This weekend would normally be the annual Warley National exhibition, COVID-19 obviously has taken its toll this year and well into 21 of the exhibition scene. However, this year Warley will be running a two day show on line, see here Warley 2020 Online which looks like there’s some interesting content to come. For those of us who usually exhibit it’ll be a bit weird not being in Brum this weekend, so I have a plan. Friday evening I’m going to park my car on the drive for about 30 minutes with the engine running, and then park it in a convenient position. I’ll then go and make the tea, and for authenticity I’ll have the boss mansplain to go and move the car 300 yards down the road, and raiding my wallet for a bit more than a fiver. On Sunday evening we’ll play the same game except for a two hour duration, with the drive blocked by other cars and some additional mansplaining on why the other vehicles can’t be moved.
In all seriousness though for the size of show the Warley team including the NEC much maligned staff do a really good job. Set up and break down is a big part of the show scene, and the better the design of stand or layout the easier it is.
Shelfie3 is well underway in this regard and earlier this week I took delivery of a board from Tim Horn. It’s the first time I’ve built one of his boards, but having seen Chris Nevard’s use of them, and having one of Tim’s prototype turntable boards I was interested to see if the build was as good as the reputation that precedes them.
The initial look is very encouraging, high quality 6mm ply (in this example) and the benefits of laser cutting immediately visible, with components marked for ease of assembly. The structure includes holes cut for lightness whilst retaining the rigidity, and channels cut for ease of threading a wiring loom. The hardware supplied too is good quality, nothing frustrates me more than working with a dodgy slot on a cheap screw. No such worries in the package provided. The quality of this 6mm ply is very good indeed, this isn’t the sort of material you’d find at the high street DIY chains, so a big plus point for the build quality, fit and handling.
The dry fitting run took around half an hour or so. The quality of the fit is exceptional, whilst laser cut, it has the feel and fit of precision engineering, even down to countersinking either side of the screw holes for an easier build.
I took the dry fit assembly apart, and started the build. I use a commercial PVA glue and use it in thin beads along the seam lines. The fit is almost like a snap together kit and each crosshead screw helps pull the final assembly tight. I only needed to lightly clamp one or two sections (above) to ensure a cabinet makers type final fit.
The boards I’ve chosen are the latest design with an external frame to cantilever the front pelmet and fascia’s over the scenic sections. This adds another inch or so to the maximum depth on the footprint, but means an uninterrupted flat backscene is available. On earlier boards if you have them, you can fit a batten to the rear of the boards and cut away the internal bracing, with no compromise of the structure.
I found the assembly easy and straightforward, and surprisingly rapid. The whole structure, glued and screwed, took about an hour to make. I did need to clamp a couple of sections for the glue to grab more efficiently, but I have literally spent longer in the Warley vehicle queue for layout breakdown! When fitted to a previous board of about a year ago the alignment is all accurate and level emphasising the accuracy and quality of the products. On completion I ran some sandpaper along the edges just to round them off. There’s no indication that the edges will splinter due to the quality of the material, but it adds the finishing touch for manual handling. I feel these are extraordinary value for money. If I were to buy the component wood and then cost in the time of measuring, accurate cutting, and assembling a basic softwood frame I doubt if it would be any quicker or in effect cheaper. For my Shelfie’s projects these are almost ideal. In a couple of hours I can build the core structure of a layout project accurately, easily and consistently. If you don’t have access to a mancave or the tools therein, this is a clean easy way you can make a baseboard in your living room, if I lived in an apartment this would be ideal, flat pack and just a screwdriver needed to assemble. That’s worth a huge amount, and if time and woodworking are elements that are holding you back, Tim’s products are worth investing in.
So, see you on the drive.