Contact cement and foam – layout started

The damn has burst and, finally, a new layout is underway. I have a plan and the table over which to build the thing. Yesterday I discovered a stash of 1″ blue extruded foam panels in the shed and decided to have a go again.

In the past, when bonding foam panels I’ve been a fan of the caulking gun type adhesive. I really like using this glue for foam to wood applications. I’m not as big a fan of it when laminating multiple sheets together (stacking) since I find the glue bead can be thick and it just feels, to me (and we all know what I’m like!) like the bond could be better. Many years ago on larger N scale layout I used water-based contact adhesive to laminate the sheets together and yesterday I thought I’d give that option a try again. Coffee in hand I wandered over to Home Depot and bought a product from LePage:

The link above is to the exact product I used. It’s available in much larger quantities than I purchased.

It is very low odour. I used it in my dining room and no one seemed to complain about the smell. <Wise cracks start in 1, 2, … >

I used a paint roller to spread the glue over both faces of the foam to bond together. This worked perfectly.

It took about 40 minutes for the glue to set up enough to bond. Tom Petty was right when he sang: “the waiting is the hardest part”. Luckily I started this project while making supper so distractions weren’t hard to find.

As the label suggests, and the name implies, once you are placing the panels together you need to know where you are placing that panel since the bond is instantaneous and there is no possibility of adjusting the panel’s location. As an aid for this I used a black marker and traced the final location for each panel so I would know where each needed to be. Since some of the panels I was using were odd shapes that only fit one way having this outline was really handy. I also marked on each panel which side was “up” so I didn’t accidentally place one upside-down.

Most of the foam I need to use as a foundation for subroadbed and, ultimately, track is now in place. I’m keen to discovering something to use for these and am leaning toward revisiting balsa wood for both – another technique I’ve used successfully in the past and am keen to revisit.

I am keen to get something done on this project every night, no matter how grand. This parade needs to keep moving forward. As I key this I’m re-listening to a pile of episodes of The Model Railway Show podcast. In particular, the January 1, 2013 episode and Trevor has my hand raised high in the air while I proclaim with some Mears-y inflections: “I am going to build a layout and I am going to do that, this year.”. Yes, this is that year and dammit I’m going to finish this one. Trevor’s interview with James McNab is just starting and this is a real treat since his Grimes Line layout is one of my favourites. I could use another coffee though. Time to flash up the espresso pot again. There must be some more Row146 around here somewhere!

Categories: Prince Street Layout

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2 replies

  1. Congrats – starting a layout is always a great feeling. I look forward to following your progress…

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