Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to Square One, Kinda

So, after a discussion with my wife, I'm back to just the one side of the basement. For those that may not know, I had a daughter just over 8 months ago. I built her crib and changing table/dresser using a plan out of Wood magazine. My wife loved the idea and wants me to do that for our future kid(s). I'm even making shelves and a bookcase now for her room. As a result, taking up the whole basement would restrict my ability to do that in the future. While cutting of the wood could be done outside, I don't have a room inside to do things like gluing and clamping. Our garage was finished by the previous owners and my shed is like everyone else's, if you can get the lawnmower in without running over all the outdoor tools, it's a bonus. So, that leaves me with the layout on one side of the basement or the other. Now, I say either side because each has its advantages and disadvantages.

From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale
Ignore the walls in the picture above, I was just playing around with some stud-wall ideas. On one side, you have the gas meter, water meter, and stairs entrance.

From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale
From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale
From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale

On the other side you have the utilities, a secondary water meter, the crawl space entrance and ductwork.

From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale
From Conrail Harrisburg Line - N Scale

One reason to limit to one side or the other right down the posts is that I can completely enclose the layout room. This way, if I'm working on woodworking projects, I won't get dust on the layout. I could also fully insulate the layout room and take my time doing the other side. I'm leaning towards the side without the utilities as I think the ductwork is going to be too much of a hindrance to a multi-level layout. Also, all of our utility lines: electrical for utilities, cold and hot water lines, and gas lines run on that side and covering them up, even with a drop ceiling, is just asking for problems, especially if there is a layout underneath. The line from the water meter and the gas meter to this side run through joists that would either be where a walkway is or along the outside wall, so those lines are less of a concern.

On the flip side, the other side of the basement would require a walkway, which should be unobstructed to the other side, thinking 36" from the steps. I've thought of using under the stairs for a helix of some kind, however, that would require either lift out sections or a duck under to the other side of the basement, where our second fridge is/would be located. Also, even though I have a nice alcove at the bottom of the stairs,where the water meter is which previous plans used, I'm leaning towards leaving the majority of that space open. The reason for this is getting wood down there, not just for projects, but also the layout itself. From the photos above, you can see sheets of drywall and plywood already down there. I had to use all available space at the bottom of the steps to get them down. Obviously, once the layout room is finished, drywall won't have to come down in sheets, but plywood may still have to be, maybe not full sheets but that doesn't preclude 8' sections either.

One other option I've contemplated is to go "sidways" across the basement. What I'm not sure of is how much storage space I'd have left over if I did this and I'd also have to ensure access to the utilities in some form. Also, the ductwork and water/gas lines would be running perpendicular to the layout (most likely).

I'm really leaning towards the side with the stairs, like all my previous attempts at plans had been, but I really do need to leave access, in some form, to the gas meter for when PSE&G replaces it. I've ordered the back issue of ModelRailroader from April, 2007, where Tony Koester talks about his swing gate in front of his water heater, softener and other appliances. I'm interested in his construction methods as his NKP is one of the few mulit-deck layouts I"ve seen with a large swing gate. Another option that I saw when searching various forums, was someone mentioned building that section as a "cart" like piece that when needed, could be rolled out. The person compared it a media car or tool car. I might play around with some designs for that and see what I come up with also and compare the two methods. If I want to do the U shape with a center peninsula (i.e., the E as I cal it), this is the one piece that I need to work out, otherwise, an little area that's about 4x4 is going to have to be set aside there for access to the meter and that could severely hinder plans to model this particular piece of Conrail.


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Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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