January 25th, 2018

After getting those backdrops up and some spline down, I wanted to start on some trackage. Up to this point, I hadn't handlaid a turnout for over 3 years. So I figured I'd start with an easy one at the north end of the wye at Laws. Easy to pull up and replace if I made any mistakes. Once laying the flex track out and tracing each route, it measured out to be about a #11 in size. While doing this, I was having a hard time seeing what I was doing. So I put that on hold and ordered a few different kinds of LED strip lights. Once I found the brand that I was happy with, I installed them around the whole Laws area. Definitely made a huge difference! Then it was back to handlaying that turnout.


Cut out a piece of MDF for the LED light strips. The lights will attach to the angled part.


Even though these LED light strips have a good arc to their light output, I didn't want them to face straight down. When in place, this angle puts the lights aiming towards the middle of the benchwork.


Glued and screwed in place.


The LED strips have an adhesive backing to them, which makes for super easy installation. Guess we'll see if it holds up for the long term.


At the end of the isle, I put in a short piece at a 45° angle. As the valance curves around, this will fill in the space behind it.


These light strips can be cut every 3 LEDs, which makes it easy to solder on to.


24 awg wire soldered into place.


Let there be light! I'm running these off an old computer power supply for the needed 12V.


Now I can see to lay some track!


Put some cork roadbed down on this side of the curve. These 2 pieces glued together equal the height of the new cork roadbed I'm using for the rest of the layout. Kinda amazed that these old pieces match up to the new cork. Nothing goes to waste!


I'm using homasote to spike my turnouts into. This piece has been cut to match the height of the cork roadbed used under the rest of the track. I go into detail about the homasote here: Handlaying turnouts


Glued down using caulking.


In place. Almost time for ties!


The first leg is taped down and ready for tracing.


Taped down and traced out for the diverging route.


Ties glued down and first rails spiked.


From this angle, it looks like a huge turnout, but it ended up being a #11 in size.


Most of the turnout is spike down. I messed up on the frog point, so that came out and has to be redone. The clamp is holding the wood blocks used to mount the Tortoise switch machine to.


This is how I mount my Torts. I put them in from the top, with the turnout throwbar set in the middle, as well as the Tortoise actuator. I then put 4 dots with a pencil where the screw holes will go. Using a small sized drill bit, I drill down from the top so when I go under the layout, I can see all 4 holes. Makes it easy to line up the Tort into the correct position for throwing the turnout.


These are the brands of lights I'm using.


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