May 032012
 

When I built my Halland Yard layout, I decided to build my office desk into the closet. It was primarily a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, supported by lumber across the back and the front sides. The front of the desk spanned the 5′ closet opening. This front portion really began to sag. It was unsupported. I couldn’t shore up the support it with shelf brackets, because I needed the space underneath to roll my file cabinets into it.

Old Desk

The old desk was sagging across the front.

Instead of rehabilitating the old desk, I decided to replace it. I chose melamine as a desktop early on. After a little research and experimentation, I decided to support the front of the desk using a piece of 1/4″ thick 1″x1″ aluminum angle. The angle is bolted to the studs with countersunk 2 1/2″ #14 Spax screws. The rear support is 1 1/2″ steel angle. The front aluminum angle is installed upright, so that the front of the desktop rests in the angle instead of atop it.

I still have some work to do, but so far. I like it!

Also See My TrainBoard Post “Metal Angle Support

Apr 222012
 

I was able finish up cutting the main deck. I cut a filler piece for the east wall, filled a large gap on the south wall and re-cut the west wall that leads into the closet. I’ll still need to frame and deck the closet. That’s probably my next phase.

I also cut the curve piece for the valance. This is also my second attempt at this. The curve is an 18″ radius. To cut the curve, I drew it out on a 19 1/2″ square piece of plywood and jig sawed the curve, leaving the extra 1 1/2″ straight edge of plywood on the right angle sides. I then cut that 1 1/2″ straight edges from the curve and used them to mount the curve. This method allowed me to cut the whole 90 degree curve.

I also purchased valance lights. 34 1/2″ 24W T4 slim fluorescent lights from eBay dealer finestcorp2010. I like the slim design and linkability. The are 6400K color temp.

Once again thanks to my parents for taking the boys for the day.

Apr 192012
 

I painted the top and underside of the valance Polar White. Then installed the triangle brackets that provide the permanent support for the valance. Next fascia and lights.

I got a little worried about whether 1/8″ hardboard would make the 8″ radius curve around the northeast corner of the valance. But I tested it and it should work no problem. I plan to use install the fascia two sheets thick. That way I will have smooth side on both sides. The outside face of the fascia will be painted Stealth Jet. I can’t decide if the inside of the fascia should be Polar White or Stealth Jet.

I think I’ve found my lights: slim T4 fluorescent lights like these available at Savio Lighting. The fixtures are 3/4″ wide and 1 1/2″ deep. They come in various lengths. I’ll probably get four 24W 34 1/2″ fixtures. I think I’ll get the 6400K color temp. These lights are linkable. The biggest drawback to these lights I can’t find a local source for bulbs.

 

More benchwork today. I started with a tricky section that would be the sub-roadbed where the main layout enters the closet. I spent a lot of time cutting it to dimensions from the plan but didn’t bother to check the angles in this area. Bad idea. It fit awkwardly, and only after a couple of trims. I scrapped the piece and will work on another one later.

I decided to handle the awkward closet junction by mounting a U-girder. I made sure the U-girder was square and level with the layout. From here I’ll measure back to the wall to get the dimensions I’ll need to fit this awkward location.

I made the remaining cuts to the West deck. This was the second attempt at this mammoth 92″ piece. The tricky cuts were around the ends to provide a 3″ bump-out into the window sill. It all fit on the first cuts and I screwed it down.

I used a little pink foam to stiffen up the rounded corner section of the valance. This should help shore this area up and prevent it from possible damage.

It’s been a very productive 3 days. I can really see the layout start to take shape. One thing that has helped is not painting everything before I install it. Maybe, I’ll regret that later, but looking at my progress, I certainly don’t regret it now. :)

 

A couple extra hours of work allowed me to do a little touch up and finish out the valance frame. I had to recut both valance l-girder ledger boards. They were both too long. I bought some 1/4″ plywood to skin the top of the valance. I cut this funny to correct for the mistakes of my previous cuts and the slightly out of square nature of the corner. I was able to get the valance hoisted up (it’s pretty light) and tacked in some temporary supports. I installed one bracket for permanent support. I’ll eventually add three additional support brackets. A little overkill, but I’ll probably end up storing stuff on top of the valance and I’d like it to hold.

 

A nice day and generous parents led me to a construction marathon this afternoon. I spent a total of 8 straight hours cutting, trimming, fixing, gluing, tacking, and screwing.

I built the frames for the East and South valance. And I screwed up in two ways.

  1. I cut the East valance at 17″. It should have been 18″
  2. I tacked the skin to the underside of the valance. It was supposed to go on top.

I can live with the narrow valance, because I have a 2 1/2″ ledgerboard that will hide the mistake. I think I’ll need to cut another skin to go on top of the valance frame, so if I put stuff on it it doesn’t punch out the bottom.

I cut the deck for the closet. I used the deck that I had screwed up cutting the West deck. I made the main cuts on the new West deck. I cut the final 12″ section of the East deck.

I installed additional ledger boards along the West and East sides of the layout. I also, added a few braces to stiffen the frame.

I cut the L-girder ledger boards for the valance. The East board is installed. The South board had to be removed because I didn’t cut it correctly. I recut the South board, but haven’t had a chance to reinstall it.

I cut and glued L-girders for the closet frame.

Very productive day. I went through 2 sheets of 3/4″ plywood; 2/3 sheet of 1/16″ plywood; one box of 1 1/4″ brads; one box of 5/8″ brads; one box 1 1/4″ FastTap screws. I also depleted my supply of 3″ Spax screws and 1 1/4″ pan-head Spax screws. I used just about every tool I have: table saw; miter saw; skil saw; jjg saw; router; brad nailer; drill; vacuum; trammel; tape measure; square.

L Girder

 Posted by Greg Amer at 11:59 am  Consctruction  No Responses »
Apr 112012
 
Benchwork (21)

Benchwork (21)

Primed FJ Pine L Girder for valance. This primed pine is 30% cheaper than Home Depot’s common pine and it’s a much higher quality board. It is straighter than the common Home Depot junk. These L-Girders will act as a ledger board for the lighting valance. I made two of these using the glue and screw method.

I also finaly got some more plywood. I don’t know what happened to the generic $32 3/4″ sheets, so I ended up buying a $45 sheet of Birch; Ouch!

Apr 022012
 

Progress has really been stifled by rain, sick kids, injury, illness and RAIN. And did I mention rain. So in between the crappy weather and sore body, I’ve been trying to take advantage of a few short sun breaks to drag the saws out to the drive way and cut some wood. I’ve managed to get joists and ledges installed and one portion of the deck. I have a second deck portion that has been cut, but I need to prime paint it before installing.

 

 

Lowering the Bench

I got all of the brackets and ledger boards installed and then decided to listen to some advice from Alan in my Shelf Bracket Benchwork 1 Post. I tested the benchwork with my 3 year old son Patrick and it was too tall. I need the benchwork to be tall enough to fit the kids step ladder underneath the fascia. This will allow it to be stored beneath the fascia and also will allow my kids to scoot the top handle beneath the fascia to acheive their maximum reach across the layout. Of course everything looked great with the brackets and ledger board installed and I even put up the old drawer cabinet I made for the old “Halland Yard” layout.

I took everything down today and reinstalled two inches lower. The new layout height will be 53 3/4″ or 54 1/2″ tall instead of 55 3/4″ or 56 1/2″ tall. I have a 3/4″ range because I haven’t decided weather to lay a 3/4″ cleat board below the deck. This board will be a better attachment point for the fascia around the drawer openings and also allow me to secure the deck from beneath the layout (which should be helpful when I want to rip this layout up.

I also took the drawer cabinet to the garage to paint it “Stealth Jet” before reinstalling.

Feb 202012
 

Progress

I started benchwork today. I’m using angle brackets from Home Depot; 16″ brackets along the east wall and 12″ brackets along the south and west walls. Sitting atop the brakets is a 1×3 pine ledger board that I cut down to 2″. I also cut 2×3 boards down to 2″ to mount to the brackets.  The brackets are mounted to the studs using 2″ lag screws. Some of the brackets required shims to keep them level. The ledger board is screwed down with 1 5/8″ self tapping self setting screws.

I painted the ledger boards white. I plan to paint the complete underside of the benchwork. Not really worried about warping, I just want a nice clean looking surface below (of course it probably would have helped had I used nicer wood.)

Problems

  1. I over tensioned one lag screw to the point that it snapped the head off.
  2. I ran out of lag screws and had to go back to Home Depot mid-day for more.
  3. I hit an existing hole or maybe a knot hole in one stud and couldn’t get a good grip for the lag screw. To make things worse, the second lag screw hit a nail stop. I had to move that bracket.

Using Scrap

  1. I’m using as much “scrap” wood as I can. I always have extra boards lying around and I want to use them up.
  2. I’ll be using as much “scrap” paint as I can. That’s where I’m getting the “white” paint for the underside of the layout.
  3. I’ll be using as much “scrap” hardware as I can. I had to buy the 2″ lag bolts, the 3″ ones I already have were overkill.

What’s Next?

I need to cut two more boards to move on to the west wall. I’ll be placing two brackets on the west wall and spanning a six foot window with the ledger board and a parallel block to help stabilize this section.

The east and south walls have all brakets and ledgers in and will next mount wood to the brackets. I have these cut and predrilled, but they aren’t as pretty as I’d like them to be, I may need to do some new boards for this.

© 2012 Greg Amer
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