March 4th, 2012

Not too much going on in the train room as of late. It's not because I want that, I've just had to deal with some other issues that have crept up. See, there was this row of shingles on the house that needed to be replaced.... and it went from just a few shingles to the whole back half of the house! It was time anyway, we're pushing 20 years and the fiberglass was showing on a bunch of 'em. So the last few weekends and pretty much every day after work has been spent reshingleing the roof.
It's been nice and sunny here in AZ, except for one day. We had a strom roll through and it dumped some snow. The snow melted and the water found it's way around my temporary cover over a roof vent above the train room and left me a surprise on the new benchwork. Not real bad, will just have to replace a few peices of wood, but the flashbacks of before were enough to put me in high gear to get the roof done.

Before the roof came up (err, down), I had been contemplating doing some sort of valance this time around. I have an idea in my head of how I want the finished product to look, but I need to get some more upper level backdrops up and painted before I can build what I have in mind, but I have a feeling it will turn out looking pretty good.
I put up a few different sizes of 1/8" hardboard, 12", 10", 8" and 6". I found the 6" valance to look the best for what I want to do. The 12" and 10" was just too much, as it blocked a lot of the upper level backdrop and what would become mountain scenery. 8" would have worked pretty good, but I settled on 6". I think it will match up better to the upper level facia size.

With 6" the size, I had to build brackets. I couldn't find any small shelf brackets, so a trip to Wal Mart found me some 4" 90° brackets with screws at a decent price. Those added to some 3/4" and 1/2" mdf would be more than enough beef for the valance. Building them and installing the valance sure is time consuming, but so far I'm pretty happy with how it looks.

So far I have about half the valance up, the ceiling lights reinstalled, more lower level lights wired, and a bit more backdrop painted. Next update might not be for a couple weeks due to the roof work, although I might try to sneak in some backdrop painting at night ;)


finished painting the rest of the yard's backdrop


More lower level lights installed and wired


2' as well as 4' bulbs


Standing height. Temp. wiring of the ballasts under the benchwork.


Mounted the ballasts under the lower level benchwork


Making brackets for the valance. 3/4" mdf is used against the ceiling to tie into the rafters. 1/2" mdf is used for the valance supports. 4" L brackets are used for support, along with glue and screws.


Going in above the helix. The long pencil line is a rafter. The long support has one screw in the rafter and one just into the drywall. The drywall alone won't support the type of valance I'm doing, hence the need for the long support brackets of mdf.


Clamping the 1/8" hardboard to the brackets. Note I had to drop the upper level lights to install the brackets. Wish I woulda thought about a valance before I did all the lights!


Curving around above the helix


Lights put back up.


6" valance screwed in.


What the melting snow left me.


Dripped on the upper level benchwork as well.


The water come in through a vent pipe next to the train room, made it's way to the ceiling drywall and down through the screw holes.


Will have to cut out a new section of 1/2" mdf subroadbed and replace this short part of the 3/4" mdf benchwork. Not too big a deal.


The back half of the roof. Train room is next to the ladder. This is a pretty big job getting rid of the foamed roof and doing the shingles, but at least I won't have to worry about any more water damage to the layout.


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