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@NJCJOE posted:

Well, I have finally started on the benchwork. Ughh....the price of lumber. I am starting with the standard gauge portion of the layout first. This part of the benchwork will be low as it will travel under the O gauge section. Doing L-girder for the first time. I got a bunch of the girders assembled last weekend. Here are a few starting photos.

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Joe,

Really love your GSS and it’s shelving distance. No wasted space. What distancing did you go with?

Joe Gozzo

@NJCJOE posted:

The benchwork for the standard gauge section is done except for the Homasote. Next I need to order track to verify the exactly where the tracks will go. I want to slightly elevate part of one loop so I need to make sure everything lays out as planned before I cut the top board and Homasote.

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That is going to be one great layout Joe.

Super basement too! I wish I had space like that. I'm at the point where I can't really fit more than 7 or so guys downstairs without us bumping into each other

5/5/22 - Not too much to update. I'm waiting on my standard gauge track order to come in. In the meantime, I was able to find the other color Hellgate bridge I wanted at York.

I started pulling out some of my tinplate accessories. Not sure why I did this since they all need to come off the layout when I start laying track. I just starting opening boxes and it felt like Christmas. Haven't seen these pieces in five years.

I may pick up my Homasote these week and get that laid down.

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Last edited by NJCJOE

"I started pulling out some of my tinplate accessories. Not sure why I did this since they all need to come off the layout when I start laying track. I just starting opening boxes and it felt like Christmas."

Joe, I'm guilty of the same thing. The other night I took out my Lionel factory, which was still brand-new in the box. My Dad bought it many years ago and this was the first time it saw the light of day. I wanted to see how it would look and make sure it was going to fit where I wanted it to go. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

5/27/22 - So I decided I did not want to drill holes through the joists for running wires. Instead I used a pair PVC pipe hangers screwed to each joist. I'm not sure there is really any advantage to this method, but we'll see.

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I also picked up my Homasote (at $40. a sheet ). I got that cut up and painted. I found a gallon of oops paint at Lowes called Milk Chocolate. Talk about perfect timing. The Homasote is now installed and I will be getting my track order shortly.

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Last edited by NJCJOE

Joe these hangers are a good idea and will work great and eliminated a lot of hole cutting cleanup. The one downside is that these place your wires closer to the floor. This may not be an issue for you, however if your like many of us, below the table becomes a storage area. I don’t remember the height of your lower standard table. It’s just something that may come into play later. Looking forward to the track.

Hi Joe:

It all looks great.  I love the cutout/channel you've created for the waterway under the Hellgate bridges. I'm interested to see your progress as it unfolds.

One question I have is this: How did you cut your homasote?  Did you take it outdoors and use a jigsaw?  Or did you use a utility knife? Homasote is wonderful material once it's fitted and in place but it can be a royal PITA to work with before then.  I'd love to hear your approach including what worked and didn't work for you.

Steven J. Serenska

@NJCJOE posted:

5/27/22 - So I decided I did not want to drill holes through the joists for running wires. Instead I used a pair PVC pipe hangers screwed to each joist. I'm not sure there is really any advantage to this method, but we'll see.

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Looks great, Joe - things are really coming along nicely. I also used the conduit holders on my layout (pretty sure I got the idea from someone hereabouts!!!). Two thoughts… I only used one screw to hold them so I didn’t have to feed all the wires through each loop, just twist it “open” and lay the wires over the holder. Also, the one issue I had is that, since the holders are on the bottom of the joists, the wires dip a good bit below the benchwork. My benchwork is 40” high, so when ducking under, my head tended to get hung up in the wires.

@NJCJOE , Wow, your layouts coming to life and looking good. Thanks for the pictures and updates. (When I cut homasote, I started with a circular saw, Wow, Dusty, then I changed to a Jig saw with a super coarse blade, took all my cutting outside, and would have worn a COVID mask if it were today. We drew the lines on the homasote, for the curve pieces,  before installing we painted the top. It deadens the sounds of vibration if you simply screw the track to the homasote.) Your going to really enjoy your new train room, a wonderful man cave. Happy Railroading Everyone

@PRR Mark posted:

Do you glue or otherwise affix the homesite to the plywood?

I think if you look closely, you'll see some screws around the edge.

__Homasote

OTOH, if you really want the Homasote to lay flat long term, maybe a few more screws are warranted.

Here's some of mine after screwing it down and filling the screw holes, click to expand.

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@Serenska posted:

Hi Joe:

It all looks great.  I love the cutout/channel you've created for the waterway under the Hellgate bridges. I'm interested to see your progress as it unfolds.

One question I have is this: How did you cut your homasote?  Did you take it outdoors and use a jigsaw?  Or did you use a utility knife? Homasote is wonderful material once it's fitted and in place but it can be a royal PITA to work with before then.  I'd love to hear your approach including what worked and didn't work for you.

Steven J. Serenska

I did take it outside and cut it with a jigsaw. It was indeed messy. It would have been too hard to cut with a knife due to the curves.

Then after I fit it, I took if off again and painted it in the garage. Less chance of getting paint on the carpet.

The things we do for our hobby.

@NJCJOE posted:

I did take it outside and cut it with a jigsaw. It was indeed messy. It would have been too hard to cut with a knife due to the curves.

Then after I fit it, I took if off again and painted it in the garage. Less chance of getting paint on the carpet.

The things we do for our hobby.

We cut the Homasote in place for my layout, very little mess.  For the straight cuts a really sharp flooring knife was used.

 

A jigsaw with a shop vacuum was used for the curves.  Very little dust escaped to go anywhere.

The edges were all routed in a similar fashion with a vacuum close at hand, again very little dust escaped.

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I painted the top with a roller, and I did have drop cloths around the layout to make sure I didn't get paint on the carpet.  For cutting the Homasote, there were two on the job with the router, it's a three-handed job.  The jigsaw picture was Tom cutting, he's an old hand at doing these.  I've taking my turn at doing it, it's not too hard to saw with one hand and hold the hose.

@NJCJOE posted:

I did take it outside and cut it with a jigsaw. It was indeed messy. It would have been too hard to cut with a knife due to the curves.

Then after I fit it, I took if off again and painted it in the garage. Less chance of getting paint on the carpet.

The things we do for our hobby.

Hey Joe:

Thanks for the extra detail.

When I started my layout, I cut one piece of homasote on a table saw with a fine-tooth blade mounted backwards to minimize the bite.  The cut went fine but enough dust was thrown off to block out the sun.  I later cut a curved piece with my jigsaw and the shop vac nozzle right next to the blade but, dust-wise, I had more or less the same result.  I guess I'm not as talented as GRJ. 

When I resume building the layout, I'm definitely going to mark the homasote with a Sharpie and then carry the pieces outside to do the actual cutting.  Unfortunately for me, my layout is on the third floor of the house, so it's a long way down and up.  As you say....the things we do for our hobby.

There are various ways of getting it done but whatever you're doing is producing a nice result. Thanks again for sharing.

Steven J. Serenska

Last edited by Serenska
@Serenska posted:

Hey Joe:

Thanks for the extra detail.

When I started my layout, I cut one piece of Homasote on a table saw with a fine-tooth blade mounted backwards to minimize the bite.  The cut went fine but enough dust was thrown off to block out the sun.  I later cut a curved piece with my jigsaw and the shop vac nozzle right next to the blade but, dust-wise, I had more or less the same result.  I guess I'm not as talented as GRJ. 

When I resume building the layout, I'm definitely going to mark the Homasote with a Sharpie and then carry the pieces outside to do the actual cutting.  Unfortunately for me, my layout is on the third floor of the house, so it's a long way down and up.  As you say....the things we do for our hobby.

There are various ways of getting it done but whatever you're doing is producing a nice result. Thanks again for sharing.

Steven J. Serenska

So I'm not the only one!! 

Has anyone else used a knife blade with a jigsaw to cut homasote? We have cut hundreds of feet of the stuff with minimal dust.

Left side is a toothed blade, excellent for a choking cloud of dust with homasote. Perfect for inside use if you want to clean for six months.

Right side is a knife blade, perfect for cutting homasote with almost no dust. It cuts curves, etc with no problem.  

Used with a shop vac, it might do okay on the third floor. I would try my first piece outside but my Paula just said that there is not enough dust to matter, especially with a shop vac.



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6/11/22 - I picked up my standard gauge track from Kirk at USA Track a couple of weeks ago. Nothing like opening boxes filled with new standard gauge track.

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Today I finished installing the standard gauge track. Next I have to wire the track and then I can get it screwed down in place. Starting to look like something now. Hopefully trains will be running soon.

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@Mallard4468 posted:

Very nice.  Reminds me of the SG layout at the TCA museum - you can let the trains really stretch their legs.

It's funny you say that. Last time I was at the TCA museum, I was looking at the standard gauge layout thinking this track plan looks familiar. Well, that's because my plan is similar and I have been looking at the drawing for the past year. Didn't plan it on mimicking the TCA layout. It just kind evolved that way.

@jay jay posted:

Beautiful! What bridges will you use for the other end of the river....more Hellgates or what? That Hiawatha set is gorgeous. Well done, Joe!

Thanks John.

I actually did consider using two more Hellgate bridges to span the river. However, I can't fit two side by side in this location and there was no way to modify the track layout. I didn't plan ahead for four Hellgate bridges.

I plan on using the deck girders I had from two O scale deck girder bridge kits. I got these kits in a train lot purchase and when I opened the boxes there were no decks, tracks or railings, just the girders. The girders are made of metal. I thought about cutting them to use them as girders, but then my wife came up with the idea to use them as is, above the layout surface. Thanks sweetie! .

I plan on making a deck out of wood and painting it black. It will look like a larger plate girder bridge. It will be different. And since it's on the standard gauge portion of the layout, it doesn't need to be completely realistic.

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@NJCJOE posted:

6/17/22 - The inaugural run of the standard gauge has taken place! Still need to make some tweaks. The accessories were just placed on the layout. However, their final positions will change over time as scenery is constructed.

Joe, This is incredible! I always loved your layout at previous home, thinking wow, this would be hard to beat!? Look at you now! Wishing you many years of health and enjoyment. It is well deserved buddy

Best,

West Coast Joe

Last edited by Trainlover160

I haven't made a lot of progress lately. Started adding some foam board to the layout to create some basic scenery contours. I also did a little more work on the girder bridge.

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Most of my time has been spent learning how to carve and paint rocks out of 2" thick foam board. A lot of trial and error. I'm working on the rock faces that will line the river bed. I'm hoping to get to the point that meets my satisfaction soon so I can work on the river. Here are some earlier test tries.

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@NJCJOE posted:

I haven't made a lot of progress lately. Started adding some foam board to the layout to create some basic scenery contours. I also did a little more work on the girder bridge.

Most of my time has been spent learning how to carve and paint rocks out of 2" thick foam board. A lot of trial and error. I'm working on the rock faces that will line the river bed. I'm hoping to get to the point that meets my satisfaction soon so I can work on the river. Here are some earlier test tries.

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Joe:

I'm loving your work and your progress.  Thanks very much for also including pictures of your rock results from BEFORE they met your satisfaction.  Some of us are following along with both interest in your progress as well as to learn how to do similar things.  Looking at the difference between your earlier and later carved-from-foam rocks is instructive all by itself.

Thanks again for sharing.

Steven J. Serenska

Last edited by Serenska

Thanks Steven.

It took a quite a few attempts before I was satisfied. I came very close to giving up at one point. Sometimes we are our own worst critic. But in the end I was happy. When we try something new, we just have to keep practicing, making changes as we go along. Thanks for the kind words.

I starting working on my roadways. I had a large roll of 1/8" cork that I felt would make good roads. I first coated the cork with Rust-Oleum brush on paint to fill in some of the voids.

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I then sprayed on a combination of flat black, white and gray paint.

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I added timber railroad crossings made of stained balsa wood.

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@NJCJOE, All I can say is this is page 10 of a remarkable story, the development of a really uniquely thought out model railroad. A super nice basement, a man cave to wish for, a beautifully constructed table setting for a fun to run railroad. Your bench work is fantastic, your track plan is unique, your mountains are creative, your water is cool and the waves are realistically interesting. Added to this, your accessories are the icing on the cake, and this makes for a super nice model railroad. Your roads lead to all points of interest, simply a Wow. Thank you for the updates, it’s a fun to read thread, making a lot of OGR Forum members happy. Happy Railroading Everyone

@NICOE

Today I discovered your thread and went back to page 1 to catch up on all your incredible progress.  My thanks are for the masterful instructions you have shared with us.  You have worked long and hard to develop these techniques and now I can use them to enhance my own skill set.

Your layout and train space will be dynamic.  I just want to say Thank You!

Wood

WOW

Joe, I don't know where to start. I'm late to the party and just enjoyed reading 10 pages of your outstanding progress and documentation

The outside is looking even better than it did in NJ. The inside shelving and the lighted display case are terrific. The finishing of the basement and the benchwork progress was like watching a a movie playing just for me. Like others I am in the process (Mianne Benchwork down) and found your postings addictive to watch.

The first run was great to watch and I'm going to enjoy your subsequent progress. Thank you for sharing all the details Joe. One question:

When's the open house?

All the best,

Paul

@NJCJOE posted:

I starting working on my roadways. I had a large roll of 1/8" cork that I felt would make good roads. I first coated the cork with Rust-Oleum brush on paint to fill in some of the voids.



I then sprayed on a combination of flat black, white and gray paint.

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I added timber railroad crossings made of stained balsa wood.

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Joe.....the roadway color is "spot on"!

Peter

So, when I came up with the design for the new layout, I wanted a way to create some cohesiveness between the O gauge and standard gauge portions of the layout, especially since the O gauge crosses directly over the standard gauge. I decided to make the scenery on both layouts similar, realistic and detailed. You can see my intent by the previous post about the river construction.

I decided one way to add some realism to the standard gauge layout was through the use of ballast. Not many people ballast their standard gauge track. During my decision on what to use for ballast, I realized something I always knew but never really had to contend with because my previous layouts were all toy train like layouts. Standard gauge is not set to any scale. Just look at the size between a State set coach verses a Blue Comet coach.

This was something that really challenged me when it came to finding the right ballast. There are some companies that make G scale ballast, but for the amount I needed it would be cost prohibitive. Turkey grit was another possibility. However, all the bags I found locally were opaque, not allowing me to see what it looked like and a lot of poultry grit is pinkish to attract the birds, not something I wanted.

I went into Home Depot and found a bag of stone used for concrete aggregate. There was one bag ripped open on the shelf and even though the stone varied in size, it looked like it would work. I bought a bag and brought it home. The stone was very dirty and had to be rinsed off multiple times. I then took a small section of tack mounted on some scrap Homasote and glued the ballast in place. I was not happy with the result. The stone sizes varied too much for my taste.

Next, I headed over to a local stone center and found some 1B grey stone, which looked like it would work. I purchased two five gallon buckets of the stone. I had to wash this stone as well. After looking it over, I discovered it was the same stone I bought from Home Depot in the bag.

At this point I started to think maybe ballast for the standard gauge is not a good choice. I then came up with the idea of sifting out the small fines and the large stones to see if I could be left with a stone size I was happy with.

This turned out to be a few step process. First, the stone had to be washed. I did this over a piece of aluminum window screen. This flushed out all the fines and stone dust.

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I then dumped the clean stone into a sifting pan I bought from Amazon. I came with different size sieves. I selected a size and sifted the large stones out.

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After sifting the two buckets and one bag of stone, I was left with about two five gallon pails worth of stone.

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The stone was then spread out on a tarp to dry for a few days. I was pretty happy with the ballast and figured it would create the illusion I was looking for, so that is what I went with.

The ballast was poured over the track and sides with a small garden shovel. I then used a paint brush to level it out and get it into place. The ballast was sprayed with wet water (water with a few drops of liquid soap). I then mixed Elmer’s Glue-All glue and water at a ratio of 1 part glue to 3 parts water and poured it over the ballast. It took two applications of the glue, a few days apart, in order to completely glue everything in place. This was due to the size of the ballast and the large voids between pieces. Make sure you use Elmer’s Glue-All and not their School Glue. They are not the same. I used the School Glue on the test piece and could not keep the glue and water mixed.

So, now all the track is ballasted. I used about eight to nine gallons of stone on the layout. I still have about 1-1/2 gallons left over. The total coast for the stone material……..about $16. It took some time and work, but I like the end result.

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Joe,

Just went through all ten pages. Wow. The room is outstanding as are the items that fill the space, and outdoors too. Congratulations on the great space, finishing it, and building the Standard gauge layout. The plan shows off the trains nicely. The ballast adds a nice touch of realism and looks great. The river is excellent, nicely done. I’m taking notes on that project. I’m now following this thread so that I don’t miss any progress.

Andy

@NJCJOE posted:
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Great layout Joe.  Love that high gloss tinplate shine.  When I see that LionelCorporationTinplate/MTH 115 station in the heritage colors, I'm painfully reminded of the great York deal I missed from Al Rudman/Sidetrack Hobbies because I forgot to go back to his booth to pick up.  IMHO the York Meet steal of a deal; IIRC around $70.  Finally remembered about an hour into the drive home.  Lesson learned: no matter how much you are presently carrying, buy the item when you see it.

Looks great, Joe! One question: how did you keep the tubular track from getting wet and rusting during the process? Tubular track starts to rust very quickly on contact with water.

John,

I was a little concerned about that. However, the track is tinplated and it is new, so there were no issues. I made sure to keep the humidity level low with the humidifier to speed up drying.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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