Cab Cubby

 Posted by Greg Amer at 7:49 pm  Consctruction  1 Response »
Oct 142012

Thanks to a tip from The New York Harbor Railroad, I found these inexpensive and very cool little throttle pockets called the Cab Cubby. I immediately ordered a half dozen for $12 on ebay and got free shipping. It’s a great price compared to the competition.

They Cab Cubby comes as a laser cut kit ofsix easy to assemble pieces. It took me less than a couple of minutes to assemble it. Use a little wood glue, fit the peices into the slots and paint as desired.

I’ll assemble 4 of them for The Industrial Lead and probably use the other 2 on my oNeTrak module.

Oct 042012

Since we didn’t buy enough Homabed, Patrick and I went down to Compton Lumber and picked up a sheet of Homasote. I was surprised it only cost $36. We cut it in to three pieces to fit in the van. Patrick wanted to see where Daddy works, so we went down to Stacy Yard to meet some rails and watch a couple trains. On the way home we stopped at The Electric Train Shop. Patrick had a great time playing with the Thomas set, and I scored a couple of nice tool boxes and some quality Excel tweezers.

When we got home, Patrick and I cut the Homasote up and nailed it down to the layout. The Homasote is laid over the east and south sides of the layout. Patrick helped nail the Homasote to the deck. The 1/2″ Homasote meets perfectly with a double stacked layer of 1/4″ Homabed.

Work had to stop when I sliced my finger open with a razor blade. By the way, cutting Homasote with a Razor Blade works great. It wears the blades out QUICK! but razors are cheap, so I just change them out frequently. I use the breakaway razor blades in the $2 cheapo utility knife housings you can pick up at Harbor Freight.

Oct 032012

I’ve been sitting on my stash of Homabed for almost a month and I’ve finally decided it’s time to start laying it in. The installation will use 2 or 3 layers of Homabed depending on where it is being installed. The north section is 3/4″ thick (3 layers Homabed), a transition is made from 3/4″ to 1/2″ along the west side and the south and east side are all 1/2″ thick. I’m stacking 45° beveled Homabed on top of non-beveled Homabed with a few sheets of of plain Homabed thrown in.  Unfortunately my order was a little lite and I’ll need to get a little more. I’ll probably order a couple sheets and maybe some more of the non-beveled.

Oct 022012


I want to know where my buildings will be before I start glueing down roadbed and track, so I am going to make some mockups. I spent the morning making a mockup for Seattle Ligthing, the large warehouse on the west side of the layout. I made two mockups, because I wasn’t happy with the first one.

The first mockup had hardboard nailed to a pine strip to screw into the layout deck. I cut this too short and the hardboard was too flimsy.

The second mockup I cut from plywood and used a plywood screw strip. It is 4″ tall (3/4″ of that is below track level foundation). It’s 80″ long (about 9″ less than the prototype).

Sep 032012

I’ve completed the workbench and I’m pretty happy with it. The key features are:

  • Magnetic Tool Strip: I bought these at Harbor Freight a few years ago and have been waiting for an occasion to use them. Since the work table is kind of small (16″) deep, I figured keeping the tools off of the work area would be helpful.
  • Under Cabinet Lighting: I bought two of these lights a few years ago for around $20 each. They are T5 fluorescent lights. I broke one and was left with only one working. I stopped by Fry’s this afternoon and found them available for only $8, I bought two more to fill out the workbench lighting. This was a great savings because I was about to place a $100 order at CYELITE for T4 fluorescent lights.
  • New Chairs for the Boys: Staples had these chairs on sale a couple of weeks ago for $30. I also had a $5 coupon. I really wanted to get some chairs for my boys. Now we will all have a place to sit when we’re weathering.
  • Rotating Vise: Surprise surprise, something mechanical from Harbor Freight that’s actually worth a damn. I got this for around $20; much cheaper than a $70 PanaVise. I just used it to hold some Kadee 119 couplers while I filed the upper shelf off of them.
  • Dremel with Flex Shaft: Of course.

See my previous post: Skyboards, workbench and valance fascia


Aug 202012
 August 20, 2012  Posted by Greg Amer at 11:05 am , , ,

West Valance

I completed the west valance. Mostly:) It still needs a little touch up paint. The valance fascia is hardboard. I brad nailed it to the valance frame. I installed my old Cryon LED lighting behind the valance; this will be my nightime blue lighting in this area.

Desk Complete

I finally cut the backboard and edged the shelves. I’ve also complete 90% benchwork and lighting work that needs to be done in this area, including: lighting, shelves, brackets. So I decided to move my computer back into the closet. I love it!

May 172012

The Old Tube Light

I installed the old 48″ double tube fluorescent fixtures from the Halland layout. In total 3 fixtures were installed; 2 on the west layout and 1 in the closet (north). They work fine, but I’m not sure if I’m going to keep them because I think they’ll be inconvenient to replace bulbs. I’m thinking about buying more T4 slim fluorescent lights. I found a cheaper supplier Cyelite.

I also broke out the old Cryon LED lighting I was using for blue lights on the Halland layout. I don’t think I have enough to encircle the entire layout, so I’m trying to determine where they will provide the most benefit. I’ll fill in the gaps with some blue T4 lights.

Raceway Power

I tapped into a power outlet on the north wall to run a surface mount non-metallic raceway power system. The route runs into the closet, then back around the rest of the room. Each box has two switched outlet pairs; one pair for daytime lighting and one pair for nighttime lighting. I got a few of the boxes cheap on eBay and at Habitat for Humanity. I had to buy six raceway strips ($10/ea.) and three or four boxes ($10/ea). The whole system set me back about $100. The NM power distribution system is made by Wiremold.

The raceway’s are partially wired. I need to complete the portion that runs inside the closet. I’m still deciding how to distribute the daytime/nighttime outlets.

Valance Frame

I need  a valance over the west wall. It’ll hide the lights and act as a mount for my decorative train memorabilia. I made the frame with 3/4″ plywood and mounted it to the ceiling with angle brackets secured with EZ Ancor drywall anchors (which I love)


Slim Fluorescent

As I mentioned in my post Valance Brackets, I’m using linkable slim fluorescent lighting for the valance. The lights I purchased are T4 – 24W. The color temperature is 6400K. They are 34 1/2″ L x 3/4″ w x 1 3/8″ H. Very small. The lights come in a kit with 6′ plug, 6″ link cord, direct link fitting, and two mounting clips. The mounting clips screw to the underside of the valance and the lights slide right in. I linked four lights together. Installation took about ten minutes.

How Do They Look?

You can judge, but I think they look awesome. I love how bright they are. W’ell get a better idea when the valance fascias are installed.

I purchased my lights on eBay from seller finestcorp2010. Good price, good service, and packed well. You can also buy them from Savio Lighting.

Update 5/10/2012

I took out the lights and reinstalled them with a 45 degree mounting blocks. I think the new installation throws more light onto the layout surface.


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.

© 2012 Greg Amer
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