Laying track..

in2tech Aug 26, 2001

  1. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    2,235
    5,401
    73
    I am having trouble getting the nails (spikes) in the track on my N-scale layout. They are all bending before I get them in. Should or could I drill through the hole on the track with a dremel tool to get the spike to go in? It's on 1/2" and 1/4" plywood. Should it be this hard. Learning something new everyday. Took me over twenty years to get roadbed around on just the mainline, and now I may change it : ) And if you have to move a piece or section of track does the tie break?
     
  2. Paul Templar

    Paul Templar Passed away November 23, 2008 In Memoriam

    637
    1
    23
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by in2golfz:
    I am having trouble getting the nails (spikes) in the track on my N-scale layout. They are all bending before I get them in. Should or could I drill through the hole on the track with a dremel tool to get the spike to go in? It's on 1/2" and 1/4" plywood. Should it be this hard. Learning something new everyday. Took me over twenty years to get roadbed around on just the mainline, and now I may change it : ) And if you have to move a piece or section of track does the tie break?<hr></blockquote>

    Hi in2golfz,
    You might have better off using 1/2" insulation board on top of the 1/2" plywood, that way the trackpins/spikes could be pushed in with ease.

    Paul
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Telegrapher

    Telegrapher Passed away July 30, 2008 In Memoriam

    782
    0
    23
    Or use cork road bed
     
  4. dbn160

    dbn160 Passed away January 16, 2004 In Memoriam

    565
    0
    23
    The culprit is the plywood. It may look smooth on the surface, but the inner plies can have a knot right where you are installing the nail.

    You can drill a pilot hole or use needle-nose
    pliers to hold the nail upright while you start it. Be sure not to drive the nail in too far as this can either (1) break the tie, and/or (2) alter the track gauge (make it narrower). A nail set helps to keep the hammer's head away from the track.

    At our N club we used clear acrylic latex caulk to glue the track down with good success.

    Good luck on your project.

    eNjoy


    Don B
     
  5. sillystringtheory

    sillystringtheory TrainBoard Member

    829
    3
    23
    You will have better control using a pin vise to make a nail hole over a rotary tool. just a couple twists with a #68 drill makes a nail go in most any wood product, with minimal effort. ;)
     
  6. PF2488

    PF2488 E-Mail Bounces

    155
    3
    19
    When I layed track on my first layout, I did the same thing. After ruining a couple of turnouts and flex track, I started drilling pilot holes for all of the track nails. Using cork or other roadbed helps, but the Atlas track nails will still run into the plywood. Once I got the nails started and just about level with the top of the rails, I then used a 3/16 dia punch to drive the nail in so that the track was still a little loose. I left it this way in case I had to remove the piece of track. Once it all was tested and worked, I went back and lightly tapped the nail down so it was just touching the ties. If you hammer the nails to hard, it will deform the ties and pull the rails out of gauge.

    I had to replace a section of track after the layout was moved here from texas, and by having pilot holes made it possible to remove the track section easily. I was able to pull the nails out using my rail nippers.
     
  7. Dangerboy

    Dangerboy TrainBoard Member

    243
    1
    24
    I just use white glue,with pins to hold it until dry.Track can be removed with some warm water.
     
  8. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    2,235
    5,401
    73
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Dangerboy:
    I just use white glue,with pins to hold it until dry.Track can be removed with some warm water.<hr></blockquote>

    Is this Elmer's glue? And I do have cork roadbed down. I will use one of the three suggestions, blue board, predrill, or white glue.

    Thanks all...
     
  9. randy shepler

    randy shepler TrainBoard Member

    95
    0
    18
    I agree with dangerboy .I use good ole elmers white glue . Once its glued down it really hold well and can be cleaned up with some warm water for when you have to reuse track.
     
  10. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    2,235
    5,401
    73
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by randy shepler:
    I agree with dangerboy .I use good ole elmers white glue . Once its glued down it really hold well and can be cleaned up with some warm water for when you have to reuse track.<hr></blockquote>

    Will the Elmer's work when the track is on cork roadbed? This appears to be the simplist method. Also, do you just put a small bead of glue on say the front tie and the back tie on each piece of track?

    Thanks all,
    in2golfz (or Daryl J. the other Daryl on trainboard : )
     
  11. randy shepler

    randy shepler TrainBoard Member

    95
    0
    18
    Hi Daryl,
    I use a zig zag pattern ,just keep the glue a thin line( I glue the full length of the track). If you get to much out you can just use your finger to even it out. This works well with cork .I use styrofoam and glue the cork and the track down using elmers . Be very careful around turnouts , keep the glue away from any part of the turnout that will move(also glue is a insulator) . I glue only the first couple of ties of a turnout in the front and the back . Another word of advice lay you track out along side your cork and solder the sections together before hand. Next put down your glue and place the track down , use stick pins to hold the track in proper alignment(push about half way in only).You may have to add some weight to sections to keep it down , I use a individual sockets from my set to hold the track down till the glue dries.
    Good luck!
     
  12. MOPAC 1

    MOPAC 1 TrainBoard Member

    94
    0
    19
    Elmer's white glue is a good method, and I have used it in a pinch, but I prefer the Elmer's yellow "wood" glue. Think of your track laying in layers. Lay your plywood as flat as possible, then sand smooth. Any imperfections will affect the next layers. Draw the center line of the track right on the plywood. Take your cork and split it into two pieces. Lay a bead of yellow glue down one side of the centerline. Take your finger, and spread it along that side, and make sure it's smooth, without blobs/thin spots. Take half of the cork, and lay along that side of your centerline, and use plastic bullitin board push pins to hold in place. Repeat the process on the other side, with the exception of starting the second piece about 3-4 inches farther down. This prevens a seam across the cork. When the glue dries, and the pins are removed, either file or sand the cork to make sure it's as smooth as possible. When you're ready to lay the track, lay a bead of glue down the center of the cork, and spread around. Lay the track into position, and anchor one end with a push pin in the spike hole. Use a straight edge along the rail to make sure your straights are straight. Make sure your curves are smooth, and you need to run your finger over the top of the rail, as your sence of touch may pick-up a kink before your eyes will. When the glue sets up, remove the pins. If you ever need to change, just take some water, and dab on with a brush, and the glue will soften and you can either remove, or re-position and let the glue dry again. I don't use track spikes at all anymore except to hold the Caboose Industries turnout throws. I glue all trackwork. If you have any questions, just feel free to ask...

    [ 28 August 2001: Message edited by: MOPAC 1 ]</p>
     
  13. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    4,826
    17
    64
    I made a mistake using hot water to loosen some track one time, so I rigged a steamer. It was real complicated. I put a tea kettle on a hot plate, then pushed a section of Tygon tube over the spout.At the other end I cut the tube at a 45 degree angle, and wrapped an old wash rag around the tube leaving a couple of inches sticking out, then tied the wash rag in place with string. The string also fastened a small hook I made from a short piece of 1/16" welding rod. I can soften a section of track, lift it, and hook the steam tube onto the layout edge out of the way while I re-position or remove the track. No more washed away scenery! Turn the hot plate on just hot enough to make wet steam, not too hot. Its also great for straightening building sides that have warped. :D
     
  14. Frank Labor

    Frank Labor TrainBoard Member

    40
    0
    17
    Years ago on previous layouts I used glue, pin vices and nails into plywood. The problem is driving or drilling through the Glue of the plywood, not the wood. I just started an new layout last year and tried the 2" thick styrofoam. I couldn't be happier with the choice. No more straining to get the tiniest of spikes into the track until ballasting. I put cork roadbed on the styrofoam, use 1/2 nails to hold that down and spike into the cork/foam combination. I can effortlessly update, modify, and tweak the track to where I want it before ballasting. I strongly recommend you try just one 2'x8' sheet for size and if you don't like it for table tops or track bed you can use it for scenery. I use it for both. Good luck.
     
  15. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,528
    623
    129
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Frank Labor:
    Years ago on previous layouts I used glue, pin vices and nails into plywood. The problem is driving or drilling through the Glue of the plywood, not the wood. I just started an new layout last year and tried the 2" thick styrofoam. I couldn't be happier with the choice. No more straining to get the tiniest of spikes into the track until ballasting. I put cork roadbed on the styrofoam, use 1/2 nails to hold that down and spike into the cork/foam combination. I can effortlessly update, modify, and tweak the track to where I want it before ballasting. I strongly recommend you try just one 2'x8' sheet for size and if you don't like it for table tops or track bed you can use it for scenery. I use it for both. Good luck.<hr></blockquote>

    I agree with Frank, except in my case I used foam roadbed.The track is still held down by nails, but after ballasting & gluing the ballast, they'll come out.
     
  16. Frank Labor

    Frank Labor TrainBoard Member

    40
    0
    17
    Thanks for the support Bob. My experience with foam track bed was really limited. I only purchased some years ago. When I dug it out last fall to start my current layout it disintegrated in my hands. Maybe it was an old foam formula but it kinda turned me against it. I didn't want it to disintegrate on the layout over the next few years. The cork may harden/crack a bit but it's not likely to blow away.
     
  17. JohnC

    JohnC TrainBoard Member

    66
    0
    19
    I used liquid nails to hold the cork to foam. (See my post on the chemical reaction) On the one of the sections that held well, I wanted to move a siding. I used rubber-cement thinner to disolve the liquid-nails. I soaked the cork and track with the thinner and then lifted the track and cork by running an artist's sculpting tool underneath. I was able to salvage, for the most part, the cork roadbed to use elsewhere. The thinner had no effect on neither the track nor the cork. The same stuff can also be used to lift up track that has been hot-glued down.

    John
     
  18. JohnC

    JohnC TrainBoard Member

    66
    0
    19
    I forgot to add...

    If you're using track and cork onto plywood or homosote (can you still get this stuff?), get a brad-pusher. My dad got his at Brookstone's many years ago. I borrowed it for my last layout. Put the nails in the end and then push the barrel down on the track. The handle pushes the brad (track nail/spike) into the sub-bed with little effort and no gauging problems.

    John
     
  19. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,528
    623
    129
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by friscobob:


    I agree with Frank, except in my case I used foam roadbed.The track is still held down by nails, but after ballasting & gluing the ballast, they'll come out.
    <hr></blockquote>

    I should mention I've done this on both my HO and N scale layouts over the years, and if you glue the ballast properly ( a ratio of glue to water, with a couple drops of dishwashing soap to enhance absorption), the track will stay put once the glue dries and the nails are removed. If you're going to be moving the layout around (or if you have a module), you may want to leave the nails in for added strength.

    I've never glued track directly to the roadbed, but that dosen't mean I don't think it'll work- it just might. [​IMG]
     
  20. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,528
    623
    129
    <blockquote>quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Frank Labor:
    Thanks for the support Bob. My experience with foam track bed was really limited. I only purchased some years ago. When I dug it out last fall to start my current layout it disintegrated in my hands. Maybe it was an old foam formula but it kinda turned me against it. I didn't want it to disintegrate on the layout over the next few years. The cork may harden/crack a bit but it's not likely to blow away.<hr></blockquote>

    Anytime, bro! :D

    I asked around about roadbed when I re-entered N scale, and checked out foam, AMI Instant Roadbed, and good ol' cork. I settled on Woodland Scenics'
    foam bed, based mostly on my local hobbyshop owner's reccomendations. It's softer, quieter, and installs pretty well. I goued it down with white glue, holding it with nails until the glue dries.
    (the preceeding is the testimony of a satisfied customer, and is in no way a paid endorsement of Woodland Scenics products. I tried it, and I liked it :D )
    It oughta hold up better than cork- when that stuff dries, it can crumble.
     

Share This Page