Any experience using glue when hand laying track?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jkristia, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    What I'm think of here is using glue, instead of spikes of solder/pc ties, for attaching the rails to the ties.
    I have do some hand laying with C40 and pc ties in N scale, and are quite comfortable using that method, but now I decided to try my hands on some C55 HO track. I have no experience using spikes, but I assume they are too big for using on C55 rails, so I tried the good old proven pc tie method, and of course it works, but, I think it will end up being expensive using pc ties for every 5th tie on HO.

    Then I read about using Barge contact cement, but haven't been able to find it at the local Home Depot store, so instead I tried it with regular contact cement, but with no success.

    Does anyone here have any experience using glue?, if so, I would appreciate a short "how to - step by step" instruction.
    If not, then how would you install C55 track, using pc ties?, using pc ties every 10 - 15th tie and then a dap of epoxy?

    Any help is appreciated.

  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Jesper, I can't really help you, but I share your misery. I've tried laying code 55 for some sidings, you are correct that you can't use spikes, they interfere with the flanges. So I tried Pliobond, which I had read about in a mag long ago. You apply it to the rail bottom and after dry place the rail in place, holding it with 3 point gauges and even some temporary spikes, then heat the rail with a soldering iron, which melts the Pliobond which then will adhere to the ties. You're supposed to move the iron along to avoid gwtting the rail too hot to avoid too much expansion. I'm afraid I never got it quite right, have to admit I gave up pretty quickly. Easy to apply too much glue to the rail bottom, need to find a better method of application. I'd also like to hear from anybody who has had success with this.
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    I've used the same method as Gary to attach rails to turntable bridges and had very good results. The only difference is that I used Walther's Goo. It looks and smells just like Pliobond so I'm thinking that its just about the same stuff. Also, I used a 150 Watt soldering gun to make the heat bond.

    Micro Engineering makes what they call "small spikes". I've used them on code 55 but I must say that it was tedious and I was reluctant to put any spike on the inside of the rail, but properly placed they don't seem to cause any problem with the wheel flanges.

    Clover House makes PC board ties. Actually they come in long strips and they are not expensive. You cut them to the length that you want. I think that a PC tie evey 10-15 ties might be "streching it" a bit. Expoy remains flexible after it has set.

    You might give one of the super glue "gels" a try. I'd consider using some of that spray "kicker" that makes acc set instantly.
  4. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    so maybe pc ties is the way to go. I actually like that method a lot as it is easy to install and re-adjust, only problems I can see are

    #1: you only get about 1ft of track per pc strip if you use pc tie for every 5th tie (which adds about $0.25 per foot, which is not too bad).

    #2, you have to paint the ties instead of staining them to disguise the pc ties. Painting the ties was never a problem for me in N scale, but I think in HO stained ties would actually look better than painted.

    I guess I will still do a test with 5 minutes epoxy.
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    To paint or stain ties is one of those hotly debated issues among handlayers. When I first started handlaying the rage was staining and I did so, but was never thrilled with what appeared to me to be grossly out of scale woodgrain. I think the more valid reason behind staining is to obtain differences in shade intensity. Of course which way to go depends partly on what type or condition roadbed you're looking to represent. For my 1950's era mainline layout, fairly new ties in good condition are what I want, so I paint. A year or two ago I stopped handlaying everything and started using flex track, handlaying only turnouts. So now I had to paint in order to match the plastic and wood ties. I bought a quart of regular latex paint in a creosote color. When I want faded ties, I lighten it and also brush other colors, mostly greys, over it. On those sidings where I want code 55 rail, I scrape the ties with a jigsaw blade prior to painting. I haven't stained any ties in a long time. My procedure now is to glue unstained ties to Homabed, then paint everything with my brown paint, sealing the homasote. Then I sort of drybrush other colors as needed for a given effect, ballast the lay the rail.

    So if you've been happy painting, I don't see any reason to change. I think I'll be giving glue another shot soon. It's only a few industrial spurs I have to do.
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    That's interesting on the stain, Gary. I always thought, if you can't see it from the road in 1:1, you shouldn't see it in 1:87, and I certainly can't see the wood grain on a tie or the side of a house. Of course, what looks good is often more important than what looks scale. To me it is anyway. To me wood grain as big as an LPBs finger looks way to chubby to look good or to look scale, but that's just me. So I choose finer grain woods.
  7. George D

    George D Member


    I glued guard rails on a bridge using diluted Walther’s Goo on the bottom of the rails. I diluted the Goo with acetone so it spread easily and wasn’t stringy. It was code 83 rail. It’s on an approach to a coal pier so it arced from a grade to level which makes the rails want to pull up at the ends. I did this about five years ago and the glue is still holding the rail.

    This isn’t the best picture, but it shows the arc of the track/ The guard rails run from the “concrete” approach to just before the turnout.
  8. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Hey, George--I've read about diluting with acetone as well. My question is: what is your source of acetone? I've never seen it offered over-the-shelf. Where does one buy raw acetone? I have to build a trestle in a month or two and plan to use that method to secure my ties.
  9. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    How about using nail polish remover?
  10. George D

    George D Member

    You can get it at Home Depot or Lowes. It'll be in the paint section.
  11. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Thank you, George.

    By the way, in my last post, I meant to say "track" instead of "ties".
  12. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I found a tube of Barge cement at a shoe repair shop at the mall the other day, so on the way home I stopped at Home Depot and bought a bottle of MEK (that's what is recommend to use on this page ). I haven't had time to try it yet, but hopefully over the weekend I can give it a try.

    Does anyone know what the difference is between MEK and acetone?, definitely that MEK stuff is some strong stuff, one drop of it on the foam and the foam start sizzling like a hot plate (I know I'm not supposed to do that, but it was only for a test). I think I will have to have a fan next to me when using it, because the smell is just so strong, so now I understand why it says 'use in a well ventilated area'
  13. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I did a small test the other day using Barge cement for attaching the C55 rail. I 'sacrificed' one of my N scale sidings to do this test, but that's fine because I have already decided that I'm going to remove all the N stuff.

    So, after having tried this method, I have almost decide to just go with the good proven PC and solder method. Reason is that it took me almost as much time to apply the thinned glue with a small brush to the 4 length of rail I used as it would have taken me to actually install it with pc ties. I let the glue dry for a couple of hours before I tried to install it. Now when I put down the rail, I applied a little MEK with a brush to every 5th tie or so, kind of like if I were soldering, then I would go back and apply it to the other ties.

    Also another reason why I think I prefer pc and solder is because I think it will be easier to adjust the gauge or aliment or 'straightness' of the rail if soldered instead of glued.

    At least, now I know.

    I have a few more pictures here

    Attached Files:

  14. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    and with my first (cheapo) steam, an IHC right out of the box

    Attached Files:

  15. Drew Toner

    Drew Toner Member

    Don't stop now jkristia,

    your rail looks great:) :) :) :)


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