Layout progress photos for SFJ

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Santa Fe Jack, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I finally managed to get my act together and post some pics of the layout, which is very much under construction. Of course, most layouts are. :)
    The URL is in my signature, but is also here:
  2. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The layout is looking great. You've done some beautiful woodwork on the framing. Don't see that quality too often. Wish I could buy furniture that was that well built.
  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Thanks for the compliment. The woodwork took so long to complete that I was getting very frustrated that I was getting nothing done on the actualy modeling! LOL But in the long run, that strong joinery will last, and I won't have to revisit the benchwork. Making dovetails is not all that hard -- just mark them carefully. I cut these dovetails with just a Japanese hand saw and a chisel. Measure twice and cut once. Even knowing that, on my first cut, bringing the long boards to length, I screwed up and wasted two fine #1 boards that I had specially selected from the local lumber yard. And - one dovetail is miscut, but no one will know except me. Well, and now all of you!

    I'm actually more worried about the strength of the knock-down legs, which you haven't seen yet. I'm hoping that bolting them on will make it sturdy enough that the table won't move if people bump into it.

    And the benchwork is not over yet. Not until I get it all on a hoist. First priority is to free up the garage for its original purpose (to park a car in) before the first snows come. Once I am out of my wife's parking spot I can relax and start working on the real layout again.
  4. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Your layout is looking great, from the first pic, I thought it was N scale for a second but then saw that it was HO.

    Great job and keep up the terrific work.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

    BTW, don't forget to take some more pictures as you go:) :D
  5. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Thread bump and layout update! I got a lot done over the winter break. Now the layout is suspended from the ceiling of our sunroom, on steel cables routed to a nifty hand-cranked hoist. I am very pleased with how this worked out. Now I can lower the layout, work on it for a few minutes or hours, and simply hoist it back up when I'm done. I don't even need to put tools away, and the entire table is hanging up (securely) over our heads. And with no sacrifice of precious floor space!

    I built the entire hoist mechanism, including the reversible/braked winch, steel cables, and pulleys, for about $100. I have legs to bolt on, too, when it becomes a working layout and needs to be stable.

    See details in the last few pics at
  6. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Another thread bump. The layout has come a long way, and is now functional, as far as running trains is concerned. The electrical work is essentially complete. I was supposed to make a wiring diagram for future reference, but that will be nearly as tedious as all the soldering, which has permanently injured my left shoulder from all the overhead work (I did all that wiring stuff with the layout hoisted to the ceiling).

    I am currently concentrating on getting the track working smoothly, so that all the turnout switches work. Then it will be time to glue down the track and start on scenery.

    I had no idea how much time this hobby would consume! :shock: But of course it is fun all around. :yep:

    See the pics and details at , which I finally got around to updating. I still need to write up all the electrical stuff, which was a whole lotta work!
  7. CapeCodSteam

    CapeCodSteam New Member

    I want to echo Jim's comment on the benchwork. Having built a few layouts, I know from experience the layout is only as good as the benchwork. Needless to say my second layout was much better than the first.
  8. toptrain1

    toptrain1 Member

    checkin it out !

    Jack ; Very nice ! Their is a lot goin on their.
  9. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member


    This is very beautiful work and I am glad it is working out for you!:thumb:

    However, please fill us in on how you can access, for example, the turnout toward which the locomotive is heading toward, for maintenance or scenery work.:confused:

    Maybe you are exceptionally tall, or have some other special qualification(like being able to hover :mrgreen:) but the 6' width is way beyond the normal recommended max of 30" reach, and even that is a long stretch for most people! I am a little surprised no one has asked about this before.

    Maybe being able to lower the table down close to or on the floor helps you somewhat.

    Anyway, like I said, I am happy it works for you! But this configuration should not be recommended as a general rule to anyone starting a table-top layout. In addition to making work in the center portion very challenging, when you start adding telephone poles, trees, buildings, etc. around the perimeter it will be very difficult not to damage them while reaching over to the interior of the layout!:curse:

    Me, I am only five-six, and my 4'-8" wide table is all I can handle and then some! wall1

    Best Of Luck!
  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Well, I am not exceptionally tall -- about 6 ft even. And, yes, at normal tabletop height, it is almost too much of a stretch to get to the center of the layout. Certainly too much of a stretch to get there and do anything useful.

    But, yes, being able to lower the layout makes all the difference. I can even lay it flat on the floor if I like, and can almost climb on, except that the foam tends to get crushed if I put too much weight on it. But I can reach the middle with the layout lowered.

    So - point well taken. I'll try to remember to add a note to that effect in the writeup.
  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi SFJ,
    There's nothing saying you can't cut an access port in the wide open area, it looks maybe just big enough. The edges can be disguised with shrubbery, roads, water areas, etc. And if you are planning structures in that area, it might make it easier to place and detail them. Just a suggestion, I know it's kind of far along in the planning to start cutting new holes, but... One of the best things about layouts is that they are never finished! :mrgreen: (if you ever do get to where you think it is complete, then maybe it will be time to start a new one...:twisted:)

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