Specific help for laying track bed

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by prodigy2k7, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I am somewhat confused. I like to be through when it comes to this stuff... I dont wanan screw up! lol...

    How do exactly draw a track plan on the table anyway? How do I know its not too far to the right or left etc...

    After my track plan is down what next?

    Take 1 piece of road bed and align it up with the centerline of my track plan? then place the other half of the cork bed down? Some people say nail the cork down while the glue sets... How do I glue it down if its already nailed down?

    Do I put glue on the bottom of the cork and then just put it down ontop of the table on the centerline? then do the same with the cork?

    After that, will the glue stay? or do i have to get someone to nail the bed down while i hold it? so the wet glue road bed doesnt move since im not holding onto it? lol

    Im not exactly sure how to do everything. You can see how detailed I am about doing this, can someone please tell me in a detailed manner how to do it without screwing up.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    1. Draw the track plan on the foam using a Sharpie magic marker. The line you should draw is the centerline of the track.

    2. Lay down a bead of latex caulking on one side of the centerline, press a cork roadbed half onto the caulking, while aligning the cork roadbed half's edge to the centerline. Once pressed into place, temporarily pin the roadbed half in place with a pushpin.

    3. Lay down a bead of latex caulking on the other side of the centerline, press the other half of the cork roadbed into place and butt it up against the half of cork already laid. Pin it temporarily in place.

    4. Depending on the latex caulking you use, you have to wait a certain amount of time for it to set. The DAP Dynaflex 230 caulking I bought at Home Depot takes 15 minutes to set. Once set, remove the pushpins and the roadbed should be firmly fixed in place.

    5. If you wish, you may lay track and ballast all in one shot by using more latex caulk. I described how to do this here: http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=25413

    Hope this helps!
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    We'll take one question at a time. How do I draw a track plan? Assuming that you have your track plan on paper or the computer, it should be scaled to something that you can transfer to full size. That is, you should know the radii for your curves, the length of your straight sections. You mentioned on another thread that you were using a yardstick to measure your curve radii. Start at the center of your table. I believe you said it was 4X8. Using the width of the table, which is 4 feet, you can have a maximum curve radius of 23 inches, without putting your track over the edge of the table. Twenty two inches will be about the largest practical radius that you can go and still stay on the table. Place the end of your yardstick, with the hole drilled at 1 inch on the center of the table (2 feet from the end and 2 feet from the edge.) This will be the center of your radius. Use a nail through the hole in your yardstick and swing the yardstick around the nail while using a felt tip marker in the other hole to mark the desired radius. This mark will be the center of your roadbed and the point at which you put the vertical edge of the roadbed when you glue it down. For the straight sections of track, just use your straightedge and mark a line from the end of your curve to the next curve.

    Gluing or nailing roadbed--- I prefer glue( Elmers, Carpenters glue etc.) You will need to hold the roadbed in position with pins or temporary small nails until the glue dries. Remove the pins or nails after the glue is set up. It helps to use weight on the roadbed to keep it flat also. You shouldn't need to have someone hold the roadbed in place if you pin it down as you go. It's not like a python trying to escape.
  4. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    How do i use pushpins if im not using foam? wood is kinda hard :p lol do i use nails? or will push pins work
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Do you mean something like this?
    blue = distance marker
    thick red = meter stick
    red dotted line = future circle..?

    Is that what you meant by 2 feet from "(2 feet from the end and 2 feet from the edge.)"
  6. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I've used push pins on all the roadbed I've layed (close to 50') all of it over plywood. You don't need to drive the pin all the way in, just enough to hold the track while the glue sets. I use Liquid Nails for Projects (the one with a red stripe). I lay a THIN bead down, set the cork over it and press it down, then lift it off and let it "set" for about 3-5 minutes then re-lay the cork roadbed. It will stick pretty well so be careful as you re-lay it. Then just use the pins for added security to prevent any unwanted shifting. You'll find that it's pretty well glued within 20-30 minutes. I also try to not line up butt joints of different roadbed sections, particularly in the curves. The "outer" piece will come up shorter than the inner one - leave them like that. It'll prevent unwanted kinks in the roadbed. Just take your time with the first few pieces you lay and you'll soon get the hang of it.

    Just holler announce1 if you need more help.

    Good luck...!!! :thumb:
  7. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    HOLLER!!! lol...
    Let me get this straight, you put a bead down, put the cork down...then take it back up again wait 3-5 minutes then put it back down again? why?
  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    It will set up a lot faster than if you leave it laid down. You can leave it down after you first lay it but it'll take longer to harden. Just a matter of wanting to have it set up faster.
  9. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Yes, your diagram is correct. Steamhead's suggestion is very good. Sorry that I forgot to mention it.
  11. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    3 to 5 minutes lets the adhesive soak into the cork and the base. It starts to dry and the two peices don't move around as much. I wish I would have thought of that when I used Elmer's to glue my cork down!

  12. sidetracked

    sidetracked Member

    you might think about just laying the track and getting everything laid out and working like you want it first,,, and run a few trains and make sure the track plan is like you want it,,, then go in and mark where your track is and lay the cork,,,,,it might save having to redo some of it,,,,, ,,,,, ,,,, ,,,,, st
  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    sidetracked is right on. You are probably using sectional track, not flex track, is that
    correct? Lay all your track out and get it to fit together properly. Once you are satisfied
    with the track layout, mark the centerlines of all the track and mark the locations of the
    turnout throwbars exactly. That way you can drill holes thru the table for your switch
    machine rods before you glue down the track. Use cork turnout pads or cork sheet under the turnouts; it's much easier than mitering roadbed sections together!
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    I am probably going to raise some feathers here, but here goes ! Prodigy, since this is your first layout, I wouldn't glue anything down on this layout. Use small nails or brads to hold down the cork and track. You will make mistakes, evryone does, and eventually you will want to change your track plan. That's part of the reason why we say a layout is never done !:)

  15. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I based my answers on the information given by prodigy. He asked "how do I glue the roadbed down". I assumed from that, that he is using roadbed, not preformed track, otherwise he would not be concerned with the roadbed needing to be held in place while the glue dries. He also would not need to know about how to establish a radius for his curves if he was using formed track with plastic roadbed.
  16. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Yes i am using flex track dna cork road bed, i have been doing much research recently... and this is what im going to do :p lol
  17. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    How are your soldering skills? There are a number of posts here about
    installing flextrack curves ( which you may have read); it takes a certain
    amount of "fiddling ability" to get it down without kinks or gaps. Please don't
    take this wrong. Just don't want you to get too frustrated on your first
    project!!:D :D
  18. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    what does that ahve to do with anything? im not talking about that, when i said "this is what im doing" im referring to this is the track plan im doing
  19. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    And I wish you only the best of luck with it!!
  20. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    It's interesting how everyone has different advice, here. I'll throw in my perspective:

    1. Work out all the track details that you can on paper, to scale. I assume you have done this. Use a drafting compass (even a cheapo school compass) to lay out the curves, keeping the location of the curve centers marked.

    2. Transfer the drawing to the board. I'd use pencil for the first draft. If you're like me, it will take a couple of tries before you get it all figured out, and you'll want to erase the bad lines to avoid confusion.

    3. Lay the track down, with no roadbed yet, just to make sure that you got everything right. Make adjustments to your track centerline. When I was happy with the track, I took a sharpie and made marks (little dots) in between the ties to mark a centerline onto the board. Later, I will just follow the dots with the cork.

    4. Remove the track.

    5. Lay down the cork as a test, just using pins to hold it in place. If you have turnouts and such, have the cork follow the outer edges (keeps it cleaner) and fill in the wedge-shaped holes using appropriately cut bits of cork. Do the entire layout cork until you are happy with it.

    6. On piece of cork at a time, remove it and glue it down just where it was, pinned into place. It is good to do this one at a time, so that you can use the neighboring cork pieces to keep everything aligned. I would recommend using wood glue to lay it down, so that you have a chance of removing it later if you ever need to make adjustments. That said, it is probably worthwhile to do some tests, using various adhesives to glue scraps cork to scrap wood, and see how the various adhesives work out. Use what you like.

    7. Once the cork is set, remove all the pins.

    8. Identify where you will need board penetrations for wires and switch machine mechanisms, and drill all the holes. I would do this now, since you may want some of them to be under the track.

    (This is where I am with my layout right now.)

    9. Lay out all the track, with joiners and all, and figure out a way to keep it in place temporarily, such as track spikes into the cork.

    10. Test the track until you are completely satisfied with the operation.

    11. Glue down the track. I have not yet done this, but I expect that the nifty way to do this is to put wood glue through the ties, and let it work underneath. Since the track is all perfect by now, you don't want to disturb it any more than necessary.

    P.S. You drawing is not quite correct. Assuming you have 22" radius track, the 2-ft (24") arrows you have drawn that go from the centerpoint to the track centerline should be 22", not 24". The centerpoint, however, should be at 24" from each edge. Still, that puts the track very close to the edge, in my opinion, but if you have a sill then you won't have to worry about errant trains diving to the floor.

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