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laying your own track
 Moderated by: W C Greene Page:    1  2  3  4  5  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 03:26 am
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Helmut F
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is laying ones own track scratch building?  just want to ensure i put this in the proper section.

if so, where is the best place to get spikes?  i know i can get them at micro engineering.  other sources?

what size spikes do i need?  i am doing o gauge, and at least for now my rails will be from O27 track.

i have already ordered western red cedar ties to do some test builds.    they are 1/2" x 1/4" x 2 (or so)".  they might need some trimming.

how hard are these to push spikes into (if anyone knows)?  can i push them in?  do they need to be nailed/hammered?  is there any way to use an airgun/airstapler/bradgun?

is it one spike on each side on every tie?  alternate sides on the rails every other tie?  does it depend on the era?

do i NEED chairs?

any more tips, tricks, help, advice?

Last edited on Sun Oct 30th, 2016 05:13 am by Helmut F



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 09:08 am
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Helmut
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@H-F
Again, Google is your friend:
http://www.model-railroad-infoguy.com/hand-laid-track.html
Even the 'posh' NMRA has a down-to-earth article about it:
http://www.gatewaynmra.org/1999/hand-laid-rail-tips-and-techniques/

That's just two from a plethora about the subject.

Last edited on Sun Oct 30th, 2016 09:11 am by Helmut



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 05:48 pm
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Helmut F
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Helmut,
Thx, but neither of those are actually useful.  The first article talks about using a Kadee spiker that is out of production!  The tools linked are stuff I have already and would use, except the belt sander so I will either use a drill in a vise with some type of abrasive head or files, those things are obvious to me already.

Maybe I did not ask my questions well.  To me the information I am looking for can only come from people that are experienced in doing this stuff and are versed in communicating it to others.  Unfortunately both pf those articles did not cover any real "nitty gritty"even though one of them mentioned just that.  They are both for HO also.

Sorry for my bad questions, but I am looking for:

1. alternate sources of railroad spikes other tham micro engineering

2. proper lengths for them for 1/4" deep ties

3. whether or not i need to or should use chairs or can get away with just use spikes

4. spiking method - both sides every tie, one side every other tie, or?



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 06:46 pm
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W C Greene
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OK, I will offer my suggestions. Bear in mind that I have been hand laying track since I was about 15 or 16...I am now 68.

(1) Walthers sells spikes, others also. Check Walthers website.

(2) Length probably 3/8" or so.

(3) Chairs are used on European lines, tie plates are used in the US. Narrow gauge and smaller standard gauge lines didn't use plates. Spikes will properly hold the rail*

* I strongly suggest buying proper sized rail instead of stripping the hollow, tubular rail from Lionel, etc. "tinplate" track. A bundle of rail is not much more expensive than buying 3 rail track & the associated headaches. But then, you seem to want to go this way so my suggestion here is only that...a suggestion.

(4) In the "real world", spikes are used on every tie, both sides of the rail. In modeling, perhaps every fourth or fifth ties needs spikes...unless you want "absolute scale" trackwork. Spiking every tie adds little to the sturdiness.

Now, with all that, I strongly advise buying both an NMRA O scale (or whatever you are building)standards gauge and at least 3 or 4 3-point or roller track gauges for your scale. These things are pretty much manditory for proper track laying. Unless you are a machinist or have a friend who will make you proper gauges, these items are needed.

You will also find that it takes a while to become accustomed to laying track and there are pitfalls along the way, even experienced builders face them.

I know that you will have many more questions about laying track. I am trying to help but as long as I have been doing this, it has become "second nature", like breathing. It is hard to tell someone how to breathe.

Help is available, just ask.

Woodie



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 08:55 pm
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Helmut F
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Thx Woodie.

I am getting the normal length O27 track lengths of 8.75" for about .50 cents each including shipping, both curves and straight. i can scavenge the middle rails and make more track. that makes these about $0.75/ft.

i saw on micro engineering rails are $3.30/ft for code 250 aluminum which is close to the size of the O27 (that is the 96' of code 250 for $58.25 not including shipping). these seems to be the cheapest they have, and aluminum is fine with me since I am not worried about conductivity.

i think we can disregard the labor part between the two options, probably about the same.

at that point (buying the rails and hand laying) i may as well purchase micro engineering flex track at approximately $3.40 per foot for code 148 (not including shipping) since it includes ties and labor. of course that depends upon the material they use for the ties.

I DO appreciate your view point, opinion and experience! enough that I went and made the above comparison in a couple of places a couple of times! it may well turn out i need to do it that way anyway.

So cool, I will try just spikes. I will check Walthers and compare to Micro Engineering. Let's see how these test tracks turn out.

do you think I will be able to press the spikes into these Western Red Cedar ties?

and you said you thought I would need 3/8" spikes?  for 1/4" ties?  so they need to go slightly through the ties?  do they need to be bent under the bottom (if they can - not sure how tough these things are)?

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 03:33 am by Helmut F



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 09:08 pm
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pipopak
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If you are going to consider the labor cost there are more than a few modelers around here that should be filthy rich by now...
Jose.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2016 09:16 pm
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Helmut F
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unfortunately not when working for oneself! but my point was between my two options, both of which are working for myself, they will be about the same. my wife may or may not attribute some cost to it though!

BTW - I selected the code 250 aluminum rail as it was the cheapest and also the closest in size to the O27.

EDIT: a downside to the O27 sectional track is no real custom curves, no real easements into my curves.  also anything other than 27" diameter curves are difficult to find.  There are some Marx curves available which are at 32" or 34" (don't recall which right now) but there are not a lot available.

the same thing actually applies to O/O31 track, although 42" curves do seem a bit easier to find than the larger curves for O27.

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 04:22 am by Helmut F



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 06:58 am
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oztrainz
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Hi Helmut,
As a good modelling friend of mine says - "Spiking is a team sport"

To get track down in a hurry -
On the straight you can get away with spiking ever 4th or 5th sleeper (tie) BUT
On the curves you need to increase your spiking density. If your track is pre-bent to the EXACT radius then little effort is needed by your track pins to hold the track in the right place so you could probably get away with every third or 4th sleeper. If your track is not pre-bent to the exact radius, then you need to increase your spiking frequency even more to preferably every tie or (less preferably) every second tie to keep the rail in the right place.

Remember - you can came back and fill in the "gaps" later.

Now to stop your sleepers from splitting - offset how you place the spikes for each rail on each sleeper. Do not spike each side of the rail on the sleeper centreline, but spike each side of the rail on different sides of the centreline of sleeper. This prevents any splitting of the sleeper from affecting both track spikes.

If you can't find one of these http://www.micromark.com/Push-Hammer-Nail-Capacity-1-1and4-Inch-Long-x-3and16-Inch-Head-D,11977.html, then a set of needlenose pliers will do the job.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 07:22 am
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Rod Hutchinson
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I would have thought spiking your own rail is an attempt to gain more realism . John's suggestions would indicate that this is not the case.

I can understand no sleeper plates but sleepers without spike on both sides would look most unrealistic to me.

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 07:23 am by Rod Hutchinson



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 08:50 am
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oztrainz
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Hi Rod,
My suggestion was meant to be sufficient to get some track down with sufficient spikes that will hold gauge - Then you come back and fill in the gaps.

The display side of Yallah was done on balsa sleepers and code 100 rail (it's cheap) with Peco N'scale track pins into a laminated foamcore foundation and was initially spiked as in my last post and then infilled. The spikes went beyond the sleeper and into the foamcore underneath. That was 2005 with Prof Klyzlr showing me the way and nothing has moved since :2t:

For other suppliers - have a look at that Micro Mart site. It had various sizes of nails and the "push hammer" to match.

Helmut needs to track down some track gauges before he gets started.

Lay and spike one rail first, then lay the second rail using the track gauges and then spike between the track gauges. This makes sure that your second rail is in the correct location when you spike.

Do not spike straight down vertically. The aim is to get the flat on top of the track pin to match the slope on the foot of the rail. This actually crosses the track spikes underneath the rail (but past each other - remember what I said previously about not spiking on the centreline of the sleeper?). This prevents the track from lifting as well as moving sideways.

Good luck,



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