Lumber baron

My antique railway baggage wagon displays the results of my labours.

It took a couple of years to get to this point. But I bought two sheets of 3/4″ plywood on Saturday, and yesterday I ripped some of that king’s ransom into framing pieces for benchwork.

Sawmill App: My track saw made short, safe work on ripping plywood into framing materials. The two white blocks to the left of the track are my spacers, to ensure each piece is the same width.

As mentioned in a previous post, it’s time to start building a layout – or, at least, a piece of one. I’ve now built enough S scale motive power for the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway that I’m confident I can do it. The next challenge is, I need to build some track under wire. This is a new venture for me. I might as well jump into the deep end.

All of my freight motors need a place to hang out, right?

My plan is to lay out a selectively compressed version of the NS&T’s carbarn and equipment storage yard on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines, on a 2×8 foot shelf. I think I can fit it in this space – but if not, I actually have enough material for two such shelves.

As I’ve written previously, my thought is that if I can do the wirework for this scene, I can do the wirework for an entire layout. And if I cannot – or I decide I really don’t like building or operating under wire – I’ll have a nice diorama to display all of my NS&T equipment while I fill the layout room with some other subject.

I’m taking an unorthodox approach to my layout planning in that I’m not doing it with pencil, graph paper, ruler, and compass. Instead of drawing the layout to scale and working from that plan, I’ll print out turnout templates and start sketching the track and structure arrangements, full-size, on kraft paper. When I’m happy with the general arrangment, I will mock up the buildings in mat board – a process that worked extremely well on my Port Rowan layout.

Once I’m happy with everything, I’ll transfer the plan to the plywood – and start building.

Published by Trevor

Lifelong model railway enthusiast and retired amateur shepherd who trained a border collie to work sheep. Professional writer and editor, with some podcasting and Internet TV presenting work thrown in for good measure.

11 thoughts on “Lumber baron

  1. I am so excited for you reaching this point after your move. I really hope you find something in your selective compression that hits the notes you need and brings you joy, and a reason for me to come do some ham fisted efforts at helping with construction!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. After devoting several enjoyable evenings to reading through the phenomenal Port Rowan build blog, I’m very much looking forward to following along on the new layout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also: depending on how you look at it, Lee Valley Tools is your friend. They stock Festool and have a lot of them on display in the showroom on 51st.


      1. I was at a Lee Valley course in deck building a couple of years ago and they did a demo of all the Festools. I have resisted so far and generally get the lumber yard to rip plywood for me.


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