Saturday, April 18, 2015

Testing a Hypothesis

I've decided to test a hypothesis that I've been hearing a lot from a client. He's an old-school model railroad guy, and he's really accepted the conventional wisdom that if you must build a structure from cardstock, it has to be reinforced with lots and lots of wooden strips inside, because moisture from the air will warp it. 

Well, this is nonsense. I've got models I built ten or more years ago that show no warping at all, and I haven't taken any special care of them.

I'm going to test the far extreme of the conventional old-guy wisdom by setting two small cardstock models on a shelf in my bathroom for a week. Next Saturday, I'll take them out and see if they're still true and if the surfaces are still flat.

If they survive without warping at all, I'm going to consider the myth completely busted. I doubt that will be the case, but it would be nice. 

If they warp, I'm going to see if they unwarp when they dry out -- that's really the result I expect. My hypothesis is, they'll almost certainly be fine in the long run, and possibly in the short run, because paper breathes. Under the extremes of the damp shower air, I expect the cardstock to expand slightly, and then return to normal during the day. I could be wrong, but that's my guess, based on experience.

If I'm wrong and they become permanently warped, I'll agree that under extreme conditions, cardstock models will warp. But for the record, I've never had it happen under normal conditions.


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