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To Riogrande, that is impressive work you do....

I like using track nails. My railway sits on 1/2 plywood, with cork roadbed. I use 3/4 brad nails to attach the cork, and requires no glue. If a mistake is made, the cork can be pried off, brads removed, and relaid. There is no waiting for glue to set, and I can lay track down quickly as well. I have had to remove track because sometimes in testing a small issue comes up. The landforms are made with white styrofoam, the kind that no one recommends, because it beads when cut. But I use a hot knife, and style them that no plaster is required. I used the white styrofoam because it was free. I then use wood screws and washers to hold them in place. Again, on my Burlington Northern railway all the landforms were completed and attached in 2 hours. I do prepaint them the base colour before installing, as that is easier to do as well.

I’ve used pink form in the past, and it’s a good product, but it’s expensive.

I one thing I like about form, (even with the white foam) is the ability to carve rocks into it (again using a hot knife (I use woodland scenics knife), and a box cutter knife. I wouldn’t recommend the white styrofoam if the only tool to cut it was a box cutter...cheers
 
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Nice work Rio. Your track looks great. Using nails or pins to hold track down is a good idea. They don't stand out as much OO Robertson screws. Although all three can be toned down by a coloured marker or by other forms of weathering. Having used cork and screws to hold down track for the last build, I will now use Flexxbed under the tracks and pins to hold them to the foam. I will also use some screws where needed. Great to use screws at round house tracks, switches, and transfer tables. Basically any transition point. Easy to adjust height differentials. Your use of cardboard strips is definitely the way to go in my opinion as well. Having watched Eric's Trains tutorials on landscaping using Bragdon Enterprises latex moulds has convinced me this is the way to go. Prices for the molds and materials needed is very reasonable. Make up a few jigs and you can move at a pretty good clip. Not as messy as well and they take paint very well. Versatile also as they can be shaped with a pair of scissors.

All The Best,

Gary.:)
 

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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.

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.
Well, you can find reasons to object to just about anything. Yes, adhesives do take a while to set, but I've never found that to be a real issue (model railroading isn't an instant gratification hobby), and with the right adhesives, things don't move on you, and with a little care (no more than that needed to make sure you don't overdrive spikes and pinch your gauge), it's extremely easy to get just enough adhesive and keep from obscuring the centerline. And since you're not gobbling it on, it isn't that hard to remove, either.

You're also mischaracterizing the "subtractive method". It's not like we put on huge slabs of stuff and then proceed to carve half of it away. You roughly shape the pieces, which conserves material. You only carve away for the fine contours. And for me, this makes it much easier to get the exact shape I want. It's also funny that you object to the cure time of adhesives but not the setting time of plaster.
 

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I don't use track nails or ME spike for "instant gratification". I used that method because I learned it before foam & adhesives became popular, and it works well for the a number of reasons - chiefly I like how flexible it is yet I can still lay track accurately and I feel I have more control over how I lay the track. It's true, the nails/spikes method does have a bonus of being quick, and with a full-time job and a long commute to work and a fixer-upper house, it is a help to be able to lay track and have it down right away - one less thing to wait on.

I do like the nails/spike method and I get very good results as shown above. The Atlas track nails can be removed once the track reaches a point that it is ballasted and fixed. Not using adhesives gives you time to "shake-down" the track to be sure you are happy with the geometry and arrangement before it is fixed with adhesives. It isn't "funny" at all to desire to have time saving methods where possible. As I mentioned earlier it's a bonus, not a primary reason.

In my last layout, I did intend to ballast it, but water issues in basement forced me to remove a couple of the layout sections to rip out drywall and then put it back, and with the track fixed with nails and spikes it was easy to remove it and put it back, several times actually as I put back the layout sections and removed them a second time. (hence one of the flexible feature of the method) By the time I was getting scenery in and ready to ballast it was time to sell the town-home and move. All the track was removed "clean" and re-usable.

You're also mischaracterizing the "subtractive method".
Not fundamentally and not a bad thing. You remove material to get a shape, like a sculptor does starting with a general shape and carving away material so that what is left is a human figure or head.

There are pros and cons to many methods so we all try to find one that works for us. Others can read and decide and settle on what works for them.

Peace.
 

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To Riogrande, that is impressive work you do....

I like using track nails. My railway sits on 1/2 plywood, with cork roadbed. I use 3/4 brad nails to attach the cork, and requires no glue. If a mistake is made, the cork can be pried off, brads removed, and relaid. There is no waiting for glue to set, and I can lay track down quickly as well. I have had to remove track because sometimes in testing a small issue comes up.
Thanks. Good points about removal. I've made mistakes or as mentioned, had to take apart two sections of my layout to deal with water issues in the basement, so being able to pull out nails and remove track facilitated easy removal of the bench-work sections at least twice.

You mentioned cork. I think it was an Atlas N-scale book I learned about fastening cork down with small nails and still do it that way. I re-used some cork from a layout I tore down in 1999 because I was able to pull out the tiny nails with needle nose pliers and reuse it. It was a dried out from years in storage but re-useable non-the-less and I was able to sand it to re-shape it.

The landforms are made with white styrofoam, the kind that no one recommends, because it beads when cut. But I use a hot knife, and style them that no plaster is required. I used the white styrofoam because it was free. I then use wood screws and washers to hold them in place. Again, on my Burlington Northern railway all the landforms were completed and attached in 2 hours. I do prepaint them the base colour before installing, as that is easier to do as well.

I’ve used pink form in the past, and it’s a good product, but it’s expensive.

I one thing I like about form, (even with the white foam) is the ability to carve rocks into it (again using a hot knife (I use woodland scenics knife), and a box cutter knife. I wouldn’t recommend the white styrofoam if the only tool to cut it was a box cutter...cheers
I know what you mean about the beads in the white foam. I may give foam a try on the next layout. I'll check the cost of sheets of it and decide. I've tested and tried making land forms with cardboard strips as shown above, and know that can work well, but it might be fun to experiment with a hot wire too.
 

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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:
that"s easy to figger out----ie easier to do , cheaper to use glue. Saw's, hammers, straight thingy's that"s harder to do. its just lazier and easier to do it another way. foam is so easy to make into what you want , wood is very hard to work with. easy ='s getting it done faster mostly keeping cost down..... my opinion
:D
 

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Discussion Starter #28
A little related: For me and those who use Atlas flex on cork, I wish Atlas would stop putting the nail holes in the center and instead put 2 of them, 1 in each of the opposing tie plates.
Why? Spikes don't grab due to they going right into the center of the split in the 2 cork halves. Holes could be every, say, 30th tie or such. But I guess Atlas tooling up for this might be steep, forcing the price up...
 

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You are supposed to nail the track to the sub-roadbed, not to the cork. Use longer track nails. It should make no difference where the brad penetrates the cork.

1/2" track nails will penetrate into the sub-roadbed.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Well I suppose nails or screws are the method. If and when I build my next layout I'll try those instead, as long as I could remove them later after ballasting..I don't care for the look they leave...

Happy New Decapod ! M
 

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Personally, I never use nails, I use screws.
Who makes screws that tiny? :confused:

Well I suppose nails or screws are the method. If and when I build my next layout I'll try those instead, as long as I could remove them later after ballasting..I don't care for the look they leave...
I've used a combination of Atlas track nails and MicroEngineering spikes on 3 layouts so far and like that method well enough to keep using it going forward.

Of course the ME spikes you can leave in place but after fastening the track down with ballast and adhesive, you can pull out the Atlas track nails with needle nose pliers. If need be a tiny bit of putty can fill the hole. I paint my track so any evidence of past track nails will be erased.
 
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