Gotta do something!

Well, I did nothing Wednesday night because the therapy on my back is killing me and I can’t feel my feet. I just went to sleep at 8pm and felt guilty for not working on the train. So, tonight, I took some pain killers and made myself do something useful.

First, I cleaned the prototypes off the bar and put the USA track that I bought for reference material onto the top of the bar so that the curve simply follows the shape of the L on the bar. It looks very nice. I then put the power supply for the train under the lip of the bar and connected the wires so that the track is powered up and I can test the power supply. Finally, I put the Performer car for the train on the track and fired it up. The lights in the car come on and the little back light on the car comes on. It is pretty. The bar looks much cleaner.

It was raining outside so I put the table sander under the porch and sanded the ends of the new ceiling mounts that I had built. After sanding them down nice and smooth, I got out the Polyurethane and brushed on the first coat of finish to the bottom part. As I brushed it on the little bubbles started appearing and then I realized my the stupidity of my stupidity. Remember in a previous post I said that I had bubbles from brushing on the polyurethane and so I started using an old T-shirt to put the stuff on the track? But, using the T-shirt method is very slow and you don’t get a lot of polyurethane on the wood in the first pass. The wood soaks up just about everything you can get on it. So, for these new ceiling mounts, I decided that I would brush on the polyurethane so that I got a lot on the wood, and then would use the T-shirt to wipe off the excess after it had bubbled. The idea hit me because the little bubbles weren’t coming from the brush. They were coming from the wood dowels. Whenever I brushed across the dowels, they would bubble like crazy and then slowly stop. So, by brushing it on to get a good thick coat, and then wiping the excess after the bubbling had stopped, I got a really smooth and clean finish. They look a lot better than the first set.

Connecting the sections

The last engineering hurdle for this project is to figure out how to tastefully connect the rails together.  I stopped by Lowes and looked through all of their stock to find something that might look OK. My first thought was to cut 1/4 inch Oak stock into 1/2×3 strips that would then be screwed and glued to the ends of a rail to create a large tongue and groove on the side of the rail. So, I got the stock, cut it to length, and then put it up with some test track. It drew to much attention to the joint between the sections and looked to bulky. It is still an option, but I want to look at other options.

After pursuing that idea, I thought about making up small metal plates that are about the thickness of dog tags like what you get engraved for your pet. If I could get a tag that is 1/2×3 inches and 0.020 or 0.040 in thickness, I could join the rails very tastefully with blanks and 4 screws. So, I searched online and found two places that might work out:

Both places have brass tags that are the right shape and length, but they are in bright brass. The ideal tag would be made of nickel-silver and match the color of the track. But, I cannot find anywhere online that makes such a plate. But, I did find a place that makes stainless steel with a brushed finish. While a little to bright, it would be better than brass and the stainless steel would be much stronger than brass.

So, after work today, but before close of business for Oregon, I called Cascade Laser and talked to them about ordering 1/2×3 stainless steel tags with rounded corners.  They said that it would be a special order to get the tag in stainless steel and that they would get me a quote by Friday.  The minimum order is 100 and as long as the cost is less than $1 per tag, I will buy them.  The thickness available is 0.029, 0.031, and 0.040.  They said that 0.029 was standard for pet tags.

DHL delivery is not the engine

Well, as all retailers do, the weight of the box was overestimated. DHL‘s email that the box weighed 5 pounds was an exaggeration and when I picked up the box, it felt like nothing was in it. Well, it certainly didn’t feel like an engine was inside. Instead, it was just the bear/gorilla car.

So, I have all of the cars that I ordered, but I don’t have an engine to pull the train.