A model railway dining table – Part 4.

July 2nd, 2014

Today I messed up. But then managed to fix it. I went out this morning to get the frame timber. It was bucketing down so the top was up on the car and I was worried about getting the timber to fit. I bought two 2.4m lengths then, after carefully consulting my drawings I had made, had them cut in half. That would have been fine if I hadn’t written down one of the measurements on the drawing incorrectly. Instead of 1230 mm I wrote 1023 mm. And of course 2.4m cut in half ends up being a little less than 1230 mm! So instead of getting more wood I decided to see if I could fix things. I cut the shorter ends and with one of the left over pieces I cut it in half on an angle. I then made matching angle cuts on one end of the long sides then glued the two bit together. This is called a scarf joint. IMG_2138_1 IMG_2140_1

Everything was well clamped down between side rails and a flat base to make sure everything stayed straight. The angles were pretty accurate so that wasn’t really a problem. Then, once the glue was dry, to be absolutely sure of the joint I drilled it and bunged a dowel through.

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It’s not quite an invisible join but none of this is seen and it will have a base attached to it and a side so it will be strong enough. Next I started doing the square hole in the legs that these side rails fit into. Since all the legs are slightly different sizes I made a temporary jig so I could lie each leg down and measure from the bottom of the castor up to the top of the leg so I can make sure all the rails are at the same height above the floor.

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I marked everything out carefully in pencil then drilled a 20mm hole and four 16mm holes in the corners of the square I needed to cut out. The middle hole goes right to the middle of the leg so I can dowel the side rails in place.

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Then I chiseled out the hole so that the side rails would fit into them. They slide in about 20mm. It’s interesting how the wood in each leg feels different to cut with the chisel. Some cut well and easily, others seem to splinter a bit. There is even a difference in each leg. Differences in the wood I guess. You don’t get that with steel!

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Next I carefully sawed and chiseled out the slot that the rimu side pieces will slide into. I cut away most of the slot by hand this way then tidied up the slots with the router. The router bit is very efficient at turning wood into dust so removing as much as possible first minimises this.

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These slots are 10mm deep. So when side rails are in place the rimu side panels can be slid down into this slot and glued against the side rail. The rebates on the ends will stop the side rails from warping and moving and it looks much neater. You can see below with my test piece the same thickness as the sides how it fits in beside the main rails. These rails sit down 6mm below the main rails so that when the bottom is attached, which will be 5mm ply, it will sit nicely just above the side rails.

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I laid everything out on the floor and measured it all and it’s reasonably square even just loosely assembled. And the railway will fit. For a horrible moment I thought it wouldn’t but it will.

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So next I need to drill and dowel the ends of the side rails. That’ll be tricky to get everything to line up but I can make the dowels slightly smaller then everything is going to be glued with epoxy so that will fill any gaps. I think though with the side rails set into place and the rimu sides also cut in and there being a bottom under the whole table as well as a frame on top then it should be strong enough and very rigid. I just have to work out some way to ensure it’s all square when I glue it. I might make some kind of frame or jig I can clamp it to and just glue one corner at a time. I need to make sure the rails are all level so I may need small amounts of packing between the  tops of the legs and the ground to level it all up. Because I measured from the bottom of the legs I can’t reply on the tops all being the same height! Upside down Austin 7 chassis also make a fine timber rack!

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