Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remodeling the bathroom, Day 2

Today, I finished pulling out the tile wall around the tub, pulled down the ceiling, and got the tub out. I've bought a new vent fan and some sheetrock to start the ceiling, but I'm afraid it's going to be a day or two before I start on that. I need a rest!

This is where the tub sat. Pretty much the same view as the last picture in yesterday's post.

The box in the ceiling was for a heater (just a big electrical heating element). I'm going to put in a vent fan/light instead. I stuck pieces of tape on the header to mark the rafters for hanging the sheetrock.

Oh, I also pulled most of the outer wall in the hallway out. It was the only way the tub was coming out. This bathroom had a pocket door, which I hated since it was always coming off it's track.

The overall size of this bathroom is only 61"X71" or 5X6 feet (stud to stud). Not a lot of room to work with, but that also means it isn't too big a project to finish in a reasonable amount of time.

We are discussing whether or not to replace the tub with another tub/shower or whether to put in a shower stall with a door. What do you think?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guttin' a bathroom

I'm gutting out a bathroom this week. There was a leak under the toilet, and it rotted the floor. I decided that I might as well do the whole bathroom while I was at it, so spent today tearing out everything in sight. Ironically, the floor will be the last thing I tear out.

Where the toilet was. You can see where the water damage is. The damage is coming up from the subfloor!

You can see where I have taken some of the sheetrock off the ceiling. There is some old water damage to the rafter that I will need to fix. I'll also be replacing all the insulation.

I haven't torn this wall out of the bathtub yet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What the heck?

I saw this just the other day, and am not sure if it's legitimate or not. It sure reads like something from The Onion, or possibly National Lampoon. Anyway, Submitted for your Friday enjoyment is what must have seemed like a dream job at the time....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Work on the new N Scale

We are making some progress on the N Scale layout donated by the family in Coleman. The layout will end up being U-shaped, with a four foot long, 16 inch wide connector across the back. I took a couple of pictures so you can see what it currently looks like.

This is what will be the right side of the layout. The upper level will be removed, and some track will be rearranged for better operation.

This is what will be the left side of the layout. Again, the top level will be removed, and some track will be rearranged. We plan to keep all the town names from the original plan, and there will be track on other levels. We just want to use current techniques to do it.

This is a view looking into the room, so that you can see how the two sides will be arranged (generally). The tables will need to be moved around a bit for final placement. The section in the back, on the right, will be made into the connector between the two main parts of the layout.

Here is another view of the left side of the layout. I got busy this morning, and removed the upper levels of track.

All of the track used on this layout is sectional, so there is a rail joint every 4 or 5 inches. We hope to be able to replace all of the sectional track with 3-foot flex track, which will both be newer and have less connections to worry about.

We plan to be able to use this layout both as a display piece, and for club operations. To that end, we will have a dual power setup with regular DC power, on a timer, for museum operation, and DCC power for club use. The power source will be selectable by a simple toggle switch.

For museum operations, we should be able to run at least three trains at any one time, so there will be plenty of action to see. For club operations, there will be 2 yards, and several industries to switch, so 2, 3, or maybe even 4 operators will be kept busy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another shamless link to another blog

I'll start doing my own writing again next week, but this is really worth reading. This guy says it very well, and certainly expresses the way I feel!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Chuckle for the morning, courtesy of Don...

I was looking at the things that run through Don's mind (a pretty disturbing thing to do), and today he has some fun with word play. I thought that rather than posting anything original, I would just point you over there so you could get a bit of a laugh on him.

Remember, a boiled egg is hard to beat.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today is the 31st anniversary of my first date with my wife! I was 17, and she was 15. I'm happy to say that we both seem to have chosen well, and have always gotten along great. She is truly my best friend.

Oh yeah...Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New project at the depot

As I've ementioned before, I volunteer at, and serve on the board of, the local rail museum. We are located in the old Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient/Santa Fe depot, which was built in 1909, and have a small museum, gift shop, static display of real equipment, and several model railroad displays.

In the late 1980s a gentleman in Coleman, Texas, who was building a large N Scale layout in his home, decided to move to Argentina. So his layout was crated up, along with all of his building kits, rolling stock, magazines, and modeling tools, and put on a ship to Argentina. I'm not sure if he ever got to Argentina or not, but I do know that at some point he died.

The layout remained in it's crate for the next 20 years, and did travel, by ship, to Argentina and back. A month or so ago, as his will stipulated, it arrived at the San Angelo Santa Fe Depot, and the crate was finally opened. What we found was an unfinished N scale model railroad, about 4X16 feet and cut in half, that was actually in pretty good condition! There were also all the other things mentioned, and it was a bit like going back in time 20 years to look at the old magazines and catalogs, as well as the prices on the kit boxes.

We have set the layout up in one of the upstairs rooms of the depot, and have started small repairs in hopes of getting some of the track working. We were concerned about where the depot was going to come up with the money, and had actually discussed shutting the door to the room for a couple of years, until we had the necessary funds.

Then we got a call from the family. They said that they were interested in seeing the layout finished as a memorial to their father who had started it and who had enjoyed it so much. They expressed a desire to donate a substantial amount of money to the project, and have just done so.

There is a blog, devoted to this layout, which doesn't have much yet, but you may want to check back once in a while to see how the project is coming along. I'll also post any significant developments here.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I mentioned a while ago that I would say a bit about sound. I have a Bachmann On30 Shay, with sound. Suggested retail price for these engines is around $400 (it's printed on the box), but you can buy them from places like The Favorite Spot, in Denton TX, for around half that. My engine came equipped with DCC control and a Soundtraxx Tsunami sound system already installed. I think the speaker in the tender is a 1 inch speaker, but it does sound pretty good.

The clip below demonstrates how it sounds. You can hear the compressor hammering away, the "chuff" is synchronized to the speed of the loco (I started it off a bit too fast, and had to slow back down), when it slows you can hear the brakes squealing, and so on. Of course, the loco literally has bells and whistles!

I'm planning on adding sound to other locos, and I will probably buy a Climax loco with sound also. Come to think of it, I may need to sell a Shay and Climax, without sound, to pay for some sound components!


Shay starting up

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

State of the Union by Carl Moore

I saw this cartoon, and thought it worth sharing. It appears the American people are already starting to rise up, and the President's "honeymoon" with the media may already be over.

I've noticed more and more newspaper articles and editorials critical of Barack Obama's plans, policies, and cabinet choices. Just today, our local paper essentially called his Attorney General a racist.

My question is, "Where were they last year?"