May 21, 2018

Four Men and a Trebuchet

This was a crazy busy weekend. My wife has commented that since I retired I am actually getting less sleep than when I was working. I think she is right.

Now that's a wood shop - Colonial Hardwoods, Springfield VA.
The weekend actually started on Wednesday when I bought a car load of plywood at Colonial Hardwood, in Springfield, Va. This is a specialty lumber yard with a complete wood shop. I bought a total of 8 sheets of 5x5 Baltic Birch plywood. They ripped the 3/4 inch thick sheets into over 100 pieces  of 1.5 inch and 3 inch wide by 60 inch long strips, and the ¼ inch into 8 plywood tops.

About $450 of ripped Baltic Birch
These would be used to build modules for Marty McGuirk, John Drye and myself. The excess wood would be used in constructing Marty's home layout. Marty's module is a interim project.  He will be building a module to go along with the two that I am building for my book. John Drye is also building some modules, but these are a stand alone project that he wants to do. All these modules will be in HO scale and share a PRR theme, though JD's are not in the same locale as the other three.

Felix cutting plywood on 10-ft panel saw
Since the lumber yard used a panel saw to cut the strips, I did some checking at home to make sure all long edges of the strips were parallel. As the cutting progresses, the panel stock got smaller, so the chance for the panel tilting out of square was greater. Turns out that only 5 of the strips were off from about a 1/8 to ¼ inch. I trimmed these using my  track saw.

Michael Spoor (with his Army haircut) helps build the first
module
Friday evening Michael Spoor visited and he helped me build the first module base. It was 30 by 60 inches.
Andy uses a drill for his Trebuchet

Then, a diversion on Saturday. I spent most of the afternoon and evening helping a high school student build a trebuchet model for a science class. He did much of the work under my guidance. He did not have much experience with tools, so it was a good learning experience for him. And yes, we did get it to work, though it might not set any records.

I also cut some parts on the laser for a custom structure.

Mass Production - I cut the strips to length and Marty drilled the pocket holes. You can see some
completed frames to the left bottom of the image.
On Sunday Marty and JD arrived and we had a extended work session. We built 4 more bases and added legs to the first. We couldn't do all the legs as we didn't have the necessary hardware. We assembled the frames with different techniques. The first was to build a square frame with cross members and then attach the top. The second method was to build the frame directly to the plywood top once we insured that the top was square and the proper length. The latter was a bit easier to do.  I'll be covering the building techniques in my next book.

On Sunday evening my mom made for us dinner including a delicious blueberry pie.



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