Monday, August 29, 2011

Helix Happenings

As usual, it has been a while since I posted. I spent some of the time since the last post attending the NMRA national convention in Sacramento. The X2011 West was very enjoyable for me. I got to see lots of friends, lots of layouts, did some operating, and generally had a good time. As usual, I spent much of my time with the Layout Design Special Interest Group and the Operations Special Interest Group. This year both of the SIGs had lots of activities and the SIG room always seemed to be active. I tried to stay below the radar, but it is in my nature to help out and since the national was taking place in my home region, I did volunteer a few hours during the convention. The final registration figure exceeded 2000 for the convention and 19,800 for the National Train Show. My wife went with me and we stayed with friends and spent time with them. He also came with me to the convention for three days. We visited Lake Tahoe to escape the 100 degree valley temperatures and enjoy the outdoors.

I have been doing some tuning of my mediocre trackwork and almost am able to get a train all the way around the layout without problems. I am hoping this will happen sooner than later and so do many of my friends who have been patiently waiting to run their trains on my layout.

One item that came up during some of the work on the track was some tell-tale piles of wood dust in my helix.

I had not noticed them before so it is a recent development. I had not been drilling in the area so I investigated and found holes in the 1/4 inch luan plywood that I used to laminate the roadbed for the helix.

I have also discovered a dead body of one of the culprets. I am not an entomologist but I believe it is one of the insects commonly called Powder Post Beetles. As you can see from this photo, they are quite small.

Here is one belly up, which is the way I wish they all were.

I have investigated how to eliminate them and will be applying some sort of aerosol spray in the holes they have drilled in the hopes of stopping further damage. I thought about calling in a crop duster and have managed to get a volunteer in the person of a model of a Curtiss Pusher that I built when I was a lot younger.

The model is a Cox Thimbledrome. I did not want to let it go so I found a place to hang it in the layout room directly over the helix. And yes, I know it is out of scale.

I will be off to the Portland Southern Pacific Historical Society meeting for a while but will post more progress in September.

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