We have been given a old wood 3 lane track for our pack. It looks like will need to replace the wood on the top side of the track where cars roll down on. What is the best type of plywood to use for this? It has 1/4" on it now but think it might be Luan type, wat some thing smooth and will last, thanks
BF, congratulations on finally acquiring a track for your unit. I hope it works out.bassfisher wrote:We have been given a old wood 3 lane track for our pack.
It would not surprise me if Luan - a rather inexpensive and thin plywood made of softwood - is problematic, but if I may ask, what is precisely wrong with the existing surface that would require you to replace it?bassfisher wrote:It looks like will need to replace the wood on the top side of the track where cars roll down on. What is the best type of plywood to use for this?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have never tried to resurface a track. But until somebody with more experience pipes up, I recall that for a wooden track, cabinet-grade hardwood (like birch) is preferred, or at least a hardwood veneer, for the rolling surface. In reality, usually one is limited to whatever a local lumberyard will supply inexpensively (because if it costs a fortune, you'd be better off just buying a brand-new track).
FWIW, we eventually built our track racing surface out of PVC siding material because it seemed smoother than most wood, durable (no splintering, not susceptible to humidity, etc.), and was flexible; mostly though, that material was already available to us locally.
Are the guide strips screwed on? Are you planning to remove them and resurface the whole width, or just lay strips in between guides? If the later, be sure enough 'height' is left to the guidestrips to keep cars under control.
Maybe some pics of the current condition might spark more ideas and understanding as to what you are up against.
Basically be unscrewing off the top side and putting down new piece of smooth nice wood. the frame is very light for track lanes. Just want something that will last, will try to post pic later, thanks
BF, in my experience, tracks seem to be built with a single layer of plywood. It sounds like another layer of plywood (your current racing surface) may have been added on top of the older racing surface? If so, I can only imagine how heavy this track has become!bassfisher wrote:Want to replace current top side. [...] Basically be unscrewing off the top side and putting down new piece of smooth nice wood. the frame is very light for track lanes.
Understanding your desire to have something that will last, I would be concerned about trying to add a new veneer (such as hardwood paneling) to old plywood thinking that - sooner or later - it would come unfastened to the underlying plywood when the plywood is bent in its racing configuration. When I said "hardwood veneer", I was thinking of cabinet-grade plywood where only the exposed surface is actual hardwood (the core is still softwood, which is cheaper but ultimately less durable than a hardwood core).
If I were in this situation and concerned about longevity, I would think about building a new single-layer track with the best plywood I could reasonably acquire, using the existing track surface as a template and for parts.
The center guide strips are probably just fine. Use the old one as a template and hopefully you can get materials donated.
I had a old track and tried fixing it and here is my thoughts on this.
This almost sound like fiber board or smooth top white paneling. Use to be common on older home built tracks.
Or perhaps someone took a thinner better grade of wood over top of a thicker cheaper backing.
Issues and solutions.
I'm not sure i would just want to go back over the top and I'll asume, you cant just take that layer off. As I found mine was wood glued on all over. Which also meant sanding and smoothing the wood to even have a decent surface to lay the top surface on.
Then the bend and slope could be a slight issue too.
However, When I got into looking at costs and materials and here is what I came up with.
1- if you do have that white top, then junk it and build a new one. sorry, im just trying to save you alot of nightmares and never be happy with it, when it's done.
2-get the 5 or 7 seven layer wood, it has to be ordered, local menards, cash up front on the order like $68 a sheet, but bad news, it runs short to make a 32 foot track. so you need two peices. price may have gone up also.
then youy can re-use allot of the exsisting brackets, ect.
you are gonna have to make a lane guide for re-laying your center rails, not hard and worth the time to do it.
3 you could use 3/4 plywood and another sheet of paneling. but glueing and getting enven and level will be a small challenge but doable.
I ended up just having new rails trips ripped to right size and width and donated the track for a test / play track.
Woodworx on here made a great track and I bought that from him. He can chim in and provide some info.
no matter how I worked the numbers, it was gonna cost me $250 to $350 for a decent track.
I ran one of my pine cars down each lane and got fairly consistant times on each, so I believe they are all evenly matched and hope to keep it that way. I also plan on an extended stopping section too as we kind of beat up our foam stopping block- kept pulling the wires through it, and when it was anchored fully were sending the cars nearly half way back up the track}.
Our problem is were rookies here and some run some of our weights under the car which makes for added stopping issues.
So, anyone just sand smooth and repaint the tracks - or do I get to be the oddball?
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2. Replace the foam with "memory foam", e.g. Tempur-pedic.
I put 2-1/2" high by 2-1/2" deep memory foam topped and backed up by wood across the end of six tracks' braking sections for our district derby. Foam assemblies held in place with duct tape running across the top, down each side and under the track. Attach with slight downward compression ...less than 1/4". I saw no rebounds. Cars regularly reached the foam and just stopped with their noses against the foam ... no rebound, no damage.
I cut up old Temper-Pedic pillows that my Bride had retired after a few years of use. Chilled 'em, then sliced 'em with a freshly sharpened chef knife.
"If it's not for the boys, it's for the birds!"
This would be my suggestion. Remove the guide strips and wipe the track a couple of times using an automotive pre-cleaner. Water sand the track smooth using 800 grit paper and a sanding block. The most important part is where the cars travel. You do not need constant running water. Fill a windex bottle with water and keep the area you are sanding wet. Repair the imperfections. You mentioned you "spray paint". If the track is painted with color, choose the color you want and purchase automotive Single Stage urethane. Since the track sections will probably be laying flat when painting them, as opposed to hanging them, you should get a very smooth finish. If you get dust, you can sand the dust out and rub out the spots. You can also water sand the entire track with 1500 and rub out the track. You will end up with a very durable finish that can be spot repaired if it should somehow get damaged. If you try to paint the track with the guide strip in place I think the area where the wheels run will be negatively affected.
Regarding weights under the car. I think most BSA rules make this illegal. Putting weights directly under the car takes away the 3/8" clearance that is usually required under the rules. The weights can drag the guide strip and will probably damage the brake area.
My suggestion for a brake area is an 8' section, raise the guide strip by placing another guide strip under the original, and cover it with sponge drawer liner from Walmart. This will keep the cars close to the ground in the event one of them decides to leave the track. You can make a fast, rough prototype to see if it works for you. Put together one lane, line it up with one of your track sections, and push a derby car towards it at the speed of a racing derby car. It should stop the car in about 4'.
Best of Luck in whatever you decide to do.