Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Hobby, Old Train

For as long as I can remember growing up, my mom's dad, Granddad, worked on his model train set. Whenever we would go visit, we'd always ask to see the train that was housed in the storage room at the back of the garage. All of the grandchildren learned that you don't touch the train-- you can only look at it, but if we were lucky (and usually alone), Granddad would let us "drive" the train. As with most good things, they must come to an end. Nana and Granddad had decided to downsize and move to a smaller house and the train table was not among the items that were also making the trip. While the rest of the family was collecting the things from Nana and Granddad's that they just couldn't let go of, Matt and I (who were just dating at the time) asked for the train table. The table, which Granddad had already been taking apart (I guess he didn't think anyone would want it), remained stored in Matt's brother's garage for the past three years while we were in the apartment. As soon as we moved, so did the train table! Unfortunately, after building a platform for the table to sit on, setting out all of the trains, reading countless wiring books and websites, Matt and I realized that we were not going to get the train running again. Though we still wanted to use Granddad's trains and track (and inspiration) for our new hobby-- a model train set. So we got a kit. Here's our story....
To start, we (and by we, I mean Matt), had to continue what Granddad had started and take up all the laid track and scenery. Since our kit is a foot shallower, he also cut a foot off the table and sanded it as smooth as possible. Then we covered it with newspaper to protect the styrofoam base from any sneaky rough spots.
The base came in four sections, which we had to put together upside down, tape, flip, and the hot glue the inside of the seams. The track layout was already on the base.... so now all we had to do was sift through all of Granddad's track for the right size pieces.
It took us about an hour to get all the correct pieces in place and connected.
Then we had to remove the track in large pieces so that we could work on the topography.
We had to pin the flexible styrofoam risers over the sections where the track will be-- this was the first layer.
After each layer of the risers were pinned, we had to hot glue both sides of the bottom of the risers where they meet the base-- or the respective foam layer underneath, depending on what layer of risers we worked on. Here, Matt is gluing the second layer of riser-- the one that actually inclines. The glue gun we bought is a low temp glue gun and teeny. We had to alternate who pinned the risers and who glued since our fingers were getting sore squeezing the teeny trigger! ouch.
Once all the risers were in place and glued, we had to start plastering the first section. The direction booklet is very detailed and comes with many pictures, but I still had a better method of how to use the plaster covered cloth strips-- go figure, an art teacher with a sculpture background knows what she's doing!
For this step, we only had to plaster a few sections, but since we used team work, we were done in no time flat. I laid the plaster and Matt came behind me and smoothed it out. Speedy, we were.... Speedy!
As the plaster dried, we went upstairs and cut some more foam that will eventually form the walls of the tunnel. Measure twice-- cut once!
After a job well done, we sat and enjoyed our milk and cookies.

Matt started disassembling the train table around 10AM and we ate our cookies at 930PM. Granted, we had to take about an hour break to make a trip to Wally-World for some more glue sticks and grab a bite to eat, but we both had so much fun working together on this and it hardly felt like we worked for 10.5hrs on the train yesterday. Stay tuned for the next part of train assembly!

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait to see your finished product and here's to you guys for keeping the ole train a going! Awesome!