Screws v. Nails

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by rockislandmike, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I'm about ready to start framing my primary layout (just 7' x 10'), once this deep freeze passes. The book I'm reading about benchwork recommends using drywall screws to affix the frame together. The 4' x 8' I put together last fall I used nails.

    Are screws that much better for something like this??? This may be a stupid question, but I'm still just a beginner, so . . . .
  2. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Mike, Screwnails are definately the way to go. As layouts are as dynamic as life itself, lumber can be more easily reused when changes are made. Also, theres no noise of hammering :) .

    If you do use screws, I suggest you drill pilot holes first to avoid splitting the stringers. Countersink for the heads by using a countersink "rose".

    Errol ... (the Lone Ranger :D )
  3. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    a little kidding

    "The Lone Ranger"??

    "Say, who was that masked man"??
    "I don't know, but he left this silver bullet"
    "What does that mean"??
    " I don't know,,,maybe he hunts werewolves"!

    Meant in fun, sent in fun,
  4. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Mike: yes we have a cold and windy snap here in BC also, don't mind it though except for hauling water by hand to the cows and horses it gives me a chance to get something done on the layout.
    I would highly recomend using screws,no glue. I use robertson (square heads) number 8, one and one half inches long. As Errol states use a pilot hole. For the number of layouts that I have built, modified, re did, and changed parts you can not beat screws. You can easily take them out to make changes: eg: moving a suport board over that happens to be under a switch. If you are using risers to raise your track, I came accross a great idea and takes all the flustration out of raising and lowering the thing. You put a kerf in the center, using a table saw. Use a large screw and washer to temporarily hold it, adjustments can be made by loosening the screw and moving the riser up or down then retighten it. No more putting the screw all the way in and then taking it out and trying to find a new hole. When you are finished just put a secondary screw in and its there. Are you using one by fours etc or are you making your framework out of plywood?? I have a small extention that I am going to be building soon and as I want a tressel and a canyon on it am contemplating going to a plywood base construction.
    Let us know how it is working out.
    B.C. Canada..
  5. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    My current plan is 1x4's for the frame, and 1/2" plywood for the top (in most places; in the "canyon region", I'm going to the open-grid type of layout, with 1/2" plywood for the subroadbed). I'm planning on using 2x4's for the legs at this time. I want to make them removable for when we move, and it seems to me that I'd get better stability using three lagbolts on each leg. Thus, the extra width of the 2x4 works better for me (as opposed to 2x2's, which seem a little thing if I'm drilling holes through the middle of 'em).......

    And, since it's a donut-type layout, I'm gonna crossbrace all the legs except a couple so I can maneuver into the centre to work and operate.
  6. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Each to their own but I think 2X4's are overkill on the legs. I used 1X4's (half the cost and weight) and a 200 lb. person can jump up and down on it with no problems. I used screws no nails. Hey Pete when Errol "Lone Ranger" says he has a bullet train guess you better duck, huh???:D Errol I may be sorry I got that Lone Ranger thing started.:p
  7. Catt

    Catt Guest

    when I origonally built the GVR layout in 1979 I used wood screws to hold everything together.

    Well I've reconfigured this puppy about 6 times since then. I now use drywall screws.

    Better than half of this layout is still from the origonal.

    Use the screws you will not regret it it I promise.:D
  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Okey-dokey question answered. Drywall screws it is, put the hammer away; and good point about the 1x4's on the legs, this layout's gonna cost enough as it is. Done as well.
  9. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Ron, that's a first rate idea you just mentioned for adjusting height of risers!! I didn't have a router when I built my "N" layout.... (I tore it down in frustration coz the risers weren't axact!). Now I have an excuse for using my new router :) .

    Tyson, I love humour. Methinks the Lone Ranger is tired of being the good guy, I think I'll go rob Southern Pacific train for a change.... apparently they can afford the loss .. :D :D

    Errol .... (Hey Tonto ... spotted any good SP Daylights worth robbing?? :D )
  10. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Errol we can never have enough humor.:cool:
  11. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Mike I see you plan on possibly moving this layout in the near future. Can you make provisions for seperating the layout into sections? Two 5X7s would be much easier to move than a 7x10. It would be easy to make the layout into two modules and join them. Plan your scenery over the joint so as to make a mininum disruption. On my sectional "N" scale layout I drilled and doweled the sections so they would match up and then held them together with carriage bolts and wing nuts. To prevent bonding of the scenery, plaster, adhesives, etc. at the joint I seperated it by sandwiching in a thin plastic strip that I contoured to the terrain. The joint is barely noticeable and I have seperated and rejoined them several times with minimum disruption.

    Bill P :p
  12. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Mike, sorry -picked the wrong smiley face :) :) :)
    Bill P
  13. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Already taken care of, Bill. I've planned for six separate sections that can be moved independently of each other (Trainguy at my local hobby store made sure of that). Not only does it allow me to move it when the time comes, but also to insert an extra section in between if that becomes necessary. Not very likely, as I've designed this layout such that it will fit into my grand scheme when I get half the basement of our first house, but one never truly knows.
  14. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    Mike, sounds great. HALF A BASEMENT!, Pheww, more than half the people here are going to be envious of you. Good Luck and if I might add - "Stick with the screws"

    Bill P.
  15. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    If it gives you thought to save even more money, I used 1" X 2" 's for all my benchwork legs and cross braces. I assure you if you were so inclined you could jump up and down on it too without any problem at all. The trick is not how large a dimension of lumber, but how you brace and the like. Of course, I also screwed it all together and also the 1/2" oxboard that is the decking. The decking spreads the weight evenly over the entire layout.

  16. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Not to worry, I'm not a werewolf. Duck, now there's another story, gotta watch out for"the bloke with the twelve gauge".
    SP daylight inbound, "get'm up scout".
  17. GYurick

    GYurick New Member

    Mike, there's another reason to use screws rather than nails. In addition to all the good reasons already mentioned, hammering causes lots of vibration. If you, like I, have locos and cars on the layout as soon as there is sufficient track (for testing purposes and because I want to see something move), hammering can bounce them around and cause damage. The vibes from hammering can also damage structures and scenery if a portion of the layout is that far along.

    Finally, make sure you never cover a screw head with anything you cannot easily move. I always screw upwards from under the layout. The screw you cover with scenic material or whatever will surely be the screw you later want to remove.
  18. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Please don't take offense, but , having completed twentyone years active naval service, MY mind was completely in the WRONG place when reading this.

    Beauty is not the only thing that is in the mind of the beholder.
    I'm laughing at what I have percieved, not what you wrote.
  19. billk

    billk Active Member

    What about, where it is feasible, using bolts and nuts? Seems to me that they would be even easier to remove than screws. Anyone ever use them?
  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    One of my pet peeves is the use of drywall screws for anything besides drywall.

    If you are screwing wood to anything, you need a screw with an unthreaded part near the head, otherwise it doesn't hold properly.

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