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possible alternative to using homasote

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possible alternative to using homasote
Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Thursday, January 22, 2009 10:33 AM

 I am in the process of laying the spline sub roadbed for my new pike, I had intended to use the traditional homasote for the roadbed for several reasons (1) inexpensive, (2) natural easment (3) relatively easy to use and durable. However like everyone else here I use the internet to find new sources of information etc. I have read a lot of pro opinions on using homasote and equally as many negitive opinions. I was contimplating the feaseability of using something like MDF (medium density fiberboard) or some other composite board that would hold up better then homasote and be a little easier to use   IE: the mess created when you cut homasoate on the table saw etc. Just wanted to throw it out there to the one who know. Like I've said this hobby has the best people and the best information so why not make use of it.

Thanks

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by jrbernier on Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:14 AM

  A freind investigated this several years ago.  Most 'insulation' board seems to fall apart or 'de-laminate' over time.  What he did find was Micore mineral fiber board.  He used it for roadbed and it cuts cleam and seems to hold up over time.

http://www.gypsumsolutions.com/htmlID/micore.asp

Jim

 

 

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by cacole on Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:44 AM

 I use a product called Sound Board, which comes in 1/2 inch thick, 4x8 foot sheets and is available in the insulation section at Home Depot, Lowe's, and other home improvement stores here in my area.  If you ask for Homasote they give you a funny look and don't know what you're talking about.

Sound Board is made from compressed sugar cane and other vegetable fibers and is very easy to work with.  It can be cut with any type of saw, just like Homasote, and is a sound deadener.  By using two layers of sound board on all of the layouts I have built I use sewing pins to hold the track in place instead of nails.  Now, I prefer latex caulk to hold the roadbed and track in place.

Don't use a table saw to cut Homasote -- use a knife-edged blade in a saber saw and you don't get all of the dust.  You just have to cut slowly or the blade gets very hot and starts scorching the Homasote.  Sound Board can be cut that way, too, if the dust bothers you.

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:26 PM

 Thanks for the quick replies is it safe to say you cut the Sound Board and the Minerail Fiber Board the same way you do homasote by cutting relief notches a few inches apart 3/4 of the way through? I have found Homasote only at Home Depot and it's not cheap either.I'll check with my local supply house tomorrow.

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:39 PM

Don't rely on sound board to hold spikes if you are handlaying, it won't hold spikes well.

Did you consider using Homasote spline?  You get all the benefits of homasote, all the benefits of spline and don't have to use glues or sand the top surface.

Dave H. Modeling the P&R and W&N 1900-1905, Iron men and wooden cars

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Posted by selector on Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:15 PM

Dave, I think he must have thought of splines because he mentions the natural easements.  I could be wrong.

I used 1/4" MDF ripped into about 47 strips lengthwise along the 4X8 sheet that I bought.  It provided me with nearly 40' of six ply spline roadbed.  As far as I can tell, now 2.5 years into service, the splines are holding up well.  I keep the basement within a 25% range for humidity, but temperatures swing between 50 deg and 85 deg.  The splines still hold together as they were originally laminated with yellow carpenter's glue.

 -Crandell

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Posted by grizlump9 on Thursday, January 22, 2009 1:36 PM

 i used homasote once, ONCE!  i don't even want it on the property now.  to me, it is like the aluminum wiring that was a fad many years ago.  it held up for a while and then after time every bit of it had to be replaced before peoples homes started burning down.

grizlump 

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:07 PM

 I'm not sure what you mean be homasote splines if your refering to spline sub roadbed with a 1/2" strip of homasote used as roadbed yes that was my original consideration but I'm just researching another alternative. Besides being messy as hell when you cut it homasote needs to be seal a step some people over look. It's nothing more then compressed paper so it soaks up moisture like a sponge. My basement is 100% dry and fully climate controlled etc. that being said I still will run a dehumidifier in the room just for the sake of what any moisture does to scenery.

I'm not looking to replace the wood splines as around 90% of the main line is already completed and I have a bunch of strips already cut and waiting out in the shop.

 

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by Grampys Trains on Thursday, January 22, 2009 2:49 PM

Hi: How about cork for your roadbed?

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Thursday, January 22, 2009 7:55 PM

 Cork is ok some guys say it dries out and cracks but that hasn't been my experience, with the spline sub roadbed system that I use I need something wide and flat that is self supporting you might say. Cork has too much flex to be laid on top of the splines. Unlike masonite splines like you used in one section of your railroad a magnificent piece of work I might add where you can lay track right on top of the laminated splines.

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by Grampys Trains on Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:35 PM

Hi Allegheny: I guess I misunderstood what kind of spline you are using. Most spline sub roadbed is pretty much self supporting. The roadbed just spaces the track above the sub and provides the road bed profile. My spline sub roadbed is similar to Crandell's, the only difference being I used strips of luan plywood, with cork on top. Could you please describe your spline method a little more?

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, January 22, 2009 9:48 PM

Allegheny2-6-6-6
I'm not sure what you mean be homasote splines if your refering to spline sub roadbed with a 1/2" strip of homasote used as roadbed yes that was my original consideration but I'm just researching another alternative. Besides being messy as hell when you cut it homasote needs to be seal a step some people over look. It's nothing more then compressed paper so it soaks up moisture like a sponge. My basement is 100% dry and fully climate controlled etc. that being said I still will run a dehumidifier in the room just for the sake of what any moisture does to scenery.

You cut Homasote into 2" wide strips.  Turn the strips on edge and laminate them with drywall screws.  The top is dead flat, no glueing required and goes together incredibly quick.  Perfect for handlaying.  Based on the experience of the people who have used it, sealing isn't necessay.  One person I know has built 3 layouts with it ranging up to the 4000 sq ft + double deck layout he currently has and he has never sealed it.  Actually the spline isn't really attached to the benchwork, it just sits on top of the risers in most places.  He even built his entire yard with laminated homasote spline just so he could get it dead flat.  I have worked on two layouts that have used it and neither of them sealed it either.

Dave H. Modeling the P&R and W&N 1900-1905, Iron men and wooden cars

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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Thursday, January 22, 2009 10:09 PM

I believe Allen McLelland's original V&O (ca. 1960s) was built with spline roadbed constructed from Homasote and when it was disassembled around 2000 the Homasote splines were still in perfect condition. Now if only the same could be said about me (ca. 1960s). Wink Jamie

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Posted by Rangerover on Friday, January 23, 2009 7:17 AM

You cut Homasote into 2" wide strips.  Turn the strips on edge and laminate them with drywall screws.  The top is dead flat, no glueing required and goes together incredibly quick.  Perfect for handlaying.  Based on the experience of the people who have used it, sealing isn't necessay.  One person I know has built 3 layouts with it ranging up to the 4000 sq ft + double deck layout he currently has and he has never sealed it.  Actually the spline isn't really attached to the benchwork, it just sits on top of the risers in most places.  He even built his entire yard with laminated homasote spline just so he could get it dead flat.  I have worked on two layouts that have used it and neither of them sealed it either.

Ditto that post.....I used unsealed homasote 40 years ago and I'm in the process of building probably my last layout (3 years) using homasote and I live in a humid climate, and no problems!

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Posted by dstarr on Friday, January 23, 2009 10:45 AM

 MDF (medium density fiberboard) is very dense and hard.  I doubt that track nails or spikes can be driven into it.  Plywood has the same problem, the glue layers are so hard that the nails or spikes bend over rather than penetrating them. 

  Homasote is good for accepting and holding track nails or spikes.  The stuff is soft enough to allow the nail to penetrate without bending over, and it grabs the nail shank and prevents it pulling out.  The only other material I know of that is as good as Homasote for holding nails is plain soft pine or basswood.  

  Cork is really too soft to hold nails well.  I used to lay 1/4 inch cork over homasote and secure the track with 1/2 inch nails.  The 1/4 inch of the nail that penetrated the homosote did all the holding.  

  The down sides of Homasote .  Sawing it does make a mess.  In good weather try cutting it out of doors.  Otherwise use your shop vac.  It will sag over time unless backed up with plywood.  It absorbs moisture from the air freely, being nothing more than ground up paper.  If you have humidity changes you want to paint both sides of it to prevent warp. 

Tags: Homasote
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Posted by nemix on Friday, January 23, 2009 12:25 PM

 You cut Homasote into 2" wide strips.  Turn the strips on edge and laminate them with drywall screws.

Please excuse my ignorance, can you explain what you mean by laminate them with screws?  I think of lamination of a sheet of something being glued to a surface...

 I'm planning my first every layout, and i have a sheet of 4x8 homosote in the garage.  I have a table saw and plan to use the following instructions to make my own homosote roadbed.  (plywood for the subroad bed)  Does anyone have any experience with the following tutorial to make roadbed out of a 4x8 sheet.  The only main concern i have is how the curved peices will look work after i cut the slices into them to allow the roadbed to bend.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments.

 http://www.housatonicrr.com/DIY_Roadbed.htm

 

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Friday, January 23, 2009 12:36 PM
DJ the spline sub roadbed system I use is what Howard Zane uses on his Piermont Division. With open grid bench work I use 1"x4" risers of various heights with a small 1"x1" blocks attached to the top of each riser via a finishing nail through a small hole drilled in the block. So now the block can swivel. I took 1"x 12"x 8' #1 clear pine shelving with no knots and ripped  1/4" splines on the table saw and the circular saw with a fence attachment which I found worked better then the table saw. You now take the spline and using a hot glue gun attach it to one side of the swivel block. You repeat this for the opposite side of the swivel block hot gluing spacer blocks the same size as the pivot block to the spline in between each riser. You can repeat the steps staggering the newt row of splines depending on how wide of an easement you’re trying to create. You then take your 1/2" homasote cut into strips 2 1/2" for a single track main and 4" for a double track main (don't quote me on the widths as I have to go back in my notes and check that figure. you cut slots alon the endge of the homasote about 2" apart and about 3/4 of the way through the width. his makes it easy to bend. After it's painted you use yellow carpenters glue or I imagine you could use licquid nails and glue the homasote to the sub roadbed. you can now lay your track and hole it in place with a track nail or a push pin and glue it in place. I have always used yellow carpenters glue but I am thinking about trying licquid nails this time out.

So I was looking for an alternative to the homasote got it?  Sorry for the long explination guys but I have seen some guys use ply wood and homasote stood up on endge but have never tried that method either.


Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by dehusman on Friday, January 23, 2009 1:31 PM

nemix
Please excuse my ignorance, can you explain what you mean by laminate them with screws?  I think of lamination of a sheet of something being glued to a surface...

You set three splines on the riser, with the 1/2" side down and the 2" side vertical.  Clamp the 3 pieces together.  Take a 1 1/4" drywall screw and drive one intot he Homasote about the mid way up every 8-12 inches.  If you want you can cut a piece of spline down the middle at a 45 degree angle and then screw one half to each side of the 3 splines to give you a ballast section.  By the time you glue ties to the top surface, it ain't going anyplace..

Dave H. Modeling the P&R and W&N 1900-1905, Iron men and wooden cars

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Posted by Grampys Trains on Friday, January 23, 2009 2:01 PM

Hi Allegheny: That does help me understand what you're looking for. I don't know if this will help, but here goes.  All my curves are double track, and I laminated about 10 strips to form the sub road bed. So, that left a gap of about 1" between them, similiar to the gaps you have. I glued spacer blocks at about 12" intervals to keep the centerlines constant. To fill the 1" gap, I cut strips of  extruded foam and stuffed them between the sub road bed. The strips easily followed the curves. I then covered the foam with a thin layer of Structolite to form a base for ballast. It is an alternative to Homosote.

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Posted by reklein on Saturday, January 24, 2009 1:00 PM

Homosote is really good stuff if you can find it. I found that a bandsaw cuts it best but then not everyone has one. Homosote is the best stuf you can get for handlaying,second best is clear pine. Reason is it soft enough to push spikes into with a needlnose yet hard enough to hold them. Clear sitka spruce works very well too but its very expensive, I just happened to live in AK for 28 years and it grew in the back yard. If you're going to glue your track down anything will probably work. The onlt thing is once the glue sets,there's your layout and changes will be difficult. I'm a poor planner so I like to change things around periodically, sort like a kid with hisLionel sectional track on the basement floor.Smile While tons of fun, is hard to scenic. BILL

In Lewiston Idaho,where they filmed Breakheart pass.

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