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Three years ago I documented some enhancements that I made to the wooden marble run sets sold under the name Quadrilla. See the thread: http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=1646
At the time, I expected to make additional enhancements fairly soon. But, I have not gotten around to doing so until now.
The idea for tower-bases came when I was making a Quadrilla marble run with Jamie (my 5-year-old granddaughter) a couple of weeks ago. We ran out of blocks but still had available rails. More than half the blocks that we were using served no purpose other than to hold up the towers. This is somewhat of a waste because each of the many Quadrilla blocks is built to serve some other purpose as well.
It occurred to me that it would be easy to manufacture some blocks whose only purpose was to support a tower. Once I started talking to Jamie about such a block, we came up with two “extra” features for it. First, the blocks can incorporate a wide base in order to make the towers more stable and second, the blocks can be built in multiples of the standard 6 cm height.
I have been storing some 2x10 Avodire wood in my garage for a few years that is idea for this project: Attachment 41095
Avodire is a medium-hard hardwood, the is almost white in colour and is straight and knot free.
I started by cutting off a chunk about one metre long, Then proceeded to rip strips that were slightly wider than the Quadrilla blocks. Then I set the fence on my table saw using a Quadrilla block as a “story stick”: Attachment 41096 Attachment 41097
and ripped several pieces to the same thickness as the blocks.
Next a chamfer was routed on the corners of all the pieces to match those on the Quadrilla blocks: Attachment 41098
The round pegs on the Quadrilla blocks (as seen on the orange block in the above picture) are a little under 30mm in diameter and about 12mm in height. To accommodate the pegs, 30mm holes were drilled 14mm deep into the top of each of the tower bases: Attachment 41099
The vertical piece was glued to a 11cm x 11cm 12mm thick piece of Baltic Birch and a pair of 18mm thick L shaped pieces were glued around the vertical piece in order to add support. Here is a photo of the glued and clamped assembly for one tower base: Attachment 41100
Before the glue-up the pieces were sanded with 120 / 150 / 220 grit paper in order using my Festool Rotex sander. After assembly and between coats of finish sanding with 220 grit was done using my Festool linear sander. In the photo belowI am about to remove some dried glue: Attachment 41101
The tower based were finished using three different colours (one for each height) of water based aniline dye. Attachment 41102
I mixed one quarter teaspoon of dye with one half teaspoon of water to form a paste then added this past to one quarter cup of water-based gloss Varathane.
Each tower-base received a coat of the stain followed by two coats of straight Varathane with light sanding between coats: Attachment 41103