Alternative to manufactured roadbed...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by dougget, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. dougget

    dougget New Member

    I could buy cork or rubber roadbed, but was wondering if there are other cheap alternatives that would work?
  2. Banjobob184

    Banjobob184 New Member

    I lay my track down on 5/8 inch foam insultion board, can cut rivers , ponds and also use it for adding scenery . Such as cliffs, hills and mountains with tunnels. point of interest,... is have an old Vaccum cleaner handy as it is messy, but cheap, and easy to use .

  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I have used 1/4 masonite. You can get a 4x8 for less than 10 bucks, and "cookie cutter" the roadbed pieces.

  4. dougget

    dougget New Member

    I do plan to use the insulation foam to cover my entire table and build a mountain/tunnel at one end. Also thinking about a river cut into the foam. I'm cool with that part. What I really want to do is get my track up off the surface of the foam.

    I like the masonite idea... Did you use a router to bevel the edges? How did you attach the track to the masonite? It's pretty hard stuff.

    Finally, what is the "cookie cutter" method?

  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    The "cookie cutter" method simply means cutting individual pieces out of a larger sheet using a jigsaw. In years past, one could either build a layout atop a continuous sheet of plywood, or cut out the plywood and place it only in areas where the track goes. What wasn't covered by plywood was an open frame covered by plaster scenery.

    You are right, masonite is hard stuff. I either beveled the edges using a router or a sander after the individual shapes were cut from the larger board. I either glued the roadbed to the plywood underlayment with yellow glue, or fastened it using small nails. In those days, I used atlas code 100 track, and I simply drove the atlas track nail through the hole in the tie and into the masonite. If I was doing it again, I would glue the track down using latex caulk.

  6. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

    There was an article in Model Railroader about using "topper tape" the foam single sided tape used to keep truck toppers from rattling. It works well, but costs the same as buying Woodland Scenics.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    MR also had an article about creating a hot-wire "profile" tool to carve the shape of the roadbed and ditches right into the foam base itself.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I worked on a layout whose owner used door skins (1/8" wood covering for doors) which was cheap. I felt it was splintery and was glad someone else was doing that part of the work.
  9. Swiper

    Swiper New Member

    I bought a roll of cork ( 20m x 0.6m wide), and simply cut 19mm wide strips.
    Why thin strips? Because you can bend them to follow the track curvature. Two strips glues next to each other make a full roadbed width.
    The cork roll is about 2 to 3mm thick, so ideal for this use.
    It's a LOT cheaper than commercial roadbed but has the same sound-qualities, heck, it's the same stuff!!
  10. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Swiper, where can you buy that roll cork?

  11. Swiper

    Swiper New Member

    Over here in Germany I got it at the local hardware shop called "Max Bahr".
    It was in the section with Wallpaper and wall decorations, ostensibly to be used to make pinboards.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That same kind of cork can be bought at Michael's (craft store - $$$) or possibly your local big box hardware ($$).


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