Post by metroland on Nov 4, 2015 15:54:31 GMT
Welcome to Mantles Wood.
Followers of my old layout will know that sadly I had to tear it up, in preparation for a house move to west Wales May 2014.
The Head of Household gave approval for me to use the new garage as my layout room, a very commendable 17’ x 13’ area. However, it wasn’t until nearly Christmas that we were able to have local chippies convert it into a proper room, as we were endlessly moving furniture from room to room whilst the bungalow was re-decorated etc, and the garage was needed as decanting space.
Why Mantles Wood? Well I’d always been fascinated by Rickmansworth ever since I discovered it as a lad, and as you know my old layout had elements of BR and LT. Even with my larger facility there’s no way I could attempt Ricky so was pondering a poor man’s Rickmansworth.
Many of you will know that Mantles Wood marks the boundary these days between Network Rail and TfL, and in the past BR/LT etc. Needless to say Mantles Wood isn’t actually at Mantles Wood but then Clapham Junction isn’t at Clapham so nothing new there then. Further reading here:
This gave me the opportunity to have a name from the right area, but use my old stock and the old pretext that the line here was originally LNWR/Metropolitan Joint before eventually becoming BR/LT.
The rest of this first post concerns the conversion of the garage into a proper room as I hope some viewers will be interested.
The garage was built in about 1999, with a typical concrete floor and breeze block construction, and a window that was little better than green-house glass. Fortunately we had a sum of money left over from the house move that meant paying for the job to be done properly wasn’t too onerous, although we avoided super-dooper professional firms who would have charged well who knows….?
Although the bungalow wasn’t a wreck, we had a lot to do with thorough redecoration, and then (mostly through choice) rebuilding the kitchen, major re-wiring and replacing the fireplace.
This gave us the chance to check out the price/quality of local tradesmen who generally did a good day’s work for a good day’s pay and by and large were semi-retired/almost retired. We decided to offer the work to a local carpenter who’d done good work for us, a shopfitter/chippie who he also used on bigger jobs, and an electrician who’d done a lot of wiring for us. Generally speaking their work was £12-£15 per hour (amazing considering where we’d come from in South Bucks).
As the garage was all concrete/stone I decided to go for hi-spec within reason and I’m really glad I did. Note: I was quite ill when most of the work was done so quality of pics varies.
I had the window replaced with a double-glazed one just before the major work was done. The walls and floors were covered with waterproof membranes. The flooring timbers were either 4” x 3” or 4” x 2” and the wall timbers were 3” x 2”. In both cases the spaces were filled with 40mm insulating foamy stuff which had waterproof facings. The walls were then covered with plasterboard and then plastered. The floor then had a covering of flooring quality chipboard. Also the living room carpet from the previous owner didn’t suit us indoors but it was fairly new and did a treat in the garage.
The work was complete just before Christmas. It took a while for the top plaster to dry as it was damp weather at the time, however it was worth the wait. Touch wood there’s been no shrinkage to date since it dried so slowly.
As the garage was a bare shell, the cost of additional wiring and sockets was minimal (as compared doing half the amount I eventually chose) so I had 16 electric sockets and eight 4’ fluorescent lights in 2 banks of 4. With the wiring that we’d had done in the main house, we’d had to have a new consumer unit (fuse box in old money). There was spare capacity on this to run a 40A cable to the garage so the electrician gave me another ring main in the garage with its own fuse box. I could actually have a cooker in there but that’s probably overkill unless I’m really in the doghouse.
The ‘loft’ space was filled with something like 12” of rock-wool to give further insulation.
Total cost of the work was in the region of £4k, roughly 50/50 parts/labour. Clearly that’s not the sort of sum most people have on tap, and neither did I before the house move. However that was by no means bad when you consider that people who advertise heavily about converting lofts/garages into meaningful space would like have wanted double. Even if you’re doing it yourself I’d strongly recommend doing it to a decent spec if funds allow.
A couple of pics of the garage just prior to the work:
Early wiring work before the build proper can start:
Roof and floor work. Note the garage door hasn’t yet been covered:
The garage door has now disappeared behind a wall
Top-coat plastering under way on the end wall opposite the garage doors
The finished room but still bare
Layout baseboards installed (described in next posting). Also old kitchen units and work surfaces have been recycled to give a decent workbench in the middle.
Next posting: Initial track work