Turntable tie extensions

I spent a day’s worth of spare moments pondering what to do about the interfering centre-posts. On the one hand, I don’t want to make the ties look too long as my reference photo implies there wasn’t much space for a crew to walk alongside the engine; earlier mockups indicated that 12′ is slightly too wide. On the other hand, it doesn’t look to me as if there is a long extension to support the balance post.  It may be on a bracket outside the guard timber, but if I interpret the photo that way, I have to hide the mortises in the guard timbers somehow.

I ultimately decided that I would see how difficult it would be to take a mulligan. So, while the kids were having fifteen minutes more play time before bed, I laid some masking tape on the walkways to keep the boards in order, and slipped my knife underneath them. They came away much easier than I’d expected, and so, I kept going. Half an hour later, the kids were yawning, and I had removed both walkways.

Tie extensions

Then the hard work began. Happy that I was only fixing a 50-foot turntable instead of one of the latter-day 100-foot monsters, I chopped 95 pieces of 8×8 pre-stained lumber. I ensured one end of each piece was square by sanding them in my NWSL True-Sander. Then, I glued them to the ends of the existing ties with carpenters glue.

The ties now have rough ends from having been cut with the Chopper (on thick material, the Chopper doesn’t cut straight, and so, you must make at least two cuts). I’m hoping I will be able to even up the ends with a gentle sanding without knocking any off. This should also enable me to address the off-center failing that was also bothering me slightly. Indeed, if I were making another deck turntable, I would leave the ties slightly over-length until the rail was on.

With a temporary deck casting shadows, the joints are difficult to find from ordinary viewing angles. It will be even more difficult once I’ve spent a little more time matching the colours. After sanding, the extensions should result in about 11’4″ ties, which should provide clearance for my engine’s steps and the gondola’s stake pockets, without looking too long.


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