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    • August 9, 2020 6:55 PM EDT
    • I'm with Dave on this.

      I soak all my wooden tie switches and bridges with a 50/50 mixture of used motor oil and diesel before install.  Then every couple of years a pull them and drench them down again with a brush then let them dry for a week or so before re-install.  Will last for years this way (for me) as long as the ties are in gravel ballast not dirt.

    • August 9, 2020 5:57 PM EDT
    • I have soaked mine in used motor oil for a week to ten days. then dumped them onto rags to drain for a week or so. After 11 + years outside they still look like the first day. YMMV

       

      edited to add:

        You could also soak them in walmanizer, deck stain, or waterproofer coatings, but don't paint it on, soak them in it like the oil above. I have not used anything other than the oil on mine so don't know how well the other products will work. Again YMMV

    • August 9, 2020 4:42 PM EDT
    • Neil,

      That is some very FINE work!   Well done.  However (there HAD to be a HOWEVER, didn't there?) you should be VERY concerned with those ties rotting.  Not today, nor tomorrow, but perhaps many years from now.   I'm not sure what steps I would take to prevent that - perhaps put them all atop a nice bed of ballast, or maybe treat them with something.  (I NEVER DID find the answer to stop those ties from rotting, but ROT they will!)

    • August 9, 2020 4:26 PM EDT
    • Cliff Jennings said:

      Neil,

      At first I thought you were going to bend the brads over to ensure they'd never pull out (upwardly, at least). But that would take a long time, and maybe split some wood. So your cutting of your brads was a clever solution. 

       

      And I love the fact that you're making a bunch of them all in one go, that's great!

       

      Cliff

      Mass assembly is such a cool concept.   I always attempted it, only to find out later that life would be just so much easier if I had only made one more!

    • August 9, 2020 3:15 PM EDT
    • Neil,

      At first I thought you were going to bend the brads over to ensure they'd never pull out (upwardly, at least). But that would take a long time, and maybe split some wood. So your cutting of your brads was a clever solution. 

       

      And I love the fact that you're making a bunch of them all in one go, that's great!

       

      Cliff

    • August 9, 2020 4:41 AM EDT
    • Thanks Cliff, they sure are strong, the engineer in me is gonna buy that every time..  I mainly do the stringer approach so I can treat & stain them in one go, otherwise I‘d be doing over 500 individual ties for this project.  

      This first tie strip was a bit of an experiment in several ways.  The next ‘covid fail’ was that I only had 20 mm brads (say ¾”) on hand.  The ties are only ½” thick so they were always going to be too long but there was no way to get the right size during level 4 lockdown.  First plan was just to grind/cut them off.

      But even prying them off the template was a mission in itself.

      You can see above how the router smashed up the ties before I made the new jig.


      Not sure if it shows in the pic but it looked really ugly.  Add to that some of the cut marks weren’t going to be under the rails.  Ok.  Plan B, make them the right length.  How hard could that be..

      At least the base was flush.  I’ll take that win!



      It took several goes before I found the answer, mainly because the glue in the nail strips kept melting.  Two wooden blocks with a groove for the brad heads, clamped in a vice, and leave it 5 mins after grinding to cool was the way.







      At this point I finally got to production stage.  Took about 10 mins per strip from loose ties to fully assembled.  I weighted them down straight away to make sure they were flat.



      Cheers
      Neil

    • August 8, 2020 5:27 PM EDT
    • Neil, your stringers and routing are very clever, I like how they structurally hold everything together even before the rails are laid.  

    • August 8, 2020 4:06 PM EDT
    • Pete Lassen said:

      Nice job Neil, looks like you spent way more time building things to build the turnouts, than you did in actual turnout building. That jig for the ties and to use a router to cut the groove is as much work as building a turnout.

      Will you have to build another one to do the other size turnout, or is that adaptable to the differrent frog sizes.  

       

      Thanks Pete,

       

      Ummm, Yep.    My only excuse is the country was in total lockdown at that stage, no public movement except shopping or essential workers.  I was still on 40 hrs work from home, but that still left a lot of 'WhatAmIGonnaDoNow' time.

       

      It actually wasn't too bad, I had all the wood right on hand or in the scrap bin.  Took so an hour or so each, x 4.  Yes, one for each size, one for each hand. 

       

      Then less than a minute ea to load and make sawdust..

       

      Cheers

      Neil

    • August 8, 2020 10:16 AM EDT
    • Nice job Neil, looks like you spent way more time building things to build the turnouts, than you did in actual turnout building. That jig for the ties and to use a router to cut the groove is as much work as building a turnout. Will you have to build another one to do the other size turnout, or is that adaptable to the differrent frog sizes. Looking forward to progress pictures.  

    • August 8, 2020 5:42 AM EDT
    • Hi all,

      Started this project back in lockdown, maybe mid April?  Finally got the time to start posting some pics. Does that qualify for a ‘Beat the Boredom tag?  

      I’m loosely following how I made some turnouts 10+ yrs ago for my old layout.  Main difference is using code 250 rather than 332, and adding a few ‘improvements’ suggested by folk who inherited version 1’s after I had to dismantle the layout in 2012.

      I'm planning to start the new layout this summer downunder time.   I figured I’d try & use use #6's for mainline, and #5's for branch lines and yards.  A ‘back of a fag packet’ napkin sketch of a trackplan showed I’m in for 20+ turnouts for the whole empire.  So from day 1.5 this morphed into a production line thing so I can produce them on tap to the same specs.  Well – that’s the plan anyway..  

      First up was to rip some lumber.  Timber is cedar, from offcuts off a kitset log house.  Not completely sure if it’s US or Canadian – but definitely not local..

       

      Ripping ties

      Way too dusty to be inside for this job..

      Straightaway I ran into the ‘every job needs two others done before you can start’.  First was make a zero clearance plate for the table saw, then a box that can hold all the ties grouped in the right sizes.

       

       



      I downloaded some HO templates for #5 & #6, traced the rails and drew some ties in Cad once I’d scaled the gauge to 45 mm.  I split them into 4 bits to print on A4 pages





      Last time I had some stringers pinned straight onto the ties to hold them in place.  That was one thing that caused hassles when you lay them on a hard roadbed.  So I attempted to get them flush this time.  I tried routing the groove in the assembly jig but they weren’t tight enough, I ended up blowing half of them apart.   

      The answer, eventually, was making another jig to hold the ties tight so I could use the router and not have them move.  Not worth it for a couple of turnouts, but I figured 20 odd would make useful.  Hopefully.



      Then, some assembly on the first one.  18 ga pins and urethane glue hold everything in place. 




      More to come…

      Cheers
      Neil

    • August 9, 2020 8:00 AM EDT
    • thanks dan. I believe they were copper coated first also. I figured an abrasive would wear the nickel off if it’s too abrasive. I was curious if anyone else had tried nickel plating the rail and if so, what were their results. Do you know of anyone who tried it? i was unaware that Trainli and LGB did the process. Do they still offer nickel rail?

    • August 9, 2020 7:47 AM EDT
    • To plate brass, LGB and trainli used a copper plating before the nickel as nickel does not adhere well to brass directly.

      So, nickel track is nickel plated copper plated over brass.  I have bent LGB nickel and it does not flake off over time.  Biggest issue is cleaning the nickel as it is a thin coat and will 'wear' off of using the LGB track cleaner.

       

    • August 8, 2020 4:47 PM EDT
    • I had a whole tube of LGB brass rail that I had nickel plated to do a test when I build my outdoor layout. I have about 600’ of Aristo SS rail but I believe I will need more so I thought of nickeling the brass to see if it will hold up to the elements and need less cleaning. Has anyone tried this before. I realize that bending the rail too tightly will probably crack the nickel but if I stay in larger radius it should be OK. Usually it’s the chrome that crack off of the nickel anyway and not the nickel itself when it comes to car parts. Any opinions?

    • August 8, 2020 2:19 PM EDT
    • Could run some masking tape along the rail tops, spray, then pull off the tape.  

    • August 6, 2020 4:09 PM EDT
    • Thanks for the link David.  I may try to use that to cover the rails at the 1/4 inch side, but your link gives me a much cheaper and better source for tubing i need to protect the air hoses for all my air-powered turnouts.  I tried to bury the pneumatic tubing in gravel and sure enough it punctured the tubing.  The split tubing should be perfect because i won't have to remove and reattach all the pneumatic stuff I have laid out already. I can just add it in place and should be enough to protect it.

    • August 6, 2020 4:13 AM EDT
    • I never tried the Simple Green.  Last time I was able to get it off by just using the Tar and Wax, Swifter and potentially rain fall.

       

      I don't think it reappeared or soaks into the metal. I think it was never off to begin with.  Why I was able to get a day where it worked and then a week later where it didn't is unclear to me.  I actually ran most of the stuff I owned with only some minor stuff happening with cars not performing properly. I recall my NW-2 not being able to push as much as I remember it doing.

       

      The drywall screen made the tops of all the rails nice and shiny. Not necessarily what I am going for but it should have scrapped off the top layer.  I did a scrub with a wet swifter, scrub with a drywall screen, scrub with the tar and wax, followed by a scrub with the swifter again.  Hoping it rains tomorrow so it will all get rinsed now to but may take the garden hose to it.  I will also be cleaning the wheels of the engines that I ran the day it was all slipping just to be sure.

       

      I might try simple green in the future.  I also might try to come up with some sort of "rail caps" that I can lay over top of a section of rail quickly...spray it with the Armor All and then remove the caps and move on to the next section.

       

      I did try applying Armor All with a using a paint brush, but it was not very effective and still getting stuff on the rails. I suppose I could try a sponge but I feel like it will miss a bunch of spots underneath the the rails.  I have a year to experiment with this idea of caps.  Something I can lay over top of the rails like tubing split down the middle where I can lay it down for say 2 to 4 foot sections at a time, spray, remove and move to the next section and continue in this fashion.  That should help solve the issue, at least for non-turn out spots.

    • August 5, 2020 10:22 AM EDT
    • you could use the panels cut to length as a load on a flatcar. I saw a car loaded with crossing panels they had removed.

    • August 5, 2020 1:38 AM EDT
    • @ John B.:  To be fair, I am not sure B'mann advertised them as "garden railroad" compatible.  I picked these up used a few years back when a friend ditched his B'mann stuff before moving off island.  The inside tracks do have surface rust. I have never put power to them, so I cannot talk to their ability to carry current.  I did hand the remaining tracks over to the kids to play with using a battery powered engine, but, frankly, these tracks are simply too flimsy in that role.   Tracks now not in service for storage are in a box with an open invitation to the family to use them for any projects that they see fit.  I suspect that box will be full for a while!

       

      - Eric

    • August 4, 2020 4:46 PM EDT
    • Lived in Fate, TX for near 20 years. that gumbo soil will move just about anything. Constant fight to keep a shed level.

      Yes, pre build sections in the shop sounds like an excellent idea.

      WES