Jul 28, 2019
My comments in red:
Thanks for your thorough information.
I do believe the standard rail joiner is doing a better job of forcing the joined rail ends to the same height. However, due to the standard joiner not fitting down in the space provided for the unioiner (metal part), it is forcing that now aligned rail joint significantly higher than the rear rail, and causing a "hill" on the near rail. Just having each rail end joint match is not sufficient for a operationally reliable track joint, both rails need to be level with those in the opposite rail joint too.
However, I am concerned that over time, the unsupported (on the sides, by the pocket in the surrounding, plastic unijoiner piece) joiner will relax over time and not provide reliable electrical contact. This is the hallmark of Unijoiners, that they maintain electrical contact between joined rails exceptionally well over a long life, compared to conventional rail joiners.
In the end, the left near rail appears high relative to its roadbed (particularly after the joint is corrected with a conventional joiner), and unless that is corrected, operation over this joint will be visually, if not operationally, suspect. Correction could take the form of a modified unijoiner housing, and/or modified length of the conventional rail joiner. Or it could mean simply bending the high rail end downward (e.g. with the wide jaws of lineman's pliers), restoring level with the opposite rail. Note, this rail condition is a defect, whether incurred in manufacturing, packaging, shipping or storage/use. Simply replacing the unijoiner with the conventional joiner treats the visible and tactile mismatch with the joined rail, but does not correct the track problem.
Most of my Unitrack was purchased around 20 years ago, but a significant amount has been recently purchased (in the last year.) While most rail joints are not baby-butt smooth, they are acceptable and reliable, both electrically and operationally, and do not create visible interruptions to the smooth travel of the train over them. Audible? I actually like the occasional clickety-clack...
To be clear, I wasn't proposing the standard rail joiner replacement as a solution, I was just demonstrating how a standard rail joiner forces the rails into alignment (I probably should have just left the plastic part out for that picture). If were to use a standard rail joiner I would trim or file the plastic part down so that the rails would sit level.
What I have done in the past is just make a few swipes with a file on the high rail.
None of the mismatches I've had has affected the operational reliability (well, I have had a snow plow hit one and the engine just stopped and spun it's wheels, but if that happens the snow plow really is too low), though I can see the cars jump a little when they hit the bad ones. The biggest aggravation is when stuff catches on them cleaning the track. I agree about the clickety-clack, even with modern welded rail, there are many places where you'll hear a clickety-clack.
So this may only be news to me, but a Twin XL fitted sheet makes an excellent dust cover for a layout on a 36x80" Hollow Core Door!
The elastic around the edges of the fitted sheet wrap around and under the edges of the layout perfectly, holding it in place. Twin XL mattresses and box springs are typically 39x80.
While looking for an appropriate (and cheap) sheet, I noticed some were made to fit up to a 17" deep mattress, which would cover most layouts, even with significant structure and/or terrain.
Credit must go to my wife for suggesting it to me. I was thinking of a twin xl flat (top) sheet. The elastic around the edges of the fitted (bottom) sheet holds the sheet in place on the mattress/layout. Flat and fitted sheets can be purchased separately, and inexpensively (especially for relatively low thread count [coarse] sheets that are less desirable for bedding, but more durable.) I got a white fitted twin xl sheet from Walmart for <$9.
The Twin-T fitted is also a good fit.
I could not find a reference online for the dimensions of "Twin-T"; only Twin, Twin-XL and "Narrow Twin (aka single?)"
What size is a Twin-T?
Sheets can sometimes be found at thriftshops and church rummage sales.
I have a heavy flannel fitted sheet I put over the dining room table when I work there.
I don't recall the dimensions on the wrapping. My mattress is 10" thick which take a standard (barely). The Twin-T will fit a 3" thicker mattress looser.
I bought them at Walmart. My three larger doors are the same 36"x80". Five smaller (narrower)
Ok, apparently the "-T" is for "thick mattress."
My mattress doesn't have a box spring. All in one. But getting old.
What a great idea to use fitted sheets! I have several extra that I no longer need for bedding.
I use lighter material. I get gauze-like see through curtain panels at Walmart. Even though they are "see through" the holes are small enough to prevent dust to get through.
Has anyone seen the August Model Railroader magazine? The gentleman has a beautiful 7’6” door layout on page 28. I myself was looking for an bigger HCD door. Instead of this massive 90x36 , all I could find was an 80x36 . I have looked online and anything that was close to the size was a different type of door. I am happy with my build, though it would have been extra good if I had an extra 10 inches of real estate.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I would think a 90x36 HCD would have been a custom ordered door. The guy may have found it in a clearance aisle at a big box store after someone ordered it and decided he didn't want it after all. That would have been an awesome find !!
Some older homes had some weird sized doors. Maybe it was in a scrap heap during a home renovation. Still would have been an awesome find !
Yes, this would have been a great find!
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Why not put two together, side by side. One regular door and half of a folding door. Or even more smaller ones. That would add a lot of extra strength.
I think you mean end to end. The 36" width is fine.
I have seen many mentions of the folding doors. But I wonder about their stability, over time? Are they rigid enough, so they would not slowly begin to sag, over time? I have some here on my closets and just a slight push inward makes them easily bow. Seems as though a person would end up building some sort of frame, to keep them rigid.
I meant side by side for width. I have use the folding door panels for shelves with supports on the ends and find them just as strong. If you get the good ones. Yes I have seen some that bend like cardboard. Two 15" doors together are stronger than a 30"er. The middle doesn't sag or warp. I got them at Menard's.
Some folding doors are very thin, but others (usually hollow core slab) are standard interior door thickness.
I'm not sure I would support even an interior passage HCD only at the ends, with no middle support or additional stiffening. Some users mount 1x4 strips (glued & screwed) to the underside, to which they attach folding banquet table legs. Others use pre-hung doors and mount the door frame on the wall. In both cases, the supports are set in from the ends, reducing the unsupported span, and therefore increasing stiffness.
But a lot depends on how you are going to construct your scenery/terrain on top of your HCD. A continuous 2" or thicker foam insulation board, with foam terrain and a little bit of lightweight (hydrocal, etc.) material on top will need only a little support to keep it from sagging anyway. If you plan on chicken-wire and plaster cloth, with lots of additional plaster, then that will be both heavy and need substantial support from beneath. A big advantage of a HCD base is its relatively light weight and portability. Adding a lot of weight on top defeats both of those.
Of course, if your layout has a huge dozen-track yard in the middle, filled with your locomotive collection, that can get pretty heavy all by itself, and they offer no structural support in return...