A model railway dining table – Part 10.

August 16th, 2014

Friday night I didn’t plane the top. I sanded it with the random orbit sander and that worked great. I then glued the corners. I had to make a few minor adjustments to get everything square. The fit isn’t perfect but I was more concerned with making it square. I weighted it down with handy Austin 7 parts!

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Today I went out early to Omega Metals in Onehunga to get some steel strap (and I also found some brass rod perfect for my Austin bonnet main hinge pin). I then went out again as I forgot to get a router bit to match the width of the steel strap.

Luckily I hadn’t epoxied the top to the garage floor (I should have put plastic sheet under it before gluing) so I sanded it all back. There was a damaged edge on the underside so I mixed up some epoxy and sawdust and used tape to make an edge so I could epoxy fill the gap. I also did the same to the gaps on the underside to add strength then sanded the bottom smooth. I also used the router with a 45 degree bit to bevel all the edges to stop them splitting.

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I then sanded the top then looked at cutting the slot for the steel edging. I was able to stand the top up against my workbench and clamp a piece of straight pine to the edge as a guide. There were two unfortunate things. One was the board wasn’t long enough to do the long sides so half way I had to stop and shift the board. The second was that the router bit I got was 20mm wide. The steel is about 20.5mm wide. So I needed to make one pass, make a tiny adjustment then make a second pass.

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Once done though the steel slots in nicely. I then had to do the short ends. Luckily the board was now long enough. But I did need to find something to stand on so I could reach high enough. And since the stool wasn’t long enough I had to stop half way to shift that so I didn’t step off the edge!


I got it done though with no mistakes. The thing with routers is when it goes wrong it usually goes VERY wrong. Next I cut the steel strap. I could have bent the corners but it’s very hard to get a tight bend and I wanted square corners. Also any bend would have to be perfect so that the halves would fit into the slot correctly. I didn’t fancy my chances of pulling that off! So instead I cut six pieces of steel and welded them. Six because the strap is made in two halves. There is a split in the middle of the short ends. I was able to cut the pieces then tack them on the top then remove them to fully weld them.

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The clamp held everything in palce and provided an earth lead attachment. Since there is a deep slot where the groove in the floor boards was I was able to do a nice big blob of weld on the inside of the corners too so they are good and solid. I ground down the welds. I don’t think the steel needs any finishing. The table will be oiled and that will stop the steel rusting. The black strap is suitably railway.

I will screw or bolt the strap in place. Actually now it is in there it’s quite hard to remove since the fit is so good. That done I bought the top in to try it out. The strap will also help hold the whole thing together of course. The laps will be screwed from underneath and there is a ton of epoxy so I don’t think it’s every going to break!

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The short side with the two old nail holes I did the same epoxy and sawdust filler trick then sanded them smooth. You can see in the picture as well as where the join in the strap is. I like that the holes are visible. It’s part of the table’s story. They are old floor boards from the Auckland railway station after all and floorboards have nail holes!


Next I need to screw the strap in place. I am not sure what I will use to do that. Counter sunk screws? Black hex head ones might be nice? Domed black slotted screws? Something railway-y would be nice. And I can now give a final sanding and start oiling it. I’ll probably used something like boiled linseed oil.

One Response to “A model railway dining table – Part 10.”

  1. Asciimation » Blog Archives » Orwell computer case. Says:

    […] The timber for the sides is oak recycled from an old dresser a friend got for me off the side of the road (we had an inorganic collection – so much great stuff people throw out). It wasn’t worth restoring so I broke it all apart for the timber.  Good timber is hard to find these days so recycling old stuff is the way to go like I did on my railway dining table. […]