ROUTING THE STRAIGHT-AWAYS
Not difficult, but still a rather tricky task - especially if you want them "straight" and you’re going from one slightly banked turn to another banked section. Long straight-aways can also compound the problem. Guides must be made of long, thin strips of wood - at least 10’ or 12’ - we used grade A lattice which had very smooth edges, yet would "bow and bend" slightly to allow it to be temporarily nailed flush to the surface using 1" coated box nails every two feet. Only drive the nails into the surface wood roughly half way so nails can be removed with a claw hammer. Have a helper hold the board tightly against the surface, moving along with you as you rout the straight slots. The router must be held firmly against the edge of this guide and pulled slowly and smoothly from one radius point to the other. Let it slip just a bit and you’ll be filling a boo-boo with Bondo!
As stated several times earlier, routing is a sawdust nightmare! It is heartily advisable that you have an extra person going along right behind you with that vacuum cleaner hose, sucking up sawdust as it is made. Even though you’ll do it probably two dozen times for each lane, it’s a good idea to use the back edge of a pocketknife and scrape the packed sawdust in the slot while vacuuming. Sure…the next slot you rout will fill the first one with loose MDF dust and you’ll have to vacuum again. If you don’t vacuum you won’t be able to see what you’re doing. Besides you’ll be standing in, lying across or sliding on the slickest stuff since oil! Be very careful even walking around in this stuff.
Once all the straight slots are routed and vacuumed, now go back and re-rout the braid recesses. Again, vacuum and sweep up as you go. Once all slot routing has been completed you’re now ready to build and install the sides – the retaining walls. Not only do these keep slot cars from falling off and onto the floor (most of the time) but once installed just about double the strength of each section and the overall track.