The Pocket

I’ve spent the last couple of days putting some time into the benchwork along the narrow passageway that runs at the bottom of QW and Morpeth. A few weeks ago I bought myself a Kreg  pocket hole drilling jig for a woodwork project I’m planning. I’d been considering how I was going to assemble the shelf benchwork for this part of the layout when it occurred to me that this drilling jig would be a perfect solution.

This Kreg jig is a kit I purchased at Carbatec a few weeks ago. It allows you to drill shallow pockets in the end of wood and create butt jointed timber frames that are extremely strong without the need to make lap joints. My jig is a fairly high-end set up that comes as a kit and cost me around $250. You can get much simpler and cheaper models that would have been more than adequate for the jobs I did today. In the kit I purchased I got the blue plastic set-up you can see here plus a load of other bits and pieces including the stepped drill bit that you can see inserted into my drill. This drill bit is the heart of the system.

What this jig allows you to do is essentially drill deeply angled holes into which you drill different types of screws creating wood joints from the direction the pockets are drilled. Very nifty 🙂

I was faced with the need to construct a “stepped” frame for my benchwork that would cantilever off the wall and carry the trains along a small shelf that ranged in width from 130mm to about 250mm. It was to be made as a box frame but without being able to use the Kreg jig I would have had to assemble the frames prior to attaching them to the wall to allow me to drill in from the back. As I was able to drill these pockets from the front after I’d attached two pine “plates” along the wall, constructing the whole assembly was a snap. Without even starting on the woodwork project I was planning to use the jig for this thing has proved its worth to me.

After installing two lengths of 3×1 pine that acted as back plates along the wall I made a front plate and then started putting in cross pieces. The front plate is angled 2 degrees to the wall so this was no simple box construction. You can see the two pockets I drilled into the cross-piece which allowed this to be easily and securely attached to the wall plate. I then backed this up by drilling into the wall and the next section of benchwork.

I managed to get so much done this morning I was able to assemble and install the frames for the backdrop that I’ll be installing next and also come inside and write this post. I could claim I had time to burn but one reason I finished so quickly was that it was getting very hot in the workshop and I’d been at it since quite early.

I’ve installed the rails to allow me to add a 3mm MDF backdrop to which I’ll glue a printed backdrop (when I can track down a suitable one). I made a frame from 2×1 pine for the free standing benchwork and ran two 2×1 rails along the wall where I’m trying to keep the shelf very narrow to help save space.

After getting two sections of framework made for the MDF backdrop I came to a section of backdrop that sits in front of a window. While I don’t plan to make much use of the windows in the room I don’t want to cover them over either so I had to come up with a way to put a frame up that would allow me to attach the backdrop without it interfering with the window or access to it. The Kreg jig was made for this job.

I made a frame using 2×1 pine and screwed this together using the Kreg jig. I’d spent a few days considering how I was going to install the frame along this section of the layout and while I could have laid the pine rails on top of uprights as on other sections of the layout I really wanted to keep the frame to one thickness of timber. When I realized that I could use the Kreg jig to assemble this frame and keep its cross-section as narrow as possible I was away.

I’ve been aware that the recess formed by the window in this section of the room was going to provide me with a problem that could be turned into an opportunity. The little pocket formed by the window recess (Labelled A) would mean that the backdrop would have a bump in it if I followed the wall. However if I didn’t run the backdrop smoothly along the wall and left the step in place I would have a small pocket of land that would let me install a leading point and a small line-side industry at this location. I’ve got a half-dozen Peco points that are essentially surplus to requirements so I got one out and laid it along the benchwork in the approximate location it could sit if I decide to install a narrow industry here. I will be hand laying the track as it heads off the left in this photo so having the point in this quiet little pocket will give me a good transition point from Peco flex track (which will be used as the line plunges through the wall just to the right of this photo) and the hand laid track. while a smooth backdrop might be aesthetically pleasing this layout s being built to operate so adding another industry will be a real bonus. When I’ve built a structure for that pocket and added some trees and fences you’ll hardly see the step in the wall. All I have to do is decide what the industry is going to be. There was a brick yard on the Morpeth line that is the one industry I haven’t modelled so far. It might have some potential!


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