Woodland scenics

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Harpo, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    For easements, there seem to be four solutions...

    1) Cut an easement when you make your homemade risers.

    2) Work one in when you add the cork/foam roadbed. Use shims/styrene/spackle or some other sort of spacer to create the easement once the risers are in place, but before you lay the cork.

    3) Instead of risers, use the "cookie cutter" approach where the subroadbed is partly cut away (along the sides and one end) and then bent up or down into a grade. This automatically creates an easement at the end the is still attached to the "tabletop" of the layout.

    4) Don't worry about it. This approach probably works best with shallow grades (less than 1%).

    Don't forget that easements are applicable to both ends of the grade...! ;)

  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    I used 2% and 4% grades so even with WS inclines, I needed vertical easement transitions to prevent a noticeable kink in the track. For sag transitions, I cut a piece of cereal box cardboard to match the width of the incline, about 8" long. I spread a thick layer of latex caulk over the base foam and incline, laying the middle of the cardboard strip over the start of the incline. I then laid a piece of flex track over the cardboar, pinning it down from both ends, pushing it and the cardboard down gently into the caulk until I had a smooth transition. Excess caulk squirts out all over, but it can be trimmed after it sets.

    For crest transitions, I simply rounded off the foam with a rasp file.
  3. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    I am very quickly approaching this same dilemma in my layout. I have been thinking about this for a long time and I have leaned toward exactly what MasonJar said in his #3 statement, the cookie cutter approach. As far as holding the incline in place, I was thinking liquid nails with bamboo skewers through the foam as temporary support.

    Haven't tried it yet, but that may be the first "method" I attempt. Let me know how it goes.

  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    You will need some sort of frame to support your foam when using the cookie cutter method. Also, two layers of 1" foam are much easier to bend than one layer of 2" foam. in fact, the latter will be almost impossible to bend.

  5. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    What I ended up doing...

    In case anyone is interested. I tried a few things to raise a grade of a level foam surface.

    My grade is 2.5% and some quick math tells me that I get a 1/2" rise for every 20" in length. I cut a strip of 1/2" foam 20" long and maybe 4 or 5" wide. On the side (the 1/2" side") of the foam with a straightedge, I drew a line from one corner to the other on both sides of the foam, creating the slope of my grade.

    Using a knife I carefully cut just above my line on both sides at a slight upward angle so the middle ended up being a little higher than the edges. (I did this because taking away foam is easier than adding it. If I tried to make it level now and I took out too much -- gotta start over.)

    For the hump that remained down the middle, I just used a wood rasp very gently to make the middle level with the edges, then sanded the foam down until it was shaven down to my line on both sides. I got a nearly perfect 2.5% grade. Close enough for me.

    For the bottom of the incline, it is impossible to make it sharp enough, so I used a razor to cut off the last 1" or so, leaving the end about 1/16" high.

    I then glued to foam grade (nice flat side UP) to my foam base. For the remaining 1/16" on the bottom of the grade, I just used lightweight spackle. One corner of the putty knife at the exact start of the grade, and the length of the knife along the foam incline and sweeping sideways worked perfectly. And you can easily make any easement with the spackle. I let it dry overnight and it's ready for roadbed.

    A bit messy I'll grant you, but nothing the Shop Vac couldn't solve. And I really like the way it turned out. Once I got to 2", I just used 2" foam on homemade foam risers the rest of the way.

    Hope that helps someone...
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for the update! Great to hear about all the advice in action ;) Any chance of some pictures?

  7. Molesplace

    Molesplace New Member


    Do you have picture of this homemade foam cutter? I'm really interested in buying one but I'd like to try it first. I found what I would buy given the buget at hotwirefoamfactory.com. Is this a hand held cutter or a table top? I want a hand held.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    My hotwire tool was more of a "jig" in that I created it to cut grades/risers from the foam. As such it was specifically designed to run along guide-boards to achieve the desired grade.

    If I was to create a handheld "free-form" tool, I would make the frame from some dowel so that the "business end" of the cutter was less bulky.

    I'll try from some pictures, but most of my stuff is currently packed away. Would you settle for a diagram?

  9. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    Here's a pic of my home-made foam cutter. I used an old soldering gun I've had for about 100 years. It was given to me, but I never used it for soldering. I don't know what they sell for new, but I see them occassionally at garage sales. I replaced the soldering tip with a piece of #12 copper wire. It works great. You can see I made a couple of different tips, one like a straight knife and one as a template to cut out tunnels. Just make sure the wire doesn't touch itself between the terminal posts.

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