Bridging The Gap

The benchwork continues apace and I’ve completed the bridging section between the two halves of the layout. I really would have liked to rush in and start laying road bed for track laying but I need to install the backdrop before this happens because I’ve been caught before trying to install a backdrop over the top of track-work. So once the bridging section was made and installed I set to work this afternoon installing the framework for a backdrop for the new section.

Because the backdrop on the new section of layout needs to match the position of the backdrop on QW I had to plane down some timber to the required thickness so that when installed, the 3mm MDF backdrop’s surface will match that of QW’s. I had a false start by installing some blocks that didn’t take account of the thickness of the rails but after a D’oh moment I changed plans and got the uprights installed.

I’m going to do a bit more raving about my smick new laser level in this post. It’s a bloody marvel and makes installing things like the rails for the backdrop a breeze. Just set it up at the required height and install wood. EASY! 🙂

If you look carefully you may be able to see the laser line sitting on the top surface of the upper rail. Using a bubble level for this type of thing is certainly possible but it helps to have 3 or 4 hands when you do work with a long level and unfortunately I only have two, hands that is.

Where the laser level really came into its own today was in determining the height of the rails for the backdrop. I want them to be the same height right round this section of the layout even though the benchwork and track will rise and fall. I need the trains to go between the backdrop rails as the track passes from one part of the layout to the other so heights are critical. I don’t want to have to come back later and pull everything apart and do it all again. Setting the heights was simple: using the height of the track at the end of Morpeth as the datum I set the lower rail a few cm below this and then all I had to do was raise the laser enough to ensure I had sufficient clearance for the trains to pass under the upper rail. Because the level throws a line around all the walls it’s a snap to set the rails anywhere you want them by simply matching what already exists. No measuring and double checking required. None of this is needed on the part of the backdrop in the pictures but it will become critical later when I install a backdrop much nearer the camera sometime in the next couple of weeks.

The backdrop on this part of the layout will be 3mm MDF and that is why I’m building a frame for it to be attached to. I want to bend it at the corners but 3mm MDF won’t support itself the way 6mm will. Hence the frame and rails. I cut and tested the fit of the of backdrop with a scrap of 3mm MDF.

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