Construction of a Test Track

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:31 pm

Tony Wilkins wrote:Stick around long enough and see the wheel reinvented.
Tony.


Ah ... but to what profile I wonder :D
Tim Lee

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:32 pm

Mont wrote:Hi Tony,

I am contemplating using white metal chairs on my layout, which glue would you currently recommend?

Regards,
Monty.

Hi Monty.
Not Evostick!
It depends on what you want to achieve.
Ideally a glue that produces a good bond yet can be broken if needs be for repairs to solder joints.
We have been using Uhu to replace loose whitemetal chairs, mainly because this was to hand, but it seems to the job. Don't go for the water based version which is OK for card models, but not this. Look for the flammable symbol on the pack.
They do a power version supposedly stronger and I have recently discovered Uhu extra. This a Gel version and not as prone to stringing as other versions are.
Whether you could call this a recommendation I am not sure, but it works for us.
Regards
Tony.

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:56 pm

[quote="Philip Hall"
I am going to have a go at soldered sleepers every inch or so on pointwork, but Tony's warnings of possible expansion problems have worried me a bit. All of the hidden sidings area is going to be handbuilt with PCB sleepers, widely spaced, and this has always been an accepted way of building track in these places. I don't know how this squares with a possible expansion problem? However, I do intend only to pin the track in place and not to have any of it glued solidly to the baseboard. Partly for noise, but also to allow for some movement and reduction of noise. I am not going DCC, so no sound, and trains gently swishing around rather than sounding as if the track was glued to granite is my aim.
Philip[/quote]

Hi Philip.
Like all things, being aware of the potential pitfalls and making allowances is half way to finding a solution. The amount of expansion over a scale 60ft length of track is not going to be very much and even glued to some form of underlay be it cork or foam will generally have enough give to absorb this. The problem comes when people glue down metre lengths of track and fix both ends and expect to get away with it. The sector plate on Green Street has metre lengths of flexi track glued to a cork on ply base. The important thing is that the rails are only fixed at one end and are free to expand down the length of the flexi track where there is a gap in the rail to the next length of track which is actually fixed at its far end. These fixings are where the power is fed to the track sections and have given very little trouble over the years.
Pinning your track will allow some movement and provided you can maintain your top and line you should be OK.
Regards
Tony.

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:10 pm

Tony Wilkins wrote:... and provided you can maintain your top and line you should be OK.
.


That is quite a big proviso from Tony! I long ago gave up any form of "float" in my track - the softer the underlay / lighter the pinning etc the more the track will simply curl up at the ends / between the pins etc - like BR sandwiches never did.

I glue my sleepers directly to the baseboard - these days noise is not an issue and providing you take the precautions already mentioned, you won't have expansion issues. We all talk about gauge, line alignment etc - but keeping the rail tops dead level and flat is a much bigger challenge - and the fewer interfaces to the baseboard the better in my view. In that regard at least Minories is a long way off perfect - but it is better than previous efforts!

Best wishes,

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Tony Wilkins » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:04 pm

Hi Howard.
It certainly is, which is why, like you I much prefer to glue my trackwork firmly to the underlay. One less variable to worry about, but each to their own.
The greatest enemy to good running that I have found is twist in the rail levels. Not always easy to rectify either.
Tony.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:58 pm

Philip Hall wrote:I am going to have a go at soldered sleepers every inch or so on pointwork, but Tony's warnings of possible expansion problems have worried me a bit.


Your really don't have to have soldered sleeper every inch on pointwork. Obviously I have nothing like the expertise on building track as Howard and Tony, but I've got 11 turnouts on my layout, all built largely using exactoscale plastic chairs, ply sleepers, and soldered rivets at vital points, which works out at about every six sleepers or so on each stock rail (fewer on switch, of course), with special emphasis on the crossing V and the area immediately after the tie bar where one rail begins to curve away - a devil to keep in gauge using plastic slide chairs alone. They all work. Maybe I was lucky as i bought the C&L Hi-Ni rail and the chairs a few years ago and have had no problems with them (save for the gauge narrowing on points that Allan has explained). Chairs are stuck to pre-stained ply timbers using butanone which forms a firm bond. And of course using only a relatively few riveted sleepers cuts down on the (for me) nightmare of having to fit cosmetic chairs - I must have the larger size rivets and it is neither enjoyable nor easy. For plain track I've used chairs and ply sleepers throughout - very few rivets.

DT

Knuckles
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Knuckles » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:09 pm

Getting level track has been my biggest modelling bane of all time. Super gluing sleeper directly to the board appeals to me for whatever I build next.

For plastic chairs, rather than adding a rivet every 5 or so ply timbers I'm thinking I might stick in a copper clad timber and use brass chairs in key areas instead. Will boob up the cost a bit but might be worth a shot.

Just an idea. Can always rough up the timber texture with coarse grit to match.
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” Thomas Paine

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Mostly offering Loco kits & bits in 4mm.

Philip Hall
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Philip Hall » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:39 pm

Tony, Howard,

Many thanks for the observations. When I said that the track will be pinned it will be to a cork underlay, and pinned until it gently touches. Visible track, mostly Exactoscale Fast Track, will be pinned as well before final ballasting with granlutated cork and diluted latex adhesive. I will want to ensure that the top line is good.

For me noise is a problem and I want a railway where the only sound you can hear (generally) will be the click of wheels over rail joints. I have had experience many years ago of track held down into an effective granite base and do not want that again!

One of the quietest railways I have ever seen was the late Ken Northwood’s North Devonshire Railway. Ken laid his track on paper bases on top of foam and it did have a lot of movement, not appropriate of course for P4. I always thought that the ‘King’ on the 16 coach ’Torreyman’, which weighed about 2lb, made the track in front of it sink before it got there, but it glided past with a swish and a clickety-click from the wheels, and it is that I want to emulate. Not the sinking.

Philip

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:29 pm

Following all this with great interest, much of this strangely, is going to be covered in the final article of the three I am doing for the Scalefour News. I know I will probably be shot at, but I have also been at this game for a long time and have done a few things that are unique. I have never written up my experiences in extending Dubbieside for the Melrose Model Railway Museum during the 1980's although it was covered by an article in MRJ no.47 which did give some sense of the size of the layout and the fact that it ran for the public 7 hours per day 7 Days a week.

Not all that was originally available was bad, if it had been then most of us would probably have turned away from trying to do this long before now. Not all that is available now is necessarily fine either. New or latest techniques should be considered with some caution as, if we look back we can all see evidence of the "latest" idea which took time for proper development. Take the example of Jidenco kits which were amongst the first to go into photo etching and kit production - I do wonder if the designer ever built them before letting them loose on an unsuspecting public! Yet we all have had satisfaction building the odd etched kit I am sure. (By the way some of you like me remember the Sayer - Chaplain nickel silver kits that were available in the 1950's.) Fashion is a fickle thing and ideas come and go - there is no substitute for experience and it was possible to build a good working layout in the early days, which would be still working 45 years later :)

I know I have a new layout under way, but I am not expecting people to follow me as it is me trying out a few ideas of my own - once I have enough experience of it working at shows and taking it about. I will probably write up my thoughts on what was good about it and what I would avoid and possibly change.

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:34 pm

Stretcher bar brackets are very fiddly to solder in place on the switches, but it has to be done:

IMG_8576 (2).JPG


Seen here is an assemblage of tiny parts which will serve to throw the switches. The adjusting crank and clevis joints are Howard Bolton's etches, the rest of it is my bodging. The glass epoxy laminate (GEL) stretcher bars are omitted in this shot and are yet to be made.

Hmm. will have to trim that over-length timber...

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:28 pm

Looking good Colin, :)

the detailed parts are excellent, good luck with getting them to operate as Howard's do, maybe I have missed it, are you planning on making them work directly from the levers as Howard's or are you going to use motors/servos to operate? Sorry if you have already said in your thread. :)

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:26 pm

Thanks for your comments Allan.

Re. the drive method for the switches, that has not quite been decided yet, though it will not involve point motors. I have enough sub-surface parts from Howard to link up the switches to a lever frame using cranks and rodding. Initially, I might make do with knobs which can be pushed to operate the mechanisms-rather than levers. Rest assured, nothing that I create will approach the finesse of Howard's Minories' mechanical operating system and lever frame!

All the best,

Colin
Last edited by Colin Parks on Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:20 am

Yes Colin, :)

While I was spending my happy hour with Howard at Scalefourum he did take a few moments when no one else was watching, to show me just how easy it was to remove the lever frame and how the parts just automatically clicked together and instantly matched up - so impressive a piece of work. Like you I will not be trying to emulate such work as it is clear it has been a personal work of love by Howard - I do not have enough time in my life to be able to build similar, but I still think it wonderful to see such an achievement.

Incidentally, I missed meeting Michael Godfrey this year, he nearly always turns up for Scalefourum and I had hoped to meet again this year, but had little time off on the Sunday when he was at the show and missed him. I am always impressed with his level of work in terms of detailed track - they are works of Art. Good luck with your own quest Colin, I may not have much to add, but will continue to follow with interest. :)

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:32 pm

Some work on the point rodding sub-surface. These are Howard Bolton's components and are much bigger than the parts atop the board - thankfully!

Here is the linkage for a turnout and trap point, which will be operated by one lever. There will be a straight pull from the crank to the lever. In this view the escapement unit for the turnout can be seen, with a lug from its rod linking to the trap point mechanism out of view away to the right. As the crank is pulled upwards, the escapement unit rod is pulled to the left, the drive lug pushes the rod leading to the trap point. The brass tube joints will be insulated to avoid short circuits from the running rails.

It has been very challenging to work out the relative positions of the cranks top and bottom, plus getting the escapement units in the correct orientation. There will also be micro switches operated by the rods, though I have yet to add these:

IMG_8655 (2).JPG


In context, it can be seen that there is going to be some tricky work ahead, with careful placing of cranks so as to avoid the Tim Horn base board cross bracing. The notional (17) lever frame is directly above the crank - as denoted by the vertical pencil line for the rodding run. I am still unsure how far apart levers should be spaced on a lever frame, so work will have to proceed carefully with regard to placing the rodding runs. Due to the fact that there are so many crossovers in the track design, there are only going to be five levers required for point operation. The rest of the levers will be for signalling - one day.

IMG_8659.JPG

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:44 pm

Hello Colin,

All looking good - well done.

Just one tip - you need to set the lengths of the rodding so that at each end of the travel, the bellcrank arms are at an equal angle to the rods. Otherwise, there is a lot of lost motion. An easy way to achieve this is to cut the rod somewhere along its length and re-join it with a length of brass tube which is a sliding fit. That way, you can tack it, test it, and tweak it before soldering it all up.

Another small point is that where you have to drive 2 rods from one crank, as here, you can use two clevisisisis / clevi?? off a common pin on the bellcrank, bearing in mind that if you load a soldered joint in bending it can fatigue after a while.

Hope that helps,

Edit:- sorry - meant to add - excellent filing of the FB switches BTW.

Best wishes,

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:28 pm

This reminds me of one of the BBC masterclasses I saw 30 years ago ..... I think it was Julian Bream the classical guitarist. He took a class in front of an audience and his 'pupils' were all concert standard soloists in there own right ... it was riveting watching if I remember rightly.

All of this is a bit above my level, but is avid reading.
Tim Lee

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Allan Goodwillie
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Allan Goodwillie » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:34 pm

Julian Bream used to come to our art college (Dundee) every year and give a performance for the students, I think he was a friend of Alberto Morocco who was our head of painting. He was a very heavy breather when playing, which was maybe more pronounced for those of us sitting in the front row, but what a wonderful guitarist!

The resulting party afterwards was equally memorable for those who did not get too drunk. Julian could really go off piste and had a huge repertoire playing all sorts of styles that he was not known for, except by his friends.

Colin I am enjoying where this is going - are Howard's bits and pieces readily available, they certainly look strong enough to do the job :?: . I have already bought servos for my new layout, but have another plan for a follow up layout that might be fun to do in this way, just for the experience. :)

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:53 pm

JFS wrote:Hello Colin,

All looking good - well done.

Just one tip - you need to set the lengths of the rodding so that at each end of the travel, the bellcrank arms are at an equal angle to the rods. Otherwise, there is a lot of lost motion. An easy way to achieve this is to cut the rod somewhere along its length and re-join it with a length of brass tube which is a sliding fit. That way, you can tack it, test it, and tweak it before soldering it all up.

Another small point is that where you have to drive 2 rods from one crank, as here, you can use two clevisisisis / clevi?? off a common pin on the bellcrank, bearing in mind that if you load a soldered joint in bending it can fatigue after a while.

Hope that helps,

Edit:- sorry - meant to add - excellent filing of the FB switches BTW.

Best wishes,


Hi Howard,

Thanks for your comments on this humble attempt at the rodding. Your observation about setting the crank arm angle has got me slightly bemused. Is the crank in the picture to be at 90 degrees to the rods when the rods are mid-travel? The rods are just a push-fit in the brass tubed joints, so corrections can easily be made. The idea about having a legnth of tube as an adjuster sounds good.

Re. the clevises (thankyou Google), I had thought about drivng both ways off one crank pin, but went for the lug instead. I suppose that the strain on the pin is the same either way.


All the best,

Colin (That FB switch blade 'outcome' was more luck than judgement, but the look of the set bend on the stock rail is rather pleasing.)

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:15 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:This reminds me of one of the BBC masterclasses I saw 30 years ago ..... I think it was Julian Bream the classical guitarist. He took a class in front of an audience and his 'pupils' were all concert standard soloists in there own right ... it was riveting watching if I remember rightly.

All of this is a bit above my level, but is avid reading.


Thanks Tim,

That analogy to the televised Julian Bream masterclass is amusing. I definitely feel like a pupil in this case, but having first to build the 'guitar' before receiving lessons in playing it!

Under Howard's tutelage, I have got at least this far with the project. It has to be said that Howard has very kindly offered much advice and encouragement via private messages, so you are spared reading some of the dumber questions that I sometimes ask!

Despite the adjustments that are needed, it is quite fun to see all the parts move (in the right direction) when the crank is moved.

All the best,

Colin

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:23 pm

Allan Goodwillie wrote:Julian Bream used to come to our art college (Dundee) every year and give a performance for the students, I think he was a friend of Alberto Morocco who was our head of painting. He was a very heavy breather when playing, which was maybe more pronounced for those of us sitting in the front row, but what a wonderful guitarist!

The resulting party afterwards was equally memorable for those who did not get too drunk. Julian could really go off piste and had a huge repertoire playing all sorts of styles that he was not known for, except by his friends.

Colin I am enjoying where this is going - are Howard's bits and pieces readily available, they certainly look strong enough to do the job :?: . I have already bought servos for my new layout, but have another plan for a follow up layout that might be fun to do in this way, just for the experience. :)


Hi Allan,

Nice anecdote about Julian Bream. You were lucky to have seen him in party mode. I suspect that his heavy breathing whilst playing probably would have coincided with the phrasing of the music.

Re. the availablity of the parts that I am using, it would be best to contact Howard to find out. As for their durability, the etched components seen the last couple of pictures are all made of 28 thou. nickel silver and they are very tough - even the clevises are, once soldered up.

All the best,

Colin

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Le Corbusier
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:07 pm

Colin Parks wrote:
Thanks Tim,

That analogy to the televised Julian Bream masterclass is amusing. I definitely feel like a pupil in this case, but having first to build the 'guitar' before receiving lessons in playing it!

Under Howard's tutelage, I have got at least this far with the project. It has to be said that Howard has very kindly offered much advice and encouragement via private messages, so you are spared reading some of the dumber questions that I sometimes ask!

Despite the adjustments that are needed, it is quite fun to see all the parts move (in the right direction) when the crank is moved.

All the best,

Colin

perhaps a small youtube link in due course?
Tim Lee

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:42 am

Colin Parks wrote:
Hi Howard,

Thanks for your comments on this humble attempt at the rodding. Your observation about setting the crank arm angle has got me slightly bemused. Is the crank in the picture to be at 90 degrees to the rods when the rods are mid-travel?


Hello Colin,

By no means humble I think! You will be rewarded by some first-class reliability :thumb

Sorry if what I said was confusing - hopefully this diagram will help:-

Crank angle.jpg
Crank angle.jpg (40.52 KiB) Viewed 1958 times


From memory of the design, with the throw of the operating units, the angles should be not far off 45 degrees which means that BOTH rods are eui-angled if the two rods are at 90 degrees to each other (which they usually are). If the rods are not at 90, it is necessary to split the difference between the two, or (if the rods are a long way off 90), the bellcrank needs cutting so that both ends of the crank can be equi-angled to their rods. (probably would have been quicker to make a diagram than describe that...)

Your comment about making things go in the right direction had me smiling - when I was setting mine up, a trial revealed that one rod refused to move. An inspection showed the reason - I had both ends of a crossover trying to go in opposite directions! And that despite carefully drawing everything out beforehand...

Keep up the good work!

Best wishes,

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:22 am

Thanks for the diagram Howard.

It looks as if all that needs to be done to get the crank angle correct is to move the crank base down and to the right, leaving the rodding as it is. This information now makes me think that some attention will be needed to the scale sized cranks because I do not think they follow the principle shown in your diagram.

All the best,

Colin

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Colin Parks
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby Colin Parks » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:16 pm

Well,it was not quite as easy as I had thought to move the crank to the correct position, but after two attempts, this seems to be the definitive position. There are a few extra holes showing around the crank base plate as a result of some confusion caused by one piece of rod being too short. The pencil marks do not reflect the true position of the crank's start and end points. but the crank is at 90 degrees to the rod at the mid-point of travel. The pivot pins on the crank now start and end their travel in line with the rodding, which is a shown Howard's diagram.

IMG_8660 (3).JPG


Some filling of holes and rubbing out of pencil marks to be done.

JFS
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Re: Track Construction for a Test Track

Postby JFS » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:34 pm

Hello Colin,

Just had a quick look at the drawing and the angle you have there looks fine.

In a perfect world we would all measure all the centre to centre distances and draw the runs out full size on the underside of the baseboards before doing anything else. In the real world it is not as easy as that!

I did at least do an electronic drawing superimposed on the Templot template ...
(blue are FPLs, black are points)

Slide3.JPG



- lets us say it did at least form a plan to deviate from... and it did ensure that I did not have any drive on any baseboard framing!

Best Wishes,


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