PC Ties

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Covina Mike, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Covina Mike

    Covina Mike New Member

    Being new to this forum, I thought it would probably be safe to ask a question that has probably been answered already a thousand times, but does anyone know of a source for pc ties on which to solder HO code 83 rail. I would really like to try my hand at hand laying my own track, have bought Fast Tracks turnout jig, and haven't yet decided whether to glue or solder. The only thing I know for sure is that I doubt if I have enough patience to spike rail to ties!!! I not only like the look of hand laid track better, but the cost to buy track for even a medium size layout is becoming prohibitive. Besides, it just looks good! Thanks for any advice or recommendations you can offer.
  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Try This....

    Bob Clover
    Clover House
    P. O. Box 62
    Sanbastipool, CA 95472

    As far as I know they don't have a web site...but they have some of the most amazing detail stuff....they do have the PC ties...they come in a strip and you can cut them to length as required.
  3. Covina Mike

    Covina Mike New Member

    Thank you, Vic. That's perfect. I get in touch with Bob and see what he has.
  4. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Mike and welcome to the gauge. That address by Vic, should do the trick.
  5. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I'm sorry I have to question that statement. Last time I figured code 83 flex track was less expensive than code 83 rail if you can even find it. Add to that price of pc ties and or wood ties, track nails, and solder/flux. I don't think hand laying is any cheaper. Am I wrong? FRED
  7. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    Dash10, I think you are right that the price is about the same for hand laid track and commercial flex track, the big saving comes when you build a turnout. I think last time I calculated it, a C40 N scale turnout cost me about $2 in material, and gave me a lot of joy building it. I just did a simple HO diorama using C55 track and build one C55 turnout. I don't know if you can find C55 turnout, but if you can, it's most definitely more expensive than what I paid for this one.

    2 strips of pc ties (10pcs $4) = $0.80
    1 1/2 length of rail (33pcs $31) = $1.5
    x number of ties = $0.20

    so total price for a #5 C55 HO turnout is about $2.5, you can't beat that.
  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Fred, I think you're wrong, but its close. There was another thread recently called "another hand laid track" or something similar. I took some prices from an ad in RMC, I realize some looking around may find lower prices. I found Atlas code 83 at $2.75/pc, and bulk rail for equivalent 3' at $2.13 Of couse you still need ties and spikes, so price may become close. However, as I also pointed out, Atlas code 83 does not give the appearance of the same size rail as the bulk code 83 rail. While it is only . 83 high, its cross section is about the same as code 100. It just doesn't look much different than code 100, especially since Atlas has made it with thicker ties so its railhead will match up with their code 100. Now if you compare other brands of code 83 flex track costs to bulk rail, the bulk rail is much cheaper.
  9. Covina Mike

    Covina Mike New Member

    Thanks again for the advice. I just priced the rail vs. flex from my favorite supplier, did the math, and you're probably right--at best it's a wash. I have to say though, every time I see hand-laid track at the local clubs, I'm really impressed. I may change my mind after giving a try!
  10. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I also question wheather hand layed track really looks better than flextrack. Esp. if you put the SAME amount of work into both. I find handlayed lacking in regards to the lack of tie plates and absence of 4 spikes in every tie (which I notice). These details are cast into flex track and in a diorama (if one takes the time to paint and brush out these details) it looks superior. Now I'll duck the flying hammers coming my way. I'm not saying not to hand lay track, do it because you want to and enjoy it. Not because you heard it's cheaper, better looking, or want to impress some old fogey purests on the net :D. Me, I'd rather be building structures and scenicing than laying track. That's my Howard Dean of the day. FRED
  11. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I'm not gonna throw any hammer at you :). I started hand laying track in N because I just thought C40 looked so much better than Atlas C55 rail, and then I realized that I actually liked doing it, to me it's fun and relaxing. Now when I (just) switched to HO, I wanted to continue hand laying, so I decided to do this diorama with C55 rail. If other think it's a waste of time, fine, I still enjoy it. Most likely if I were to build a large layout I would go with commercial flex track and only build the turnouts as I still think you can get better more reliable performance with a hand build turnout, but again, that's just my opinion.

    But I would definitely encourage anyone who is considering trying it, to go ahead ad do it, maybe you like it or maybe you find it a waste of time, but at least you tried it.
  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    No hammers Fred. I agree that there is commercial track which looks better than hand laid, for the reasons you mentioned. Years ago (lots of years) when Atlas code 100 was pretty much the only game in town, hand laid did look better, because the tie plate and spike detail was grossly oversize, and, IMHO, no detail looked better than that. Atlas track, even their code 83, still is too large, but Railcraft is gorgeous. Please don't lump me into some old fogey purist generalization, I'm not badmouthing those who decide to use Atlas code 100. I used it for many years. Everyone in this hobby finds some aspect they like more than others, I like hand laying. I'm a minority for sure. Cost saving is a benefit, particularly when it comes to turnouts, as jkristia mentioned. There is labor involved, to be sure. Especially in the beginning. But the satisfaction some get from scrathbuilding structures is close to the satisfaction a hand layer gets, its not about getting the track down so you can start running, its about enjoying your leisure time.

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