By David McCurdy
Twenty-five years ago, I was at the Mall of America and fell in love with the large G scale trains. With my wife and three kids encouraging me – the youngest in a stroller – I bought the only thing I could afford that day, and that was the catalog.
Recently I started buying trains with the excuse that they are for sale. The project is to build a track above the display racks in my store, tunnel through the office and suspend doublewide track across a 40-foot span. It should take 140 feet of track for each side of the double track route. So far the 100 feet of 1/2″ square tubing has produced the sides of two of the bridges that will be suspended about seven feet in the air. The wall brackets are still a mystery, as is the suspension system from the 14-foot ceiling.
I have about five hours in the project, including venturing into the world of welding. I have never welded before. When I was a kid, my dad’s lens was dark and I could never see anything except the glow of the arc. My son – the one from the stroller – has been giving me a few pointers on heat and wire speed. He then handed me a flap disk grinder wheel on a 4-1/2 inch grinder and told me that it could make most welds look good.
I think I am having more fun with the project than I have had with the trains that are spread out all over my store. The bridge currently on the bench is 11 inches high, 80 inches long and has a width that will be determined by how much room it takes to support two G scale tracks with enough room for two trains to meet.
Each of my welds looks just a little better. I ask my son how they look and he just smiles and nods like I used to do with him when he had a project I could help with in the early learning stages. I have never wanted anything welded that I couldn’t ask someone or hire someone to do. I thought this project was big enough that I would end up with more what I wanted and lots of practice on the welding side. The auto darking/shade adjustable helmet is the only way this project got off the ground.
Dave owns and operates Dave’s Store near Cavalier, N.D. Learn more at www.EverybodyLovesDave.com.