questions questions, and more questions

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by eve_9d9, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. eve_9d9

    eve_9d9 Member

    Im building mybasic layout from an article I saw in the new model railroader mag, but they do some things in there I dont get. They say to build the benckwork and table from ripped 3 inch strips of 1/2 plywood, that doesnt make sense to me. Why go to trouble of ripping a 4x8 sheet of plywood, on a itty bitty home table saw, when you can just use 1x3 solid lumber, which to me would be easier, cheaper, stronger and better looking, or is there something to this I dont know about?

    they say to use contact cement to glue down your grass mat, does anyone have another option? cement is a one time only chance, you screw it up, and you just blew a good chunk of cash......

    how do you make roadbed material curve? Im using the foam roadbed, and if you give a little stretch it will follow curves, but how do you keep it that way until the glue sets up? any tips?

    anyone have a basic DC wiring diagram?

    that is all for the moment trust me there will be more, thanks!
  2. peekaboo1

    peekaboo1 New Member

    on your question about curving foam roadbed - i had success cutting it down the middle making two long thin strips which i then glued down side by side made it alot easier to hold the radius of the curve. i held the foam roadbed there using pins along the outside of the roadbed. once the glue dried, i removed the pins (i also pressed down on the roadbed just to make sure it was flat).
  3. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge:wave:

    The plywood is cheaper board for board and more rigid, less vulnerable to warping.

    I use Aleene's Tacky Glue from Wal-Mart...cheaper and more forgiving.

    I use push pins every 4-6" or so 'til the glue drys.

    I highly recommend some older books found on feEbay;

    HO Primer or N Scale Primer
    ABCs of Model Railroading

    They were put out by Kalmbach Publishers and though out of print, are still easy to find and don't cost a whole lot. Hope that helps.
  4. MellowYellow

    MellowYellow New Member

    The main reason you would use ripped plywood instead of dimensional lumber is that the plywood is far less likely to warp. 1x3 or 1x4 lumber, which is often used for modules and small layouts, tends to twist and warp with changes in humidity and temperature. Where I live, it's almost impossible to get straight lumber in the first place! Most places that sell plywood will happily rip it into strips for you (for a fee, of course...). Even though I have a small table saw myself, getting the store to do it saves a lot of hassle, and is well worth the extra cost.

    Woodland Scenics (the maker of the grass mat used in MR) sells a glue especially for this product, which is supposed to let you re-position the grass mat. I was a little surprised that MR recommended contact cement - I wouldn't trust myself to get a decent result on the first try! I haven't tried the WS glue, but that would be my first choice.

    Basic DC wiring is quite simple - one wire to one rail, the other to the other rail ;). Of course, once you start thinking about sidings, spurs, reversing loops etc., it tends to get a lot more complicated. You might want to check out the NMRA's guide to basic wiring: In fact, the whole "Beginner Guide to Model Railroading" ( is recommended reading!

    Last, but not least: Have fun!
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge, MellowYellow:wave:
  6. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    for the grass mat

    I just got done putting down my grass mat and I used rubber cement down to insulating faom and worked pretty good for me.
    Just took a while to cover the back of the mat let it dry the cover the foam and let that dry when you put the mat down you can still pull it up fairly easy but it will still stick good.
    Hope this helps
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I might not try it over a large area, but when I have some tricky positioning with contact cement I put a piece of wax paper between the pieces and then pull it out when everything lines up.
  8. CaNadiaN

    CaNadiaN New Member

    As to the reasoning behind using the various wood sizes and grades, it's a conspiracy set in place by the lumber companies. :thumb:
  9. eve_9d9

    eve_9d9 Member

    thanks for all the fast answers, against the advice of those that know more than me I went with the solid lumber after all. I had already gotten it, but was debating a return trip to do everything by the book in plywood. In the end I decided to stick with it. I got good straight pieces, and did alot of bracing and gusseting....go check out my other thread in this section. I have some pics I took tonight. The build time on this whole table from pile of lumber to what you see was only a few hours, it went really fast, now to get the mat down, and start tracking!
  10. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    If you got straight 1 x's you should be OK. Everyone is right about ripped plywood. It's perfectly straight and has great structural strength. But only as long as you rip it straight. This can be a problem on a small benchtop saw. 1/2" plywood is also harder to nail into on edge.

    I used Elmers glue on my grassmat. It began to curl from the wetness of the glue and it was a chineese fire drill grabbing every book in the house to weight it all down.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've always used solid wood since I don't have the transport or saws to do plywood. I haven't had any warpage problems as I use L girders.
  12. eve_9d9

    eve_9d9 Member

    Just an update on the contact cement issue.......model rr magazine must never have actually tried it, cause it doest work....even though the can says the cement is safe for foam it eats it, and the fumes are bad beyond all explanation, overall its a total mess, dont try it........
  13. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    My layout is made with dimensional lumber. Can't beat the convenience. I've had no problems with warping, etc. I think the plywood suggesion is a relatively recent idea...or at least one that is coming into style based on my observations of bench work photos over the last several years.
  14. 3railguy

    3railguy Member

    Well, then maybe Elmers and sandwiching between lots of books is a safe way to do this.
  15. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    I might have been mistaken I used rubber cement slather it on the mat let dry slather it on the foam elmers kind works good for me on the foam with no ill effects hope it helps!
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You have to use a water based contact cement. I use lepage's Green; I think it may be a latex.
    Regular contact cement will dissolve the foam.

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