Last night we had another discussion about the planned layout.
We invited “Kitchen Mike”, who is not an N gauge modeller, but used to own a company that builds kitchens, so is an expert on wood-working and able to offer a “reality check”, as well as getting us wood at a lower price and getting it cut for us too, hopefully. Thanks, Mike!
We will not be able to get the end pieces produced in a set of single pieces as we had planned, though it would be possible to fabricate them. The important thing, in my view, is that we have locating dowels and bolts at two heights, and this is still feasible with the fabricated end pieces.
One point he made is that we are better using thin ply, but in a “L” shape. So most of the boards can be made from 6 mm ply, with only the ends that will be joined together made of 12 mm (rather than 18 mm we had been considering).
He suggested using feet that are found under fitted cupboards to allow the boards to be adjusted (and levelled with a spirit level). Boards joined with self-locking bolts, though it was pointed out that three of these had already failed on Euxton Junc.
Mike suggested that the best way to proceed was for him to get some sheets of 6 mm ply for us. We print out the trackplan full size from AnyRail, and stick it to the boards, then mark the edges of the boards supporting the track with a “pounce wheel”. We can then cut the wood with a jigsaw. He will then take what is left to precious cut the other parts. This will reduce wastage as far as possible.
Someone pointed out that 4′ wide trolleys may not go through some doors at exhibitions, which generated some discussion… An alternative would be to have boards paired up, facing each other, then placed vertically on a trolley, which would only be 2.5 foot wide. How that would convert into legs, and indeed whether the trolley would even be part of the supports, was not clear.
Or only go to exhibitions with big enough doors..?
ETA: Just had a chat with “kitchen Mike”, and he is now thinking 9 mm instead of 6 mm.