The wisdom of Kiff Holland

As I’ve finished the remaining bookshelves in the train room, I’ve been going through the boxes of books that first moved out to the garage when I started renovating the basement in 2012. What a treat to find so many old friends waiting patiently for me after all these years! Sadly there isn’t room for […]

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Percy’s New Frame

The one place where Percy admits surprisingly tight tolerance is in the relationship between axles and frame. Dropping the original axles into the slots, I find they have a nice running fit with very little discernable fore-and-aft movement. Both #622 and #10 have bearings running in guides, soldered à-la English etched kit to the insides […]

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Standing desk and step installed

Eleven months in gestation, the standing desk is finally installed. This project started with a doodle during the Daylight Savings Time switch last year. Within a day, Ken Rutherford had asked if it would be finished by Christmas. It is, just the following year. The whole thing is what I would call “door construction.” Two […]

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Friction for Percy

The question Percy and I have been grappling with is this: I strongly believe that 622 and 10 both spontaneously lost their quartering, causing them to lock up; how is this possible? Let’s review what we’ve learned so far: There is substantial play between the original crank pins and the connecting rods, as well as […]

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Percy and the loose drivers

The more I drill Percy on the test track, the more the little engine mystifies me. Up until now, I’d cherished the theory that a shifting driver could cause it to lose quarter and ultimately bind the mechanism. To probe this theory, I deliberately reamed one of Percy’s front drivers (the geared axle) so it […]

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Percy throws a rod

Earlier, Percy sheared off a crank pin. So, conjecturing that this meant the fast starts and stops were causing the wheels to get out of quarter sufficiently to put some force on the crank pin, I continued to replicate #10 and #622. Both of those have brass crank pins, but I turned some for Percy […]

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Percy shears a crank pin

With Percy’s continued resilience to poor alignment, my approach will be to continue to replicate the construction of #10 and #622 until I can make it fail in the same way. This week, I turned some 3 mm axles, having no such stock material in my collection. It turns out to be harder than expected […]

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Percy gets compensated

There is a widely held belief among proto:scale modellers that equipment works better if it is compensated or, better yet, sprung, or even better yet, compensated and sprung. It stands to reason that wheels that are able to stay on the rail are less likely to find the ballast. However, in an email, Rob Kirkham […]

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