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Building the Rock Ridge Railroad Part 2

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, November 22, 2021 3:33 AM

SpaceMouse
I have no idea what this rig is.

It is obviously a relaxation platform with an elevated view! How do I know? There is a beer cooler on it!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Nice pictures Chip!

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, November 21, 2021 6:10 PM

Some of you asked for pictures of the Skunk Train highlights. I'll add comments as you request them.

The tallest tree on the area at 305 feet.

 

I have no idea what this rig is.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, November 21, 2021 5:49 PM

I'm back.Zzz

Been recovering for last two days. Lots of driving.

Today I made a little progress on the layout. I installed the foam on the rest of the lower level. Mostly I've been studying backdrop painting on YouTube University.

I did find several things about the area I'm modeling I wasn't expecting.

First the landscape was not the grassland with scrub oak I was expecting. Every square inch of undeveloped land had a dense conglomeration of deciduous and conifer trees. 

The Willits Station had ornate wood trim that according to an old-timer who worked for Northwestern Pacific was painted yellow, green and red. I have not been able to find any reference for the color pattern as it is currently painted reddish brown.

I do have contact information for the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society and was told if anyone knows the color scheme, they would.

Next, Redwood trees reproduce 90% of the time from shoots up from the roots whenever damage is done to the trunk. The other 10% of the time they reproduce from pin-head-sized seeds stored in acorn-sized cones. 

The last thing is that in old-growth redwoods stands, the ground is covered in ferns. Printing ferns was originally why I wanted a 3d printer. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by NorthBrit on Friday, November 12, 2021 11:22 AM

Chip.   The blue track looks cool.   LaughLaughLaugh

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by wickman on Friday, November 12, 2021 9:44 AM

Chip I never really gave any thoughts to using real ties for these jigs, I ended up going with 20 year old Peco switches. I have used pliobond for my long curve trestles and you can buy it in larger containers rather than the small tubes from hobby shops. 

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:28 PM

Score!!!

 

My kids got me these for my birthday.

Now I have a project for my vacation. Learn Blender and make some nick-knacks for my layout. Posting will be spotty for the next 11 days.

 

 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, November 7, 2021 6:04 PM

York1
Show us lots of pictures when you get back!

Will do. And thanks for the birthday wishes.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, November 7, 2021 6:00 PM

Happy birthday, and have fun on your trip.  Show us lots of pictures when you get back!

York1 John       

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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, November 7, 2021 5:45 PM

I'm still waiting for the coupling needed to connect my airbrush to my compressor hose. Rather than wait patiently, I decided to start the process of laying track on the other side of the layout. Unfortunately that part of the benchwork was being used as a workbench. (I got to use benchwork and workbench in the same sentence. Cool)

Anyway, after two days of sorting and finding places for new stuff I've aquired along the way, I got the benchwork ready for foam.

I have 3 days until I leave to ride the Skunk Train and photograph the prototype landscape and anything else relevant. One of those days will be used to celebrate my birthday (tomorrow), and one of those days will undoubtibly used to pack. We will be gone 11 days. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, November 4, 2021 7:43 PM

SeeYou190
I made the rocks by crumpling up heavy duty alluminum foil and semi-flattening it back out. I filled the alluminum foil mold with about 3/8" of plaster. When the plaster was about 50% set up, I smushed it into the hardware cloth.

Kevin,

I'm thinking I'll use the aluminum foil technique to produce a rough contour, then use my hobby knife and dental picks to carve into the look I want. Thanks. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, November 4, 2021 7:37 PM

Chip,

The pictures below show the rock cliffs I made for a portable N scale layout back in 1992 for Scale Rails Of Southwest Florida.

Like in your situation, the rocks had to be as thin as possible. The main control panel and mainline staging are hidden behind the rocks. Also, we wanted to layout to be as lightweight as possible.

I made the basic cliff profile from "hardware cloth" which is a steel mesh wire sheet. Then I made the rocks by crumpling up heavy duty alluminum foil and semi-flattening it back out. I filled the alluminum foil mold with about 3/8" of plaster. When the plaster was about 50% set up, I smushed it into the hardware cloth.

The results were pretty good. Plus, they were thin and lightweight. Sorry I don't have any in-process pictures, but this was back in the film-and-developing days.

The rocks still look a bit like crumpled alluminum foil, but painting sure helped it all look better.

If these two pictures were side-by-side it would make a panarama scene of the two bridges the way they actually were on the layout.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, November 4, 2021 7:27 PM

It's been a few days since my last post since I've only been able to get a few hours here and there to work on it. 

The rock cavern wall is of two different construction techniques. There are the plaster cast rocks using Woodland Scenics molds. And there is drywall mud spread across the gause backing and carved. 

First the plaster section.

Then the transition between the cast rocks and the carved rocks. 

As a reminder, the reason I am carving the rocks here is ther isn't enough room between the gause and the track to place cast rocks. Here is a section of cast rocks.

 There are two techniques used in carving the rocks. The first technique involves just carving willy-nilly trying to create a constant grain. The problem I ran into was cutting deep enough to fray the gause making it so strings stuckout from the recesses. 

I solved this by putting on more drywall mud and recarving. As I looked at the new, now-dry plaster, I remember a quote from a sculptor that carving is simply removing the parts that don't belong. I then began to see "rocks" in the plaster so I cut out the edges and provided texture. In the picture above on the right you can see the carved rocks. On the right you can see the willy-nilly approach.

Below is the end of the tunnel complete with a retaining wall and tunnel arch. 

So here's my take-away. The cast rocks are very dimentional, but combined with the limited number of pieces and the inconsitancies of sizes, well, it's not the look I want for my rocky areas. I'm thinking with photos of the prototype, I can get the look I'm after by carving plaster, as opposed to patching together cast rocks.

Tomorrow, I will paint the rocks. Not only have I not used this technique that very effectively simulates granite, I haven't used an airbrush in 15 years, and both the airbrush and compressor are new to me. The cave walls are a good place to practice.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, October 30, 2021 8:04 PM

I feel pretty good about the progress I made today.

First, I cut the gauze strips into 1 foot strips at the right height. Sissors would not cut the gauze so I used a hobby klnife.

Then I mixed plaster of Paris going heavy on the water. 

Then it was just a matter of soaking the gauze and putting it place. It was messy and I used latex gloves.

When dry, I applied a layer of dustless drywall mud.

I had planned to use the cave--since an observer will be hard-pressed to notice--to practice different techniques of making/painting rocks. There was a two-foot area where the cave wall was too close to the tracks to add rocks, so I spent some time carving rocks out of the drywall mud with a hobby knife, dental pick and paint brush.

I'll show you that area after it sets up and I can touch it up.

Tomorrow I'll set the rocks, and if it dries in a timely manner, I'll start painting.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Friday, October 29, 2021 6:24 PM

As you know, I'm on a very tight budget, and right now I'm way over budget. The next step is the facia (so I can mount my switch levers, and I have to wait probably until the New Year to get it. So, in the meantime, I will work on landscaping the tunnel where I can.

Here are the rocks I'll need. I've also got a dozen or so stone retaining walls.

I also masked off the track where I will be plastering and painting.

Tomorrow, with any luck I will rock and paste the first section of cave wall.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 7:17 PM

SpaceMouse
Tomorrow, I'll run the ladder and figure out how to switch the power on and off so DCC trains aren't making noise and sucking amps. Then I'll pour plaster rocks and run trains until I figure the yard is bullet proof. 

I have a bit of a dilema. Putting rail joiners, both NS and insulated is much more difficult than I remember. The thing is I don't know if this is because of neuropathy or if my memory is jaded. I had trouble holding them with needle nose and when I dropped them picking them up was difficult.

Anyway, the upshot is it took two of my short days of work to finish the trackwork on the staging yard. I still need to solder the joints and run feeders. Funny how the time you estimate has little to do with how long it actually takes.

The small tracks just fits my three passenger cars without the locomotive which I think will be a 4-4-0.

   

Because of the reach, I plan to use lever switch machines.

FYI, the trowbar that this switch controls is the second to top tie on the right.

Now I have a progress stopping problem. The reasons are many.

1) I'll need to run facia--which I don't have--to mount the switches. 

2) The way the switch is mounted, the cable would have to have to be run under the plywood layer. That would put the end of the cable 2" below the turnout. However, the cable has only 1/2 inch to work with.

3) Now that the turnouts and track are placed, I may have to run trenches below or through the roadbed. This probably means taking out all the turnouts and track. In turn, this means I can't solder anything until the switches are run.  

4) I remember reading that I could use the switch to turn on power to the tracks or light an LED. I need to do both. Looking at the switch, I can't see how it can act as a SPST. 

Oh well. It is what it is.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

  • Member since
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  • From: Rimrock, Arizona
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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, October 25, 2021 9:25 PM

 

I was digging through my reference materials when I found an iteration of the Rock Ridge and Train City I started in PA.

I got the benchwork done, sans risers, when my wife decided she needed a piece of equipment that would not fit in her art studio in PA. 

Turns out she stopped using the pouring table and I got an 8x13 section of the garage for a new layout here in AZ.

Notice that I was planning a large vertical dimension with a large waterfall in front.


Today I felt I was finally making progress on my layout.

First of all I got two packages of supplies that were holding me up--one 3 days late, another 1 day early. Unfortunately they arrived too late to be of any help today.

I've been doing what I can to get things moving in the meantime. I've been pouring plaster rocks for the cave wall as fast as they can dry.

I also installed all the turnouts in the staging yard.

  

Tomorrow, I'll run the ladder and figure out how to switch the power on and off so DCC trains aren't making noise and sucking amps. Then I'll pour plaster rocks and run trains until I figure the yard is bullet proof. 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Sunday, October 24, 2021 3:25 PM

SpaceMouse
big front wheel bikes

Hi Chip,  A bit too much bike for me, but such a bicycle would have been a good fit during a past Ft. Bragg visit when a vintage car club was in town and dressed to match their early 1900s automobiles.

Btw, your pile of sawdust looks like it would make for some nice wood chip loads.

Regards, Peter

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Posted by selector on Sunday, October 24, 2021 2:21 PM

Chip, if it would be worth considering, I recommend pliobond or even Parr bond.  They are clear/translucent fluids that dry somewhat opaque, but they are still pliable to an extent, and both do a good job of adhesion to mixed surfaces.  I use Parr on all my down-spout drains, and around the gromets on plastic garden sheds.  No leaks, and I think it's because it retains some flexibility when it is cured.  It can be painted later, and that's likely to be necessary for you.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:16 PM

Pruitt
Chip, with contact cement, shouldn't you be putting the cement on both parts, letting it dry to the touch, and then putting them together?

Thanks Mark.

Take 5 -- I tried again this time putting the glue on both rail and ties allowing it to set up. Notice that now I'm using the white side of the jig. The whole process is down to 20 minutes.

This time I only had 3 ties come off and all only came loose on 1 side.

I finished the last turnout needed for the staging yard today-at least the glue is in the process of drying. I can start laying track as soon as the insulated track joiners arrive.

The good news is you guys don't have to look at any more pictures of turnouts.

Today I also started plaster casting. I need rocks and stone walls to finish the interior cave where staging resides. 

Of course, I can't actually start scenicing the cave until the rolls of gauze cloth arrive. (They say Tuesday.)

We'll see what I can do to progress the layout tomorrow.

Toodles yawl. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:14 PM

SpaceMouse
Finally --(Take 4)-- I tried the jig again, this time applying contact cement to the rails.

Chip, with contact cement, shouldn't you be putting the cement on both parts, letting it dry to the touch, and then putting them together? That's what I do with my Fast Tracks turnouts, using Pliobond as the contact cement.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:53 PM

HO-Velo
A GP9 hauled a couple hundred or so of us masochistic cyclists out to the Boy Scout camp, from where we rode back to Ft. Bragg thru picturesque forests via logging roads and trails.

I hope your group rode the periodically correct big front wheel bikes.


First off, I took my Micro saw apart to figure out why it was vibrating. But first, I had to take out a little sawdust.

As a frame of reference, that is a large soup container from a Chinese resturaunt.

Next, I manually glued the missing ties on my previously failed attemps at using my jig.

Finally --(Take 4)-- I tried the jig again, this time applying contact cement to the rails. I expect a few problems as the turnout was riding high in the jig and not contacting all the ties. We'll see tomorrow. 

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by HO-Velo on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 9:00 PM

SpaceMouse
I'll be heading to Willits/Fort Bragg, CA to ride the Skunk Train. Coincidently, Rock Ridge is the freelance name of the combined towns of Willits and Fort Bragg including the surrounding Redwoods. 

Hey Chip,  Great to see ya' back at it.

Ft. Bragg area and the CWR is an excellent choice upon which to model a logging railroad, with opportunity for a mill, lovely harbor, fishing boats and lumber schooners.

Participated in a couple memorable Tour de Skunk combination train and mountain bike rides in the early 2000s.  A GP9 hauled a couple hundred or so of us masochistic cyclists out to the Boy Scout camp, from where we rode back to Ft. Bragg thru picturesque forests via logging roads and trails.

Enjoy the beauty of the redwood coast and good luck with your turnouts.  Best wishes and regards, Peter

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 6:46 PM

Take 2 -- Doubler-sided #M tape

First I layed out the ties and fit the turnout inbto the jig.

Then I cut the tape into 3/32" strips. This was hard because one side was sticky. I had to put the sticky side down to cut the strips.

I then stuck the tape onto the rails.

The problem with this method is I could not get the non-sticky plastic to peel off the tape. It came off the rail instead--probably because I had to cut with the sticky side against my cutting board.

Take 3 -- Contact cement.

I appied the adheasive to the ties. It was a slow and messy process. 

As you can see, it didn't work out so well. But I feel it is promising. I'll try again appying the contact cement to the rails. Should go smoother and faster.

Bang HeadBang HeadBang Head

You know what they say. You gotta spin your wheels if you want to make donuts.

 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, October 18, 2021 10:40 AM

7j43k

3M makes a zillion kinds of tape.  Perhaps one of them would work?

One thing for sure:  the stickiness won't creep!

Ed

I'm thinking a double-stick tape might work if I can place it where I need it. I've been recking my brain trying figure out how to make it happen.

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by NorthBrit on Monday, October 18, 2021 4:37 AM

Welcome back, Chip.    Remain positive no matter what life throws at you.

 

Great looking staging.   The turnouts look excellent.   

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Monday, October 18, 2021 1:00 AM

7j43k

3M makes a zillion kinds of tape.  Perhaps one of them would work?

One thing for sure:  the stickiness won't creep!

 Ed 

All hail Duct Tape.

Most people don't know this, but WD40 and Duct Tape were both invented in 1953, same year I was born. So you might as well believe me when I say when comes to repairing stuff. if it don't move spray it with WD40. If it does move, Duct it. 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, October 17, 2021 10:44 PM

3M makes a zillion kinds of tape.  Perhaps one of them would work?

One thing for sure:  the stickiness won't creep!

 

Ed

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Sunday, October 17, 2021 8:02 PM

I've been promising to show you my Fast Tracks tie jig for a while so let's get at it. The reason for the jig is that the Fast Tracks Laser-cut tie jig costs (at the time I started the project) is $4 per turnout. Since I have about 30 turnouts that need ties, I can spend that $120 to buy my next box of track.

The idea is rather simple. I simply placed a turnout with the Fast Tracks ties on a sheet of .040 styrene and rasttle canned the tar out of it.

That left me with this:

I then used an Xacto knife to cut out the white where the ties go. That took about 2-3 hours. You can then put the ties into the slots. 

To do right-hand turnouts, you flip it over.

Then glue it and wait.

But, I'm sorry to say, it didn't work out so well. The Gorilla glue seeped out under the weight and attached the turnout to the jig.

 

You can see the ties that fell out during the extraction that took over an hour. I also broke the jig in a couple places. In addition, I had to break free and remove the glue from the points. (And I thought I was careful.) I then had to resolder the two short rails beyound the frog.

I figured my attempt had failed and decided just to buy thje darned Fast Tracks Laser ties. Unfortunaqtely, the price has doubled to $8, and they are out of stock with no date for availibility. Tomorrow, I try another adhesive.

Any suggestions?  

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, October 16, 2021 11:00 AM

It's personally very encouraging that you have the energy and motivation to come here and to share your slog through this, Chip.  I hope you get your yard up and functional with increasing ease and comfort as the days pass.

I had honestly forgotten about you and Fast Tracks.  It will be good to learn of your experience as you get the yard working.

-Crandell

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