Saturday 29 June 2024

Beam me up

Hexworthy is a foot longer than Awngate, and while it seemed secure enough on the same support structure (made about 15 years ago), there was a lot of overhang at each end. The support beams were 4' 4" long softwood timbers on their sides, with a vertical 4" deep 4' long 6mm MDF plate screwed to the edge. The MDF plate means no bending yet they aren't heavy, and other than one twisting slightly the idea seems to work. The new beams are 5' 8" long, with 5' long MDF from an offcut we had to clear out the clubroom. The timber protrudes a little further, and the rear beam has the MDF extended to form a lip along the top edge. 

The beams fit the same 15-year-old trestles, a bolt is simply pushed through a hole in the beam timber to locate them on the top of the trestle. The result is very stable and sturdy, and the layout is simply placed on top, making set-up very easy. The right-hand trestle has a piece of wood that slots over the cross-members to form the essential mug shelf. 

The close-up shows how the bolt heads are recessed into the top of the beams so the layout sits flat, and the lip on the rear beam so the layout doesn't slide off the back. The rear beam can be repositioned for different layout widths. I rounded the ends of the beams because you never know...

While clearing out the clubroom recently we found a spare display panel, one of several expertly made by Martin Collins to use with the club Everleight layout but this one was never used. Too good to get binned, I'm sure I can make use of it! I screwed a pair of eyelets into the top, and a pair of mushroom-head screws into the side of the front beam for them to hook onto. 

The display panel, and possibly the beams, could do with a coat of grey paint at some point. Perhaps I ought to paint the legs too but they are hidden by a drape, and I fear they might not fold up properly if I gum them up with paint! They still work after 15 years in the garage, so perhaps I'll leave well alone there. 

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