What have I been up to, you ask? The wife usually says "nuthin' good!". And, she's usually right. I finsihed up my second-to-last grad class (just waiting on the grade - pray for a B!), started growing a beard (and my girls are ready to riot), and have been one busy beaver otherwise, as we prep for our son to leave on his two-year Church mission. But, enough about that...
As for model railroading, I finally got half the benchwork ready (i.e. 'table top' screwed down) to lay down some track. I initially tried a method that was recommended in Jeff Wilson's benchwork book, where I used blocks to fasten the benchwork top from the underside. While it does allow ease of modifying the top, if you want to do elevations, etc - I found it to be a very labor intensive and not very effective method, unless you have blocks spaced every 3". Also, you need to have the benchwork accessible from all four sides (which I didn't wait for), so I had to have one of my daughters sit on the top of it, while I used a power driver/drill to screw from the bottom up. Wasn't worth the effort (two 4-hour sessions), so the second benchwork segment I just marked where the frames wer, sunk some 1-5/8" drywall screws and had it done in about 35 minutes. If nothing else, I know that the benchwork is pretty sturdy... the backdrop (1/8" Masonite) will also go up soon - need to trim the height slightly, to fit under some ductwork that hangs low, but it will still be about 34" tall.
I've worked with a friend, Bob Sprague, on a decent track plan (see previous posts), for my small space (11'x13'), and I think I'm ready to go get some latex adhesive caulk (recommendations for brand, anyone?) and start putting down some Homabed and track. I'm using Atlas Code 83 Flextrack (for all tracks - will modify ties & spacing to make sidings look a bit more "abused) and Walthers (Shinohara) Code 83 "DCC-Friendly" Turnouts (which I'm in the process of incrementally purchasing, due to their cost). Now, it's just a matter of finding time and a couple of experienced folk to show me how it's all done... hopefully after the Christmas holiday. Here's a few piccies:
Probably more than you readers would've liked to hear, but you asked! If nothing else, this gives me the opportunity to wish you all a Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate with friends & family. Also, may this be a joyous New Year for one & all!