Sunday, December 27, 2015

A New Kitchen part 3

The face frames are now done and behind me.  I won't touch them now until I have the cabinet boxes built.  So the next thing is to work on building the dovetail drawers.

This is a pretty simple process, most of it is automated with machinery, so I made a few videos to explain it better.

I order the drawer stock in, pre-milled to the finished sizes:  4",  6" and 8" tall x 5/8" thick.  A 1/4" x 1/4" groove for the drawer bottom is also milled into the stock.  All I need to do is to set the Tiger Stop for the proper length, and feed the stock through the Up Cut saw.  Within a few minutes I have a pile of drawer parts ready to Dovetail.

My Dovetailer is a manual machine with air hold downs, buts it's waaaaaaay faster than using a router and jig from Porter Cable.  With this I can load all four pieces of the drawer at once and route two of the four joints in one pass, then I flip the parts and do it again.  In about 20 seconds all four parts have been machined.

The drawer Sides are loaded in the front sticking up, 

The drawer Fronts & Backs are slide in from the rear of the machine. 

Thanks to Quin and his GoPro, here it is action...

About an hour later, I wound up with a pile of drawer parts that are ready to be assembled.

I next sand any fuzz off the dovetail pockets and smooth the inside surface of the drawers parts with an orbital sander before assembly.  The assembly is fairly straight forward: place glue in the pockets and beat the parts together.

Before the glue dries I then place the drawer into a pneumatic drawer clamp that presses the parts together and squares the boxes up.  While the first one is drying a bit, I assemble the next one and then remove the first box.  

Within about 20 minutes I have a stack of 15 drawers and 1 roll-out.

I let the boxes dry overnight and the next morning I use a 3"x 24" belt sander to smooth up the joints.

Once smoothed up, I use an air nozzle to clean out the joints and skim a bit of putty to fill in any chipouts or open joints.  After the putty dries, using a pneumatic random orbital sander I remove the bulk of the putty and then route the edges with an 1/8" round over bit to ease the edges and then polish them up with #180 grit paper.

Now they're ready to finish.

Letting them dry completely overnight, the next job is to cut the drawer bottoms and slide them into the boxes and secure them with screws.  For now they are done until I get the drawer slides, then I can install the release clips. 

Next comes the Doors and Drawer fronts... 

Jump to: A New Kitchen part 4

Friday, December 25, 2015

A New Kitchen, part 2

The sawdust began to fly the other night after getting the plans and the lists verified. The first project was to get the face frame material ripped up.

After sorting through the Ash lumber I ripped all the material needed for the face frames.

Next, I ran them through the planer to thin them down to a thickness of 3/4".

Once the planning was done I got all the pieces cut to length on the Up Cut saw.

Up next was to get the frames laid out and get the pockets routed in them for the pocket screws.

Pocket screws are used to assemble the frames, a quick and easy process.  The machine has two routers, one will route the pockets into the back of the frames and the second router drills a pilot hole for the screws. 

After the pockets are cut into the backside of the frames, I then use a clamping table to hold them into place whiles securing them with glue and screws.  It's a 4' x 8' table that has an arm on rollers with four pneumatic pressure clamps that hold the frame in place while driving the screws in.

This will be the upper frame over the sink. 

This one is the sink base cabinet

One thing I like to do with the sink doors is called an Inverted Frame.  This is done by building a second frame and building it back 2" so that it's inverted into the cabinet.  This does a couple of things.
1)  It gives you a little space so your knees are not knocking the doors when standing at the sink.
2)  It also allows some airflow into the sink cabinet to allow any moisture to escape.

This is something my father always did to his cabinets.  While it's nothing unique, I always look upon it as a Trade Mark of his cabinets.  Not many cabinet makers in our town did this to their cabinets.  So I wanted to add this to my cabinets and carry on the tradition.

Face Frames are a pretty simple step, after several hours I had all 9 frames cut, milled and assembled.

Next up, the Dovetail drawers...

Jump to: A New Kitchen part 3

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A New Kitchen

Well it's been several months since my last post and some of you may have be wondering what's been happening on The Little Rock?

The last major project I did to the layout was the scenery in Malvern back in the late Spring of this year.  Other than that the only work I've done on the layout was to play around with some switchers for El Dorado and acquiring one of the new Atlas S2's for Malvern.  

I've also been helping Doug to get some of his fleet chipped and repaired.  So the layout has pretty much sat dormant over this past year.  I'm itching to do something again, but instead I have finally gotten around to start the final remodeling project on my house.  A new kitchen!

I bought the house back in September of 1990 and after starting on the kitchen three times, it looks like this time it's actually going to happen.

This is the current kitchen that I have lived with for 25 years.  They are the original cabinets, pretty sad, but they've worked.

I'm a cabinetmaker by trade.  My father ran his own shop from 1958 until he retired in 1991.  
Like the old saying goes: "The Mechanic has the worst running car in town"  so the cabinetmaker has the worst looking cabinets in town.  But this is about to change...

Here are the floor plans to the new kitchen

The North wall, cabinets #1 & #2
The upper cabinet will be 18" deep for pots, pans and other large items like a slow cooker.
There is actually a window to the right of the upper cabinets as seen in the current picture.

The East wall, cabinets #3, #4 & #5
This will be the sink base, sink upper and cabinet #5 is the microwave cabinet with the range below.

The West wall, cabinets #6, #7 & #8
This is where the refrigerator will be moved to and will have a full depth cabinet above it with a roll-out tray for ease of retrieving items from it.

As of the time of this post I have already begun on the face frames and dovetail drawers.  

I have chosen Ash for the wood that will be stained with Old Masters Provincial stain.  The doors will be a 5 piece raised panel door with the uppers doors having an Arched top rail, the lower door will be square and all of the drawer fronts will be a solid slab wood front.

These will look just like the cabinets I made for my office cabinets

Jump to

Since I'm not working on the layout for the foreseeable future, I plan to record the progress on the kitchen and post it on the blog.  As they always say "Pictures or it didn't happen".....

Lisa and I are so excited!

Jump to: A New Kitchen part 2

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer of the switchers.

During the long Labor day weekend I got a chance to run up to Malvern.

The other night after running down to El Dorado to see the BN NW2's that arrived, I got to chatting with the foreman about the NW2's.  He told me that they were just on loan for a short time to see how they'd perform compared to the BN (ex-SLSF) MP15DC's that they'd been using a couple of years earlier.
Speaking of the MP's I asked where they were at?
He replied that they are back on the BN for now until they make a decision.  But the way he made it sound as we chatted, is that the MP's were going to get the yard duty.  The crews said they were much stronger than the NW2's and and that they were newer as well.  So we'll wait and see.  If this pans out, this will be the first new switchers on The Rock since the SW1500's arrived.

On another note, the foreman had asked me if I'd seen the other switcher that came through El Dorado the other day?  The only thing he could tell me was it was bound for the W&OV.  He laughed and then said "The SB crew got confused and brought it clear down here instead of dropping it off at the siding in Haskell.  So while it was down here in El Dorado, we got a chance to inspect it up close and personal". 

He went on to say "When the Razorback came to town the next day to pick up the daily allotment of cars, we tagged it in to the consist and they headed back north to Malvern with it in tow".  Of course knowing what power the W&OV favored, I asked him if it was an ALCo?!  He shrugged his shoulders and said "I know it wasn't an EMD unit like the BN NW2's were, cause it smoked worse than George Burns with a cigar!"

OMG!  They got an ALCo switcher!  But what model?  S2, S4, T6???  I heard Homer talking about an ALCo switcher a few months ago when the RS11 showed up....
I got get up there!

What seemed like DAYS later, I pulled into the W&OV's parking lot and was greeted with a pleasant surprise!
Sitting right in front of the house was an ALCo S2 in the old Erie Lackawana paint scheme!  What a sight!  I grabbed the camera and started shooting!

I dug out the ladder and sat it up in the bed of the truck.

Then I ran back up the hill a bit and got another shot before the sun went behind a cloud.

If it wasn't for my Arkansas license plate on the truck, I'd swear I was back east somewhere, and back in time!  Solid ALCo, sweet!  I know where I'll be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks.


The long awaited ALCo S2 from Atlas!!  What a nice model.
What little I ran it I do like it but.....
There's always a but somewhere isn't there?

The first thing I noticed about this model was how fragile it was.  While it looks good, it's also pretty fragile.  So far I haven't broke anything, but damn do you have to be careful.

The next thing I noticed was the WIRES.  Wires on the truck connection, in 2015? Really?
Well I understand the need for them, I guess?  But really, Wires?

OK, ok I'm over it.  

The next thing was the way you needed to remove the board to replace the chip. Remove the tape on the board, scotch tape, not Kapton.  Then un-clip the board off the standoffs and then you had to undo the wires that are held into the board to keep them out of the way!  Then you had to twist the board a bit so that it would come out of the frame where the cab sits just to be able to get to the chip.

Once the I got it to where I could replace it, I noticed in the Digitrax instructions that I was to note which pin was #1.   I put my reading glasses on and I did find it. Even after finding it I still managed to get the chip plugged in, in reverse, UGH! But I gotta say, barring the issues getting to it, it was the easiest chip install I've ever done.

OK, once I got the chip installed properly and got it put back together and it does run pretty good, just as an Atlas should run. Hooray!!  The first thing I noticed was that it wasn't running very smoothly, kind of as if one of the truck towers were slipping?

It made a funny noise and one of the trucks are not swiveling as smoothly as the other does.
So I played with it a bit thinking it might loosen up some. 
I coupled it up to ten cars in El Dorado, it seemed to walk away with them until I hit the slight grade up to the drill track and then it just sat there and spun it's wheels.

So one of two things I need to check on.
1) See if one of the trucks are actually slipping
2) Check to see if I got the wires to the trucks pulled back a but too much when I installed the new chip and taped them in place like they were before.  Thus preventing the trucks from swiveling easily from the tension on the wires.

If this doesn't improve the running and pulling power then I will need to dig a little deeper.  I know that it's been reported that these little units can pull at lease 20 cars, if not more on level tracks and I have my cars all weighted close to NMRA specs, give or take a bit.

If nothing improves the pulling power I see two options:  There is room to add some weight or The W&OV is going to have to purchase a second unit!  Hmmm?

I will say out of the box that they run better than the KATO NW2's that I played with.  Not meaning smoothly, but they traverse the PECO tracks and turnouts a lot better.

On to another subject.
I plan to continue with the "Second Hand Patched Job, Pressed Into Service" look that I plan to portray with the W&OV units.  The S2 will be no different.  

For the W&OV, it's only been a short time since they started up and I wanted it to look as if they are kind of strapped for cash yet.  So most of their units will still wear the paint and the road number that they carried from their previous owner, but will receive a hastily applied W&OV logo, more than likely applied with nothing more than spray can!  

I'm kind of loosely following suit what the Arkansas & Missouri did when they started up operations. The A&M chose to use solid ALCo power, so did the W&OV.
But unlike the A&M who got things painted pretty quickly, the W&OV did not and will not for some time, nor will they show their pride like the A&M does.  To the W&OV, it's a business and a job. 

Since it's Spring of 1983, I figured it might be plausible that they would have acquired most of their units from Conrail or from other roads that were thinning out their older ALCo units, or they were gotten from EMD or GE from trade-ins, hence the presence of mainly Eastern roads, like Lehigh Valley, Lehigh & Hudson River, Eire Lackawanna, as well as Central Vermont  and Maine Central.

The W&OV roster is made up of mainly C-420's and RS-11's for road power.  The S2[s] will be used for the Malvern switcher[s] 

Here's what I have in mind for a modest patch job on the S2:



And of course, it will have a much more weathered appearance as well.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New power for El Dorado?

This summer has been a very busy summer for me with lots of different things going on in my life and unfortunately I have not gotten out to rail fan near as much as I would have liked to.  But this morning on my way to my shop I heard over the squawk-box that El Dorado had some foreign power shoving the cars around.  I thought I heard someone say BN?
So after work I headed down to El Dorado to see what the the noise was about.

Sure enough, there they were, two BN NW2's!  What in the world were they doing on the property?

Guess I'm gonna have to slip down to the house and see if can catch up with the foreman and see if I can get the scoop on these.


Several years ago after I got the layout running I picked up a couple of Atlas MP15DC locos in the SLSF colors for El Dorado.  My thoughts were: 
1)  They were a "close" stand in for SW1500's 
2) With a bit of prosperity going on that they were going to upgrade their yard power.

Granted MTL has recently released their version of the EMD SW1500, but not in any Rock Island colors yet.  Also I have never been a fan of the LifeLike SW units. Yes they run smooth, but I'm not a fan of their electrical pickup. Supposedly MTL has fixed this to some extent?  So as for now, the jury is still out on this.  

These MP15's are nice locos and proved to work just fine if they were paired up. They have more than enough power to pull yard goat duty at El Dorado.  For several sessions they worked perfect.  Not long after, one of them developed a problem with the chip and in the process of fixing it I damaged it and sent it in for repairs.  It's still sitting on the bench waiting it's turn for the repair shop.

Before I got it back, I scheduled another session and this time I grabbed the ex Rio Grande GP7 which has performed flawlessly, and has become the yard goat until I can get the MP15's back in service.

The GP7 not only works good, but it also fits the job quite well just like the prototype.  Ten of these misfits were acquired from the Grande during the CRP craze of the all of the GP7, 9 and 18's in the late 70's.  But these ten were true misfits as they did not have the ability to MU with the rest of the Rock Island units due to incompatible brake systems.  So working by itself turned out to be a perfect job.

A few weeks ago I stumbled onto a pair of  KATO BN NW2's and the cogs began to turn.  I wonder how well these would work for yard goat duty in El Dorado? Tonight I got them out and started running them a bit to break them in and get them warmed up.  A few minutes later I pulled them into El Dorado and things went down hill pretty fast.

The first thing I noticed was how crappy the couplers were! Then I remembered that most folks replace the stock couplers with MTL's.  

The next thing I noticed was the inability to stay tracked. These things pretty much jumped off the rails for no reason at all.  Not sure if the flanges are that small or if they are just that light.

The third thing I noticed was how they bobbled on the turnouts.  Granted, I'm using PECO code 80 track and turnouts that do have a bit wider gaps in the frogs. I know that this can be overcome by gluing a shim to the frogs, but man!  Not sure if I want to do that just for a couple of yard goats?  After typing this, I now remember having this issue when I was looking for a switcher for Riceland and that's why I settled on the VO-1000.

I'm not saying that these KATO units are garbage, but they may not be the right ones for my layout?
I'm gonna do a bit more playing when I get some more time, but I'm kind of thinking I may go back to the MP15DC's.  At least they stayed tracked and have more pulling power, not to mention they ran a whole lot smoother than the NW2's.  So it looks like these may not be sticking around much longer?

Maybe, just maybe I might pick up a pair of the newer Atlas S-2's?  Malvern finally got one so we'll see how well it will do in time...

Friday, July 3, 2015

Best Laid Plans Laid To Rest

I can hardly believe that the 4th of July is almost on top of us!
It seem like just yesterday I was watching the storms move in from the south and dump the rain on us.

My plans this summer was to remove the two aging PM42's I have and install the 7 PSX and one PSX-AR this summer when the humidity moved back in so I didn't have to deal with the Static. But unfortunately it doesn't look like that's going to happen this summer, maybe this fall if things go as plans. 

After cleaning up my basement, I spent several weeks helping mother get her basement cleaned up.  Not only remove the water, but we had to move everything out of one room, rip up the carpet and padding, remove a batch of paneling that had soaked up the water.  Then we mopped the floor to remove any mold and then mopped it again with bleach.  Once all that was dry we had to move everything back in.

But as we were doing this we decided to clear out a lot of the stuff Mom and Dad had collected over the years.  Most of which went out to the garbage due to the water and mold. What was salvageable, which was the biggest share of the stuff, went to Goodwill or got donated.  This will be a big help when the time comes to clear out Mom's house for the last time.

I am planning to start on my Kitchen this summer, yeah I know, you've heard that way too many times before, but I really need to get it started.  I have several smaller jobs around the house to do at the same time, so I have no choice but to ignore the layout for the remainder of the summer, so updates may be few and far between.  

I did however manage to get the layout somewhat organized from the frenzy of the scenery in Malvern.  I still need to get some of the industrial tracks cleaned so things will run on them, but that can done anytime I have a few spare minutes. With everything going on I severely doubt there will be any Op Sessions held till this winter. 

Well hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A visitor

Several weeks ago I got a call from an old friend who was back in town for the summer again.

A couple of years ago Doug stopped by for a visit for the first time after another mutual friend of ours:Mark had stopped by to test and play with his newest HO sound equipped loco.

Good to see you again Doug. Stop by anytime...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I hate puzzles.

Well with the water all dried up, tonight I went back down to attempt the relaying of the foam floor tiles.  Wow, what a PIA.  I knew it wasn't going to easy, but I thought I would at least be able to do it faster than I did?  I was never good at puzzles.

Only about 2/3 of the tile had to come up.  From the east wall on the south side of the layout over to El Dorado all had to come up.  Then from the East wall by Malvern all the way back to past Calion needed to come up.  There was standing water, but it was only in small areas.  I pulled back the tiles, Lisa then wiped them off with towels and i used more towels to mop up what water was still standing there.  We then leaned the tiles up so they could dry.

In the storage room where most of the water came in, I just turned on a couple of fans and also turned on my dehumidifier and let them run for several days!   

When the rain was coming down that night I figured I was going to get some water in the basement, which turned out to be less than I've had in the past.  I actually had to remove several cinder blocks years ago and repair them, which did stop the majority of the water and I also added downspout extensions.  After these things were done, the basement became dry, so dry in fact that the sump pump froze up from not being used.

I would say this is the first time since 1993 that I've had any water in the basement.  1993 was the summer of Rain.  It literally rained almost every day of every week of every month.  This time we got anywhere from 6" to 14" in about 6-7 hours!  The main reason I got water this time was because it's been so dry and the dirt had pulled away from the foundations so the water ran down and found places to seep in.  Hopefully the dirt has now swelled up enough that we won't see this happen for awhile?

Actually, I don't know what's more of a PIA?  Cleaning up the water and trying to put the tiles back together or, trying to clean up the layout after I've had it all tore up from doing scenery?  I have shit scattered all over the layout from one end to other!  A lot of the stuff I'll have to go back through and find boxes for it and then find some place to store it. It's just going to take some time.  

The workbench is a disaster!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

First major storm of the season!

While I live for this type of stormy weather, it usually comes with a price. Last night we got hit pretty hard, mostly in terms of torrential rain fall here in town. The official total at the airport was recorded at 6" but there were places that got up to 12"-14"

Other communities south and southwest of here were hit by several tornados with extensive damage. So I consider myself lucky with nothing more than heavy rain.

They were forecasting bad weather all day, claiming it was coming that night, this was just after 8pm.  I had the urge to build an ark.

The storm lasted well into the early morning, but before I went to bed I thought I'd better go downstairs and see what if anything was happening.

Well, it's been awhile since I've had water in the basement and it's been so dry over the last several years that the ground has pulled away from the foundation. This allowed all the water to run down the outside walls and find several cracks to which to seep through.  Did I say seep?  I found a small river flowing from one end of the basement to the floor drain on the opposite end of the basement!

Why can't it leak right by the drain, why does it have to always be on the opposite end?

This was the first time I've had water on the floor since I redid it several years ago and installed the foam tiles.  If it wasn't for the tiles I don't think I would have had such a mess as the tiles allowed the water to react with a capillary action and spread almost throughout the basement.  I bet we pulled up 2/3rds of the tiles and wiped up the water.

Oh well it was time for a good cleaning.

They say we are due for another round tomorrow night and this weekend again?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is it time to let the sheep out?

Last night I finally got a good chance to play around with some static grass.

Things went good for the most part.  Answered a few questions that I've had and got a chance to play with a couple of brands of grass other than Woodland Scenics. Also tried a couple of different ways to glue it down.

The first time I tried the static grass was with diluted glue and Woodland Scenics 2mm.  Wasn't too impressed with this for a couple of reasons.
1 - I didn't like the length or the color.  It looked like Peach fuzz or frosted grass.
2 - It didn't stand up too well.

I was told that the diluted glue could have caused the grass not to stand up.  Being so thin, the glue ran up the grass and bogged it down as well as the grass not being very long to start with.

Also the color of the WS wasn't as green as I would have liked it to be.

This time I had ordered two different Noch blended grass packs.  These have a mixture of 2.5mm and 6mm grass and several colors in a mostly green/yellow. Both colors were very close to being the same, there really wasn't much of a difference.  After I got them down, the yellow in the mixes really showed up.

The other grass I got was some Silflor brand in a summer green 4mm  and a lighter green later summer 6mm.  This was much darker green without the yellow. However after applying some of it, I decided to add a small pinch of the Noch to add a bit of yellow.  I can see how you can spend a small fortune on static grass trying to get the right color mix. 

Before I go any further, let me explain that I had glued down a layer of ground foam for a base color. For this I used WS Blended Turf, the green stuff.  Then I applied glue over this and applied the static grass.

With the woodland scenics I used a thin glue mixture that didn't work well.
Then I was told to use Hair Spray and spray it on the ground foam and let it tack up a bit before applying the static grass. This worked OK, but I had to make a mask out of paper to cover up any place I didn't want the grass to stick to.  Kind of a PIA, but it worked.  

Last night after revisiting a few videos on applying grass, I seen one where the modeler used straight Modge Podge right out of the bottle without thinning it. Not having any flat Modge Podge I tried using some Matte Medium right out of the bottle and then later some White glue that I did thin down about 1 part glue to 1/2 part of water.  Just a enough to make it spread easier but not enough to run up the grass and bog it down.  

Both glues work well and I think this will be the way I will continue in close quarters.  The Hair Spray will work in wide open areas that won't need much masking.

The other thing I found out was the actual applicator.  Mine is powered with a 9v battery which seems to work, but I think I was using and old battery and it wasn't allowing the grass to stand up.  This could have been part of the problem in my earlier attempt?
I also noticed that the battery life isn't that long or all the batteries were already weak or drained?   Once a new battery was installed, the grass stood right up!  If the batteries drain that fast, I can see a plus for a 110v version!

OK enough of me rambling, let's get to the pictures...

These first two shots are of the W&OV engine facility [yeah I know I need to repaint the asphalt].  

The next three shots are of the Olin-Chlor sidings. These turned out pretty good!

The next five are the Crushmoore Chip loading siding. I still need to clean this siding up.

These last four are the Heavy Metal siding.

I've been warned about using static grass on active sidings due to the fact that it can come loose and get caught up in the gears of the locos.  While this is entirely possible, the urge to resist the desire to do this was too great.  

I will go back and manicure the grass between the rails to a manageable amount so as to reduce any problems as much as possible. 

I had to do quite a bit of work to get the cars to roll freely. The tracks very rough from glue and from stray grass that stuck to the rails.  I had to scrape the tops and inner the edges of the rails to get the cars to roll and the loco to run without stalling.

Here's the proof, but please forgive the crappy quality of YouTube.  The original video was pretty sharp until it got uploaded.

Malvern will be the only place that will have sidings that are as overgrown as these.

Next comes the trees...