Discussion in 'FAQs' started by sawacs, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. sawacs

    sawacs New Member

    Has anyone ever thought of laying glass cloth down on their ply base to prevent expansion and shrinkage? After reading some complaints about the wood shrinking and contracting depending on humidity etc causing track problems, I began thinking about glassing the layout plywood..

    Lemme know what you think, Sawacs
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Fiberglass, I assume? Might help, but ...

    What about all the holes that get drilled through the plywood for wiring or whatever? Would they nullify the effect? Would it make it harder to drill the holes or to run the wiring through them?

    It could be that the expansion/contraction is caused more from the wooden joists, cross pieces, etc. that support the plywood. If so, would you have to cover them as well?

    It's still worth thinking about, especially if you're in an area where the humidity changes a lot.
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Sounds like overkill to me. Temperature and humidity can cause havok but wooden framing properly braced/crossed and fastened has little movement from expansion and contraction. Thats why I like the L-Girder type of construction in addition to it's versatility in layout design.

    Couple of tips:
    1. Purchase the lumber for your layout a couple of weeks before you actually start construction....who really does this?:D Place it in the layout area flat on the floor so that it will become aclimated to the temperature and humidity where it will be used. Pick and choose your lumber when purchasing it. Don't just take what ever they hand you. Small knots aren't a problem but get pieces that are straight and uniform ( that's gettting hard to find)

    2. Don't use treated has a super high moisture content.

    3. Nails are a pain and don't really hold that good for layout construction. Screw everything together. Drywall screws and a varible speed drill make this part go really fast, plus its easy to make adjustments if necessary.

    4. The use of a level and a square is mandatory.

    5. Measure twice and cut once!!!

    BTW while at the building supply place the other day I saw some "lumber" that wasn't wood. Its a plastic or composite. Its used for building out door decks and comes in dimensional sizes. Anybody "fooled" with any of this stuff????
  4. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I have to agree with Vic.
    Now if you really want to use fiberglass couldn't you build a mold and make a few identical layouts from the mold, then sell a few of them to recoop the money you invested.
    I used some of that Recycled plastic wantabe 2x2 and 2x4s when I remodeled the camper that is now my workshop and train room. The only reason I used it is that it was given to me by my neighbor. It is very heavy and flexes more then equivalent lengths of wood. I suppose if you weren't concerned about weight and used more supports you could use it.
    Oh yea, It ruins a saw blade in a big hurry if you bind the blade while cutting.
  5. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I'm surprized I haven't seen someone selling moduel bases. A fiberglass mold would make it rellitivly easy. But what I think should be done is a plastic unit made by one of those plastic Co. that make the tables and chairs. And how good wouold that be for alot of us to be able to just bye a base and create everything else. They could have the track lead ins and outs all molded out of the plastic so they would join together no sweat, and a way of locking them together. Oh yea, and corner moluels too.

    Someone pick up this idea and run with it:thumb:

    TrainClown :wave:
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The reason you don't see that type of thing for sale, TC, is the setup fees, I suspect. The last injection molding setup fee I was involved with was $10,000.00, for a very small product. The good thing is this part is practically free to produce now. It's the cabinet/chassis for a $1500.00 product. It did add a very nice, modern, durable, professional touch to the product, verses the conventional custom sheetmetal chassis and case...
  7. Jaws

    Jaws New Member

    It's so much fun to go to the lumber place and try to select straight, not too wet, unwarped lumber. Usually at least two or three others are sorting thru the pile at the same time --- hazard of getting poked in the eye or getting popped in the head like in the stooges movies is real.

    Get the material home, store it in the train room, watch it "grow".

    Best luck I've had is: Buy in small quantities, get it home fast and get it screwed and glued. Then listen to it moan and groan.

    Thank goodness for contact cement and drywall screws.

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