Handlaying N track. Ballast / weathering

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jkristia, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    Hi All and “Happy New Year”

    I have a question about handlaying N track.
    According to San Diego N Scale Society http://www.urbaneagle.com/data/RRtrkstds.html they recommend to glue down the ties, every 5th a pc tie, when dry apply the ballast and when the ballast is dry, solder the rail. So how do they weather the rail? I would like to try handlaying some tracks, and I would like to apply the ballast before soldering the rail (to prevent ballast to get stuck in the rail web), but on the other hand, I don’t see how you can weather the rail and ties after the ballast is applied.

    So if you handlay your N scale track using PC ties, in what order do you do the different steps?

    1; tie – ballast – rail – no weathering, or
    2; tie - rail – weathering - ballast

  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jesper, Using a PC board tie every so often is an old trick for handlaying track. It will work quite will for keeping the rails in gauge.

    Sounds like to me they may have missed a step!:eek: :D It would seem logical to lay the ties and rails, then weather the rail and then ballast the track. Its kinda hard to solder to rail that has been weathered.

    It may be that they were simply painting the web of the rail after every thing was done...I've done that too. I only use flex track now and after laying the track I airbrush the rails with Grimy Black and when its dry I clean off the top of the rails and then ballast the track. I come back later at my lesiure and add some rust to the web of the rails. I don't worry about getting the Grimey Black on the ties...to me it makes them look better:) :D

    By the way...don't forget to polish up those PC board ties with some emory paper before soldering the rail to them. PC board has a coating on it to keep it from tarnishing and you can't solder to it until its removed. Also don't forget to cut thru the copper on each one in the middle with a razor saw or you'll have a dead short on your rails when both rails are soldered on to the tie.
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Jesper, There are arguments that can be made for all the different approaches to this. Here is what I do, glue down ties then sand level, paint them and roadbed to seal it. Apply ballast in usual manner, wetting it with alcohol/paint spray for weathering purposes, then applying glue with a pipette. When dry, check for and remove any stray ballast on top of ties. Lay rail (I use unweathered rail) and, as Vic stated, come back later when in the mood and use a small brush to paint the rail web, I use roof brown. You only need to be moderately careful, as the ties directly beneath the rails often have a rust color due to rainwater runoff. Some people feel this approach is too tedious, but I feel the result is worth it.

  4. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    Thanks for the advice.
    I guess I will have to do some experimentation to find out which way I like the best. I can only see 2 ways of doing it.

    1, put down ties, lay rail, connect feeder, paint rail and ties, and apply ballast. (Same as I’m doing today)

    2, put ties, paint, ballast, clean pc ties when rail is going to be soldered, paint rail before laying, clean rail where feeder is to be connected, connect feeder, touch up ties and feeder connections.

    The second way is probably the one that gives the best result, but is also the one that looks the most tedious, but I think I will give both ways a try and see how it turns out.

    Thanks again
  5. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jesper, Which ever way you go I would let the ballasting be the last thing so you could be sure that everything is working right before its gets put down more or less permanetly.
  6. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Jesper, Here's a thought on attaching those track feeds: I use my dremel in a drill press and drill a clearance hole for 22 gauge wire in the bottom of each length of rail. I then solder the feed to the rail prior to laying. Feed the wire thru a hole in the roadbed when you start laying the rail. This makes for an invisable feed and also means you won't have to clean paint off the rail to solder feeds later. I install feeds on every piece of rail.
  7. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I don't hand lay track but to paint the rail I use a Flat Black paint marker made by Testors. I trim the felt tip to the size of the rail and apply. It goes really fast. After it is dry I come back and add rust or rail brown with a brush here and there.

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