The Bench is Done!

We’ve completed what is hopefully the most physically demanding and dangerous part of the layout, the benchwork. We still have to build a facade but that will come later.


Fastening down the peninsula

We must have made hundreds of cuts, drilled a thousand holes and screwed in as many deck screws. By the time we were halfway done The Boy had become an expert with the drill. There were times when I’d be upstairs working on dinner and he’d be down the basement working on things by himself, screwing in risers or fastening down the plywood.

The little boy who lives under the bench.

The little boy who lives under the bench.

I don’t think I’ve ever built anything this big out of wood. I did build a couple of rooms in our old house, my first adventures into carpentry, but I guess this is the biggest non-room thing I’ve built.

I’m happy with the way it came out. The center, where the “town” will be (“town” is in quotes because it will probably consist of only one or two buildings, is raised with the track below grade just like in the center of our town. We’ll build scale rock walls through the center and the rest will be sloped dirt and grass.

The sunken track

The sunken track

The grades are a bit steeper than I’d like but we really didn’t have much choice unless we wanted the track to be flat, with no over or underpasses, and who wants to do that?


The more gentle of the two graded areas.

We’ve cut out the area that will be a little lake, with a culvert going under the tracks. We didn’t have room to build a large lake like in our town but part of the lake is on the edge of the layout, giving a feeling that it continues beyond.

The Lake

The Lake

Next comes the part The Boy is really excited about, the laying of the track. I guess once that’s done we’ll be able to run the train.

A slight diversion as The Boy uses our risers for dominoes.

A slight diversion as The Boy uses our risers for dominoes.

We’ll contour the land with cardboard and plaster, building a large hill into the corner and some more gentle hills elsewhere. We’ll have a “neighborhood” by the lake with a couple model houses, including our own and the model of my mom’s house I’m still working on. The entire thing will be covered in landscaping of some sort, with woods, grassy areas, a beach, and some roads.


About Jim

Just a guy who likes to make stuff.
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