To my fellow railroaders: I have finally gotten off my duff and decided to lay track today for my HO layout. I have several questions to pose and I know that the vast wisdom of The Gauge will come to my rescue. I am using old/new and used - brass and nickel/silver track. Question #1 - I was planning on using a dremel with a small wirewheel to polish the rail joints ( where the rails come together ) , and soldering each and every joint as well. Should I do this ???? Should I concern myself with expansion joints? (I will use one of the new "Cold Heat" soldering irons, as not to melt the ties) Question #2 - I was also planning on using the same wirewheel to remove the oxidation from the track surface. Is this a good idea, or will I remove any type of protective coating on the track ??? If I can wirewheel the rail surfaces, is there any type of protective / conductive substance to coat the track ??? I have laid approximately 100 feet of track so far and I have approximately 400 feet to go . As you can see it would be quite cost prohibitive to buy new track. The layout is quite simple, 2 loops , one inside loop and one outside loop . I have utilized 3/4 plywood as a base with 3 layers of 2" styrofoam boards under the track. I plan on escavating the unnecessary foam once the track is down. I got the OK from the Mrs. to use 1/4 of the basement as the main trainroom, and I compromised for a 2' layout around the perimeter of the remaining basement. I plan on having rail yard approximately at the 1/2 way point in the basement, at her laundry room. I can forsee laundry on the tracks - lol If there are any fellow model railroaders in the Woodbridge, NJ area that have any ideas and want to stop by, feel free to contact me.