April 7, 2019

On the Face of It

My SUV loaded with Festool tracks saw and other tools
The USMRR Construction Corps deployed to Haymarket, Virginia today to assist in construction of Marty's McGuirk's CV Richford Branch RR. I loaded the Alkem Tiguan with a Festool track saw, Carvex jig saw, some Seneca parallel guides, power drill, and a shop vac. Again, I arrived without delay as traffic was light. Sunday work sessions might be the right formula for the 42 mile trek to Marty's house.

Marty initially planned a trestle here, but decided to go
with a hill to hide the switch plate. The hole in the
fascia provides access.
The task for today was to complete the fascia on the layout front. This is the section of layout that will greet visitors that enter the basement  from the interior stairs. Under the layout, Marty plans to have display shelves with lighting.

So we needed to do a neat, trim job. However, Marty wanted the fascia panels to be removable. So that ruled out countersunk screws and mudded joints. Instead, we tried to get precise, square cuts so the  joints would be imperceptible. Alas, Marty had 48 inch long sheets of ¼ inch MDF, so that necessitated more joints.  We used the track saw to rip the sheets into strips. Working from the right hand side, we cut and installed the pieces one by one. We used Marty's nifty laser level to line things up.  In some places we used small glue blocks to hold the edges in alignment. We'll see how these do with humidity changes.

The upper edge of the fascia will be contoured to match planned some hills, but the main part of the layout here is a flat, level town. The fascia bottom had to dip down by the wall on the right side, as Marty originally planned a bridge in this area and so dropped the benchwork accordingly. He later decided to put a hill here instead.  That meant that he needed to have a hole in the fascia to access a light switch. After discussing several options, we decided a hole with  cover plate would be the best solution. We used the track saw plunge feature to cut a nice crisp hole. In fact, the edges of the hole were so sharp, we had to chamfer them with sandpaper to avoid scraping the inserted arm.

Now that we have figured out the basics of how to do the fascia, hopefully the rest of the fascia will go up faster. Getting 8-ft sheets would help too.

We got about 22 feet of the fascia installed today. 


  1. Hi Bernie. Did you consider adding jumper wires to the power wires for the lights and move the switches out to the face of the fascia (or slightly recessed in the hole that is now there)?

  2. I mentioned that and Marty said, "no."

  3. I did think about it well before Bernie mentioned it and frankly it simply wouldn't be worth the effort.

  4. If you get bored you're more than welcome to come to my house in Bethany Beach & help me work on my layout. You can even bring the wife....LOL