Curving around the Stairs

Before I left for work, I glued the ties on the 8 foot section for the long wall and put them in the clamps and press to cure while I was at work.

I had taken a section of the prototype track to work to show people what I was building and I brought it home today. I took the metal rails off of the prototype section and put it against the short section that will be cut for the little patch near the bathroom door to complete that area of the track. The difference is that the prototype section was built with the ties that I dipped in stain and then used a cloth to wipe the excess stain off. The ties that I am using in production are simply dipped and let dry. Another thing to note is that the stain that I bought is both a stain and finish so the stained ties take on a bit of a shine. This is good because it saves me from putting polyurethane on the ties as well as the wood rails.


I started the 5th curve which is the one near the stairs from the basement to the main level. The first step is to figure out places for the ceiling mounts that line up with joists in the ceiling. The second step is to measure the piece to find the amount to cut off from the curve. Remember that I made the curves so that they went beyond 90 degrees to give me room to adjust for sections meeting up without being at perfect 90 degrees. So, I put up the straight section near the stairs and bathroom, then the straight section that is directly in front of the stairs. Finally, I put the curve in place and marked where I needed to cut on the end to connect things up without any sharp irregularities in the track. This may seem complicated, but I cheated by setting the curve in place and then adjusting the straight sections to line up with the curve to make clean transitions. This creates a gap for the straight sections but in both cases, the section already has a gap that will need to be filled. After cutting the curve, I glued the ties on the curve and used one of the other curves to clamp and press the ties to the rail. This forces the glue into the wood so that it is strong. Below is a picture of the curve with the ties in the clamp while in place.


Since the wall to the stairs is slightly longer than 6 feet, I already know that I will have a gap between the end of the curve at the bathroom and the straight section. So, either I have a gap near the bathroom or near the entrance to the stairs. Since the entrance to the stairs will be more visible, I put the patch area nearest to the bathroom.


To create the patch to fill in the gap to the section near the bathroom, I used the scrap that was cut off of the section to fill the gap on the long beam nearest that was completed this past weekend. I put the section on the gap and marked it. Unfortunately, from either end, the place to cut ends directly over a tie that is already glued in place. So, I cut the section and split the tie in half with the saw blade. I was quite surprised at how difficult it was to break the tie from the beam even after being cut in half. After cutting the beam, I glued a tie on the end. This will result in a tie that is not equally spaced with the rest, but it will not be as noticeable as a large gap.


In addition to the patch section, the above picture also shows the 6th curve in the press. The 6th curve was one of my first sections that I put together and the spacing between the rails is not as good as the later ones. So, I had to use the router to cut a little off of the gaps in the ties to accommodate the difference. I also ran out of ties that I had routed out the center section for the cross members so while I had the router hooked up, I routed about 12 more ties for the curves.

Finally, while the 6th curve was in the press, I put the ceiling mounts up for the long wall near the weight room. I then took the 8 foot section that had set all day with the new ties and put the section in place on the new mounts.


Tomorrow I will put a coat of polyurethane on the new curves and the long section and hopefully get a second coat on the sections on Thursday so that I can start putting rail on them this coming weekend.