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Handlaying track

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  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: CA
  • 43 posts
Handlaying track
Posted by jjjwar on Thursday, October 18, 2001 10:23 AM
I am starting my first new layout after leaving the hobby some years back and would like to handlay all my track.A search of my local building supply stores shows that I cannot get any Homasote or Upson board to use for the road bed.The down side I guess of living in Northern Ontario Canada.I would like to know if anyone else has knows of any other material that could be used.I have read that cork roadbed is no good but have seen a company that sell custom hand spiked track that is done on Cork roadbed.I would like to know if anyone has tried handlaying track on cork and how it worked?A local model railroader suggested that to make the track hold better on the cork and not to rely on the spikes as much to use pliobond to glue the rail to the ties.Has anyone ever tried this?Any thoughts or suggestions would greatly help.By the way I am trying to lay HO scale track.Thanks.
  • Member since
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  • From: US
  • 506 posts
Posted by snowey on Thursday, October 18, 2001 10:47 AM
there used to be a company called BJ Enterprises that sold homasote by mail, both roadbed & sheets. But, I don't know if they're still around. I can't help you with anything else, because I've never handlaid track.
"I have a message...Lt. Col....Henry Blakes plane...was shot down...over the Sea Of Japan...it spun in...there were no survivors".
  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: CA
  • 43 posts
Posted by jjjwar on Thursday, October 18, 2001 4:09 PM
I had already thought of BJ Enterprises but from what I can tell they are no longer around.I also tried Homabed but the company was sold in early October and will not be up and running till the middle of November.I was hoping to get started before that.
  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Niue
  • 735 posts
Posted by thirdrail1 on Thursday, October 18, 2001 8:58 PM
It has been many years since I handlaid much track (40 or more), but using cork roadbed should not be a problem if you use ties made of a good wood. Clover House used to sell redwood ties, but he has quit selling them. Pliobond is used to lay Code 40 track, where flanges would hit the spikes if used. An alternative where specialwork is required is to use PC board ties, soldering the rail to them, then breaking the (short) circuit by sawing through the copper surface on the ties just before installing.
"The public be ***ed, it's the Pennsylvania Railroad I'm competing with." - W.K.Vanderbilt
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 19, 2001 1:27 AM
Wayne: Welcome back to this great hobby. As far a using a replacement for homasote board, I am unable to locate any here on the west coast of BC, I have used a product called dona cona board for many years, it is a type of press board made out of paper and cardboard, I have had no problems with it warping or swelling, even with all the glues and water based scenery that has been added.
It comes in two types, make sure you get the natural type it is lite tan in color. The other is darker color and has tar either inside or on one side, not the product you want. I just put it down over the plywood with one inch screws. If for some reason you have glued something down and want to pull it up it comes up very easily and it will only bring up the top layer of paper product, leaving you lots left to work with. It takes a little bit of work if you go slow with a sharp knife but cuts easily with a jig saw. I bought some for my expantion not long ago and paid $8.00 (canadian) for a 4 x 8 sheet.
I use cork for my main lines and sidings with flex code 100 track, I find that with a little paint on the ties and rail there is nothing wrong with it, and also everything runs on it. Also I have enough of it and can not justify the expense to go to 83. For my engine service area and industries I hand lay my track. I use micro engeneering stained regular ties and small spikes. I glue the ties down and give them a little sanding on the tops to remove just a little of the dark color then add whatever stain I wish, usually oak and driftwood, you can add as much as required. I have also handlaid my track on the cork, just glue the ties down and then spike the rail down. As far as using pliobond, I have tried it a few times with out sucess, seems I either get the heating method too hot and burn the glue or not hot enough, after a short period of time it lets go, so have stuck with spikes. I have spiked rail down on my bridges also without problems.
I have never heard of ties pre glued to cork roadbed. I would take a few lengths and curves an practice laying the ties, I made my own jig one side is for regular spaced ties and the other end for industrial spacing, and putting the rail down before you go out a purchase a large quantity of ties and rail, it takes a little in getting use to and it does go slow. As far a spiking the track down I go every third tie spike down the rail and every fifth tie spiking the rail down on industrial or sidings. Depending onwhat you are running and tightness of your curves you may have to adjust this.
Good luck and enjoy.
Ron... Abbotsford, B.C.





  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: CA
  • 43 posts
Posted by jjjwar on Friday, October 19, 2001 8:17 AM
Ron:Thanks for the info.I will look for some of that dona cona board here at the local building stores.It actually sounds to be similiar or the same as a product here called tintest.I decided to handlay all my track after seeing another layout in Southern Ontario that had all the track handlayed.The way the track flowed and the fact it looked so nice got me hooked.I plan to use code 83.I have already made a test track four feet long with turnout on it to practice handlaying and am very pleased with my results.So far all my proto 2000 locos run through it very smooth and there is no wheel noise at all as they pass over the frog.I also plan to use some Shinohara turnouts once they are modified to work with my Digitrax.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, October 19, 2001 3:45 PM
Wayne: Sounds like you are on your way. One thing that I forgot to mention is when you get to go to swap meets keep your eye out for railroaders that are selling flex track cheap. If you can get it a good price you can just strip off the flex ties and then you have the rail. I also like using the dona cona board to build things on the work bench. Say you are doing an industry, you can cut a piece of the board a little larger than the size you are building,I go a couple of inches away from the building or yard area, work on the building at your work area then just take it back to the layout and set it on top of the layout where it is to go until it is time to put it into place. Once you want to incorperate it into the layout just use a pensel, trace around the outside edge of the piece you worked on, then cut out the dona cona board on the layout and drop your new piece in. You can loosely add scenery around it and take it up again any time that you need to. This way you can also change industries without ripping a lot up, just pull out the in place piece and with the same size of base add a new one.
If you want funny names for your industries some one put about ten pages worth of funny names on one of these type of sites, I looked this morning for it and I am unable to find it again, lucky I printed it off so if you want a copy let me know and I will send it some how, by computer or fax. Keep in touch and let us know how things are going. Ron..
  • Member since
    January, 2001
  • From: Guelph, Ont.
  • 1,476 posts
Posted by BR60103 on Sunday, October 21, 2001 9:11 PM
Wayne:
Just a warning: I built a layout about 25 years ago using tentest and would never do it again. The tentest was easy to put nails in and fairly easy to cut but the nails wouldn't hold becaulse the naterial didn't grip; the holes just stayed open.

Down here near Toronto we can usually get Homasote, but it involves calling a bunch of lumber stores. I haven't bought any for about 5 years. We're a long drive from Kirkland Lake.

David

--David

  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: US
  • 26 posts
Posted by pgrayless on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 12:20 AM
Wayne,

You might be able to mail order HomoBed. I've may have mis-spelled it, but they run ads in the current hobby magazines. The is strips of Homosote that have been cut to allow it to be bent into curves without breaking.

Paul

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