Where to buy lots and lots of cork?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by tetters, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hi folks.

    I plan on using cork for my roadbed, however I'm having a "h-e-double hockey sticks" time of trying to find a place that sells it in bulk rolls. I need a large sheet of it to lay down for my yard instead of buying the split stuff and laying out strips of it.

    I checked the local Rona and Home Depot stores and got no where. I was thinking a local craft store as they might keep it in stock. I don't want to spend a mint and by the split cork at the LHS either. I'd rather shop locally too. So some ideas as to where to look for it would be helpful.

    That said...if it all comes down to it, I could get some here.


    The thickest they sell is 1/4 inch which doesn't appear to be the same thickness as the split stuff at 3/8ths. However, I figure if I'm modelling a yard which is flat, who's going to notice the difference. Right?

    Ideas, thoughts, critiques, bashings, and name calling explicitly and wholeheartedly encouraged.

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Tetters, you are doing HO scale, correct? I think that most HO scale cork roadbed is actually 1/4" thick. My LHS had not only the split cork roadbed, but also had 12 inch x 36 inch x 1/4 inch thick sheets of cork which I used in my yards and under the buildings. At around $7 per sheet, it wasn't cheap, but I bit the bullet and used it.

    I wonder if you could use the cork out of some bulletin boards. Maybe check an office supply or walmart and see, perhaps you could strip the cork out some?
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Tetters, I had the same problem. I finally found sheet cork at a obscure hardware store here. It was something like a $2.20 a sq. ft.:eek: I of course went with the split roadbed cork.
    To cut expensese I laid my roadbed like the prototype. The mainline is on cork roadbed, and the sidings and yard are layed on the ground (so to speak ).

  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    You don't have to use cork. Is your layout base foam or plywood? You could consider 1/4" masonite for roadbed beneath yards. It takes spikes easier than plywood.

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you can find the sheets/rolls at a good price, then use it. Even if it is thinner than the split "roadbed" cork, that's fine. Yards were often lower than the mainline as one way to prevent runaways from rolling out onto the main.

    Personally, I think a little height difference will add interest as well.

  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll try and answer your questions.

    Yeppers...HO scale.

    The decking is a 3/8 fir plywood base. I am also handlaying all of my track work, so the ME spikes will be tacked into the ties and the cork. The ties will be glued to the roadbed which will be glued to the plywood.

    I didn't think the thickness would really matter. Just checking as I would like to do this a right as possible the first time. I figure with hand laying I better having all figured out before I start spiking down the trackwork.

    Thanks again fellers.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The other place to look for cork is your local auto parts store. If you have a choice of stores, go to the one that the local garages buy from. Home owners doing oil changes on personal cars probably won't use cork, but a professional mechanic will use various materials to make gaskets either because they need one that isn't available, or sometimes they have a stubborn fluid leak that they need to make a special gasket to stop.
  8. TCH

    TCH Member

    a few years ago I used cork floor tiles as a source as it was about 1/4"
    thick instead of the strips which were 1/8" at that time.

    the tiles were 12"x12" and I cut them into strips or whatever was needed.
    they were in a pack of about 20 tiles.

    haven`t seen these for a while but could still be around.
    am assuming they would be in the USA
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    What's the objection of using the two-part cork? It's alread beveled to make it easy to place your ballast, and it's a lot easier to generate curves. Standard Hobby Supply has great prices on cork roadbed and it comes in 3' lengths.
  10. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander


    Just a FYI -> I got a pack of four 12" x 12" x 3/8" cork tiles from Home Depot for around $2. I used one but will not attempt to cut the other three as the cork density is much lower than the cork used in the pre-sloped roadbed pieces. It crumbles more than cuts and the edges crumble if you do not put something to protect/retain the cork. You may want to reconsider the use of cheaper cork material especially since you are tacking into them to lay the ties as that crumbling away could be more than just annoying for you...
  11. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    No objections...just looking for one large piece to lay down for my yard. I'll probably still pick up some split cork for the single sections of track for exactly the reason you suggest it.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    tetters: about 20-25 years ago I found bulk cork sheet a Beaver Lumber. It was a coarser cork than the roadbed stuff. Unfortunately, Beaver has all but disappeared since then.
  13. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Well after several phone calls and a few extra trips to hardware and lumber stores I finally gave up. I can't beleive how utterly brutal this task has been. I used the above web retailer...so I probably won't see it for a bit hopefully a couple of weeks tops. I picked up a 5ft by 49" roll of the 1/4 quiet cork. I'm experiementing here, because my curiousity got the better of me and I wanted to see how well the properties of this particular cork work for model railroading. I'll let you know how well they do and the quality of their product.

    This kinda sucks because I really want to start laying down my ties, getting them weathered and ballasted so I can finally get some track down. I plotted out my yard last night on my benchwork. I checked some clearances and such, using some mock-ups with flex track and the dozen turnouts I've managed to complete, sorting out some kinks. So far so good. Now if I can just get my damn road bed down I can get started. My goal is to have the yard, engine tracks and yard lead completed by the end of the year.

    Wish me luck and be sure to check my layout progress in the HO forum.
  14. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Check around at other Home Depot, Rona and Home Hardware stores. In TO, there's got to be a ton of stores selling the stuff. Flooring department maybe? I know that some but not all of them carry sheet cork. A personal visit is best because the staff on the end of the phone don't know all the products in the store.

    Bob M.
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have also seen rolls of the stuff advertised to make "bulletin board walls". Same stores, different department... hamr

  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Trust me gents, I did personal visits. There are several major HD's Ronas and even Crappy Tire stores within a 20 minute drive of my house. So you would think they's have something, anything, right? Wrong.

    Plus, with gas at over a buck a liter I'm not driving my Odyssey guzzler to every single location in the Toronto Area. My travel time and gas cost will eventually out weigh the price of buying on-line including shipping rates. Sad huh?

    Meh...I'm not going to get in a snit over this. Bigger things to worry about in life. Just a bit baffled by how much of pain in the arse this seems to be.

    Plus the idea of buying a couple bulletin boards only to scrap them seems wasteful to me.

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