Monday, 3 November 2014

A hook and a step

Ahead of the Uckfield show I had a couple of jobs to do for Awngate. The fiddle yard had developed a slight sag, now it attaches to the layout by slotting it's extended frame into holes in the layout frame.

This was fine when the fiddle yard was a simple plank for holding a couple of cassettes, but the extension to add shelves to the back of the plank have added a significant weight. Perhaps the timber has shrunk or worn, but the result is a distinct downward slope.

My solution was one of those hooks usually used for holding gates open. With the loop on the layout the hook is engaged to create a diagonal brace.

My 7-year old son was keen to help out at the show, and I certainly didn't want to discourage, but the height of the layout (about 43" to track level) made it tricky for him to see well enough to position the trains. I did consider lowering the layout but it's enclosed presentation would make it difficult for other operators and most viewers, so a step was needed, and one big enough to stand on comfortably and move around.

I had in the garage some melamine faced 1/2" chipboard shelves surplus to requirements. A 12" wide 30" long shelf forms the top, another shelf cut in half lengthways made the sides, and some 6" wide shelf offcuts were used for the ends. I assembled them rather like flat-packed furniture with some left over wooden dowels set into holes locating the sides to the top, and "choc-bloc" screw connectors holding it together. This means no screws showing to the outside, though I can't say it is a terribly neat job!

The finished step in use at Uckfield - and it certainly worked, both for my son and other visiting children. It's plenty strong enough, though not exactly lightweight! When packed in the car it is inverted and used to store the stock box and other bits and bobs. At home it will have another use, though more on that another time...

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