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QUOTE (Howzatt @ 21 Jan 2007, 22:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm having problems getting these pins through the sleepers on Streamline (code 100) track.
The instuctions supplied with the pins advises to grip the pins with a pair of fine pliers near the point, and push through the sleeper, no need to drill a hole. This seems impossible. I've also tried tapping the pin with a small hammer, but the pin always bends.

Has anyone had similar experiences with SL-14 pins, or am I missing something? Any help would be much appreciated.

Personally, I cannot think of anything which makes track in the scenic section of a layout look more unreallistic than track pins!
I glue track down, usually with EvoStick or Bostick. Once ballast is in place (usual PVA method), this holds the track even more firmly (apologies for grainy pictures - these were taken about 5 years ago) (all mainline curves are 5 foot radius, code 75 track):

The finished product (ballasted track):

I have used pins in my fiddle yard, always in the ends of sleepers. Never had a problem with Peco pins going through into cork. If they are put through the middles of sleepers, the sleepers tend to curl over time and gauge narrowing occurs.
I wouldn't touch Sundeala - the most unsuitable material for model railway baseboards ever invented. Only suitable for what it was invented for: picture boards.

Graham Plowman

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QUOTE (Gwent rail @ 22 Jan 2007, 23:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Well Graham, they do say that one man's meat is another man's poison. This is obviously true when you and Sundeala come together.

Personally, after building layouts for over 45 years, including private, club and exhibition layouts, I have recently started a new layout in a spare bedroom at home. Having in the past built layouts using a flush boarded door, Plywood, MDF and most other materials known to man, I have for the first time ever used Sundeala board.
I have to say that I have found it to be the best surface I've ever used. I wish that I had opened my eyes to it's advantages a long time ago and saved myself a lot of hassle.

Having said that, if you think differently so be it, just don't knock it in a post to a newcomer without giving your reasons. With a reasoned argument, an informed decision can be made by anyone reading your post, not a snap decision made on a dismissive statement.

At the end of the day, we all think differently and are never all going to agree on the best way to do anything,

PS I agree about the way track pins look, but for ease of track laying, I pin, ballast and then remove the pins before painting. Probably the best way for an inexperienced modeller to proceed.

Hi Jeff,

My experience of Sundeala has been as a member of several clubs and being called in to assist several fellow modellers with board construction problems - to rescue them from Sundeala.

The problem with Sundeala is that it is highly absorbant to asmospheric moisture and any water based substances placed on it (eg paints, plasters, wallpaper paste etc). This causes it to suffer badly with warping. The most common problem seen by modellers is that it sinks in the middle and curls at the edges, creating 'humps' across board joins. It is virtually impossible to rescue a layout once it gets to this situation.
Some people say that bracing it more frequently than usual prevents the warping but this negates the cost point benefit on which the decision to use the product in the first place was made on and it often doesn't solve the problem either. I was a member of one club who braced Sundeala with 4x1 timber and this still wasn't enough.
Sundeala is designed for picture boards where its property of readily accepting pins is ideal.
It is not a suitable material for building model railway baseboards and unfortunately, a certain print magazine pushes the stuff as the 'holy grail' of baseboard materials.
Why shouldn't I knock it to beginners ? It is our responsibility to help and guide beginners so that they get the best advice so they can enjoy the hobby rather than fall into the same traps that others have fallen into before them. I think it is dishonest to sell a material which is not the right material for a job because beginners will become frustrated with it when they can't control the warping and probably dessert the hobby.

If you are happy with it and it works for you, then that is good, but I have seen too many layouts ruined by this stuff to accept that it is suitable for model railway baseboards.

In my opinion, the best materials for baseboard construction are 12mm ply with cork track bed. The latter readily accepts pins for those who want to go down that route. Cost wise, it adds up to the same as Sundeala with lots of bracing.

Graham Plowman

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QUOTE (Gwent rail @ 24 Jan 2007, 09:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the reply Graham, you clarify a number of points with which I would not argue.

As with most things, a little knowledge is often dangerous. I too have seen other layouts where the use of Sundeala has caused a problem. I would say that these have been caused by ignoring one of three guidelines that are necessary to use the material with success.
1) If your layout is subject to frequent atmospheric changes, don't use it, the changes in humidity will cause it to distort.
2) Follow the instructions included with every pack of "Sundeala Hobbyboard" (as supplied by model railway outlets) and condition the surface before use.
3) Prime the surface of the board with a non-waterbased sealer or paint before using plaster or wallpaper paste on it.

In my case, my layout is a permanent one, in a spare bedroom, where the conditions do not vary significantly. I am also careful to prime any scenic areas, rather than building on top of the untreated board, thereby avoiding any possible absorption of water.
If my layout were intended for exhibition, or even to be housed in an outbuilding that is not kept at constant temperature, I would totally agree with your preferred option i.e. 12mm Ply.

As for the magazine mentioned, I does amaze me that they advocate the use of Sundeala without giving proper guidelines on it's use and even claim to use it themselves, without clearly giving preparation details.
If you and I are talking about the same people, they even sell a booklet on building baseboards without mentioning how to properly condition the surface.

Thanks for giving a clear reasoning behind your dislike of Sundeala, I hope that reading our posts will be of help to someone thinking of trying it for the first time.

Thanks Jeff,

I pretty much agree with you on all points.
I personally tend to take a 'belt and braces' approach and choose materials known NOT to have problems - I consider my layout an 'investment' which is going to be with me for at least 10 years and I don't want to knowingly introduce problems, afterall, I don't know where my layout could be moved to or stored at some point in the future.
In fact, 5 years ago, my layout was stored in my parent's garage for about a year, here in Sydney. The temperature ranged from around zero overnight to 45 degrees plus during the day. The layout suffered no damage at all bar a little bit of rail expansion in two places.
In the long run, the use of appropriate materials and measures saves money. Doing it wrong and then having to fix it costs more.

I agree with the sealing approach - in fact I do that on all my cork track bed. In practice, it doesn't need to be done because I've never had cork have a problem, but I do it anyway.

If you seal Sundeala, what happens when you put pins into it ? Doesn't that break the seal ? One club layout I was involved with did this and ended up with a little bit of localised warping when ballast/PVA was added.

The 'magazine' is the one you are thinking of and layouts of said magazine do exhibit level surface problems - I've seen them.

Graham Plowman
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