What Do You Do If You Have No Sheet Of Wood

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by drewhosick, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. drewhosick

    drewhosick New Member

    I guess the obvious answer is buy some but let me tell you what I actually mean.

    I had planned to build in N Scale but decided against that because of what seems like a higher cost in rails and such and the fact that it's harder to find an engine that will accept decoders(especially steam). Anyways, I've decided that I may go with HO but the type of layout I want requires larger then 8x4 by a few feet and I don't have any tools here and don't want to start spending on tools to build and cut wood.(No saws). The whole point is without the wood I have to find another way. I had thought of laying the track on the ground. You should be aware that my setup is only for 8 months until I have to dismantle so I wasn't planning on scenery or anything along this train of thought(Pun Intended). The idea was to just lay track and enjoy controlling the trains doing some switching and hauls. Is it possible to lay track ontop of carpet and using the small nails just to hold the track in place or is this an absolutely stupid idea? Also will the carpet cause shorts?(I know static electricity is caused by rubbing with carpets and I don't know the conductivity of carpets myself.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Maybe sticking to N would be better and having to deal with having only the Decoder type trains. I'd like to hear your opinions.
  2. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Down here you can get 2' x 4' sheets of 2" thick styrofoam for about $10 a six pack. Glued edge to edge just right that would give you a 6' x 8' lightweight platform-OR-an easy to cut "lumber" for any other configuration that will hold spikes well enough.
  3. drewhosick

    drewhosick New Member

    That might actually work you know. I never thought of that. I may look into that. I'm still not sure if I'm going HO or N Scale but that's surely something to think about.
  4. zigg72md

    zigg72md New Member

    If you ask nicely most larger places will cut plywood to size for you. You will have to buy the whole sheet but at least you won't have to by a saw. Or you could always try cutting it using a $10 hacksaw, but I wouldn't recomend that. Also you could buy some of the snap together track that is made to run on carpets, but again I wouldn't recomend that either unless you plan on using it later on.
  5. KCS

    KCS Member

    Static from running on carpet won't hurt anything what so ever. However running on carpet does have a huge disadvantage that could result in short and/or long term damage to your trains. As carpet hold dust, dirt and what have ya that can end up in the gear's and switch points causing major problems. Another big problem to running on carpet is that we know carpet is made of tiny fibers. Those fibers stand up and when trains roll over they have a tendency to pull up those fibers and any loose ones and the get wrapped up in the gears and axles alone with any dirt and what not. I highly recommend not running on carpet unless you only want your trains for about a month or so especially if you don't know how to disassemble them and maintain them properly. I learned that the hard way a some few years ago. You can go with that snap track stuff but it won't last long and isn't reliable from the start even when it's new. I say go for the foam board. You can even cut stack and glue piece's of it to create mountains and what not if ya like and wouldn't cost much at all. The stuff does have a disadvantage if it doesn't have something flat and solid to rest on. Without that it will bow and/or warp depending on how it's sitting. The best way for this stuff is directly on the floor or solid flat surface.
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Drew have you though about going with HOn3 you can pack more railroad into a smaller space.
  7. drewhosick

    drewhosick New Member

    Well the truth is, I wanted to go N but the whole issue with decoders scared me away

    I'll be honest I don't want to have to start off by opening up trains and installing electronics. The issue of doing the power for the track itself is daunting enough for me.

    That's what I thought would be great about HO. No worries about opening up trains that are smaller then my thumb LOL
  8. drewhosick

    drewhosick New Member

    I should mention if anyone knows of a good layout that will fit in 8x4. This is what I'm mainly looking for in it.

    Loop or straight with loop
    Room for a small yard with engine runoffs to drop freight on siding and then move forward and get back on main and then back up and go to the other end of the consist. Added to all this is a 2nd line that goes off to put cars in.
    Third is some type of turnaround so I can turn the train around if I wish.

    The whole reason this thread came up in the first place was that I was in at a hobby shop and the guy recommended if I wanted to start off in HO on 4x8 to go with this: http://www.atlasrr.com/Code100web/pages/10011.htm But he thought it was 4x8 in the book when it's actually 5x10 which is a bit too big. If I could get all the features this track has but with the smaller size I'd be happy. Don't know if any layout would meet my needs though.
  9. glenn railey

    glenn railey Member

    Here in middle Georgia there is a styrofoam manufactorer. When styrofoam is produced it comes out in 8 ft x 8 ft x 16 ft blocks. For the past 4 years, I have used 1" sheets on carpet for my O guage trains and village. It covered the entire dining room floor. With styrofaom you can have them cut it to any thickness, width, or length you want. Styrofam is simple to work with. All you need to do is get a soldering gun, take the tongue out, and replace it with a strand of 10 or 12 guage wire that you can buy at a hardware store.The lot wire cuts the foam like butter. I have carved mountains out of a block of styrofoam with tunnels running through them.
    Foam is clean and keeps the track and trains clean. Styrofoam can be painted or glued really easily and is extremely light and durable. I take my layout down every January and put them back up after thanksgiving.. I think that styrofoam is the best way to go. Look around for someone that manufactures it in your area.
  10. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    Ottawa Valley N-Trak

    Hi Drew,

    If you are interested in N-scale and need something small and portable, then Modules might be the answer...

    Ottawa Valley N-Trak

    The N-Trak modules are mostly 2' x 4' in size and you can build a small switching layout on a module for home use and also be able to connect it to other modules for running long trains...

    I especially encourage you to join a club so that you can get some hands-on help and experience.

    A club will have a mix of people with lots of different skill that they can teach you and they will have tools too...

    You will also be able to find people who can help you install DCC Decoders and operate DCC equipment...
  11. drewhosick

    drewhosick New Member

    I actually found out about the Homosote and was recommended it by the Hobby store owner. Anyways it turns out that the layout I wanted to build actually fits in 8x4 unlike what the Atlas website says. They're book shows it as an 8x4 layout. I am trying to recreate the layout in Atlas software but am running into a problem. I'm trying to reproduce http://www.atlasrr.com/Code100web/pages/10011.htm but i can't get the yard section right(just started there). I'm reading the layout in the book correctly I think and it says to use 2 1/3 18" radius pieces as well as a short straight piece to lineup the two ends for the siding but when I try that in the software the curve is too much and nothing can lineup. Is there a reason I'm running into this problem? With the switch should two 1/3rd 18" pieces get the siding parralel to the main?
  12. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member


    I'm sure you have a million questions about what you're going to do. I have a million questions about your questions.

    I don't know anything about N scale, but:
    Why are you worried about decoders? If you are not going to use them, then your HO operation is exactly the same as an N scale operation. If you are a beginner (which you are from the questions you ask) then the only problem you would have (N vs HO) would be putting a decoder into the Loco (not much room in N) and you should not even contemplate doing that at this stage of your (career/development/knowledge)

    Are you going to be operating this on a dorm room or apartment room floor?
    If so then all the advice that people are giving you about foam seems ideal. Buy $20.00 of 2" foam, put down a 6x8 or 6x10 rectangle on the floor, glue it together, then glue a second layer on top with staggered seams (interlocking so to speak). This will give you a solid platform with almost no weight to it that --- YOU CAN PUT UP AGAINST THE WALL WHEN YOU HAVE THOSE WILD PARTIES THAT COLLEGE KIDS ALWAYS HAVE --- and nothing will get injured. Pardon my yelling.

    And yes you are correct, in spite of what Atlas says, that layout will fit into a 4x8 space using 18" radius curves. Don't believe their price for the trackwork. For $264 you should be able to get all the trackwork and two starter sets of trains, and the controllers you need.

    In any event, good luck and enjoy your railroad.
  13. Yard Goat

    Yard Goat New Member

    Hi Drew,

    Realising that you're probably pretty committed to building the Atlas track plan, I'd still like to call your attention to the club I'm part of, HOTRAK, www.hotrak.ca, which is based in Ottawa, same as you.

    We're actually having a setup next weekend (Sept. 10-11). If you're interested in coming out to have a look, you can get in touch with me at andrew@jeanes.ca and I'll give you details. For a student--I'm one too--building a couple of modules can be a better option than building a 4x8 that you'll eventually have to tear apart.
  14. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    I've considered copying an article I saw in a model RR mag about using just the blue-foam for the benchwork.
    you take and cut strips of the foam (I think they used 3/4" thick sheets) into 2 or 4" strips which become the frame pieces. Glue these together like you would put together a 1"x4" frame and glue a 4x8 sheet of foam to the top.
    It should be rigid enough, VERY lightweight, and will most likely survive moving, if you're careful.
    All you'd need is a steel straight edge, and either a hot-knife or sharp butcher knife (BE CAREFUL!!!), and a tube of Liquid Nails.

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