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Hand Laying Track (not turnouts)
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 Posted: Tue Nov 29th, 2011 08:54 pm
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titus
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I've tried hand laying track (not turnouts) with PCB ties before. I tried it and it didn't really make sense so I suspect there is something wrong with my process. Here were the two areas I was most confused on:

1.) When hand laying track using wood ties with occasional PCB ties every so often, do you glue the rail to the wooden ties or rely only on the PCB ties to keep the rail down flush against the wooden ties? If you are gluing the rail to the wooden ties, how exactly are you going about this? Do you put the glue across the whole rail prior to placing the rail in place to solder to the PCB ties and if so how does that not get glue all over the wooden ties. If you aren't gluing them down do you ever have problems with them bumping up, shifting or otherwise doing things they shouldn't?

2.) What do you do when the PCB tie is thinner than the wood ties? For example, what if the PCB tie is only 1/16" thick and the wooden ties are 3/32" thick -- do you just make a small riser that's 1/32" thick for the PCB ties? Is there a better way to solve this?

Last edited on Tue Nov 29th, 2011 08:55 pm by titus

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 Posted: Tue Nov 29th, 2011 09:16 pm
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Herb Kephart
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What's wrong with spikes?

Although I have never tried this--An idea from years ago that had a following was to coat the bottom of the rail, and the part of the tie that the rail was going to sit, with contact cement, which was left to dry completely. The rail was then positioned and a hot soldering iron was placed on the railhead, while the rail was pressed down. Once the glue fuses from the heat, the iron is removed and the rail allowed to cool while still being held down.

This was back in the day when the only contact cement was the stinky, non-waterbase type. The new odorless stuff would have to be experimented with to see if it acted the same.

But try spiking-- it's quick, cheap, and something that the prototype used to do.


Herb 



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 Posted: Tue Nov 29th, 2011 09:23 pm
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titus
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Herb --

I had ruled out spikes because when I had tried them in the past I had a lot of trouble with them: 1.) It was really easy to damage the wooden ties with whatever spiking tool I was using. 2.) the spikes didn't hold that well (could have been a bad choice of tie wood) and 3.) what was under the ties seemed to matter a lot.

I've tried both the Woodland Scenics foam stuff and cork as roadbed under the ties. For the project I'm working on now I actually wanted to avoid the "raised mainline" look that commercial roadbed usually provides. I was thinking about using a thin piece of basswood, maybe 3/32", as a sort of minimal roadbed and something to dampen the sound of the engine rather than putting the rail right on the plywood. I'm not sure how spikes would do with this.

Spiking, I admit, does seem to have some benefits. It avoids having to paint and otherwise "disguise" the PCB tie. It's more prototypical, and I'm guessing cheaper in the end anyways.

I've heard spikes come out of gauge easier when in a less-than-climate controlled environment. True or false?

Last edited on Tue Nov 29th, 2011 09:25 pm by titus

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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 08:40 am
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dkbener
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Hello Titus

I am just starting to lay code 55 track on layout. I have done a lot of research and googling to find different techniques of hand laying. I had found this website -- http://pmrr.org/Articles/Trackwork/Code40Ties.htm He used 5 minute epoxy to secure his track and did not use PC ties at all. I myself would prefer to add a PC tie every 10 or 12 ties to be certain. With gluing the ties to the roadbed I do not see the need for nails. I am thinking of adding shims to the PC ties so that they are the same height. I am short on time at this moment but when get home tonight I will offer more info to you. I have found a great deal of tips and tricks that I would like to share with you and get an idea of what you have learned as well. Maybe between us we can come up with a simple but secure method of hand laying N-Scale track.

Dkbenner

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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 09:33 am
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mabloodhound
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This is one approach that Joe Fugate (Model RR Hobyist magazine) used and explained for the Central Valley Ties.
http://www.cvmw.com/cvt.htm

The entire tie system comes with pre-spaced rail 'plates' and you use Barge cement to glue the rail in place, no 'spikes' required.   I have yet to try this but I like the idea that if you're going to lay your own rail, this seems like a good way to do it.
You can read more about this over at Joe's website but darned if I can find his article now.
What you do is apply the barge cement to the rail bottom (and I think the ties) and then when dry, place the rail in position and touch each spot with a drop of MEK.   This re-activates the cement for a moment and when the MEK evaporates you have a permanent assembly.
Sounds pretty fast and easy to me.   The good part is that the CV system lets you lay out the ties first, where you want them and then just drop the rail into place.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 09:57 am
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Herb Kephart
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Titus-

For many years I had a layout spread out in a 20X40 area in the loft of my shop. The reason that it was finally abandoned was the extremes of temperature--110f summer and 25f in the winter. All the rail-code 100 and 125 was used with heavy O scale equipment. In 20 years I probably had a few instances of track going out of gage, but I truthfully can't remember any. Ties were home cut from soft pine, and roadbed was Homasote. Spikes were Walthers 1/2". Spiking was easy--the spikes had/have very sharp points, and penetrate the ties easily, the Homasote alone held the rail in the yards. Rail was spiked every 5th or 6th tie, switches every second tie at least. Mr Greene uses wood ties, and a foam (which really offers very little in the way of spike holding) trackbase. His rail is spiked---and the layout sits out year round in Texas. So I would say that--PROVIDING you use the right kind of ties-spiking is fine.

Five minute epoxy sounds like if would work--except that the rush to get everything in place before the mix "goes off" and the constant mix of a new batches would be enough to cause me to abandon that method. I have also heard of modelers holding the rail in place and putting a drop of ACC (aka Crazy Glue) on each tie and rail spot. Certainly a lot less hassle than epoxy but I have over the years stopped using ACC, except for temporary uses, as I have found that if the ACC is not painted over, eventually humidity will cause the joint to fail--sometimes in less than a year.

YMMV


Herb 



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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 04:01 pm
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mabloodhound
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The good thing with Barge cement is that is was designed for the shoe industry and to take the constant stretching and shrinking from shoes being worn on feet.
Hence, the Barge cement is able to also move with the humidity changes and not loose its bond with the track and ties.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 04:03 pm
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titus
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Herb --

I suppose I'll pick up a package of spikes when I'm at the LHS next time and give it a try again. Perhaps with some practice I'll find ti more likeable than my first experience.

Last edited on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 04:03 pm by titus

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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 06:34 pm
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W C Greene
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The contact cement is/was PLIOBOND. Painted on the underside of the rail and left to dry. Then held properly in gauge on the wooden ties and a soldering iron run on top of the rail, working in 6 to 12 inch increments. This does work. Spikes? The only problem I ever had with them was when I was a teen and had to use kitchen matches with the heads removed for ties...the old spikes we had back then would split the ties pretty often. Today's pine, redwood, basswood ties along with Micro Engineering spikes are great. I have not had any trouble with spiked track. But then I am an old jackass who believes the "old ways" work well. PCB tie thickness vs wooden ties-try sanding the wooden ties down to the PCB thickness or use shimstock under the PCB ties to bring them up a bit. Everybody has their own ways to do this.
Woodie



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 Posted: Thu Dec 1st, 2011 07:29 pm
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dkbener
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Titus

I agree with Herb when it comes to spiking. This will definitely keep your track in gage. I have been working with some guy's at our LHS and we have been reassembling an HO Scale layout in the back of the store. The layout is about 17 feet by 17 feet or so. All of the track was spiked down and it is perfect. The layout by the way is over 35 years old.

In regards to the link with the use of epoxy as the adhesive is without a doubt a lot of mixing with the fast set time and somewhat unreliable. I also find cyanoacrylate (super glue) unreliable. Contact cement is the best way to go. There is a product called Plio-Bond and comes in a tube. Small reducing tips can be added to accurately place the cement with out making a mess out of the ties, track, or yourself. Apply the cement to the rail as well as the ties and allow the cement to dry for 5 to 10 minutes. Once it is dry to the touch you can place the rail on top of the ties and position the rail where you want. Make certain that you do not apply any pressure to the rail until you are satisfied with the placement of the rail. Apply some pressure along the rail to bond the rail to the ties. The final step is place the solder iron on the rail and melt the adhesive which will bubble a bit. This increases the curing time. It really is not necessary to heat all of the ties unless you want to.

David

Last edited on Thu Dec 1st, 2011 07:39 pm by dkbener

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