Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Revealed and confirmed... I are such a idiot!"

Somewhere a village has a job opening with my name on it! But before we get to that, here's the backstory. It was long over due that I get back to the layout, and task numero uno was deciding upon a method for the entry gate. Just design it, fabricate it, install it. No real worries. For me, the keys were simplicity and durability. It was imperative that it remain out-of-the-way when not in use while still allowing emergency egress when it was in place.

It seemed that a simple 36" span that could drop down out of the way was a good way to go. I had some old door and old window hardware on hand, not to mention ample 1" x 3" framing from the discarded helix. Design, construction and installation went very well and all necessary parts were indeed available. I quite possibly had the single finest model railroad gate ever known to man.

The 14" x 36" span was actually cut from the helix frame and used as is. The ends were beefed up with extra 1" x 3" members for added mass to better accept the hardware. It is hinged on the left side so it can hang alongside the wall beyond the path of circulation. The right side is assured of vertical alignment by a 1" x 3" 'stop' screwed to the bottom of the span. It butts up against the fixed bench work when it is in the raised, fully level position.

The span is locked into these two sash locks from some old windows that were replaced. I saved the hardware for the slim possibility of some unbeknownst future use. Bingo, baby!

The heavy duty brass hinges are from old solid wood doors... the ones that they just don't make anymore. Ideally the hinges should be set flush by routing or chiseling out 3/16" giving them added strength, but the gate won't take the repetitive perpendicular force that a 'cantilevered' heavy door would, so why knock myself out, right?

The sash locks are shown here... one in the locked position and one in the open position. When fully secured, the gate is as rigid as the fixed bench work, even though there are gaps at each end for expansion/contraction.

And now, drumroll please... Presenting the finest model railroad entry gate (that does not clear the floor.)  No 'splainin' this. How could I have possibly screwed this up so royally?

Somehow I had neglected to carefully measure the vertical clearance versus the length of the span, including the 1" x 3" stop extension with its hardware. I had previously known that a gate would not be an issue when my bench work was at its original height. But I did not fully consider the impact of the 7" loss when the ill-fated upper-deck was installed and this deck was lowered.
I've walked away for a day or two to gather myself. There are a couple of ideas I have to possibly salvage this. We'll see how that works out. Meanwhile, I have to get the phone. I suspect a village is calling. To be continued...

Boy oh boy... model railroading can really be fun sometimes, can't it?


  1. All along I was thinking that's a beautifully made gate, what could possibly be the problem.
    I laughed but I feel for ya.

    1. Thanks, Chris... I actually chuckled myself once the momentary shock wore off... it was soooo silly... hopefully your son sees some of these pitfalls and learns early! - JF

  2. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
    "I've cut this piece of wood 3 times today and it's still too short!"

    1. Love it, Pierre... guess it's a right of passage for most all of us - JF

  3. Replies
    1. Pretty good... you had a smirk on your face as you typed that, didn't you? - JF

  4. See if the village has need of two idiots: we could double-team it. Today I set the filter in my paint booth on fire. No damage but a pants-filling 30 seconds.

    1. So what you're saying, Trevor, is kind of like a joint Canadian/American sequel to "Dumb and Dumber?"... we just might be able to pull it off! - JF