Aug 272012
 

Sergent Coupler Test Run

Patrick (3yo), Lorenzo (5yo) and I spent a couple of days testing Sergent Couplers. We used a variety of couplers on a variety of cars. While I love the way the Sergents look, I found it impractical for our layout. It’s just too hard to teach a three year old and a five year old how to properly use the Sergent couplers.

We had a lot of trouble lining up the couplers and even when we lined them up, we still had trouble actually getting the couplers to lock. Uncoupling was a little easier, but not as smooth as I would have liked.

I fitted a Sergent couplers on to my longer BLMA and ExactRail 64′ Trinity Reefers. I need to be able to run them around a 24″ radius curve. That was too tight for the Sergents, perhaps if they had a longer shank coupler it would help.

The final strike against using the Sergent couplers was the lack of availability of the couplers I need. For example compatible shank double shelf couplers have been unavailable for at least a year. Type F couplers have been unavailable for at least a year.

I’m still optomistic about Sergent couplers, but at this time Idon’t think they are going to work for The Industrial Lead.

 

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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