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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Commentary - Big Shop or Bigger Layout?

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OK, Joe Daddy is wrestling with something. Do I make my shop smaller so I can have a bigger layout, or is the shop more important than more train? Getting more real estate (more room) is not possible.

So, my thinking is to expand my layout into my shop and build the layout over the top of my existing work table at about 50 inches or so and use the room for both.

My current shop
Like many, I got involved in model railroading as my hobby after I finished my basement. And, I did a really good job of it. I finished every square foot, into livable sized rooms. My shop is a about 14 x 18 but it has 3 doors. It is adjacent to the train room, just through the door and wall behind the work bench and cabinets on the wall.

Current Layout
This layout evolved from a plan in Bob Hayden's book
Track Planning Ideas from Model Railroader; 58 Track Plans from Past Issues . It was the Enchantment branch of the ATSF, of all railroads. I liked it because it has a double mainline that allows me to run continuous operations, something I very much enjoy. And it is a type of layout that lends itself to computerization. I put a 7 siding double ended yard on the first level at 39" and the double dog bone at 51" on the top deck. So what is the issue Joe. Well, I want more places to put scenery and I want to be able to walk along with the trains too. All of my curves are minimum 30". To get the big curves, I sacrificed for the narrow isle.
Proposed Layout

To facilitate the new layout, I have been making my power tools become more portable so I can store them under the new layout. There will only be a passing track and a couple of industry sidings on the new section, all to make room for more scenery.

So, keep the big shop, or more trains?

New Layout Shop is blended

Well, my third layout, now named the Colorado and Santa Fe (C&SF) is well underway and trains are running. Certainly there is a ton of work to do, but everyday, I make a little progress. Do something everyday and stuff gets done, right?

Progress being made. The shop? Well, it is still there, underneath the layout. Do I like it? So far, so good, the only thing I don't like is that when I sit at my work bench, the layout is just a bit too tall for me to be able to see it easily. What change will that drive? I don't know, maybe I will learn to stand more.

Update 8/2008
While under construction, I used my table and chop saw in the layout room itself. While I was diligent in my attempts to keep everything clean, several things caught up with me:

  1. Keeping it train room clean is almost impossible. Even a short run of the sabre (jig) saw creates a huge amount of dust.
  2. Air quality is the biggest issue. Running saws without a professional grade (expensive) vacuum system puts tremendous amounts of dust into the air. Ultimately, my lungs shut down the operation.
  3. Getting things out and putting them away either to get under the layout, or to chop a board became too much of a burden.

So, last weekend, I worked over my garage and moved my chop and table saw into the basement. MY 10" band saw remains in the train room. The vacuum cleaner seems to work well with it. And I added air filtration to the train room too.



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