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Roadbed options
 Moderated by: Reg H Page:  First Page Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Fri Jun 16th, 2017 07:16 pm
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Reg H
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Stan:
I have used the cork over 1/2" ply for decades.  It always works.  When short on funds I have tried OSB (a bad idea) and particle board (a really bad idea).  
I once built a small switching layout (actually, more like a diorama) on foam insulation with a light wood framework.  That worked really well, but I used sectional track (it was HO) glued right down on the foam with Liquid Nails.  
If I were going to do an alternative, I would use the foam.  But I don't know how you would attach cork road bed.  Contact cement won't work.  It will dissolve the foam.  Liquid Nails (they make an adhesive specifically for foam insulation) might work, but making sure you don't have any humps or bumps would be a challenge. With full profile ties (see below) you might glue the ties right to the foam.  A scale 9" thick tie holds spikes pretty well. 
As for thinner plywood? Sure, but you will need more supporting benchwork. With 1/2" you can have supports every 24".  With 3/8" or 1/4" I would think you would want supports every foot. So I can't really see the advantage.
One other point, with plywood, you want to be sure and use "AC" with the "A" side up, especially if you are planning on handlaying the track. 
My ties are scale 9" X 60".  Pretty typical for a "heavy" narrow gauge railroad.  Lighter narrow gauge, like logging operations, would use smaller ties.
Reg



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 Posted: Fri Jun 16th, 2017 07:18 pm
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mabloodhound
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Stan, You're in Mass. and can buy sheets of the 2" thick blue or pink foam 2'x8'.  Put this in a light weight frame.  Then just use a vinyl caulk to glue the ties down.  No need to spike the ties down.  You can add cork if you want but it really isn't needed.
The good part with the 2" foam is you can carve stream beds and gullys into it.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 17th, 2017 05:54 pm
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jtrain
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Ma and Reg and others have it right, foam is a great material.  That being said, cork adds stability and raises the track up slightly.  Foam, cork, or both work great!  I would caution buying cork from online though, unless it's meant for model railroad use.  You need the cork particles to be small and tightly packed to be sturdy enough for the trains.  Some lower grades of cork don't do well for model trains.

As I said, good luck with the railroad!

--James

Last edited on Sat Jun 17th, 2017 06:03 pm by jtrain



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 Posted: Mon Jun 19th, 2017 09:26 pm
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Stan S
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Anybody ever used the Vinyl bed stuff?



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 Posted: Tue Jun 20th, 2017 12:16 am
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jtrain
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Sorry Stan, didn't even know that vinyl road bed was an option.  If it's not terribly expensive, I'd recommend laying a section of track using that section to test the different road bed options then use whatever you like best.
It would be pretty hard to go cheaper than cork though.
--James



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 Posted: Wed Jun 28th, 2017 04:18 pm
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Stan S
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yup, I ordered some Midwest cork and some Woodland Scenics Track Bed. I'm gonna spike down some code 83 rail and Mt. Albert 5X7 pine ties and see how it goes.



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2017 10:24 pm
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Stan S
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OK, I bought some Woodland Scenics trackbed and some Midwest products HO scale cork.I glued the roadbed down to some plywood and spiked some rail. The WS Trackbed is a non-starter for hand-laying track. If I had seen it at a retail store I would have understood that but I had to order it online. It's so soft that it compresses under the ties as the spikes are inserted.I tried the cork in the typical orientation with the beveled edges out (in the background) The Mt Albert 0n30 ties extend right to the edge of the top surface. Seems like it would be tricky to fill the ground level up to the height of the roadbed without getting Sculptamold onto the ends of the ties, much of what I build will look like ties in the dirt, not elevated so that's a concern. Someone here posted about inverting the cork so that the beveled edges face inward so I tried that too (in the foreground) I like it! It makes the platform a little wider and provides a vertical edge to fill up to. The cork seems to work as well as homosote as far as spike-holding and it sure seems easier to work with, think that's what I'll do.

Attachment: IMG_0377.jpg (Downloaded 35 times)



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2017 10:30 pm
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Reg H
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Yep:
Your option on the right is the way to go.
Reg



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 Posted: Wed Jul 12th, 2017 10:31 pm
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Reg H
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Those Mt. Albert ties really look good. Maybe I should have used those instead of cutting my own.
Reg



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 Posted: Thu Jul 13th, 2017 01:25 am
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jtrain
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Glad you tested out, even happier you took the time to post a follow-up with the comparison.  Hopefully other hobbyists will have the chance to see this thread before diving headlong into buying roadbed and sub-roadbed.
Reading back through my posts though, I may not have made something clear.  When I was talking about foam, I meant foam board, not the WS stuff.  I like woodland scenics, but Stan's photo clearly shows that the material has it's limitations.  But if you used foam board, the pink or blue stuff, then that would make a great sub-roadbed.  Not nearly as much plywood to cut, and the whole layout becomes lighter as a result.
Regardless, thanks for posting your findings Stan, clearly cork is the way to go.
Good luck with the layout, only 999,999,999,998 more decisions to make.
--James
PS to Reg, if your avatar photo does your layout justice, your track looks great!  roll-your-own is the classic way to go.

Last edited on Thu Jul 13th, 2017 01:26 am by jtrain



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