Trackbuilding questions

Discuss the prototype and how to model it.
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the fatadder
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Trackbuilding questions

Postby the fatadder » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:42 pm

Having finally finished the baseboards for the new layout, its time to start work on the track.

On my last layout the track was all built from exactoscale kits, however this time I am thinking about building myself.

I have 4 points to build, a B6 crossover, another B6 and an A6. I see that C&L list a thick plastic turnout sleeper (I assume this is plastic?), would this match the exactoscale sleepers?
The intention would then be to use the exactoscale chairs (I have plenty of spares for most of them, so will just need the check chars and the short lengh ones.), to save time I am thinking that I would use C&L's ready made Vees / switch rails.

The rest of the track will be built from Exactoscale bases & 2bolt chairs, I have most of the bases for this but still need to order the chairs. For construction I was debating if I glue the bases down to the baseboard (following the templot print out) and then fit the chairs/rail assembly once I get the bits.
The main reason for thinking this is that painting and ballasting without the rail insitue would be a lot easier (not to mention I want to get started with track laying, and wont be able to get an order form C&L before Monday/Tuesday's time off work...
Would this work (or is it foolish)

JFS
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby JFS » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:34 pm

I think the answer to your question is "yes", but personally, I would steer clear of plastic sleepers - they are a pain to paint, but more importantly, once you stick plastic chairs to them they are stuck for life, so "adjustment" (AKA fixing cock-ups) is a non starter. Building track off the Template is a different kettle of fish to the Exactoscale kits where the job of locating the rail is done for you - practice first if you are new to it! And if you lack experience, the adjustment factor might be very important. My suggestion would be to wait until the 1.6mm thick ply sleepers / timbers are available again. Not least because both 12" and 14" timbers are available in that thickness.

You mention sticking the bases down first - how would you do the points? I also followed the plan of sticking the sleepers down first, then ballasting, then fitting the rails - see viewtopic.php?f=78&t=1342 - BUT it is fair to say that I have a fair bit of experience of building track: I am not sure it is a method suitable for the less experienced - you might be better off building it on conventional Templot "jigs" in the old-fashioned way. That would mean that you can try things out, make adjustments etc before you commit to gluing it down. If you do go down the route of sticking the sleepers down first, you will see from my thread that quite elaborate means are needed to ensure that all the rails fit and can be located BEFORE you ballast - at that point, your Template is hidden.

I see that C&L now have a fair few of the Exactoscale bits on sale - I ordered a few bits on Thursday and they arrived on Saturday - that is really good news!

Hope that helps,

Howard.

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steamraiser
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby steamraiser » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:32 pm

I differ with JFS in that I have found that you can adjust chairs after they have been stuck to a plastic sleeper by re flooding with your liquid glue then sliding a scalpel balde underneath to seperate.
If a chair does disintergrate, as it does on occasions, then it can easily be replaced by cutting a chair in half and gluing in place. But first remove the remains of the old chair from the sleeper with a sharp blade.

Gordon A
Bristol

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jayell
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby jayell » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:11 pm

I had a delivery of C&L stuff early this morning, considering I only place the order yesterday I think that is pretty good service.

I'm not going to start building track just yet but I did have a look at the bits and bobs I got and a couple of things arose:

1. Does exactoscale bh rail have a top and bottom? Without getting my newly acquired binocular magnifier out it does apear that one side is thinner than the other.

2. How do people cut steel rail? I snipped a couple of 44' 6" bits off the end with a pair of heavy duty wire cutters but that means a fair amount of 'burr' removal before it will slide through the 2 bolt plastic chairs and some of the ones on the first sprue I looked at seemed to have no slots in them, is that normal?

3. What do people use to colour the plywood sleepers. I need them to look like they have been laid for 20 or so years on a lightly used GWR branch line back around 1910, have no idea what they would have looked like as I haven't, as yet, found any colour pics of track in that era.

Having said I'm not about to build any track I think I will put together a couple of panels just so I have some to put my loco and rolling stock on when they are built for photographic purposes :)

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jim s-w
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby jim s-w » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:27 pm

steamraiser wrote:I differ with JFS in that I have found that you can adjust chairs after they have been stuck to a plastic sleeper by re flooding with your liquid glue then sliding a scalpel balde underneath to seperate.
If a chair does disintergrate, as it does on occasions, then it can easily be replaced by cutting a chair in half and gluing in place. But first remove the remains of the old chair from the sleeper with a sharp blade.

Gordon A
Bristol


That's my experience too. Also I've never had a problem painting them. Id be sure that you are getting the ex exactoscale point timbers and not the ex c&l ones if you want to match exactoscale plain track.

In answer to johns questions

1 - yes, the fatter bit is the top

2 - get some xuron track cutters, they are made for the job (don't use them for anything else though)

3 - never used ply so I don't know, sorry

Jim

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jayell
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby jayell » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:41 pm

jim s-w wrote:
That's my experience too. Also I've never had a problem painting them. Id be sure that you are getting the ex exactoscale point timbers and not the ex c&l ones if you want to match exactoscale plain track.

In answer to johns questions

1 - yes, the fatter bit is the top

2 - get some xuron track cutters, they are made for the job (don't use them for anything else though)

3 - never used ply so I don't know, sorry

Jim


Thanks Jim, thanks for confirming the fatter bit is the top, I'll have to use my magnifier to be sure which is which when I do start building and I'll get some xuron track cutters. If Buffers don't have them in stock, (I need some level crossing gates for my great-grandsons layout so need to visit them yet again) I think Axminster Tools did when I was in there last week otherwise it'll be mail order.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby grovenor-2685 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:45 pm

johnlewis wrote:I had a delivery of C&L stuff early this morning, considering I only place the order yesterday I think that is pretty good service.

I'm not going to start building track just yet but I did have a look at the bits and bobs I got and a couple of things arose:

1. Does exactoscale bh rail have a top and bottom?

Indeed it does, as all proper bullhead the head is larger than the foot to allow for wear from the trains running over it. Only the smaller foot will fit in the chairs.
Without getting my newly acquired binocular magnifier out it does apear that one side is thinner than the other.

2. How do people cut steel rail? I snipped a couple of 44' 6" bits off the end with a pair of heavy duty wire cutters but that means a fair amount of 'burr' removal before it will slide through the 2 bolt plastic chairs

I use Xuron rail cutters, they give a pretty clean cut oneside and a burr the other, so cut so the clean side is the one you are keeping, then cut the burr off with a second cut to use the next piece, you do waste about 2mm per cut. Even with a clean cut you will need to file a taper on the end to slide them into the chairs, use a round needle fite to thin down the web and a flat one to taper the underside of the foot and the sides of the foot.

and some of the ones on the first sprue I looked at seemed to have no slots in them, is that normal?
I have had this effect on the C&L sleeper bases which have old tooling, albeit new prices, I would not expect it on any of the Exactoscale items, if they are they should go back for replace or refund.
3. What do people use to colour the plywood sleepers. I need them to look like they have been laid for 20 or so years on a lightly used GWR branch line back around 1910, have no idea what they would have looked like as I haven't, as yet, found any colour pics of track in that era.
I use wood stain, Rustins or similar, it should be the type with an alcohol based solvent rather than the turps based variety as it soaks in better, dries quicker and smells a lot less. You want a dark grey with a hint of brown, probably a mix of ebony and teak depending on what you find in stock.
Regards
Keith
Having said I'm not about to build any track I think I will put together a couple of panels just so I have some to put my loco and rolling stock on when they are built for photographic purposes :)

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Dave K
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby Dave K » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:53 am

johnlewis wrote:3. What do people use to colour the plywood sleepers. I need them to look like they have been laid for 20 or so years on a lightly used GWR branch line back around 1910, have no idea what they would have looked like as I haven't, as yet, found any colour pics of track in that era.


John,

Like Keith I use a wood dye - me current tiple is "Colron - American Walnut" which I hand painted onto the sleepers stuck down on newspaper.

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jayell
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby jayell » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:08 am

dave k wrote:Like Keith I use a wood dye - me current tiple is "Colron - American Walnut" which I hand painted onto the sleepers stuck down on newspaper.


Thanks for the replies re wood dyes, there is an excellent 'woodworking' supplies shop in Martock which is only a few miles away and they have extensive ranges of wood dies and the like. I pretty sure I have used colron myself in the past, though can't remember quite what it was used on.

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Tim V
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby Tim V » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:39 pm

I used Colron "Tudor Black Oak". 20 odd years later, it has faded nicely.

There was criticism of the Colron dyes for fading, Carrs did a dye that was reputed fade free.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

andrew jukes
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby andrew jukes » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:46 pm

steamraiser wrote:I differ with JFS in that I have found that you can adjust chairs after they have been stuck to a plastic sleeper by re flooding with your liquid glue then sliding a scalpel balde underneath to seperate.
If a chair does disintergrate, as it does on occasions, then it can easily be replaced by cutting a chair in half and gluing in place. But first remove the remains of the old chair from the sleeper with a sharp blade.

Gordon A
Bristol


For bigger adjustments when using plastic sleepers, setting out with the intention of completely removing several chairs seems to me the best approach. Then you don't worry about wrecking the chairs and can replace them with new ones slid into position. The only thing you can't then do is use a 'locking' fishplate for the final joint.

I gave one example some time ago at
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1933
but have also made horizontal alignment adjustments by removing (destroying) the last dozen or so chairs on a panel, scraping off the plastic pips, sliding on new chairs and solvent welding them to the correct alignment.

Andrew Jukes

Phil O
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby Phil O » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:27 pm

I cut a shed load of turnout timbers to length in 6" incremental increases in length up to about a scale 18ft and then soak them in jacobean oak wood stain for an hour or so (use an old plastic butter tub), drain off the excess into another butter tub and tip them on to newspaper and leave them in the sun for a while and they dry and start to fade after a while.

Phil.

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steve howe
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Re: Trackbuilding questions

Postby steve howe » Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:34 pm

I use wood stain, Rustins or similar, it should be the type with an alcohol based solvent rather than the turps based variety as it soaks in better, dries quicker and smells a lot less. You want a dark grey with a hint of brown, probably a mix of ebony and teak depending on what you find in stock.


If the sleepers have been down for any length of time on a relatively low maintained line they would not be dark grey or brown. Wood bleaches as it ages and my observations of lightly maintained track is that the sleepers are a silvery grey, quite light in tone. I use black drawing ink thinned down with distilled water (boiled water works ok) the mix needs a bit of trial and error, from memory I used 1 part ink to 9 parts water. Let the sleepers soak for about 10 minutes then dry on newspaper. The colour will lighten on drying. Further work with drybrush techniques using ground up chalk pastels will highlight the grain.

Steve


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