RE-BRAIDING AN EXISTING TRACK OR ASSEMBLING A USED LAYOUT
Often a new owner will be financially unable to purchase new layouts or prefers purchasing "used" tracks. Sometimes good deals are to be found but we always recommend that you make every effort to go see a track before it is disassembled and put in storage. Once the track is taken apart and stored, you cannot see how smoothly the joints are where the track sections are fastened together. By seeing it while it is still assembled you can check closely to see how well the joints go together and if there are any inherent problems with the layout. Always carry a notebook, 100’ tape measure, and be prepared to ask a lot of questions. You’ll need to make certain the layout will fit the existing space you have available at your store.
It’s a waste of your time and money to buy "a pig-in-a-poke" if, once you get it home, it won’t fit the space you have. Many times raceways have shut down, literally in the dead of night. Perhaps they owed back rent they couldn’t pay or just had to vacate the space in a hurry. When this happens, a lot of times they won’t bother to do a proper job of disconnecting the braid where it goes down through the racing surface.
Often you’ll see that the braid has been cut with a knife across the joints. Fixing these can be a major job, but we’ve included a sheet of drawings (See Illustration #15.) showing you how to do this should you not wish to strip off all the old and completely re-braid the entire track. In either case, the first thing you’ll need to do is thoroughly clean the surface as well as the braid recesses. Any area of braid which you find has to be repaired or replaced, the braid recesses must be completely cleaned (with lacquer thinner) all the way to the paint.
There can be NO lumps of old glue remaining because the new braid will not lay flat, no matter how hard you press it down. For large areas it’s a good idea to re-rout the braid recesses with the special router bit discussed earlier. This job must also be done extremely carefully so you do not remove any more than is absolutely necessary! Just take it down to the paint, or barely remove the top layer of paint so the recess is smooth. Be sure to repaint the braid recesses, then re-braid.
Should you decide to repaint the entire track after carefully removing all the original braid, you first must make absolutely certain you have removed every single bit of the old contact cement. The recesses, slots and the racing surface must be cleaned as thoroughly as possible. We like to use lacquer thinner for this cleaning operation, but be very careful! It’s advisable to use very heavy-duty rubberized work gloves and ventilate the area adequately as lacquer thinner also gives off an unpleasant odor that can sometimes nauseate some people.
Once the track is cleaned as good as you can, use 200 or 400 grit sandpaper and lightly hand-sand or use your rotating vibrator sander and lightly "scratch up" the old paint. Vacuum up the dust out of the slots and recesses, then wipe down the surface with clean rags using lacquer thinner, paint thinner, Coleman fuel or naphtha. You can also use Tacky Mac wipes. This sanded surface will give better "grip" to your new coating of paint.
Once the new paint is thoroughly dry, re-braid , and then put down new color coding stripes and section numbers. START-FINISH LINES are usually always painted or marked at the head of the longest straightaway – even though the isolated section for the lap counter might be just 50’ away. Doesn’t matter. Give yourself the easiest way to start your races.