Sunday, December 6, 2009
Set Screws for Holding Rails In Place at Joints
The size of brass screw I use is #4 x 1" flat head Phillips wood screw available at Ace Hardware, item # 385624.
The key is to screw the screw in deep enough so it is BELOW the top surface of the ties by about 1/64" . The height you are concerned about is taken care of by puddling solder between the top of the screw and the bottom of the rail. If the screw is not screwed in deep enough then I have the problem you mentioned. I had this happen in one case. What I did is heat the solder and screw to melt the solder and while it was liquid put a Phillips in the Phillips screw head and gave it a small twist to bury it deeper and that worked very well.
So height of the rail is not set by moving the screw up or down but by puddling the solder and setting the rail higher and left or right location with a NMRA gauge.
If you use the method you propose it would be a trial and error procedure instead of a one time fitting procedure. You would also need a nut driver or a small wrench to screw in the lag screw. Needs more space and do not have such a small nut driver.
I have had to adjust a few because for some reason I have had some minor movements (expansion & contraction?). Resetting the rail as mentioned above with a soldering gun, flux and track gauge is a very simple and quick thing to do.
Phone me if you want do discuss further or if you see a glitch in what I said above.
I am impressed with your layout from the design, uniqueness and building techniques. Can't wait to see it in person.