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Discussion Starter #1
I am nearing building a small HO L shelf about 8'x 5', switching layout. With enough frame cross-members and only 1' to 1.5' deep anywhere, can I get away with sub-roadbed being Homasote only, instead of having the usual ply under it ?
The rearmost area will hopefully be a cookie-cut, 5" raised x 3.5" wide at right end, sub-RB (Not to be confused with Arby's subs) which will turn 90deg. at corner, run about 5'-6' and descend 2.5" to midway-down for a switchback tail and its switch, to descend into main ops scene in frontal portions..I'll have lumberyard cut the rectangles. Then I'll do the cookie-cuts outdoors (as I hear it's really messy)...
As angle brackets will not offer enough x-members I'll probably build an open grid of 1"x3"s anchored to the wall and have legs from front edge angled down to molding at floor...Any thoughts neg. or pos. are welcome... M
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oddly enough I might actually like some warping as 1:1 scale track lifts and dips, never perfectly flat and level ..Same, of course, with streets. But I will consider the 1/4" under-ply, as advised..Thanks...M
 

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Prototypical railroad track does rise and dip but across distances not possible to model unless you had a huge layout. If your tracks followed sags in Homasote you’d have something akin to a rollercoaster.
Yes, you definitely want a solid base for your layout.
 

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You haven't seen some of the tracks near my house.
 

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I built an O gauge layout in the 90s with only Homasote. This was before internet forums and I was unaware of the recommendation to put plywood under Homasote. I put it directly on the bench work (a few screws), and it worked perfectly. No warping or problems over a decade and the room was subject to temperature extremes. Cant remember the centers on structural supports, but probably 24". I think I used 1/2 or 5/8 homasote, and the thickness is probably a big factor.


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BTW, one can seal the Homa with a urethane spray can before employing it..Edges too..I'm sure this would highly prevent dampness getting in it..Also I hear it holds spikes well. Making drainage and other ditches should be a cinch, too. My last layout was all plywood, open grid.. I bent so so many spikes in it. A real drag that was....
 

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I'd suggest a sandwich of Homasote and plywood or osb. You can 1-inch drywall screws to firmly attach them together.

Here is such a sandwich on my last layout upper deck.

 
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I am looking for an alternative to Homasote myself. I used it on a layout years ago and wasn't very thrilled with it. You can put down Woodland Scenics foam road bed or Flexxbed sheets. Both will raise your costs. I will be looking into other material and if I find anything suitable I will post it.

Regards,

Gary.
 

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Well, I've used it on my last two layouts and other than getting it nice and level, I like it because it hold track nails and spikes. I do not want to use adhesives to hold my track down. No thanks.

That said, I only use it on broad flat areas such as yards. This (below is all laid on Homasote after I painted it.

Main yard.



Staging:




I can see why layout builders have used it for years and years.
 
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Nice trackage Riogrande. I didn't know what you meant by gluing track down until I took a closer look and noticed no sub road bed. Personally I don't know why anyone would want to glue track down when using cork or Flexxbed that is what is glued down. As for Homasote I found it quite noisy even with the layout supports on carpet. For me there has to be a better product especially for sound deadening. I know of a few that we have used to soundproof offices. If I can find something like that at a decent price I will go that way. It's always good to have options.

Regards,

Gary.
 

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So when I use Homasote, it's for large flat area's like yards. I've read about people doing that since I was a teen in the 70's. Yards don't have track on raised grade like mainline so no cork is needed. At least yards I've looked at. The track is basically on flat ground.



In the case of plywood or OSB, I put down cork first for the profile and then track; both are nailed down.

It seems very popular these days for hobbyists to glue their track down; usually in those cases they are using Styrofoam sub road bed, which won't hold nails or spkes. Thats what I mean by gluing track down (caulk etc.).

As for why anyone would glue track down when using cork, I don't know either, but I see it routinely by folks discussing their methods on forums.
 

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Many of us find gluing track down to be more precise and less fiddly than spikes / nails. That'ss true regardless of the type of roadbed you chose.

Not that either method is clearly superior; it's largely a matter of personal preference.
 

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Thirty years ago I never heard of anyone glueing track down either to cork or right on the sub-roadbed.

When did this become popular? When people stopped being taught how to use a hammer and a punch? Or when foam started being used instead of wood for sub-roadbed? I guess that was because no one was taught anymore to use a saw, square, and a straightedge. :(

As you said, there is no right or wrong way, but I'm interested in knowing when this shift away from traditional benchwork and trackwork started. :confused:
 

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Personal preference is right.

I do not find track nails and ME spike to be fiddly at all, rather they allow me to lay track with precision on the center-line that I draw carefully. The track is down now, not later when the adhesive sets up. I can tweak it a tiny bit while siting down the rail if need to get smooth flowing track.

Also what I like about track nails/spike is if anything need revision, it's a simple matter to pull them out with needle nose pliers and relay. No set-up adhesive to deal with. I"ve saved turnouts from 3 past layouts and they were in pristine condition when I sold them since there was not glue or adhesives on them. I didn't get far enough along to ballast the track on those layouts and am heck, glad I didn't use adhesives as it gave me the option to sell or reuse nice and clean.


Michael. I've been reading about gluing track down with adhesives such as caulk for the past 15-20 years on forums. It seems to be all the rage so I am not sure how you couldn't be aware of it! Many think it's the best thing since sliced bread and copy what others are doing like lemmings. Different strokes.

I'd guess the shift away began when foam became widespread and available enough for hobbyists to start trying out. Being light weight, it has some advantages if you want a portable modular layout that needs to be moved a lot.

I'm old school like you and don't see what all the fuss is about. I don't want to wait for adhesives to set. It has to be held in place while setting and what if it slips one way or the other while setting - you could remove the weights to find the track is crooked and wonky, but now it's fixed in place. Adhesives can obscure the center line that is my reference for precise track laying and once the adhesive is set the track is fixed in place and can't be adjusted without peeling it back up. I'd worry about damaging fragile turnouts freeing them from the adhesive and they ain't cheap.

I've never been a big fan of adhesives all my life, let alone for track laying and see them as a necessary evil. You ether get too little or too much, it gets where you you don't want it and have to wipe it up, on your fingers and cloths. Some take to long to set, others too fast. Bleh. I do use adhesives of course, but only for what I must and have no alternative.

People use foam for terrain and landscaping as well. There are two ways of course to make terrain. One is to build something in the shape of the terrain - an additive approach, such as cardboard strips and hot glue, or wire mesh with plaster over it. The other is subtractive method, where you put down layers of foam and carve away what isn't the hill or terrain and then put something over it to hide the foam. To me the subractive method seems like more expense and waste because you but all this foam and end up carving away a quarter to a third of it and throw it in the trash! If you save cardboard boxes, the cardboard is basically free. You just take a box cutter and cut it into long strips and the only cost if for the hot glue to attach it to the benchwork or framing.

Here are some photos showing both the track going down on cork with nails and cardboard strips with hot glue to create canyon walls.



Then plaster gauz over the cardboard stips



In this case the cardboard strips werern't simply to build land forms on, they actually are the land forms!

 

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I had never heard of it before a year ago as I had been out of the hobby since 1987.
 

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Welcome back.

There has been a boat load of excellent new products since 1987 but if you haven't already noticed, there is major sticker shock! But thats a different topic.
 
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