Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Building a layout on a rotisserie

30944 views
686 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 18, 2020 9:32 PM

Track fiddler
P.S.  I know why you picked such an odd witdh of 5' 4" for the width for your 12-foot layout.  The cut off pieces for the center section sure doesn't leave any waste

Hi TF,

You are absolutely correct! I didn't want to be faced with the task of having to cut 4'x8' sheets of plywood myself, and I figured that giving the lumber mill instructions for making multiple cuts was just an opportunity for screw ups.

The 5'4" width allows for reasonable radii in the curves (I'm planning on 22" - 24" on the main lines) without having the track right at the edge of the layout. I could make the radii larger obviously but I believe that being able to have scenery on the outside of the track will look much better.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 4,237 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Friday, September 18, 2020 9:28 PM

Evening Dave

What Randy saidYes  I see he's a fan of T pins too.  They hold great through cork into the foam for temporary works.

When I had my afterthought of rapping my track around the outside of the layout to get to the unused lower level for a future lumber mill.  I angled the T pins on the outside of the ties angled towards the center so I could see how many cars one locomotive would pull up a 2 1/2 percent grade.  My fingers may have been a little sore pushing them all in and they worked great.

I will probably pin my radiused track this way after I do my dreaded soldering of the jointsSad  I hate soldering track,  I always melted the ties when I was a kidTongue Tied

I need to go to a track soldering counselor to get my confidence back up againLaugh

T pins work great Dave,  skip on those stubby little bulletin board thumb tacks.  I still have three boxes of those from the dollar store still in the package because I did not like themSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 18, 2020 9:11 PM

Hi Randy,

Okay, I see something in your picture that I hadn't noticed before. You are pushing the T pins all the way down so the head is resting on the ties. Now I understand how to use them. For some strange reason I had assumed that you only pushed them in half way.Dunce I guess I was thinking back to my high school science classes when we were dissecting worms.Ick!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,934 posts
Posted by rrinker on Friday, September 18, 2020 8:46 PM

 Yes, those kind of pins do a great job of holding the track - thay are what I used on my previous layout. They are pretty long, and the wide head lets you use them to clamp the ties down. Keep them out of the exact center, but not against the rail, and you can run trains over track help by them. Here you can see them pinning a section of track in place:

This is straight, but they also hold fine on curves - remember this layout was using Atlas flex, which wants to spring back, but I had no problem with it changing position after the pins were in place. Even running a locomotive around a curve before the caulk set up didn't shift the track under the pins.

                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 18, 2020 8:32 PM

Track fiddler
I want to T pin all my track down dry so I can iron out any imperfections or kinks before I put the 50/50 wood glue/water mixture in between the ties to set the track last.

Hi TF,

Okay, of course that makes perfect sense. Applying glue before the track was in place would make for a real mess!DunceSmile, Wink & GrinLaugh

I'm going to order some pins to hold the track in place. However, I have a couple more questions:

I noticed that you used 'T' pins, but I'm wondering if they actually put enough pressure on the track to hold it down firmly against the cork? Obviously they will hold the track from moving side to side, but I don't understand how they push the track down. Would 'stick pins' (the ones with the molded plastic heads) work better or are they too short to grip the cork properly? Is any significant downward pressure actually necessary?

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 4,237 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Friday, September 18, 2020 6:47 AM

Good morning Dave

You just have the last two steps reversed.

I want to T pin all my track down dry so I can iron out any imperfections or kinks before I put the 50/50 wood glue/water mixture in between the ties to set the track last.

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 18, 2020 12:19 AM

Track fiddler
I decided to do a few experiments before laying my track that I would like to share with you.  I wanted to lay the track completely dry first if I possibly can as I know this would allow me more time to get everything perfect before gluing it down. The experiment that worked the best I will illustrate for you.

Hi TF!

This is my understanding of what you have done in your experiment:

- Glue the cork roadbed in place with caulk,

- Once the caulk is dry, apply a coating of caulk to the cork using a wallpaper roller to give the surface of the caulk some texture,

- Once dry, place the track and apply a 50/50 mix of carpenter's glue and water,

- Hold the track in place with T pins until the glue dries.

Do I have that correct?

Thanks,

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 4,237 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Thursday, September 17, 2020 3:48 PM

hon30critter

The last sheet of plywood has been installed. Next step is to install the 2" foam. Then I can draw out the track plan so I can see where the cork has to go.

I have decided to lay the cork right on the foam. No fussing with another layer of plywood or Homasote!

Cheers!!

Dave

 

Hi Dave

That's exactly the way my brother and I are laying our track.  We both have our cork down and used a wallpaper roller to apply the Alex Plus on back to roll the caulk consistently.

I decided to do a few experiments before laying my track that I would like to share with you.  I wanted to lay the track completely dry first if I possibly can as I know this would allow me more time to get everything perfect before gluing it down.

The experiment that worked the best I will illustrate for you.

I used white caulk so you can see the texture the wallpaper roller leaves on top of the cork.  When I lay my track I will use clear caulk of course.

I let the caulk completely dry before I pinned my track to it. The caulk not only acts as a polymer for good adhesion but also acts as a sound deadening buffer so after ballast you don't get as much of a drumming sound.

The texture provides perforations for a good 50/50 wood glue/water mixture to flow under the ties. I used Titebond professional strength.  I used a little red pumpkin carving tool to drip it in about every third Tie.  I'm sure an eyedropper would work better and faster for HO.

I do believe the dry caulk acted as an accelerator.  Only 3-4 hours later I stuck my trusty Shay knife underneath and the track just laughed at me and said I'm staying.  It was solid,  I felt if I would have pried any harder I would have broke the track.

Gluing down my track after I have it all exactly the way I want it, sure is going to help me out and that's exactly what I'm going to doYes  I'm going to tell my brother about it tonight when he gets home from work,  I told you firstWink

 

P.S.  I know why you picked such an odd witdh of 5' 4" for the width for your 12-foot layout.  The cut off pieces for the center section sure doesn't leave any wasteYesSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

 

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,934 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, September 17, 2020 7:41 AM

hon30critter

I Love 3rd PlanIt! I just finished plotting all the positions for the ends of each piece of track plus the radii, and all the turnouts to within 1/32". Okay. I admit that 1/32" is a ridiculously fine tolerance for laying track, but that's what the program gives me. Once the foam is glued down I will be able to draw the track centerlines and start laying cork.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

 Yes, this is why I can generally place my roadbed and track once and be done, just doing fine aligmnet during the tracklaying process - like sighting down straight sections to make sure they are straight, making sure there are no kins or tight spots in a curve, etc. I used 3rd PlanIt on plenty of never-built layouts, including one that was going to go in my old small basement until things changed and we had to move to a 3x as big basement.

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,618 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:05 AM

hon30critter
I think I'm going to carve the water features in it before glueing it down.

What do you use to cut the foam?

I had a full compliment of Hot Wire Foam Factory tools, but my youngest daughter stole all of the when she moved out, and I need new tools.

This one is less than $25.00 on Amazon and looks promising.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 9:37 PM

I Love 3rd PlanIt! I just finished plotting all the positions for the ends of each piece of track plus the radii, and all the turnouts to within 1/32". Okay. I admit that 1/32" is a ridiculously fine tolerance for laying track, but that's what the program gives me. Once the foam is glued down I will be able to draw the track centerlines and start laying cork.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 1:00 AM

The foam is in place. I think that took me all of 10 minutes to do! So easy! It isn't glued down yet. I think I'm going to carve the water features in it before glueing it down.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 9:13 PM

The last sheet of plywood has been installed. Next step is to install the 2" foam. Then I can draw out the track plan so I can see where the cork has to go.

I have decided to lay the cork right on the foam. No fussing with another layer of plywood or Homasote!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:42 PM

carl425
Screws make better clamps than nails.  They especially work better when you're trying to force a little warp out of a piece of lumber.

Hi carl425,

You are right. I was much happier working with the screws even though the 1/4" plywood was actually pretty straight. I still have to install the last sheet but I have to shave a bit off of one side because it is too tight a fit as is. No big deal.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:35 PM

snjroy
Dave, if the benchwork bends, you might have problems with cracks in your scenery later. Have you thought of adding one or two cross-beams?

Hi Simon,

I think that a couple of removable legs would be easier to do. The span between the supports would only be a little over six feet with the legs in place so there wouldn't likely be any flexing. Using removable legs would also keep the underside of the layout clear from additional obstructions.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    August 2013
  • From: Richmond, VA
  • 1,890 posts
Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 12:16 PM

rrinker
If it's glued down, brads, screws, doesn't really matter.

Screws make better clamps than nails.  They especially work better when you're trying to force a little warp out of a piece of lumber.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,213 posts
Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 7:14 AM

hon30critter

I just had a bit of a revelation when installing the 1/4" plywood sheets (I got the second one installed by the way). What I discovered is that the benchwork is not quite as rigid as I thought it was. When I was installing the plywood sheet in the middle of the 12' span there was a bit more deflection than I had hoped for when I leaned on the benchwork. No problem. I will build a couple of temporary legs to support the middle of the layout when it doesn't need to be rotated.

I suspect that several of you would have already guessed that that would happen.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

 

Dave, if the benchwork bends, you might have problems with cracks in your scenery later. Have you thought of adding one or two cross-beams?

Simon

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 12:08 AM

SeeYou190
Down here working for Amazon is a good job to have. They do pay well for the people I know who work there, but Florida is notorious for lower wages overall, so it might be somewhat skewed.

Hi Kevin,

I was speaking in terms of their front line employees. Here in Ontario they start at a little over $15.00/hr. That's barely more than what fast food employees are paid. You can't own a house on that wage. You can barely afford to pay rent, to say nothing of saving for retirement.

Bezos is going to break the $200 billion mark sometime soon. Something is wrong. He needs to take a lesson from Henry Ford.

My 2 Cents

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,618 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 12:00 AM

hon30critter
I just wish Jeff Bezos would pay his people more. He can certainly afford to.

My middle daughter is a software engineer for Amazon in Seattle. She is paid quite well.

Down here working for Amazon is a good job to have. They do pay well for the people I know who work there, but Florida is notorious for lower wages overall, so it might be somewhat skewed.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 14, 2020 11:56 PM

SeeYou190
I have only recently begun to use Amazon for purchases. They do an excellent job, and seem to have much better selection of house parts than even the big box stores.

I just wish Jeff Bezos would pay his people more. He can certainly afford to.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,618 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, September 14, 2020 12:01 PM

hon30critter
Thank goodness for Amazon!

I have only recently begun to use Amazon for purchases. They do an excellent job, and seem to have much better selection of house parts than even the big box stores.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,934 posts
Posted by rrinker on Monday, September 14, 2020 7:25 AM

 If it's glued down, brads, screws, doesn't really matter. The glue is stronger than either. The advantage of screws is that theoretically you could take it apart - if it wasn't also glued.

 I've thought about getting nail guns to make things go faster, but then I need a bigger compressor to run them, or buy really expensive battery powered ones. Taking things apart isn't a problem, I'd just have to rip off the backdrops to get to the screws holding the verticals to the walls. It's what would happen anyway, since I am gluing the screwed together joints.

 Once your glue dries, with the plywood glued and screwed in, the whole thing should get a lot more rigid. Even the thin skin will add a lot of strength to the open framework.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 14, 2020 2:19 AM

Third sheet of plywood glued and screwed! I have run out of screws. Thank goodness for Amazon!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 14, 2020 12:46 AM

I just had a bit of a revelation when installing the 1/4" plywood sheets (I got the second one installed by the way). What I discovered is that the benchwork is not quite as rigid as I thought it was. When I was installing the plywood sheet in the middle of the 12' span there was a bit more deflection than I had hoped for when I leaned on the benchwork. No problem. I will build a couple of temporary legs to support the middle of the layout when it doesn't need to be rotated.

I suspect that several of you would have already guessed that that would happen.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 14, 2020 12:18 AM

SeeYou190
Dave, It might be a blessing in disguise that you brad nailer gave you problems. I am certain the screws are a better choice.

You are no doubt correct. All I wanted to do with the brads was to hold the plywood down until the glue dried. However, the time spent fussing with the nailer probably allowed the glue dry out significantly, so the screws will hopefully have addressed that issue. I will use predrilled screws plus glue on the rest of the sheets. I'm tired of fussing around! I want to move forward!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 9,618 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, September 14, 2020 12:11 AM

Dave, It might be a blessing in disguise that you brad nailer gave you problems. I am certain the screws are a better choice.

Glad to hear you are moving forward.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:39 PM

I decided to move forward instead of procrastinating, which I'm sure you have suspected me of doing for weeks. I put the first sheet of 1/4" plywood down on the benchwork. I said I wasn't going to do that until I had the main busses installed, but I decided to do it so I can clearly mark where those busses will go. (I think I might have said this before - sorry).

I had both 1/4" and 1/8" plywood thanks to a lumber mill order taker who was, shall we say, less than competent, so I decided to use the 1/4". I applied the glue to the benchwork, set the plywood in place and proceeded to use my brad nailer to tack it down. Let me explain that my brad nailer is not of the highest quality. In fact it apparently is on the opposite end of the scale. It drove about half a dozen brads and then refused to feed any more brads into the barrel.Grumpy Yes, it was properly lubricated. After about 1/2 hour of farting around I decided to get out my impact driver and my 1 1/4" Torx screws. I drilled pilot holes to make things easier. The shorter Torx screws don't have the self tapping starter threads hence the need to drill pilot holes. The plywood is down and will never come up again!Big SmileThumbs Up

I still have three more sheets to install, but since I had to stand, one sheet tonight was all my back could manage.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 13, 2020 9:33 PM

rrinker
 It's easier to get it lined up that you think. Start with a critical point - a group of turnouts, for example. 

Hi Randy,

That thought had occurred to me. Place the turnouts first and then do the rest of the roadbed and the track. However, to be honest, I really want to be able to make fine adjustments to the track position. IMHO, that's the only way I will be able to lay track that works properly on a consistent basis.

I had also thought about eliminating the 2" foam and just using 3/4" plywood but I have decided against that for two reasons:

First, it won't give me the depth I want for the water features. The layout will be almost all flat, so in the couple of spots where I do want depth I want it to really stand out.

Second, I don't want to have to handle and cut 3/4" plywood sheets. I just can't do it with my back the way it is.Grumpy

So, back to the head scratching.

Thanks for your continued input!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,934 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, September 13, 2020 9:04 PM

 It's easier to get it lined up that you think. Start with a critical point - a group of turnouts, for example. 

 ANd it's not really once and done, if you use the caulk SPARINGLY, it's easy to pop things off and redo it. I made changes after starting 2 layouts ago. Pulled up 2 turnout and a whole siding. I was using WS foam roadbed, the roadbed was not reusable, but the turnouts and long section of flex track were. The short pieces weren't worth trying to reuse. 

                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 12,129 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 13, 2020 8:28 PM

Well, I have managed to totally confuse myself on how I should finish the top of the layout!

I was going to put 1/8" plywood overtop of the 2" of foam so that I had something solid to stick the track nails into. Then the issue of getting that thin layer of plywood perfectly smooth came up. If it wasn't smooth, laying reliable track would be a nightmare!

Then I decided to put 1/2" Homasote over the foam so I would have a smooth surface which would hold track nails nicely.

Now I'm questioning why I would reinvent the wheel by doing that. Yes, it would hold the track nails nicely, but it would also make the subroadbed 2 7/8" thick. That would complicate the installation of Tortoises and uncouplers, (or would it?).

So, why don't I just do what tons of others have done successfully and just caulk the cork roadbed and the track right onto the foam? The answer is that I'm not confident that I can get the track positioned properly the first time around. I really like the ability to be able to make minor adjustments to the track position that using track nails allows.

So, what to do, what to do??? I'm going to think about that for a while. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

HmmDave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!