Trains.com

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!

"Wires" for model utility poles

4400 views
18 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Fullerton, California
  • 1,258 posts
"Wires" for model utility poles
Posted by hornblower on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:11 PM

No luck searching the Community.  I am installing utility poles on my HO scale layout and need suggestions for ways to run "wires" between the poles.  I'm looking for recommendations regarding materials to use to represent such wire.  I know there are elastic thread products out there but can't remember who makes them. Any ideas?

Hornblower

  • Member since
    February 2017
  • 189 posts
Posted by Deane Johnson on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:29 PM

One possibility might be some place like JoAnn's Fabrics. I studied the thread inventory for a project that needed small cables and discovered there are specialty threads available that are thinner than the regular thread. Might be something there that would work if you don't discover something better.

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • 172 posts
Posted by Eric White on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:31 PM
You're probably thinking of Berkshire Junction EZ Line. Eric
  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 23,131 posts
Posted by selector on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:49 PM

If I recall correctly, Rapido offered those not long ago. Fine fishing line would work. Painted, of course.

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Bakersfield, CA 93308
  • 6,526 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:55 PM

I tried several thread type materials and none looked realistic so I use .015” piano wire.  I like it because you can put a permanent realistic sag in the wire.
 
It’s easy to install simply by drilling a #78 hole in the poles or structures.  Another advantage is they are easy to remove and replace for working in the area.  I make everything removable to prevent old clumsy Mel from dinging stuff.
 
 
 
  
The small wire drop the meter head are a strand of #18 copper wire.
 
 
 
About 20 years ago I found some .010” piano wire and made a huge mistake by not buying a bundle of it, it is even better than the .015”.  I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 1,911 posts
Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:05 PM

Earlier topic about spacing telephone poles includes what a moderator suggested using for wiring: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/85955.aspx

[Link made live by moderator - FYI: For linking to a thread located on the forum, add a bracketed "url" (minus the quotation marks) on the front end of the URL and a bracketed "/url" on the back end.  For linking to a page outside the forum, use the link icon above your text box.  The latter, unfortunately, doesn't work for linking to forum threads. Sad]

 

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 1,411 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:14 PM

I also vote for Mel's piano wire. Stiff enough to hold a smooth straight line and heavy enough to realistically sag under its own weight. Even the thin stuff. Use the thinnest wire you can find.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Bakersfield, CA 93308
  • 6,526 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:51 PM

The normal sag works good for long runs, short drops need the sag added.  There is another advantage for using real wire, it doesn’t collect dust near ad bad as thread.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 15,658 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:58 PM

selector
If I recall correctly, Rapido offered those not long ago

.

I have two boxes of Rapido's pre-wired telegraph/telephone poles. I only saw them once, and grabbed the right up.

.

I am glad I did.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Fullerton, California
  • 1,258 posts
Posted by hornblower on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 7:18 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Now I know why my search wasn't getting anywhere as I was thinking Berkshire Valley, not Berkshire Junction.  Since many of my lines will cross tracks in multiple locations and I'm working toward regular operating sessions, I think I'll go with the elastic thread of some kind.  JoAnn Fabrics has 225 yard spools of lycra thread for $3.50.  One spool should do my whole layout.

Hornblower

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 890 posts
Posted by PC101 on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 10:35 PM

RR_Mel

The normal sag works good for long runs, short drops need the sag added.  There is another advantage for using real wire, it doesn’t collect dust near ad bad as thread.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 

And pidgons sit upright on hard wires better then on the Lacra thin thread. I use both hard wire and E Z LINE (thin .010'', green or black) elastic polymer, allowing the E Z LINE to sag a little. 100' at $9.95 (12/14/02) of E Z LINE on a spool compared to 675' at $3.50.Huh?

Some times a wire or two comes down and I send out a crew to make repaires. Only to get back a "made repair'' report of ''removed a spider web dropping from a pole to the ground''.    

  • Member since
    September 2019
  • 1 posts
Posted by twforeman on Monday, October 28, 2019 2:04 PM

RR_Mel
 About 20 years ago I found some .010” piano wire and made a huge mistake by not buying a bundle of it, it is even better than the .015”.  I haven’t been able to find it anywhere.
 
 
Mel

 
Those look great Mel.
 
McMaster-Carr has piano wire down to .005" diameter.

https://www.mcmaster.com/piano-wire

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Bakersfield, CA 93308
  • 6,526 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Monday, October 28, 2019 4:52 PM

I ordered a 100’ of .006”/.25mm 304 wire to see if will unroll and remain close to straight for power lines.  Some sag is needed.  I let everyone know how it goes.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January 2010
  • From: Chi-Town
  • 7,660 posts
Posted by zstripe on Sunday, November 3, 2019 9:53 PM

Easiest to use........if You bump it, it goes back to it's original shape. I also use it for cables on vehicle cranes and the like:

http://berkshirejunction.com/subdirectory/ez-line/

Take Care!

Frank

 

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • 594 posts
Posted by robert sylvester on Friday, November 29, 2019 8:49 AM

Wink I use good old fishing line, standard size. I then apply a small drop of rubber cement, wrap the fishing line around the crossarm where the cement is and let it dry. I stretch the line to the next pole leaving a little sag in the line betwen poles.

 101-2667.jpg

It is inexpensive, the poles themselves are home made with bamboo stick and tooth picks for the cross arms.

101-2670.jpg

The rubber cement dries fast and holds the fishing line to the cross bars without any miss haps.

Just a simple touch of modeled power lines really adds detail to the layout. This is a picture of a finished pole, a lot cheaper than buying ready made pole, plus they are fun to build.

101-2632.jpg

Before I plant the poles I use a spray stain to darken the wood or at least make it look more realistic.

101-2634.jpg

A nice evening project, allow the stain to dry over night before handling the poles. Since I use a blue foam base it is easy to plany the poles with the pointed end of the bamboo sticks.

Robert Sylvester

Newberry-Columbia Lines, SC

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,145 posts
Posted by dknelson on Friday, November 29, 2019 10:37 AM

zstripe
if You bump it, it goes back to it's original shape.

That is an important virtue of the elastic products (and there are makers other than Berkshire I believe).  It is very difficult to avoid snagging the "wires" of trackside line poles in normal operations of the layout.

 

 

Using CA, it is fairly easy to install.  You go from pole to pole  (thinking ahead however with poles with multiple arms and multiple insulators - work out from the pole and then work up from the lowest arm).  The main thing is not to make it too taut or most poles will start to bend.  

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 8,452 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Friday, November 29, 2019 11:22 AM

Ngineering has #38 Magnet wire that looks great as telegraph wire. Just run a sharpie along it to change the colour.

https://www.ngineering.com/accessories.htm

I keep all my old guitar strings as well, some of those are good I change those about every six weeks on two guitars.   

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 9,124 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Friday, November 29, 2019 11:38 AM

Take an old length of zip-cord, remove the insulation and separate out the single strands. I have used these with great luck, and they can carry electricity to led street lights etc. (the resistor is painted black to look like a transformer.) And if some dolt touches them they will discharge a very respectable HO scale arc!

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

  • Member since
    October 2017
  • 104 posts
Posted by GNMT76 on Friday, November 29, 2019 1:07 PM

Eric White
You're probably thinking of Berkshire Junction EZ Line. Eric

Eric White
You're probably thinking of Berkshire Junction EZ Line. Eric
 
 
Eric,
 
A Google search shows that Berkshire Junction of Adams, MA sold the business some time ago and is now Imperial Hobbies in Richmond, BC.  It sells the line in question.
 
 
M.B. Klein also carries the Berkshire Junction line.
 
 

Kerry

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!