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Benchwork completed - lessons learned Locked

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 2, 2020 9:23 AM

Well, Mike, I built an entire 42' x 25' layout, using 2x4s and 1/2" plywood with an impact drill. I used #9 x 2 1/2" drywall screws, #2 Phillips Drive, Coarse Thread, Sharp Point for all of the framework and 1 1/4" drywall screws, #2 Phillips Drive, Fine Thread, Sharp Point for all of the plywood surfaces. Not one screw was damaged or destroyed in the entire layout buidling process. There is no sway or lateral movement across the entire layout. I weigh 185 pounds and I can crawl and stand safely anywhere on the layout.

So, you can demean my knowledge of the impact drill all you want, but I speak from extensive experience. 

As for the issue of whether an impact driver is superior to a drill driver, it is superior when it comes to building a layout. What in my replies to this thread lead you to believe that I feel differently?

Rich

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, August 2, 2020 9:41 AM

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/how-to/a19148/a-cutaway-view-of-how-an-impact-driver-works/

 

Sorry if I misunderstood you. I intend only to share layout building tips in the spirit of the original post. I'm not sure a direct back and forth about who said what when is particularly helpful to readers of this forum. You could PM me if there is anything beyond the above courteous apology that you feel I should clarify. Differences of opinion are useful to other readers who are free to assess what information they are finding useful. 

Quality variable speed drills, especially the latest Li cordless, equipped with adjustable clutch drives are amazingly useful but to use them correctly takes a high level of skill, in my opinion. Impact drivers require no skill and for driving screws for carpentry can't be beat. For joinery (cabinet making) then impact drivers are generally a bit crude. But, joinery is not for the amateur anyway really. When I build cabinetry I prefer hand tools whenever feasible. Power tools save time and effort and can produce many more mistakes much faster than just using hand tools can ever achieve.   

For me benchwork is just carpentry, not joinery, but I acknowledge some modellers use joinery level skills to build theirs. 

 I am wrong about Robertson screws. Now owned by the American giant Berkshire hathaway they still make their original screws and drivers. Only correct Robertson have the right profile to work properly. None of the supposed copies (square socket) work properly. A true Robertson can be driven one handed and blind, the bit holds the screw firmly, the tip of the screw is self piloting and the driver won't torque out. They are the only screw to use when building a deck, for example. You just cannot drive a Torx one handed and blind.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, August 2, 2020 11:35 AM

I don't like drilling into the ends of 1x stock.  For the crossmembers in open grid construction, I found here in GA 2x3 yellow pine that's really hard stuff, holds screws well in its ends.  The long runs are just simple white pine 1x3 that is soft enough to unwarp and untwist to a degree when needed.

I just use 1.1/2 coarse threaded drywall screws and a regular drill.  I predrill the 3/4 plywood subroadbed cap, but don't have to predrill the open grid when drilling into the ends of the 2x yellow pine

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 2, 2020 12:41 PM

 I never had a problem, all my previous layouts had your basic 1x framing, eitha basic frame for the old sheet of plywood layouts or typical grid for others. I have right angle corner clamps, which is how I drilled and then screwed together right angle corners into the end grain of one side. The last two were pains - I only had one drill and not a good size drill to use with the magnetic holder, so I had to drill my hoiles, change bits, drive the screws, change back to the drill for the next joint. Now with two, I keep the drill in one, and the driver in the other.

 I also built the previous two with Philips head deck screws. And generally had far less trouble than with these torx head screws, but also it was different materials. And it's a bit easier using my old 18V drill compared to the newer 20V one - the weight of the tool helps a lot, except it also is more fatiguing.

 The biggest issue with Philips screws is people seem to think they're just all the same. There are several sizes. If you WANT them to strip out, use a size or two too small of a bit for the screw.

 ANd I want to take the impact gun and attach it to body parts of 'mechanics' who use them on lug nuts. SOME prefessionals have torque limiters on them, but the quicky shops? Forget it. You then end up with warped components, and an impossible to change tire if you get a flat - I've had ones where I've supplied my full and not inconsiderable weight to the end of the wrench and that nut wasn't going to budge. I find the torque spec and use a torque wrench to tighten my lugs. 

                                              --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 2, 2020 2:48 PM

rrinker

I find the torque spec and use a torque wrench to tighten my lugs.                          

   Yes

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, August 2, 2020 4:00 PM

rrinker
The biggest issue with Philips screws is people seem to think they're just all the same. There are several sizes. If you WANT them to strip out, use a size or two too small of a bit for the screw.

Thing is, I don't think I've ever seen a Phillips-head deck screw other than a #2, or a special hardened or 'anti-camout' bit other than that.  Perhaps I am not looking hard enough, or at high-dollar suppliers, but I never saw deck or framing screws in Posi-Driv or whatever it's called (the bits in nearly every set that look like Phillips with extra ridges that make them functionally worthless most of the time).

Having had much more of my share of camout/stripout of Phillips while framing -- for which the only real practical solution was homemade Screw-Grab made of heavy oil and grinding compounds or other abrasive -- I welcomed the advent of Torx with its multiplicity of vertically-broached engaging faces.  I do have to confess that one good Torx bit will probably last indefinitely -- I lose or misplace them before they show any distortion or wear.  Cheap ones, on the other hand, can be as miserable than those cheap poorly-hardened Asian tap and die sets, which are exactly that, they die and you play 'Taps' -- and sometimes price is no guarantee of quality.  

i've used a good impact driver with torque clutch and magnetic holder since I first found it available ... and now am looking for the right-angle equivalent (which I might have to design).  On the hammer side, I confess to being a proponent both of pilot drilling (in rough) and predrilling to depth including countersink (for finish) so I'm not yet in the ranks of those who want hammering before rotation.  I would be willing to be convinced otherwise, though... many's the time I've wondered about a two-armature design to do hammering asynchronously from tool rotation.

Two thumbs up on the use of proper torques on the lugs -- I actually use two, one below spec to pull the wheel into centered alignment and then a second 'pattern' to spec, with anti-seize on the seats -- but I confess I learned the 'feel' using a breaking torque wrench and then approximate that with an ordinary lug wrench or breaker with socket when 'in the field' changing wheels where conditions are too crappy to expose a good tool.  (You might bribe me to use a beam type but it would cost ya)   

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 2, 2020 4:58 PM

richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

I find the torque spec and use a torque wrench to tighten my lugs.                          

 

   Yes

 

 

Many people would be shocked to find out how low the torque specification for wheel nuts (and oil pan drain plugs) really is.

Many years ago Ford did a study on vehicles that had been serviced, and found that 100% of wheel nuts were at least 50% over torque. Most were double the factory specification.

A major engine manufacturer that I cannot name studied why so many turbocharger studs were failing after turbocharger replacements, sure enough, nearly all the fasteners were double torqued or more.

We had a service program that worked with Snap-On digital torque wrenches. It showed the technician the torque sequence for every critical part, set the torque wrench, then recorded the actual torque applied to each fastener.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, August 2, 2020 8:59 PM

Lug nuts/bolts should always be torqued by hand. Shops that know how to properly use torque limited sockets often still double check by hand. Torque varies from a low of around 75 lb ft to over 100 lb ft so not a low number. Mind you, it is pretty easy to get very close by hand without a torque wrench.

One tip for screwing into end grain, use a little carpenter's glue or white glue on the screw or in the pilot hole. Never ever use a power driver into end grain.

Impact drivers for screws do not hammer down on the bit. That is incorrect information. Impact drivers benefit from the effect of vibration on static friction. The torque applied to the screw head is limited by the internal spring pressure. All forces are applied as torque and no vertical force is applied. The reason they are so effective is the peak  torque is momentary. If the screw doesn't move as much as the torque applied would normally achieve the impact mechanism skips and re-applies the torque a split second later. No excessive torque is applied.

The impact driver works because the torque peak is high but momentary. This overcomes static friction but once that occurs the torque reduces and drives the screw. For drill drivers with adjustable clutch tension the operator needs to judge the exact clutch tension required. Trouble is that tension is much higher once the fastener stops turning. A lot of skill is involved setting the clutch tension and then driving the screw without stalling.

 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 2, 2020 9:05 PM

 Oil drain plugs are another of my pet peeves. I had a car that due to circumstances I was required to get a service contract. I still changed the opil myself in between what was covered. I went ot change it one afternoon, and even with a long cheater par on the breaker bar, I could chin myself and it wasn;t budging. No, I wasn't turning it the wrong way - they actually tightened it that much. I actually broke a socket, had to go get another one. With the new socket, it started rounding the edges of the drain plug. I eventually got it using vice grips and a hammer. I had them give me a new drain plug next time, and told the manager about how tight it was. Never had a problem again.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 3, 2020 12:06 AM

Lastspikemike
Torx screws are ok until you can't find your torx bits.

I tend to know where my tools are.

Lastspikemike
Simply put, a torx will strip out at far lower torque than a Robertson  and when they do it's drill out time. Even a very heavily mangled Robertson can be removed with enough vertical pressure  into the socket.

That has not been my experience. I have had many Robertson screws strip to the point that they could not be removed. I'm capable of applying heavy pressure. I weigh 300+ lbs. Maybe I had poor quality screws and/or bits, but my recent experience with Torx screws is in stark contrast to your statements and in contrast to my experience with Robertson screws which is considerable. I would politely ask how much actual experience have you had with Torx screws?

I would also ask why the automotive industry switched to Torx screws many years ago if their performance is not that much better. IIRC, they reported that Torx bits were lasting 20 x longer than the Phillips bits they were previosly using. I can't quote the source for that statistic.

A little more information on the Torx design:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx

Please understand that I am not trying to denigrate the Robertson design. It works very well.

Here is some interesting information on screw head developement:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives#Robertson

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Monday, August 3, 2020 7:46 AM

rrinker
ANd I want to take the impact gun and attach it to body parts of 'mechanics' who use them on lug nuts. SOME prefessionals have torque limiters on them, but the quicky shops? Forget it. You then end up with warped components, and an impossible to change tire if you get a flat - I've had ones where I've supplied my full and not inconsiderable weight to the end of the wrench and that nut wasn't going to budge.

Yes!!!  I can remember jumping up and down on the wrench to loosen the nut while on the side of an Interstate.  I found a different shop after that for tires.

rrinker
The biggest issue with Philips screws is people seem to think they're just all the same. There are several sizes. If you WANT them to strip out, use a size or two too small of a bit for the screw.

I agree.  I  have also found that you have to maintain proper alignment of the bit to the screw.

The few times I have used Robertson's I like them.  But Robertson wood screws aren't available where I live, just deck screws.  So I use phillips wood screws which work.  I generally use my 18v impact driver for #10's and my 12v drill for #8's, because the impact driver is so loud.  And I can set the clutch on the 12v drill to reduce the chances of stripping.

Paul

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, August 3, 2020 10:04 AM

I've done quite a lot with fasteners and glues. A little boatbuilding. A little house building inside and out, though never a whole house. A lot of work on cars. In fact, one of the big appeals of this hobby is the tinkering and "manufacturing".

I'm not criticizing anyone's choice of materials, fasteners, glues or tools much less anyone's particular skills. Anyone who can set the clutch accurately on a driver drill before using that to perfectly drive a brass or bronze screw into a piece of oak has my undying admiration. I use a hand screwdriver...

I'm just sharing what I've learned during a fairly long lifetime, so far, of mistake making. I'm sure the OP was doing the same, thanks for that. 

If you are stripping a "Robertson" either the screwhead or the driver bit is not a Robertson (extensive commercial scale use or incompetent screwdriving can actually wear out a Robertson but but I never have). You cannot use the wrong bit size, won't fit or won't drive, but you can very easily end up with a bit that isn't actually a Robertson with an inferior profile or a screwhead that looks like a Robertson but isn't, many are made with a too shallow socket and strip if you so much as sneeze while driving. A bad "Robertson" is still superior to Phillips head.

Torx were developed for machine installation, as was Phillips. I am very familiar with these fasteners because they are used extensively in automotive applications, especially in Europe although the Europeans use a modification I believe. I by no means denigrate the torx design or similar. Torx rarely cam out and are very tolerant of off angle alignment of the bit (but you cannot off angle drive a Robertson by design so, you know, the debate starts about which design "works" better). The engineering of torx is logical and vastly superior to the Phillips design, but not really an advantage over an Allen head. And, imho, the common slot head is also technically superior to the Phillips from the perspective of stripping out. Torx have lots of advantages over common or Phillips design but none over a true Robertson. If you strip a Phillips you really are at the drill it out stage immediately. You cannot salvage the cross head design. They are also DESIGNED to cam out!!!!!

The very best screws I have ever used were stainless steel "boat" screws made by Swan of the US. Expensive but with a precision made Robertson head, They never strip or cam out even though stainless is not as grippy as plain steel and certainly not as grippy as coated deck screws. The thread is properly cut and will self pilot even in some hardwoods. Didn't break one (one Robertson "drawback" is it will snap the head off a poorly made screw instead of camming out) I used them on cedar siding my home to avoid the unsightly corrosion stains you get from standard fasteners, even coated or plated ones. For similar reasons, I used silicon bronze ringed boat nails (from the same maker) except near the sealed unit windows where I thought the vibrations from hammerimg might damage the window seals. Also, where the windows go it may be useful to be able to unscrew the siding for re-use if a window were to need replacement. Cedar siding is basically forever. Nothing damages it except fire and where we are UV sunlight destroys ANY coating. By using semi transparent stain every 5-10 years the cedar will ever deteriorate here. 

I highly recommend Robertson head deck screws for softwood construction of table top or open benchwork designs. They come in all the required sizes, at least up here they do. Get the correct driver bits, use an impact driver. They self pilot and self countersink although you might consider drilling a short pilot hole (1/4 of the screw length in depth is plenty) for the end grain or anything less than 1.5 inches wide. Genius design.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:16 PM

 Impact driver arrived. Tried it on my shelf bracket - ok, this is WAY better. Drives right in, starts way easier - even one handed, with torx screws. And it's so tiny. I even got the fancier one, with 3 settings, brushless motor, and 3 LEDs instead of one like my drill.WITH battery it's lighter than the drill without one, and it's only as long as the main body of the drill, leave off the clutch and chuck. This is what I should have gotten from the start - especially since I still had my older 18V one if I needed it for drilling.

 Winner winner, chicken dinner.

                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:20 PM

rrinker

 Impact driver arrived. Tried it on my shelf bracket - ok, this is WAY better. Drives right in, starts way easier - even one handed, with torx screws. And it's so tiny. I even got the fancier one, with 3 settings, brushless motor, and 3 LEDs instead of one like my drill.WITH battery it's lighter than the drill without one, and it's only as long as the main body of the drill, leave off the clutch and chuck. This is what I should have gotten from the start - especially since I still had my older 18V one if I needed it for drilling.

 Winner winner, chicken dinner.

                             --Randy

 

 

You will be very happy.......

    

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Posted by York1 on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:21 PM

rrinker
Impact driver arrived. Tried it on my shelf bracket - ok, this is WAY better. Drives right in, starts way easier - even one handed ... This is what I should have gotten from the start

 

I'm very glad.  I was worried that after we encouraged you, you would buy it, hate it, and blame us.

York1 John       

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:38 PM

rrinker

Winner winner, chicken dinner.       

Bawk Bawk !!!

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:48 PM

rrinker
 Impact driver arrived. Tried it on my shelf bracket - ok, this is WAY better. Drives right in, starts way easier - even one handed, with torx screws. And it's so tiny. I even got the fancier one, with 3 settings, brushless motor, and 3 LEDs instead of one like my drill.WITH battery it's lighter than the drill without one, and it's only as long as the main body of the drill, leave off the clutch and chuck. This is what I should have gotten from the start - especially since I still had my older 18V one if I needed it for drilling.

Randy, I'm glad you are happy with your impact driver! I feel the same way about mine!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, August 3, 2020 8:53 PM

Lastspikemike
incompetent screwdriving can actually wear out a Robertson

"....incompetent screw driving...". I guess that must be meDunceSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh. Fortunately I managed to cure my incompetence by switching to Torx.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 10:18 AM

You can't strip out a screwhead or wear out the bit unless you bounce the bit. Torx will strip out faster than a Robertson if you bounce the bit.

You have underestimated the improvement in screwdriving your extensive practice has endowed you with.

Impact drivers reduce the required skill level because they bounce the drive internally against a preload spring. The bit stays put and the screw just drives in. Magic.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 6:36 AM

Lastspikemike
You can't strip out a screwhead or wear out the bit unless you bounce the bit. Torx will strip out faster than a Robertson if you bounce the bit. You have underestimated the improvement in screwdriving your extensive practice has endowed you with. Impact drivers reduce the required skill level because they bounce the drive internally against a preload spring. The bit stays put and the screw just drives in. Magic.

Well there! I've been told!! I'm unskilled and I lack knowledge!LaughLaughLaugh

I believe there is nothing to be gained by continuing this conversation further.

Respectfully,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 7:07 AM

Dave, never mind the know-it-alls.  This topic started out with info to help noobs and turned into thingy measuring contest.  Surprise

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 9:18 AM

Wow.

So pointing out that bouncing a driver bit damages the bit and the screw and endorsing the use of an impact driver is a critique of woodworking skills?

I guess that's fair comment in a way but, really? 

If you don't bounce the bit you cannot strip the screw head. Nor can you wear the bit out. Impact drivers can eliminate screw stripping and bit wear by their design. When the bit stalls in the driver the drive skips upwards, tending to hold the bit in the screw while continuing to drive it according to Newton's third law.

Phillips head screws are specifically designed to bounce the bit out if the head if a threshold torque is exceeded. Robertson (and Torx) are not. 

Threads like these are for others to read who may have no interest in posting but benefit from experience of others as they plan and build their layout. I had no idea why or how an impact driver worked until this thread piqued my curiosity. I was taught its advantages long ago by my two sons in law, both skilled tradesmen who were amused by my ignorance at the time.

Nothing personal was intended, or written in fact. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 10:18 AM

hon30critter
I believe there is nothing to be gained by continuing this conversation further.

Yes +1

riogrande5761
Dave, never mind the know-it-alls.  This topic started out with info to help noobs and turned into thingy measuring contest.

Yes +2

The original post by Wesno had some interesting points, and I responded with my experiences on the same list of topics.

Then it turned into a contest about who can use more big words to incorrectly support a false statement.

Frankly... Dave has posted lots of pictures of his carpentry skills, and it all looks very good to me. Certainly more than good enough for a model railroad.

There are lots of pictures posted around of things I have built also.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 1:48 PM

SeeYou190
 
hon30critter
I believe there is nothing to be gained by continuing this conversation further. 

Yes +1 

riogrande5761
Dave, never mind the know-it-alls.  This topic started out with info to help noobs and turned into thingy measuring contest. 

Yes +2

The original post by Wesno had some interesting points, and I responded with my experiences on the same list of topics.

Then it turned into a contest about who can use more big words to incorrectly support a false statement.

Frankly... Dave has posted lots of pictures of his carpentry skills, and it all looks very good to me. Certainly more than good enough for a model railroad.

Yes +3

Well said, Kevin.

I think that whenever new members join the fourm, they need to find their niche and gain acceptance, not take on and criticize veteran members who have exhibited their skills and knowledge over the years. All are welcome, but we should all try not to wear out our welcome.

Rich

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 6:03 PM

Two points:

being on this forum for longer or even model railroading for longer doesn't necessarily mean that you know more, especially about topics not confined to the hobby.

a review of this thread shows that I made no criticism of anyone but more than one of you suggested superior knowledge. 

Since both of you were wrong a critical response would have been warranted but I did not do so.

I do so now. Torx head screws were developed specifically for machine installation and as threaded machine screws, not wood screws. They are so obviously inferior to both Robertson and Allen head fasteners I'm surprised anyone can think otherwise. 

 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 7:35 PM

Since the OP's only intent was to share his personal experiences about benchwork but this thread has condescended into needless bickering and partial truths, I think it has run its course.  Whatever the topic - feel free to share your own experiences of what's worked for you but don't feel you need to prove others wrong if their views are different from your own.

Happy layout building everybody...

Tom

http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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