sander. 

All screw depressions and all seams will receive a skin coat of a Portland based feather finish.

The feather finish will be applied with a 12" straight edge steel trowel then sanded smooth.

That work is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Taping or not taping, I have gotten cracks or lifting of the tape both ways.  Homosote can be dynamic.  The leveling/feathering is more to achieve a flat surface.  Ground cover  hides cracks.  Tape can also be pushed up and hump along the seam,  even push up ground cover to where you can detect the seam.  I no longer tape Homosote seams.  Your experience may vary.

For two rail use, some irregular Homosote can be a challenge.  Skim coating for flatness may be essential. 

Your choice. 

I had a layout building business and have personally built scores of layouts over the years using various products. each with their own plus and minus features.  All things considered, in my practical experience Homosote is the preferred working surface.

BTW, My favorite OGR signature:

"I'm not an expert, I just play one on the forum".

Last edited by Tom Tee

Looking great, John! You have come a long way in a very short amount of time! Obviously getting Tom involved was the right move. I've been filing away a bunch of the techniques and tricks he has shown you. The better to build mine (whenever that happens!    )




Tom Tee posted:

We each have a life,....

Yes, but it should be obvious, I don't! 

What's done so far, looks fantastic to me. I am jealous.

lehighline posted:

Looking great, John! You have come a long way in a very short amount of time! Obviously getting Tom involved was the right move. I've been filing away a bunch of the techniques and tricks he has shown you. The better to build mine (whenever that happens!  

I can safely say that it wouldn't look anything like this without Tom's expertise and ideas.  My concept was a much simpler plan.  Obviously, when this is done, it'll be WAY more than I originally envisioned when I started.  BTW, that's a good thing!

============== A small amount of progress ================

Most of the Homasote is screwed down, we still have to do a little work around the lift-gate, we're putting J-channel on the edges so they don't get beat up, and the pop-up hatch will receive the same treatment.  After that, we have to trim the edges of the Homasote to match the base fascia layer in preparation for the top fascia layer.  any cracks and depressions will be filled in, and it'll be time to paint the surface to provide some sealing and a neutral color.

Of course, then there's the track...

Coming along very nicely... Is that the railroad's rail grinding and track polishing equipment I can slightly hear in the back ground? 

A busy day today, got a bit done.

Cutting the slots around the lift-gate wider so I can install J-channel to protect the edges of the Homasote from damage when the gate goes up and down.


We needed to route a relief slot in the Homasote to allow the J-Channel to sit flush on the surface.


The same process for the J-Channel that will go around the pop-out in the middle of the table.


Next step is routing all the edges of the Homasote to be flush with the fascia base layer.

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Touching up the routing and base layer of fascia.


Sanding all the seams and screw "bumps" before filling everything.


Time to clean off all the sanding debris after the sanding.


Last step of the day, first coat of fill for all the screw heads and seams.  When this dries, I'll sand it all and touch up anything we missed on the first pass.  Then I'll install the J-Channel around the lift-gate and the lift-out panel.



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Well... I think I'll take that chance!  I am going to try to keep some of the "pretty" in sight after the track is down!

John, much like the multiple sandings and filling on a classic car, the end product is going to be a shining jewel. Hopefully the snafu's are behind you and the light at the tunnel is NOT the Wabash Cannonball running late!!

Thanks guys.  The track plan is generally the same as I started with, at least in the big picture.  However, as I went along, a number of other things presented themselves, and it's been evolving.  One thing is wider curves, I originally had all O72, but now the outside loop will be O96, O84, and then O72.  I'm also adding some switching for the future yard that comes after this section is at least up and running.  Finally, I'm considering a passing/programming siding on the workshop end to allow me plop something on the track right at the workshop.

In the overall scheme of things, mine is fairly plain-Jane for some of the stuff Tom does.  Much of the limitation was because I already started with the Mianne benchwork, so the basic form was pretty set.  If you want to see the more extreme benchwork examples, some of the amazing work Tom has done in the past: Curved and Custom Benchwork

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
Greg Houser posted:

I can picture the weiner-mobile running laps around the layout already!


With smoke coming out of the tail?

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