1. caldog

    caldog TrainBoard Member

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    Somewhere in one of these posts, I think I remember that somebody said use blue or pink foam for your sub base.

    I just checked this evening at my local HD store, and all they have is white. Is white ok?

    And lastly, what thickness of foam do you use?

    Steve
     
  2. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

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    As far as I know, the white is NOT okay. It will not cut the same as the blue or the pink. I think there are other differences, as well. Is there an alternate store like Lowes in your area or a building supply store? They should carry it. As to thickness, it depends on what you are going to do with it. For a base, the thin will do nicely. If you want to go down into the stuff to lay tracks and need to hollow it out a bit, the two inch version will do the trick.

    I did my layout in the traditional plywood and plaster. It weighs a ton. My expansion will be four times the size of the original and it will be foam pretty much all the way.
     
  3. caldog

    caldog TrainBoard Member

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    We do have a Lowe's here, but it is clear across town. I will try to make it there this weekend.

    What I was thinking of is placing this foam on top of a piece of plywood. And then cut the foam so that I can have some hills and valleys in my layout. Then the next step would be to lay down the track.

    Does this sound right?
     
  4. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Foam on ply sounds reasonable; it's how I built my last 4 layouts! White foam is the beadboard crap that makes a complete mess when broken or cut. It has slim to no structural rigidity, and doesn't make sense for a model RR IMHO.
    I use only the pink or blue styrene extruded foam. It is stronger, almost as light, and carves smoother without breaking into billions of white staticky beads that stick to everything. Stick with blue or pink, and thank us for it later. :)
     
  5. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    I think the other guys have mentioned it, but I just want to comment, that it's not the color itself that matters. It's what the color indicates. Colored foam is extruded foam residential sheathing insulation (as it says on the side of the Dow product). It has a very fine cell structure. Blue is the Dow product, pink is the same product made by Owens-Corning. I've heard reports of a similar green foam, but haven't seen it.

    White would generally indicate regular styrofoam, which has a very noticeable bead consistency. Not the stuff you generally want to use (unless, I suppose, you had no other alternative).

    Regards

    Ed
     
  6. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hemi: Tell us how you really feal. :)

    What they said is correct.
    Thickness: I used 1/2", 1", and 2" thicknesses.
    2" - for the base
    1/2" and 1" to build up so I could carve down
    I also carve into the 2"

    Um, you mentioned carving the foam before putting the track down. While that is the way the real railroads did it I'd suggest layout out the track plan first at least with a marker.
     
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar TrainBoard Member

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    The pink or blue foam is extruded and is very strong, especially in the thicker sizes. It is possible to use this on top of an open grid structure, without a continuous plywood layer.

    The white "beadboard" styrofoam is not strong, even in the thicker sizes. It shapes and sands poorly, but can be cut relatively cleanly with a very sharp knife or a hot wire tool. It is really only useful for landscaping. Dave Frary did some articles for MR about using the white styrofoam in combination with expanding foam to create landscapes.

    If the white stuff is all that is available to you (as is often the case in warmer areas like Florida or California) you will need a 1/2 to 3/4" plywood base underneath for support.

    Andrew
     
  8. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

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    Isn't there also an adhesion issue with the white?
     
  9. caldog

    caldog TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Well I couldn't wait till the weekend, so I went to Lowe's last night, and alas all they had was the white stuff as well. As Masonjar suggested, I might be running into a problem of not being able to get the blue or pink foam sheets here in California. Will try today some smaller hardware stores here in town. As well as a few craft stores Michael's being one.

    My idea is to buy two 1" pieces of foam and lay those on the plywood. Then lay the track out on top of the foam. And then using my trusty sharpie, start outlining everything. I'm not good enough to just start cutting.

    Thanks guys for all of the suggestions.

    Steve
     
  10. mdrzycimski

    mdrzycimski TrainBoard Supporter

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    Look in your Yellow pages under "Insulation Dealers". Call a few and ask if they sell extruded insulation board. If they don't have it in stock, they may special order it.

    Home Depot and Lowes don't have it in the warmer climates because not enough people are looking for it.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Ed M

    Ed M Passed away May 2012 In Memoriam

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    I don't think that's it. I found it in Houston, which is definitely warm, although I only found 3/4" thickness. California seems to have some sort of environmental thing against this type of foam. Most everyone has reported trouble locating it there, although I seem to remember that someone found some. Definitely scarce out there.

    Regards

    Ed
     
  12. Phil Olmsted

    Phil Olmsted TrainBoard Member

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    Steve,

    Check the thread "San Francisco Foam Board Source" on the next page of this forum. I went through the same thing. When I called Dow and Corning directly, I think there was a distributor in Sacramento. I finally found a source through my LHS. which might be your best bet. Try lumber yards that contractors use; I doubt that smaller hd stores or craft stores will have it.

    Good luck,

    Phil (Stagg class of '61)
     
  13. VVayne

    VVayne TrainBoard Member

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    is there any place online we could order the pink or blue foam?
     
  14. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

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    Wayne-

    My guess is that the shipping would be prohibitive. They come in 4x8 sheets. If you can't pick it up, it might be more cost effective to use a more traditional material.
     
  15. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Caldog

    Try putting in your Zip Code into this Owen-Corning dealer search.
    If there is a dealer in your area based on the results of the search, call first to make sure that they have the items in stock... sometimes its something they have to special order. I believe thet Home Depot comes up as a dealer in virtually every city... but... here in South Florida... HD doesn't stock the item. You want "FoamulaR" insulation (the pink stuff)

    http://www.owenscorning.com/around/locator/SearchAreaStore.asp
     
  16. caldog

    caldog TrainBoard Member

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    Wow I didn't think that there would be this much activity in this thread. I just found a list of about six lumber yards, through the link that Calzephyr posted. Will start calling them tomorrow. If that doesn't work then will try the other suggestion of searching the "San Francisco Foam Board Source".

    Steve
     
  17. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

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    Here is a leg up for you. I went to the Owens Corning Site and searched for Foamular and then dealers and then San Francisco

    Looking For: FOAMULARĀ® Foam Insulation Dealers

    Search Area: Within a 20 Mile Radius of 94102

    Place cursor over the icon(s)
    below for a brief description
    of the service or product.

    LUMBERMAN'S CONSTRUCTION
    1960 FOLSOM ST.
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110
    415-621-7294


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BERONIO LUMBER
    2525 MARIN ST
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94124
    415-824-4300


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    GOODVIEW ROOFING 1320
    1320 MARIN STREET
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94121
    415-282-9748


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 6655 (PRO STORE)
    91 COLMA BLVD
    COLMA, CA 94014
    650-757-9653


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0639
    2 COLMA BLVD
    COLMA, CA 94014
    650-755-9600


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SIERRA POINT LUMBER (GOLDEN STATE)
    601 TUNNEL AVE
    BRISBANE, CA 94005
    415-468-1000


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0627
    3838 HOLLIS AVE
    EMERYVILLE, CA 94608
    510-601-9400


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ASHBY LUMBER
    824 ASHBY AVE
    BERKELEY, CA 94710
    510-843-4832


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AMERICAN EMPORER INC
    802 EAST 12TH STREET
    OAKLAND, CA 94606
    510-251-1234


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0643
    11955 SAN PABLO AVE
    EL CERRITO, CA 94530
    510-412-3400


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ECONOMY LUMBER
    750 HIGH ST
    OAKLAND, CA 94601
    510-261-6100


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    GOLDEN STATE LUMBER
    1100 ANDERSON DR
    SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901
    415-454-2532


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0657
    111 SHORELINE PKWY
    SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901
    415-458-8675


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0625
    1933 DAVIS ST
    SAN LEANDRO, CA 94577
    510-636-9600


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HOME DEPOT 0632
    2001 CHESS DR
    SAN MATEO, CA 94404
    650-525-9343


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  18. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    No there isn't but there is a toxic fumes issue with the pink/blue stuff when cut with a hot wire. The white stuff does not emit toxic gas when cut with a hot wire.
     
  19. caldog

    caldog TrainBoard Member

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    Excuse me for not understanding this last statement, but what do you mean cutting with a 'hot wire'. Would you not just cut the foam with a knife?

    Steve
     
  20. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill TrainBoard Member

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    There are two ways to cut it.
    1. The traditional way with a knife or a box cutter. This is tedious and will leave more of a ragged edge and pieces of foam. Also, you are limited by the length of the blade for the cut. It is completely safe unless you slice off your fingers.
    2. Use a hot knife. These are electrically heated. They come in two basic shapes, each using an exposed stiff "wire" to conduct the heat-electricity. One is shaped like a hollow 6-8" chef's knife. The other looks like a large square with the three sides conducting the heat. Each side of the square is about 6" long. It looks like a hacksaw. The heat cuts through the foam and leaves a much smoother cut. The toxicity issue is there, though.
     

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