Rainier Great Western Railway & Navigation Company

The Route of the Thunderbird


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The Home and Design of the RGW....

This Page Currently Under Construction (Literally)

Train Room (Shell)  -  Train Room (Interior)  -  Layout Design

Layout Construction:  (click on pictures for full view)

January 2006 (2):    

The weekend of January 21, we put our mind to completing the plywood base of the southwest finger table staging level.  Originally we had in mind a hexagonal table section, but in the final analysis, a radius curve looks better and is more functional.

We quickly determined to use a method we have seen several times on the New Yankee Workshop.  The method involves use of a jig that holds a router and pivots on a 1/4' dowel at the center point of the radius.  First step, is to find the center of the curve.  While there was a bit of trial and error, it all starts with measuring the two points of the curve that are furthest apart.  This distance was 66 inches, giving us a 33 inch radius.  We then marked that point on the plywood top and made a second measurement from the front edge of the table 33 inches back. 

We then had to build the jig. We used 3/8" press board and 5/8" plywood to build the jig.  You might ask why those two products, simple, they were scraps laying on the floor.  The press board spanned the 33 inches we needed and the plywood provided some extra strength.  You attach the router by removing the base plate, then marking and drilling holes in the jig.  Be sure to recess the screws so there is a smooth base in all cases.  We attached the router, plunged the 5/8" straight cutting bit through the base and then measured back 33 inches to find the center point.

Once built, we drilled 1/4" holes in the jig and the table top to form the pivot point.  We then made a test run and we found we had some clearance problems with the 4x4 post.  So we notched the jig to allow the extra swing necessary to complete the radius.  You will also note that we used a dremel tool to cut off the excess of the screws used in building the jig, we do this in all cases for safety.  Here are the pics that show you how we put this all together  (My apologies to Norm Abram for the lack of clean lines on the jig, but it's functional and that's all that matters):


Center of radius with 1/4 inch hole drilled for dowel to act as pivot.          Dowle inserted in corresponding 1/4" hole in jig.          Complete jig assembly, note predrilled holes for router.          Jig in position to cut radius.          Complete view of jig and router.


Here are pics of the final product.  You will see we have cut pieces to fill the gaps in all cases except the space that runs the length of the outer table.  When we put the main piece in place, we found that a scrap we had from another cut nearly fit perfect.  Rather than waste another cut, we decided that once the homosote is laid on top, this small gap will be inconsequential.  We placed the outer edge at its best fit, then ran the screws and were set for the cut.

             Before    and     After.....

Staging area plywood before radius cut.          Westerly view of staging area with radius cut.          Close up view of radius cut.          Easterly view of staging area.          Complete view of SW FInger Table with completed staging plywood base.


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