Monday, January 5, 2015

(De)Construction Lessons Learned

So as I deconstructed the benchwork this past weekend, I paid attention to how solid or un-solid the benchwork was that was coming apart. First feedback I want to give/emphasize is

DON'T USE DRYWALL SCREWS

So I used quite a bit of these. Some worked fine and others didn't. I will say, everywhere I used them I also had glue support if it was structural, like along the center peninsula. That worked out ok but the glue really didn't bond as well between plywood pieces as I would have thought. I'm not sure why. Also, if you do insist on using drywall screws, use the longer kind. I had a mix of 1 1/4" and 1 5/8" (I think) and the longer ones held much, much better, almost as good as the 1 1/4" wood screws. But if you can, use the wood screws as that's what they are made for.

Second, if you can afford it and/or have one already, use pocket holes for everything. The last few updated sections I did, I used pocket hole screws from my Kreg Jig. These were the most solid joints in my benchwork and were also easy to undo. I also used it for my last few L-girders, eschewing using glue for them. This enabled me to reuse both of these pieces of wood as well.

Finally, be careful of using "scrap" wood. I gained access to almost a pallet full of half-sheets of cabinet grade plywood. I ripped these down to the 1x3 size I was using. While the 9 or 11 plys allowed for added strength, it appears, after about 4 years in my basement, that the glue itself seems to be delaminating. This usually means it has dried out. For the most party, my basement has been pretty damp except for the winter months and even then it's not bone dry, hovering around my 35%-40% setting on the dehumidifier. I think it was stored outside for a while before I got it. Meanwhile, the "hardwood" plywood I purchased from both a local lumberyard and local big box stores seemed to be just fine and were as solid as they were when I put them up. I'll probably use the gift cards I just got for Christmas on buying a sheet or two to rip down to new 1x3s and 1x2s for the new benchwork lattice.

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Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

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