Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Noodling... Can the entry gate be salvaged?"

It was reassuring to see that I was not alone as the "welcome to the club" congratulations poured in from fellow model railroaders over my gaffe with the entry gate. But while many have had their own "been there, done that" moments, it still didn't mitigate the fact that I had a problem of my own creation that needed to be rectified. Did I have the goods to figure something out or was I indeed a free agent going to the village with the winning bid?

Aside from lowering the cellar floor, per my buddy Chuck Diljack's thoughtful advice, I needed to shorten the length of the span or increase the height of the drop. My priority was whatever would be easier without a loss of effectiveness.

The early morning sun poured into my favorite coffee-sipping, jazz-listening, newspaper-reading lounging spot. Meanwhile, the defective entry gate mockingly disrupted my view into the train room. But could it be that the stop plate extension was the sole issue?

Measurements showed that it was very close whether the stop plate was the only issue, so it was removed, but the gate still didn't quite clear the floor. Like my Mets, close, but no cigar. 

The stop plate was mounted to the top of the bench work and a reinforcing 1" x 3" support was switched from the end of the span to the edge of the bench work. Combined with the 1/4" expansion gap that was no longer part of the span's framing, I picked up a full 1".

The sash locks were now placed inside the end of the span while still being assured of perfect height alignment by the stop atop the bench work.

Success! The gate now swings freely and will give me maximum clearance adjacent to the entry. I may add a hydraulic closer similar to what is used for storm doors to assure that the gate drops in a controlled manner.

Here's the reworked version. Still  perfectly level, but 1" shorter and awaiting risers for the sub-roadbed. Scroll down to compare this photo to the first photo in Sunday's post.

It remains to be seen how this will work out once track is laid, but it is very solid. Hopefully the expansion/contraction cycle will be minimal since my basement is climate controlled and the kiln-dried framing has been here for a year already.

I will need to be careful as I build up from the bench work to an overall depth of about 12". The meeting-edge of the span will need to be angled back slightly to allow for clearance when the gate drops down in its pendulum arc. I will do some mock-ups to make certain that that clearance doesn't become an issue. But for now, mission accomplished. More on this down the road, I'm sure.


I'm just saying, but if a recording tells me how much my business is appreciated by the companies that I sometimes need to call, why do they make it so incredibly frustrating to reach an actual human being?


  1. VERY impressive solution! I'll be interested to see how your subroadbed will deal with the height difference between the top of the benchwork and the top of the stop plate. Perhaps it's as easy as just laying the plywood subroadbed across the top of the stop plate and cutting the gap in? And VERY cool idea about using a hydraulic closer! I would have never thought of that, but now I'm seriously considering that myself - and will give full credit to you if I do, of course. Brilliant idea

    1. Thanks, Chris... yes, the subroadbed for the staging will be a couple of inches above the frame so no worries with the stop... my main concern is the mainline subroadbed which will be on risers about 8" high and the resulting clearance required as the gate drops down... we'll see how that goes... BTW, are we talking royalties with the closer idea?

  2. Nice save, Jim. Yea, definitely easier than lowering the floor.

    1. Chuck - Keep thinking outside of the box... it's that kind of innovative thinking that we're looking for - JF