Oh! If you see "Hi Taylor and Katie" that is just a shout out to my daughters in Utah. Love you girls!
Here is our finished benchwork. We want to put a top on the sections so that we can start building the models.
A quick trip to Home Depot gets us some 3/16ths plywood and 1' extruded foam sheets. Those are NOT beaded foam sheets (the white stuff) and its not recommended for this kind of work.
I bought two 2x4 foot plywood sections already cut and ready. Then I had Randy at Home Depot cut one foot off to make this 3 ft long section. It fits perfectly! I'm so happy.
To protect from glue drips I put the old towels on the floor and pour myself a diet grape soda. You drink what you want and I'll drink what I want! I love grape!
I applied Elmer's Wood Glue to the boards underneath and fit the plywood sheet on to the top. Using a countersink I pre-drilled four holes. Using 1-5/8ths drywall screws I attached the top to the section. I was careful to make sure the screw heads were flush with the top. If they are higher than the surface the foam sheet above will bump up and won't be level.
I added more holes (about every 6") and mounted the board.
Because of continued dust issues I'm vacuuming every ten minutes to keep the dust down. This Shark vac is very handy.
I had to draw some lines to make sure I got the screws on the center boards.
Using the same procedure I drilled the pilot holes with the countersink and screwed them down.
Done! Looks nice huh? So, Scott. Why put foam on this? Why not just work on the wood? GREAT question! The foam allows for several things. The most important is that it gives and easy surface to hand lay track on. You cannot put a spike in plywood as it is too hard. The foam lets you pierce the tie and go through it without blocking the spike. Two, it gives you what I call "negative scenery affects." If the track is "ground zero" then anything below the track is "negative scenery." This would include drainage ditches, creeks, and let's you lower the track below the surface if needed. Third it allows for easy mounting of trees and sctructures and lets you "dig them in" to the surface.
High Taylor and Katie!
Next we'll work on the larger section. We'll use the 2x4 board and the end of the other board which is 1' x 2'.
When I look at the design, the area on the left side shows no turnouts and mostly just a structure. We'll put the 1' x 2' board on that side so if there is a slight imperfection it really won't hurt any trackwork.
We test fit the boards and they fit well, too. Even a blind squirrel finds a hickory nut sometimes.
Again we put glue on the frame and drill countersunk holes into the wood, putting screws every six inched. Be careful NOT to drill down into the corners because there are screws in the boards down below.
Next I mounted the 1x2 board onto the section.
Because there is not a board underneath the surface, the warpage of the board leaves the boards on top not quite matching. You can see the difference where the penny is sitting. The foam won't adhere well if we leave this, so let's fix it.
I cut a 1x3 board and put glue on it. It as stuck on the back of the joint and I countersunk and screwed it on.
This gives us a strong and flat surface.
Here is the board. I didn't have any really short screws so I'll put some extra foam over them to keep from a hospital visit.
There! Nice and flat.
Most guys like to use really heavy plywood, even as much as 5/8ths thick. The foam is very strong at 1" thick and the thin board only needs to support the foam. This makes the section strong but keeps the weight down. Its light enough to carry with one finger right now.
Now, lets add the foam squares. i like these 2' x 2' squares better than the big 4' x 8' sheets. They cost a little more, but they are flatter, easy to carry and reduce the number of cuts I have to make. Take the stickers off as they will cause a "bump" when you glue them down.
Even the best fits and work don't make things perfectly level. Don't worry about it, as we'll fix this later.
Here you can see the difference in the levels.
I'll use "foam safe" adhesive and a caulk gun to put the adhesive on the wood top.
My bathroom is very flat and there is no female expert here to tell me I can do this, so I'll use this floor space. I put glue on a 2' x 2' section.
I glued and put foam on the boards, pushed them down tight, and flipped the whole assembly upside down. Next I put the other section and some books on top for weight. This will press the foam into the adhesive and onto the board nice and level!