Like many of you, I’ve spent many an hour under layouts with a soldering iron in one hand, solder or flux in the other, and a flashlight in my teeth all while balancing on my knees or toes. I’m constantly swapping out the iron and solder for pliers, wire cutters, strippers, and other implements, burning myself in the process. I resolved that when I moved to California and reconstructed my On30 Fernwood Lumber Co. RR (see the January 2015 Model Railroader
) I would find a better approach to layout wiring. I wanted to do as much as possible on top of the layout, or better yet, at the workbench. Having had rotator cuff and back surgeries, and feeling the arthritic/rheumatic consequences of my 75-plus years, it was actually a need more than a want.
I developed a top-down method for soldering all joints without sitting under the benchwork. It turns out to be easier, less prone to polarity mistakes, and neater than the methods I used previously.