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Laying track: Glue, nails, or both??

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Laying track: Glue, nails, or both??
Posted by Trainman440 on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:09 PM

Hello all, simple question: Do you secure your track with glue(I use liquid nails adhesive), track nails, or both?

Im not sure if the glue is enough to secure the track, but the nails make the track look fake, because the nail head sticks out of the track every few inches. 

What do you guys use?

 

PS I dont need other suggestions right now, this is more of a poll. 

Charles

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Posted by carl425 on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:11 PM

Adhesive caulk. No nails.

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Posted by jrbernier on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:20 PM

  I like clear latex caulk.  I use track nail to hold it all down and pull them when I an satisfied.  Liquid Nails to too permanent....I can lift a section of track with a wide putty knife...

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Posted by BATMAN on Friday, July 20, 2018 4:24 PM

I use to use nails in the old days and still do on a very rare occasion. I would never use glue as I like to be able to easily lift the track up if needed.

Caulk is my weapon of choice. Using a very thin layer to stick the track down is all you need. If there is caulk on the track that needs removing when pulled up, you have used too much caulk. 

 

Brent

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Posted by tin can on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:01 PM

Nails.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:04 PM

I don't know why you would use both.  I'm a caulk convert.

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:08 PM

I glue the cork roadbed and then use track nails for the track.  The track nails have pretty thin heads and are black.  I have trouble finding them if I need to take the track up.  But that could be my old eyes Laugh  But since I don't see them in the ties, they're fine for me.

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Posted by BATMAN on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:11 PM

BigDaddy

I don't know why you would use both.  I'm a caulk convert.

 

I have found that using caulk on cork roadbed is perfect, it holds like a really, really strong fridge magnet. For some reason, I have found using caulk on some types of wood to hold track is a really strong joint that is sometimes hard to pull apart. Usually, when I am mounting directly to wood it is for a temporary purpose so I will use a nail or two.Cowboy

Brent

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:24 PM

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:29 PM

I went with nails ballasting it with Elmer’s White All Purpose mixed 8 parts water 1 part Elmer’s, when fully dry I pulled all the visible nails.
 
I use Midwest cork roadbed anchored with Caulk, the ballasted track comes up fairly easily with a putty knife if needed.
 
All of my hidden track (in my mountains) is unballasted and held with nails.
 
 
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Posted by ctyclsscs on Friday, July 20, 2018 6:24 PM

Tacky Glue/Weldbond  They're pretty similar. I think the squeeze bottle makes it easier to apply than caulk.

Jim

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Posted by Carolina Northern on Friday, July 20, 2018 6:45 PM

I give my cork a thinned coat of grey craft paint after sanding. Then use gray latex caulk spread thin with a putty knife and set the track on top. In a few places I may have to put some weight for an hour or so, but mostly a thin layer grabs it just fine.

I've used clear caulk for putting down cork, but lately use gray for the whole process.

It also has the advantage of making it look a little more finished until you get around to ballasting.

 

Don

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Posted by jjdamnit on Friday, July 20, 2018 7:12 PM

Hello all,

With 15-inch minimum curves in HO scale:

I use GE brand silicone caulk to adhere the roadbed to the blue foam base. Spread it evenly with the putty knife. Any cleanup can be done with water and a damp cloth.

Then I “T” pin the track to the roadbed.

I ballast the track, as in the thread I listed above.

Once the ballast in set I remove the “T” pins. After 24-hours the roadbed, track and ballast are set.

Remove the “T” pins and move onto the next section.

When I need to adjust the roadbed I can peel it up and remove the caulk from both the roadbed and blue foam base.

If I need to adjust the tracks after ballasting I just soak the area with water, let the glue dilute then remove the track.

To thoroughly clean the track I wash it in warm water with “blue” dish soap until the track(s) are free of debris.

I understand that you would prefer to not use track nails. With this method the final ballast holds the track in place with only using the “T” pins to allow the glue to set.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by tbdanny on Friday, July 20, 2018 7:20 PM

I use nails, which blend in with the sleepers once they're painted.  Then when I ballast the track, the glue from that holds the tracks in place.

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Posted by Heartland Division CB&Q on Friday, July 20, 2018 7:41 PM

Nails .... If track is causing derailments, you can easily remove it so you can correct the problem with replacement track. 

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Posted by Little Timmy on Friday, July 20, 2018 7:47 PM

I have been known to use both. It just depend's on if it's a straght section ( calk / glue ) or curve section ( nail's )

But be careful using nail's , if you drive them in too far they will pull the track out of gauge.

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Posted by Southgate on Friday, July 20, 2018 8:55 PM

The use of Liquid Nails in track work is downright destructive. WAY too permanent! You can kiss goodbye any track you need to relocate or even adjust, and you'll be surprised how much you may need to. I wasted plenty of expensive Micro Engineering flex track learning that mistake.

I use nails, with the intention of letting the ballast hold the track in it's final position. Then the nails can be pulled if distracting. Caulk would be a good alternative as attested above, but by all means, AVOID Liquid Nails! Dan

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 20, 2018 9:25 PM

My club has laid the track using just nails to start. The reason was that it would be easy to realign the track if need be. In a club environment there may be several people laying track who have varying skill levels. If someone doesn't get the track down quite right it is easy to correct. For example, our primary track layer refuses to use a straightedge. We have adjusted some of his work. Of course we did it when he wasn't around and we never said anything to him.Smile, Wink & Grin

Another situation arose where the person who was laying the main yard misinterpreted the instructions that he was given and cut the yard tracks where they didn't need to be cut. With only nails holding the track in place it was easy to pull up the shortened pieces of track and replace them with full lengths of flex track. We could have left the short pieces in place, but that would have required that we install more feeders in an area that will already have a lot of wiring under the layout. The short pieces were quickly used up in other areas.

Another reason for using just nails to start is that we didn't know what the benchwork would do as the seasons changed. This is our first year in the new club house. We did in fact have some track distort within a few days of it being laid.

Ultimately, the track will be glued down quite firmly when we install the ballast. Until then the use of nails by themselves makes getting the track aligned properly very easy.

Dave

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, July 20, 2018 9:35 PM

For the main level of my layout, I used Atlas track secured with nails, either through the cork roadbed, which was affixed to the plywood sub-roadbed with carpenter's yellow glue, or, where the track was directly on the plywood sub-roadbed, directly into the plywood.  All nails were pushed into place using pliers, never hammered in.   While they're somewhat visible, I don't plan on removing them, even though the ballast holds everything securely in place..  The advantage with nails is that a few days after fastening everything in place, I could go back and re-align places that needed adjustment, often doing so simply by applying lateral pressure to one side of the nail's head...

For the partial upper level, I used mostly Central Valley tie strips, either atop cork or directly on the plywood surface of the entire upper level.  Both the cork and the tie strips were fastened in place using contact cement, as was the Micro Engineering rail....

The turnouts (Atlas, Micro Engineering, Shinohara, and Peco) are held in place with contact cement and/or nails, while the Central Valley turnout kits use mostly contact cement.  (In the photo above, the track is freshly ballasted, with the tie-tops still wet.)

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, July 21, 2018 5:21 AM

Nails or ME spikes for track.  Ballast dilute white glue or matt medium.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, July 21, 2018 9:16 AM

LION uses NAILS.... foold you, you thought that I would say caulk.

 

Nails work good on a fiber base such as used by LION... holds good, easy to remove and realign tracks.

Him tried nails on pink foam boards. Works good if sliding you want to prevent, but lifting up is a problem. LION nails directly to foam, and then runs a bead of Elmer's glue down the center line, paying particular attention to covering the nail heads.

Ballast? LION uses CAT LITTER, him gluse it not. Makes it easy to move tracks.

 

 

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, July 22, 2018 2:42 PM

Use caulk and ballast with matt medium over cork. If you want to reuse a turnout that is installed that way, all you do is slide a puddy knife under the cork  so you can remove it, then remove the caulk and ballast by soaking it in a bucket of water. I thought I would have to buy all new turnouts when I moved but was able to save 90% of them (had a few curved that were too fragile).

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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, July 22, 2018 3:46 PM

rrebell
I thought I would have to buy all new turnouts when I moved but was able to save 90% of them (had a few curved that were too fragile).

I don't caulk down the turnouts, I do make sure the track is really secure where it meets the turnout at all connection points though.

I paint under the turnout, ballast grey, and then after installation, I take a paintbrush and carefully paint some glue in between the ties and then sprinkle just a few grains of ballast between each tie. Looks great and when the T/O is taken up there is nothing stuck to it.Cowboy

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Posted by kasskaboose on Sunday, July 22, 2018 7:25 PM

IRONROOSTER

I glue the cork roadbed and then use track nails for the track.  The track nails have pretty thin heads and are black.  I have trouble finding them if I need to take the track up.  But that could be my old eyes Laugh  But since I don't see them in the ties, they're fine for me.

Paul

Similar to what Paul wrote above.  Micro Engineering makes great track nails.  Did anyone else find that ballasting the track keeps it from rising up?  Curious if the OP should go that route instead? 

Interestingly, how flat the track is depends on the shipping method(s).  One place I bought track had it bound to 1x2's.  That kept the track from being uneven.  MB Klein bound the track together.  They told me that connecting it to 1x2s increasing shipping charges big time.

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Posted by bearman on Monday, July 23, 2018 8:54 AM

Step 1:  Apply very thin layer of adhesive caulk applied with an expired credit card or similar card.

Step 2:  Lay up to 3 feet of track on caulk

Step 3: Lay 3 X 1 section(s) scrap lumber on track

Step 4:  Lay bricks on lumber

Step 5:  Go back to building a model industry

 

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Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, July 23, 2018 10:07 AM

Thankyou alll for replying!

I guess I'll stick with just using some glue afterall...

Charles

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, July 23, 2018 11:41 AM

Once you have your roadbed in place, you can solder several lengths of flex track together, then use nails to install it.  This is especially useful on curves, and there's no need to add weight to keep it in place, as with caulk or glue.  If you get called away or need to take a break, no clean-up is necessary, and you can return to the job at any time.  If you need to realign the track or make adjustments, pull the nails, do what's necessary, then re-install the nails.  They can be removed after ballasting, if their appearance bothers you. 
Use regular blunt-nosed pliers to install the nails, not a hammer:  grip the nail with the pliers to insert it into the hole in the tie, and push it into position to start it into the cork or plywood, then release the grip, close the pliers, and use the side of them to push the nail home, applying as much force as is necessary, directly above the nail, with your free hand.
Nails aren't a great choice on foam, but will work temporarily (as will "T" pins) if you plan to add ballast (using diluted white glue or matte medium) before running trains.  I discovered this when helping a friend, who opted for extruded foam as the surface of the layout, with Woodland Scenics soft foam roadbed.  I didn't at all care for working with the latter, but the process has weathered the test of time.

Where I used the Central Valley tie strips, they were cemented together using solvent-type cement.  I then drew a centreline for the cork roadbed (or for the track, where it was to be layed directly atop the plywood) and applied contact cement to both mating surfaces, using a 1" brush.
After the cement had dried for the specified time, I placed some waxed paper atop the cork or plywood, then positioned the moulded-on indicators on the ties over the centreline, pressing down firmly while withdrawing the waxed paper.

Turnouts were installed next, using a combination of contact cement and nails.  I then soldered rail into the lengths necessary to reach from turnout to turnout, or completely through curves, usually 12' or 15', then installed it using the contact cement and waxed paper method. 
The only waiting time, about 15 minutes, is that which is necessary for the contact cement to dry, as per the manufacturer's suggestions, before bringing the mating surfaces together. 
The "working time" is stated as one hour, and if you're well organised, a lot of roadbed/ties/rail can be installed in that period.

Wayne

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 23, 2018 1:55 PM

Trainman440

I guess I'll stick with just using some glue afterall...

Charles 

Nails or spikes didn't sound appealing?  The sure work well for me and I can't tell you how many times I've had to lift track to re-lay it and it was so much easier pulling out the nails or spikes than having to pry the track up from the adhesive, and risk damaging it.   

To me, adhesives and glue seem too permanent too quick.  I'd rather get the track down solid but have my options left open until I am satisfied with the geometry and arrangement.

I definitely guess I'll stick with nails and spikes after all.  YMMV

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Posted by Bubbytrains on Monday, July 23, 2018 6:37 PM

Nails. That allows you to easily make changes. Once ballasted, you can remove the nails if you don't like the looks of them. They don't bother me. I just paint the nail heads to blend in with the ties.

Bubbytrains

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 23, 2018 8:16 PM

Okay, on the subtopic of making changes, we're talking about taking up both the track and the roadbed, and not just the track from the roadbed?  Doing the latter would be a problem, no?

So for the track nail folks, do you use one nail through both the track and the roadbed or do you first nail down the roadbed to the subroadbed, then the track to the roadbed?  So you would need to take up both nails to realign something.

My experience with caulk is that you just pry up the roadbed and the caulked track comes with it and move the whole thing a bit. 

I don't know if either way is a real problem or an advantage, just want to be clear as to what's being talked about.

- Douglas

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