Building the first 2.5 foot curve

I took vacation this week to burn up some of my time off and used it to build the second curve for the track.  I did basically the same thing that I did for the 3 foot curve, but I learned a few lessons and did this one differently…and faster.  See the picture below for the curve in the jig.

2_5_foot_curve_jig_full

  • The first big difference is that I used larger 3/8 inch dowels and made the dowels longer. This allowed the inner row of dowels to be set higher than the outer row so that I could more easily bend the wood against the longer dowels before pushing down to the supporting board.
  • The second big difference is that the outer rail does not have inner dowels.  Notice that in the picture, I have dowels on both sides of the inner rail, but the outer rail is spaced off of the inner rail by small chunks of wood.  This improves the flexibility of creating the curve and actually makes it a smoother curve.
  • The last 8 sections of the curve (on both ends) is pulled in 1/2 inch.  I found that in the first curve, when I pulled it out of the jig, it expanded slightly causing it to not be a true 90 degree curve.
  • The last difference is that this is a 2.5 foot curve rather than a 3 foot curve so notice that there are no joints between the 1/4x1x48 strips of wood.

3 foot curves are not available in standard track but 2.5 foot curves are.  It appears that a 2.5 foot curve can be navigated by any of the available stock but I don’t think this will matter in the final layout in the first place.  The train is intended to have a whimsical look and will likely be a circus train with a simulated steam engine.  So, each car should be fairly short and the engine will be a 2-4-0 wheel layout.

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