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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Age
    88
    Posts
    22

    Question

    (From the senior novice modeller.)
    All the N scale layout & construction books I've bought or read talk about installing track on your layout using various methods -- with nailing seeming to have the most advocates. So I'm planning to go that route. I'm using Atlas Flextrack, turnouts & track nails on top of Woodland Scenics roadbed. BUT -- I already have some problems:

    1. Finding the tiny holes in the ties is a bit of a problem -- but using " eyeglass loupes" on my trifocals ease that problem.

    2. The bigger problem is that the head of my small (upholstery) tack hammer is wider than the rail spacing! And using that with a "nail set" is no help because the nail set indentation (which is supposed to secure the nail head) is a smaller diameter than the nail head!

    Very frustrating. Are there any special N scale track nail tools available and, if so, who's got them? Or, are there other ways to go?

    (Walthers catalog was no help since they don't indicate the hammer head size on anything they handle.)(The MLR "Nailing Fixture" is only good for straight track.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nashville TN
    Age
    62
    Posts
    726

    Post

    If you can't see the tiny holes in the flextrak, you may be better off using white/yellow glue to hold down the trak, then use lots of straight pins& weight till it dries. The yellow carpenter's glue dries a bit quicker. I'd let the glue dry overnite once you have all the track in place.

    What you don't want to do is hit the rail or your finger with the hammer. Also, you have to be careful not to distort the track.
    Glenn Woodle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Longmont, Colorado
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,021

    Post

    What I do, when I need to lay track, is use a pin vice, with a drill bit in it, that's slightly smaller than my track nail, and drill a pilot hole through ties and into plywood sub-base. Making sure to pass through the first layer of glue between plywood layers.

    A Dremel tool, or equivalent, also works good for this. But requires a it more care, so drill bit doesn't break. And usually at a most inopportune time!

    By doing this first, I can drive nails using a set of pliers, with little or no trouble.
    Keith
    Life member - Colorado Railroad Museum
    http://www.coloradorailroadmuseum.org

    Member - Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society
    http://www.drgw.org

    B-6, I-5, A-1, E-1

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Age
    51
    Posts
    4,331
    Blog Entries
    8

    Post

    Originally posted by Stan:
    (From the senior novice modeller.)

    2. The bigger problem is that the head of my small (upholstery) tack hammer is wider than the rail spacing! And using that with a "nail set" is no help because the nail set indentation (which is supposed to secure the nail head) is a smaller diameter than the nail head!

    Very frustrating. Are there any special N scale track nail tools available and, if so, who's got them? Or, are there other ways to go?

    Stan, if you intend on using nails rather than the gluing method, hit the hardware store and grab a small nail punch. I have one for very small domed head nails, sort of like short pins but harder.
    Just be careful of driving the nails too far into the sleeper (tie) else you narrow the rail gauge.

    BTW, the punch is years old so don't ask where I got it from! [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Gary A. Rose
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    North of Lake Ontario
    Posts
    1,880
    Blog Entries
    1

    Post

    Just my two cents worth. I too find the small sizes in N Scale a challenge.

    To lessen that burden I went with Kato Unitrack and glued the track down, I found this a lot easier than using flextrack, nails, razor saw etc.

    The bonus I was up and running trains very quickly. I am now spending time byilding a larger layout.

    IMHO
    Cheers Owen - "Sometimes The Simplest Idea Can Make The Biggest Difference"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Age
    67
    Posts
    6,133
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    5

    Post

    Stan- A STRONG suggestion. Do not use nails.

    1. It is a pain the rear.
    2. The nails now made have heads just slightly wider than the nail punches now available. In the 1970's they fit nicely.
    3. If you ever have to pull up any track, you might as well throw them out since you will break the ties when you pull up.
    4. I take it this is your first layout. You will not be doing a perfect job and will be pulling up some track. I know this because of my experiences. Just look at my signature in this post.
    5. If do use nails, do not nail down your turnouts. It is one thing to pay $1 for a piece of track and quite another to spend $15 on another turnout.
    6. Personally, I would use a 50-50 Elmer's glue with water mix after a quick alcohol spray to break surface tension. It will come up with some more alcohol or even water if need be later on. Keep the track in place while drying with push pins commonly used on maps and available everywhere. They will fit very nicely into the nail holes. On the Elmer's, make sure you buy the regular, not the one for school. Pete posted that the school stuff dries with a shine. Some folks use Liquid Nails for Projects. This will give you additional headaches in case of a rip up.
    Please DO post here and wait a bit for some answers. It will save you time, money and a load of aggrevation, in the long AND short run.
    Proud Owner and Operator of The LESSONS LEARNED LINE

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Age
    67
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    Post

    Stan-

    As long as you have not yet laid your track and you posted a question about magnetic couplers, you might want to glance through the following thread before you set down the track.

    http://www.trainboard.com/ultimatebb...04782/p/1.html
    Proud Owner and Operator of The LESSONS LEARNED LINE

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Mansfield, TX (body)Blue Island,IL(mind)
    Age
    59
    Posts
    1,050

    Post

    Stan,

    I have used several methods, including the liquid nails which gives just about the right amount of work time to get your track fixed where you want it.

    Most of my track does have nails. There is a small pin vise and various size drill bits you can get in rr stores to put holes where you want them without using power tools. Also, there is really no need to hammer the nails, assuming you are using some kind of homasote or cork roadbed.

    I use needlenose pliers or my Xuron rail cutter to hold the spike and push it down. Of course, if you use the Xuron (which is always handy, since you have just used it to cut track!) don't expect it to do as well in cutting rails later on.

    I use peco switches, and I also nail those, using the holes outside the rails near the switch stand area. They provide four but you usually only need to use one. Every so often, a turnout will bow up in the middle a bit, and I use nails there to keep it level, pre drilling the hole as described above.
    Jeff

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Wishing I was at MP 35 on the Moffat...
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    36
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    16,261
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    Post

    Originally posted by Fotheringill:
    Stan- A STRONG suggestion. Do not use nails.
    .... Some folks use Liquid Nails for Projects. This will give you additional headaches in case of a rip up.
    I use an will continue to use latex liquid nails for projects. It does take a little practice to get the bead right, and a putty knife to smooth it out befor laying the track into it. I use tack nails only to hold the rails in postition. Turnouts are 'floating'--I do not glue them down. They are simply held in by other track that was glued down.
    I have not had track glued with LN come up, have not had trouble removing it. I just use a stiff putty knife, and slide it under the ties. Just ensure all the track nails that were holding it in place are removed first!

    Defy Gravity--Ship Rio Grande
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Mansfield, TX (body)Blue Island,IL(mind)
    Age
    59
    Posts
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    Post

    Hemi -

    In other words, there is a trick to everything, no?
    Jeff

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