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gavino200

One thing I haven't mentioned I that I filed the edges of my track slightly to decrease/eliminate derailments. I wonder if I overdid that or if doing that at all contributed to wheel noise. 

 

I'm tempted to get brand new track and to solder everything to make a perfectly smooth set of rails. This is some expense and a decent time investment. But I'd like to build on a solid foundation. 

 

Actually I wonder if it's possible to buy "rail" metal, to "rerail" all the track. 

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gavino200
21 minutes ago, Martijn Meerts said:

There's always going to be noise really.. Even if you use foam or cork. It'll dampen it somewhat, but if you have a foam or cork roadbed, and you fix the track to the roadbed using nails or screws, the sound will resonate through the screws. Even if you glue the track in place, it'll still have some of that effect. If you add ballast, and glue that down, you get the same thing again. Sound travels pretty easily.

 

Also, if you have long-ish trains, the noise of the wheels rolling on the track will be quote loud, and there's no way to soften that. That's one of the reasons I don't care about sound in N-scale, or even in H0 scale, unless it's a shunting layout or a layout with short, slow running trains. 

 

I still do use cork as a roadbed, but that's more to get the track raised up a bit, and ballast sticks well, definitely not to try and dampen the noise.

 

 

Thanks for the reality check Martijn. Now is a good time to think about this stuff. I can't go any further with design until I know the shape or dimensions of the room the layout will be built into. 

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cteno4

In the picture you had used osb that’s the stuff with the larger wchips and strands of wood compressed together with glue and used for sub wall on exterior siding. While dirt cheap it’s nasty stuff to work with and does not hold together well in smaller pieces. Best for what it’s made for a siding sub wall...

 

mdf and hdf are fiber boards that’s down to small bits of wood fiber and compressed with glue. It tends to be pretty dense stuff, harder to cut but doesn’t crumble as easily as particle board.

 

Particle board is like osb but out of tiny bits and sawdust compressed with glue. Stuff cheap bookshelves are made of with vinyl laminate on top. Crumbles easily but is light and relatively stiff.

 

i doubt felt would work between foam and wood sub base as I think the glue would just harden it and just be a hard layer in between. Maybe 1/4” foam rubber might not suck up enough glue to keep a soft vibration dampener.

 

best dampener I think would be between the track and foam, stop it before it translates to bigger stuff. Cork probably the best bet (may have to use larger scale with Unitrak, but n scale may work with finetrak. Caulking may be the best to use between track and cork and cork and foammto give as flexible and dampening connections as possible.

 

on your wood sub base I think 1/4-1/2” plain old sand ply should be fine. Not very expensive but pretty smooth on one side for good contact to foam layer. I’ve done a number of layouts with 5mm Luan for the top sheet and it’s worked fine. It’s pretty stiff and dense so less of a drum head

 

if you do a sturdy frame work to attach the wood base to it should not vibrate much. Something like 3/4” birch cabinet ply works well in like 4” main frame work and then you can do like a 1.5-2” sub frame work to go down to like a 1’x1’ grid and that should leave little chance for the top to become a resonant surface. Doing your grid structure with lap joints (like a wine box insert) really makes a very strong and tight framework that does not have to be uber heavy material. Cabinet grade ply cut into strips is usually decent enough quality to work well and cheaper and usually truer than most dimensional lumber these days. The lower grades of dimensional lumber are pretty bad these days and not cheap. Quality dimensional lumber is very expensive and not as eco as it’s usually cut to be clear and can cause more waste. I’ve moved to using the 7-9 ply Baltic birch. It’s a bit more expensive than the cabinet grade birch but it’s uber tough and even better than the cabinet grade birch ply for working with and you can get it in 1/8”, 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8” and 3/4”. I really like it as you can cut very small strips of it and I can usually make things just as strong but smaller and lighter. Best thing is the top plys are thick and you won’t sand thru them with two strokes of a piece of 120 grit like most plys these days!

 

If you hace a 3/4” external frame work you can the add a thin ply or other laminate fascia over it to cover the foam but don’t let a lot hang. To cover the rest of the space use some heavy curtain material to make an inset interior skirt or full cabinets below the layout. Cabinets are a bit much to build in and get into for wiring and can become a hollow space for more resonance. I would opt for the curtains and then have roll in cabinets (ie little drawer units) or carts for plastic storage boxes that could suck up any air vibrations under the layout and use the space wisely and well as be able to clear it all out for max access under layout for working in wiring and such.

 

use good furniture legs. With a good sub structure you can put 5-6” wide strips of ply across the bottom of the structure where legs will be (if you recess the interior cross pieces these can be flush with the exterior frame). Then you can screw leg pads onto these and screw in good legs. These legs work well and look nice and don’t get in the way. Yes like any table with detachable legs there may be a tiny bit of wiggle but you don’t dance on the layout or bang on it while running trains. Alternative you can also integrate/bolt larger wood legs into the corners of your frame work to make stiffer leg connections. A taller exterior frame work will also make for stiffer attachments of legs in this design.

 

experiment as much as you can with these scraps to try some things or when you get there start out with some tests.

 

issue here is it’s a multi variable situation.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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cteno4
1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

One thing I haven't mentioned I that I filed the edges of my track slightly to decrease/eliminate derailments. I wonder if I overdid that or if doing that at all contributed to wheel noise. 

 

I'm tempted to get brand new track and to solder everything to make a perfectly smooth set of rails. This is some expense and a decent time investment. But I'd like to build on a solid foundation. 

 

Actually I wonder if it's possible to buy "rail" metal, to "rerail" all the track. 

 

Yes this could be causing louder track thumps. I’ve found only a hand full of times that going at Unitrak ends was necessary. If you do you just want to take slop off as too much and you will have a thunk spot. I’ve found most track joint issues are at the unijoiner and pressing on the raised side usually fixes it and if screwed down (why I like using screws) you can fiddle with some thin shims and adjust screws to even out the joint.

 

even with the JRM modules we have had few times where track joints at module connections (where you really can get rail heights tweaked) caused derailments.

 

soldering will work but will kind of set the track to that layout as they don’t unsolder easily/well and it sacrifices the unijoiner. Also with the heat you may find some might pop out of vertical alignment some and need readjusting or buffing out the joint.

 

one sound thing that I saw someone empirically test was matte medium vs pva for ballast cement and matte medium was much quieter as it’s soft and such up some vibration and not rock hard and translate vibrations. Also just easier if you have to chip stuff out as pva it’s rock hard but you can pick at matte medium with a dental pick easily. They also did cork vs homosote for road bed and I think the homosote came out a bit quieter but not worth the mess but I can’t remeber that as clearly.

 

when we had two 16 car Shinkansens running on the old JRM viaduct you could hear a lot of the wheel/rail noise coming straight from the train. It’s 256 wheels a screaming fast! On a model you basically hear all wheels at the same volume (distance to your ear from each wheel is near the same), where as in real life most of the noise comes from a few cars near you as the rest of the trsin noise drops off fast with the inverse square law. The  viaduct on Kato piers (glued down or loose) were definitely louder than the sections screwed down onto wood so I think the viaduct itself also can make resonant noise. Layout 3.0 we are screwing down all the viaduct to custom wooden viaduct piers both to hold up to assembly/disassembly and for possible sound. Now that I think about it maybe a layer of gasket rubber might be worth looking at to help dampen the viaduct vibrations.

 

 Cheers

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

You need to be careful if you do end up soldering all the track. If you have a large temperature change between winter and summer, the contracting and expanding of the track can cause issues. I’ve seen a high speed track on a model layout that was installed during winter, and all the track joints were soldered. Once the temperature went up the track couldn’t expand lengthwise, so it come off of the layout base. They ended up having to redo large sections.

 

its not very likely to happen on smaller layouts, but still better to leave a few tracks unsoldered and with a small gap. If you do it around where trains are supposed to run slow, like a train station, you won’t get a lot of noise either. 

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Hayashi

I plan to use cork underlayment on top of ply, then glue Unitrack (in a few spots per section) on top of that. Cork underlayment is available at DIY stores (1/4" thick, 30 sq ft for $39 or a roll of 200 sq ft for $149). It isn't quite the same as typical cork trackbed, but instead of trying to bend it around curves or manage railyards, I can cover large areas easily without thinking too much about it. I figure it's a happy medium solution and quite inexpensive.

 

Is it recommended to line tunnels with foam to cut down on sound resonating?

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gavino200
On 3/25/2019 at 5:40 PM, cteno4 said:

 

Layout 3.0 we are screwing down all the viaduct to custom wooden viaduct piers both to hold up to assembly/disassembly and for possible sound.

 

Where are you getting the custom viaduct piers? I might be interested in something like that.

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gavino200
On 3/25/2019 at 5:06 PM, cteno4 said:

Maybe 1/4” foam rubber might not suck up enough glue to keep a soft vibration dampener.

 

"not" is a typo here, right?

 

On 3/25/2019 at 5:06 PM, cteno4 said:

 

best dampener I think would be between the track and foam, stop it before it translates to bigger stuff. Cork probably the best bet (may have to use larger scale with Unitrak, but n scale may work with finetrak. Caulking may be the best to use between track and cork and cork and foammto give as flexible and dampening connections as possible.

 

You mean those pre-cut cork strips that you see in hobby shops? I'm a bit concerned they'll be a PITA. Especially, for custom tracks. Also, won't it make the tracks very high? I sort of like Hayashi's approach of just putting down a whole layer of the stuff.

 

Come to think of it, I'm not sure anymore what the point of the blue/pink foam is in the first place. Is is even necessary? Wouldn't something more sound absorbent be better? Some kind of rubber or neoprene?

 

On 3/25/2019 at 5:06 PM, cteno4 said:

 

on your wood sub base I think 1/4-1/2” plain old sand ply should be fine. Not very expensive but pretty smooth on one side for good contact to foam layer. I’ve done a number of layouts with 5mm Luan for the top sheet and it’s worked fine. It’s pretty stiff and dense so less of a drum head

 

This is greek to me.  

Is my "wood sub base" just the wooden frame? Like a table without a top?

 

What is plain old sand ply? Plywood? As opposed to fancy plywood mentioned by inobu? You don't think the number of lamina matter? I'm not too concerned about the price difference between wood types. But I won't spaz about something irrelevant either. 

 

My wood expertise level is just a hair away from thinking of all wood as just "wood".

 

On 3/25/2019 at 5:06 PM, cteno4 said:

 

if you do a sturdy frame work to attach the wood base to it should not vibrate much.

 

Something like 3/4” birch cabinet ply works well

in like 4” main frame work

 

and then you can do like a 1.5-2” sub frame work

to go down to like a 1’x1’ grid

 

and that should leave little chance for the top to become a resonant surface.

 

Doing your grid structure with lap joints

(like a wine box insert)

really makes a very strong and tight framework that does not have to be uber heavy material

 

Cabinet grade ply cut into strips

is usually decent enough quality to work well

and cheaper and usually truer than most dimensional lumber these days.

 

The lower grades of dimensional lumber

are pretty bad these days and not cheap.

 

Quality dimensional lumber is very expensive and not as eco

as it’s usually cut to be clear and can cause more waste.

 

I’ve moved to using the 7-9 ply Baltic birch.

It’s a bit more expensive than the cabinet grade birch

but it’s uber tough and even better than the cabinet grade birch ply for working with

and you can get it in 1/8”, 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”, 5/8” and 3/4”.

 

I really like it as you can cut very small strips of it

and I can usually make things just as strong but smaller and lighter.

 

Best thing is the top plys are thick and you won’t sand thru them with two strokes of a piece of 120 grit like most plys these days!

 

If you hace a 3/4” external frame work

you can the add a thin ply or other laminate fascia over it

to cover the foam but don’t let a lot hang.

 

To cover the rest of the space

use some heavy curtain material

to make an inset interior skirt

 

or full cabinets below the layout.

Cabinets are a bit much to build in and get into for wiring

and can become a hollow space for more resonance.

 

I would opt for the curtains and then have roll in cabinets (ie little drawer units)

or carts for plastic storage boxes that could suck up any air vibrations

under the layout and use the space wisely and well as be able to clear it all out for max access under layout for working in wiring and such.

 

use good furniture legs.

With a good sub structure you can put 5-6” wide strips of ply

across the bottom of the structure where legs will be

 

(if you recess the interior cross pieces these can be flush with the exterior frame).

Then you can screw leg pads onto these and screw in good legs.

 

These legs work well and look nice and don’t get in the way.

Yes like any table with detachable legs there may be a tiny bit of wiggle

but you don’t dance on the layout or bang on it while running trains.

 

Alternative you can also integrate/bolt larger wood legs into the corners of your frame work to make stiffer leg connections.

A taller exterior frame work will also make for stiffer attachments of legs in this design.

 

 

Any chance you have some pictures to illustrate the kind of structure you're talking about here?

 

I hadn't thought about curtains/skirting as a noise dampener. But even so I'm going to nix them on aesthetic grounds. 

 

Take a look at the first page of VJM's thread. That's the sort of look I'm going for.

 

 

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cteno4
3 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Where are you getting the custom viaduct piers? I might be interested in something like that.

 

Making them. For the temp set up of 3.0 we did last year I just did 3/4” x 2.5” x section pieces with like a 1/4” radius curve on the edge. I didn’t bother to do the Y shape. I don’t think I will make Y shape as we need to really solidly connect these down as it going to bet connected/unconnected a lot and at the module junctions I need to slice these in half (one half on each junction edge) so need the most connection cross section at the base to connect with the module. It’s tricky on the edge of the module as we have the module frame directly below the piers so I can’t screw them from the bottom, I will need to counter sink a hole in the top of the pier to run a screw down into the module.

 

jeff 

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gavino200
2 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

 

Making them. For the temp set up of 3.0 we did last year I just did 3/4” x 2.5” x section pieces with like a 1/4” radius curve on the edge. I didn’t bother to do the Y shape. I don’t think I will make Y shape as we need to really solidly connect these down as it going to bet connected/unconnected a lot and at the module junctions I need to slice these in half (one half on each junction edge) so need the most connection cross section at the base to connect with the module. It’s tricky on the edge of the module as we have the module frame directly below the piers so I can’t screw them from the bottom, I will need to counter sink a hole in the top of the pier to run a screw down into the module.

 

jeff 

 

Ah, you're making them yourself. Pity. I was hoping I could order some. Do you have a schematic? How do they look? Passable or awesome?

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cteno4
2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

"not" is a typo here, right?

 

I meand the foam rubber or flexible foam may not suck up too much glue into its pores and the center of the layer stay flexible. Felt will probably wick the glue all thru the fabric and end up one big hard layer.

 

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

You mean those pre-cut cork strips that you see in hobby shops? I'm a bit concerned they'll be a PITA. Especially, for custom tracks. Also, won't it make the tracks very high? I sort of like Hayashi's approach of just putting down a whole layer of the stuff.

 

Yeah bit cheaper than corking the whole surface. Haven’t priced cork lately but I remeber the big hunks or even 1x1 tiles were not cheap. You can buy thin roll of it for floor underlaminent that is made for noise dampening. Only problem is it comes in pretty big rolls. Maybe you can find smaller rolls

 

https://www.amazon.com/QEP-72003Q-4-Inch-25-Foot-Underlayment/dp/B007OSICIS/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2KSP85TA5KQAT&keywords=cork+underlayment&qid=1553896808&s=hi&sprefix=Cork+und%2Ctools%2C124&sr=1-3

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

Come to think of it, I'm not sure anymore what the point of the blue/pink foam is in the first place. Is is even necessary? Wouldn't something more sound absorbent be better? Some kind of rubber or neoprene?

 

Usually used as an inexpensive and light weight top surface that you can easily dig into to have scene depressions where desired.

 

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

This is greek to me.  

Is my "wood sub base" just the wooden frame? Like a table without a top?

 

What is plain old sand ply? Plywood? As opposed to fancy plywood mentioned by inobu? You don't think the number of lamina matter? I'm not too concerned about the price difference between wood types. But I won't spaz about something irrelevant either. 

 

you had your wood frame topped with the osb and then I think you were doing a layer of pink foam on top. Problem osb is it’s really rough surface so poor glue contact places with the foam layer so it may have loose spots that rattle.

 

for the top ply a smoother plywood would be good. They have construction grade plys that are a bit rough surface and then sand plys that are bit better surface ply layers that are sanded smoother. Then you get into the more expensive cabinet hardwood plys that are sanded very smooth and even (but that layer is now paper thin). I think to get the best glue joint between the ply top and the foam board the sand ply would be the best solution. Sand ply is even and pretty smooth and decently priced and usually fewer knots and other imperfection than the construction grade stuff that pretty rough (but not as bad as the osb you had used which isn’t a ply wood, it’s a particle board, just big particles!).

 

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

My wood expertise level is just a hair away from thinking of all wood as just "wood".

 

Ill see see if I can find a site that documents the Woods well for you. It’s important to know what does what best as a great design and a lot of work can be ruined by using the wrong wood. This is why I now use the 7-9 ply Baltic birch ply so much as it’s really nice to work with and versatile and makes life much easier building things and in the long run worth the cost to use in things like frameworks and such.

 

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Any chance you have some pictures to illustrate the kind of structure you're talking about here?

 

I’ll findnthe link to the screw on leg frame we did for Renato’s layout. It was super simple and quick.

 

doing heavier legs required more woodworking and integration into your table frame work (and maybe a bit more solid top frame work or sub frame work to hold the legs that the table frame work sits on.

 

legs are hard as they take a lot of stress at the attachment points as well as solidly locking them into the framework they are supporting.

 

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

I hadn't thought about curtains/skirting as a noise dampener. But even so I'm going to nix them on aesthetic grounds. 

 

Heavy curtains under the layout would probably be the most effective dampener of any noise that is created by the table top vibrating. But not so pretty. Leaving it all open will of course allow all of it out. Carpet under the layout could help suck up any sound directed down.

 

Putting some rollaround units under may help suck up some of the sound down there. Walling it all off between the legs with solid doors and such may help dampen it some but also if not done right may just turn it into a speaker box.

 

the table top is basically like a big speaker membrane.

2 hours ago, gavino200 said:

 

Take a look at the first page of VJM's thread. That's the sort of look I'm going for.

 

 

 

Those are tables with legs firmly integrated into the table top frame work. I can’t remeber if he built those or they are a standard table. Great thing about using a standard table is that the leg attachments are usually engineered well and strong and also aesthetically pleasing.

 

jeff

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cteno4
26 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

 

Ah, you're making them yourself. Pity. I was hoping I could order some. Do you have a schematic? How do they look? Passable or awesome?

 

Its basically just a hunk of clear fir 1x3 (nominally 3/4”x 2.5”) that I rounded all the edges in and chopped off 2” hunks of. Pretty simple. I’ll see if I can find Picts from the setup. I just spray painted them concrete gray. Final ones I will use a sealer on so you don’t see any wood grain peaking thru and the we can weather them with the usual vertical stains. These are the basic wall piers you see many places in japan just a thick wall across the bottom of the viaduct perpendicular to the track. Some get fancier with the Y shape like the kato ones. Some are 2 or 3 round columns with a concrete beam across them like you see on freeways here (but new ones in ca are now usually the Kato Y design.)

 

i can make you some dirt simple. I have the temp ones I can pop one in the mail to you at some point to noodle on.

 

jeff

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gavino200
7 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Those are tables with legs firmly integrated into the table top frame work. I can’t remeber if he built those or they are a standard table. Great thing about using a standard table is that the leg attachments are usually engineered well and strong and also aesthetically pleasing.

 

jeff

 

I asked him about them. He said they were custom made.

 

Thanks for all the great info Jeff !!!

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Hayashi

Depending on table size and height, consider these legs from Ikea.

 

  • Krille ($15 ea): Steel. They look thin, but can handle a load of 110 lb 4 oz each, plus they are on locking casters. They are only 27.5 inches tall, but might work for some table top layouts especially with some blocks to increase table height. All of these have flanges at the top with screw holes to fasten to the underside of the table or framework. White only.
  • Olov ($15 ea): Steel. Adjustable height 23-5/8" - 35-3/8". Max load = 28 lb 11 oz each. They come in black, silver, and white.
  • Gerton ($30 ea): Steel. Adjustable 26-3/8" - 42-1/8". Max load = 26 lb 7 oz each. Chrome-plated.

 

I'm not sure why Olov and Gerton have such low max loads, unless the loads are reduced because of the interior locking mechanism for adjusting the leg length. You adjust the leg length by twisting the two pieces, pulling the bottom part of the leg to the desired length, then twisting the leg again to lock it in place. Realistically, you could put a series of these on a large table to ensure you are distributing the weight within the max load capability. Their advantage is they look nice and can adjust for an uneven floor. I have used Ikea legs similar to Olov and Gerton on a substantial size desk (with lots of extensions and weight) and 6 legs worked perfectly. Four would have done the job, but one extension hung over so I need the extra support.

 

I have used the Krille legs on a table I made (not for a railroad) which had a substantial weight on it. As spindly as they look, they work great and the large diameter casters are easy to roll on carpet.

 

Does anyone have estimates of model railroad table weights? I realize there are huge variations, but any estimates on a pound/square foot range?

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cteno4
51 minutes ago, Hayashi said:

Does anyone have estimates of model railroad table weights? I realize there are huge variations, but any estimates on a pound/square foot range?

 

Sorry this really can have a huge range depending on what materials you use and design. I’ve built layouts out of 2’x4’ modules that were extruded foam and 1x2 framing and only weighed a few pounds apiece and I’ve seen folks build layout of 2x6s and 3/4” ply tops! 

 

The krill legs are very sturdy, I have them for my new hobby work bench.

 

ive used the adils legs on layouts. At $4 they are very economical and sturdy with a 1” adjustable height. They don’t specify a weight, id hazard like 100lbs as all solid parts. I’ve thought of epoxying a 2” piece of dowel into the plastic leg ends and drill a hole in the center to try to add pin end casters.

 

one warning any screw in leg to a plate will have a tiny bit of wable. If you want rock solid you really need to build the legs into a taller table sub structure and bolt or screw them into corners.

 

here are some pretty light weight layout bases we made for renato’s Layout a while back. Very simple construction, lightweight and can be rearranged into a number of different shapes as he was not set on what he wanted to do.

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

jeff

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gavino200

We've made a bit of progress on the move. We just agreed to buy a house. Unless problems present at the inspection we'll be sealing the deal. It has a good sized basement, but it's currently broken up into a few separate rooms. We'll be remodeling it, to turn it into one big room - a train room. The house needs some renovation, which we'll be addressing first, so the basement project will have to wait for a while.

 

So my plan is to bring my previous/current layout and set it up temporarily in the largest part of the new basement. I'll use it to experiment with different base materials with regard to noise. I may also play with landscaping techniques. It'll all be torn down eventually for the remodel. The new layout framework will be built, likely by a contractor with aesthetics and solidness in mind. 

 

I'm also likely going to sell off all the double track that I did slight edge filing on, and start again with brand new track.

 

I'm also going to surface the different layout modules separately before putting them together, so it will be easier to work on the layout. 

 

That's all I can think of for now. 

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cteno4

Hey congrats! Good luck on the inspection and purchase!

 

look for a cabinet maker. They have the best sets of skills, aesthetics, engineering and shop for this kind of wood work and also are use to working on smaller projects especially if not a rush and can be worked on between projects. Many are jsut one guys shops in a garage, so low overhead. Contractors can have big overheads and farmed out some as well.

 

jeff

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gavino200
Posted (edited)

A little update. The first house was a no go, due to some issues that came up on inspection. But we have a contract on another house. The good news is that this house needs less work. I'll be able to get to the basement much sooner. Also, the basement is bigger and only needs superficial work.

 

I'm planning to stick with the plan that I had decided for the first house. I'll set up my old layout in the basement, and experiment with different track underlays, and noise related variants. Then, when I'm happy with it, I'll tear it down, remodel the basement and have a cabinet maker build the framework for a new permanent layout. 

 

Next step is to decide on experimental groups for underlay etc. 

 

I'll also get some new double track and compare new track to my filed track to see if there's a significant difference. If there is (as I suspect) I'll sell off all the double-track and buy new stock.

Edited by gavino200
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gavino200

Damn, the second house fell through. Major issues with asbestos. So the hunt for a new train room goes on 😞

 

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cteno4

Bummer! But good to find out when you did! House hunting is not fun after a little while.

 

jeff

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chadbag

This is why we are in the midst of planning on a custom build 🙂

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gavino200

Yes, we dodged a bullet. Thanks to my wife's excellent investigative skills. The owners, their agent, and an abatement contractor went out of their way to hide it. But we caught them on it and they'll have to declare it now. 

 

I did think of a custom build. I've always liked the idea of a modernist "Frank LLoyd Wright" style house with lots of glass, wood, concrete and steel. But I'll wait until I'm sure I want to stay a long time in the area.

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cteno4

Ugh the very ugly side of the business. Many slimy types around sadly, but there’s always money there to leach off of even in a down market. Good on your wife for doing the research as it’s the most expensive thing you ever deal with in your life.

 

I had some horror stores from selling my folks place last year like a contractor inflating fix-up cost estimates for the buyer. Saying it would cost $50,000 to do the termite work when the professional termite inspector said it would be $3200 and most of that was to do a tenting as it had not had one in 45 years, and all fix up work was a bit of cosmetic no structural. Their estimate to bring it to nice market value was over twice what I had gotten from other contractors as well. Should have turned him in but it was out in California and not easy for me to do. They did this a day before their deposit was going to be locked in and thought I would flinch and drop the price (after I started the deal saying fixed price not dropping at all just walk away if you don’t want to pay). Sent them a note saying they had 24 hrs to lock the deposit and price or I dissolved the deal. They signed... my lawyer won’t play poker with me now...

 

jeff

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toc36

"I did think of a custom build. I've always liked the idea of a modernist "Frank LLoyd Wright" style house with lots of glass, wood, concrete and steel. But I'll wait until I'm sure I want to stay a long time in the area."

 

You may want to think of getting a subscription to Dwell ( https://www.dwell.com/ ).  Lots of interesting ideals in regards to kit homes.

 

Would be interested to hear more of your wife's investigation.

 

Mark

 

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gavino200
On 5/18/2019 at 2:15 PM, toc36 said:

 

 

Would be interested to hear more of your wife's investigation.

 

Mark

 

 

Sorry, It cook me a while Mark. I had do a bit of thinking and ask my wife a zillion questions before I could answer your question properly.

 

It wasn't anything special. Just due diligence carried through with thoroughness.

 

Basically these are the facts - ie. what we now know the owners new up front before the house went on the market: 

The owners installed a product called Zolonite Vermiculite insulation in the eighties. They actually had the receipts. They also still have the original bags in the attic. They had this insulating material evaluated by a asbestos removal contractor. He identified the substance, and gave them an estimate for removal.

 

This is how the owners and their realtor presented the house to us:

Their disclosure didn't mention asbestos. They gave us the report of an inspection that they had already done and asked us if we'd be willing to forgo doing our own inspection. Obviously we didn't agree to not doing our own inspection. The report had nothing under "repair". Buried in the details was a line saying that "attic insulation could possibly contain asbestos and suggested testing".

 

The owners claimed that the insulation was cellulose. They said that they had been told that testing it was not reliable, and that there was a very small chance (9%) that there would be any asbestos. 

 

At this point we said that we'd want it removed but we hadn't discussed anything about cost or who would pay. They then told us that they  already had an estimate for remitting the asbestos and that the cost was approx $10,000. We were surprised that they hadn't already disclosed this estimate. We wanted to see the estimate, and it took a while before they agreed to give it to us. When we got the estimate there were items not priced but mentioned as the owners responsibility. The estimate also included an rebate. One of the manufacturers of this substance had been ordered by the courts to pay a rebate to homeowners to help with asbestos removal. We researched the extra costs which doubled the removal price. We also researched the rebate. With the information the owners had given so far it would be difficult to qualify for the rebate. That would add an extra chunk of cash to the cost or removal. In order to qualify for the rebate, you need a receipt, the original bags in the attic, or a positive test. We shared this new information with the realtor and the sellers.

 

We didn't notice it as  the time but the removal contractor who made the estimate stated "in this particular case they would get the rebate" but didn't give a reason why.

 

My wife called other companies and researched this material. She learned that it's likely that the material would also be in the walls, which would significantly drive up the price of removal. She also learned that this substance is the most dangerous form of asbestos and the most expensive to remove.

 

The seller claimed to be certain that there was no asbestos in the walls, and now admitted to having the original receipt for installation. Every response was very slow. At this point we decided we didn't want the house unless, the sellers would remove all asbestos according to code. But our inspection was already set for the next day so we went ahead with it. 

 

On inspection the original bags we found in the attic. They were in plain sight, and couldn't have been missed by the contractor who gave the original asbestos removal estimate for the seller. He didn't mention that in his report. Our inspector also found asbestos tile in the basement that was crumbling and would need to be sealed or removed.

 

The seller said they'd pay nothing toward removal, so we backed out. Technically at least, they should be required now by law to disclose the problem to the next potential buyer. 

 

 

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