Track making/making tracks: the good, the bad and the ugly, advice and thoughts wanted, explanation is giving(incl mistakes)

justme igor

justme igor

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For all new readers:
I changed the topic title because: total wooden tracks are a JOKE, i learned a lot and this forum, and they give me the knowledge to make some decent tracks, read upon my mistakes to your advance and make your own tracks in your own capabilities/wallet.

Good evening you all,(my local time)

For my garden railway i would like to have track, just track a lot of track and just some more track.....and dont forget to put some tracks into that corner....
But,,,yes there is always a but.
There are going to be pieces of track you will not see, unless you will take a look at it.
Like my plan to put 150 meters (probably double or triple track) of track along side of the canal behind the hedge....perfect ride with camera and time lapse and surprise for the big steamers i would like to have in the near future.
Yes i wont forget maintenance about the hedge
in general you wont see fine details on 3 meters 9 foot 9 yards distance? right?
I tried to 3d print some track in abs and pla with good succes(heck...you can even 3d print a automatic rc controlled coupler...not kidding.ect), but even with a 3d printer i can do max 1.5 meters a day.
Now i am pretty handy with wood and i had a thought that i will experiment on next week.

Type of wood:
Now before you al lose your minds, i am planning to use hard wood, think about palisander bankiray and such...meranti is a collection name for hard and tropical woods, i am referring to the real hard, dark and heavy woods.
Mainly i can get it for free and i have the machinery for it.
Of Course i can profile it but i wont.
The sleepers would be 1 cm in width x 9 cm in length and 4mm in height.
(sorry i am not a imperial bastard(star wars joke)don't get offended! please!)
The rail would be 6mm high and 4mm in width.
I am planning to glue it together with pvac d4 glue(hardwood and outside water contact)
If i have to redo tracks in 5 to 10 years from start use, i would be oke with that.(i think 15 to 20 years, but oke to keep it on the safe side)
I am not afraid of (working)rapping shrinking expanding or such, this wood is to old to do that and hardwood is not the type when harvested right or aged to do all those things.
Soft wood can do the (working) expansion and wrapping even at 100 years of age....look at oak wood wine barrels for a simple example.
Granted: oak will harden over time and thus deliver more quality wood, but oak will keep on working even AFTER 400 years....just telling some experience..

The main environmental culture we face that we have in the Netherlands is 6 months wet 6 month dry, its hard wood
What are your thought on this...positive and negative thought are all appreciated on all specific point i would like to see your thoughts...on everything...... pos and neg..on every bit, please, a penny for your thoughts.....
Thought on wear, weather, glue, durability, live steam ect, what ever
The pressure test was simple, i stand on it with 81 kilos in between of the sleepers.(1 cm apart in between sleepers..they did not even feel it.)
Any cross section diameters drawings would be nice or helpfull, in turns/corners i know it must be at tad wide...... r1 to r5? i am planning a minimum of r3 inside garden track and r5 minimum for the outside garden track
If i have it correct: r3 is 1.5 meters and r5 is minimum 2.5 meters radius?????....
What would be that ....tad wider...???????
Any thought is welcome......I think for straight track between heads it is 45mm and not 43,5 mm, scale 1 to 32 or scale 1 to 29 or such????
Thanks in advance for every replay, with best regards Igor
 
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PhilP

PhilP

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I think the wooden track will warp and twist?
Even if you notch the sleepers (ties) and glue the track into them, I think these glued joins will fail, in 2-3 years. - You did not state if the track would be on the ground? if it is, this will be worse, than a raised track.

Some people have had success with a rectangular metal strip as the track, in notched sleepers:
GregH and his Sandstone and Termite Railway come to mind.

I would suggest making a test section of track, and seeing how it performs for you.

PhilP.
 
stockers

stockers

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If you have plenty of wood and this track is largely out of site, can I suggest you use planks of wood and route two grooves 45mm apart. I think that the fine work you suggest will break, twist and fall apart - sorry, but I do..
 
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The Tinker

The Tinker

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Use 6mm by 3mm stainless steel or aluminium on its edge and wooden sleepers will be easier to do Others on this forum have done this
 
GAP

GAP

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Good evening you all,(my local time)

For my garden railway i would like to have track, just track a lot of track and just some more track.....and dont forget to put some tracks into that corner....
But,,,yes there is always a but.
There are going to be pieces of track you will not see, unless you will take a look at it.
Like my plan to put 150 meters (probably double or triple track) of track along side of the canal behind the hedge....perfect ride with camera and time lapse and surprise for the big steamers i would like to have in the near future.
Yes i wont forget maintenance about the hedge
in general you wont see fine details on 3 meters 9 foot 9 yards distance? right?
I tried to 3d print some track in abs and pla with good succes(heck...you can even 3d print a automatic rc controlled coupler...not kidding.ect), but even with a 3d printer i can do max 1.5 meters a day.
Now i am pretty handy with wood and i had a thought that i will experiment on next week.

Type of wood:
Now before you al lose your minds, i am planning to use hard wood, think about palisander bankiray and such...meranti is a collection name for hard and tropical woods, i am referring to the real hard, dark and heavy woods.
Mainly i can get it for free and i have the machinery for it.
Of Course i can profile it but i wont.
The sleepers would be 1 cm in width x 9 cm in length and 4mm in height.
(sorry i am not a imperial bastard(star wars joke)don't get offended! please!)
The rail would be 6mm high and 4mm in width.
I am planning to glue it together with pvac d4 glue(hardwood and outside water contact)
If i have to redo tracks in 5 to 10 years from start use, i would be oke with that.(i think 15 to 20 years, but oke to keep it on the safe side)
I am not afraid of (working)rapping shrinking expanding or such, this wood is to old to do that and hardwood is not the type when harvested right or aged to do all those things.
Soft wood can do the (working) expansion and wrapping even at 100 years of age....look at oak wood wine barrels for a simple example.
Granted: oak will harden over time and thus deliver more quality wood, but oak will keep on working even AFTER 400 years....just telling some experience..

The main environmental culture we face that we have in the Netherlands is 6 months wet 6 month dry, its hard wood
What are your thought on this...positive and negative thought are all appreciated on all specific point i would like to see your thoughts...on everything...... pos and neg..on every bit, please, a penny for your thoughts.....
Thought on wear, weather, glue, durability, live steam ect, what ever
The pressure test was simple, i stand on it with 81 kilos in between of the sleepers.(1 cm apart in between sleepers..they did not even feel it.)
Any cross section diameters drawings would be nice or helpfull, in turns/corners i know it must be at tad wide...... r1 to r5? i am planning a minimum of r3 inside garden track and r5 minimum for the outside garden track
If i have it correct: r3 is 1.5 meters and r5 is minimum 2.5 meters radius?????....
What would be that ....tad wider...???????
Any thought is welcome......I think for straight track between heads it is 45mm and not 43,5 mm, scale 1 to 32 or scale 1 to 29 or such????
Thanks in advance for every replay, with best regards Igor
Igor,
I would be thinking of using Merbau which is a hardwood used in Australia for outdoor decks and privacy screens in a garden setting to do what you want to do it will last for well over 20 years if treated right (oiled once a year). I have just upgraded my deck using it, the nail holes had to be pre drilled so that the nails could be driven in otherwise they would just bend. I replaced the old hardwood deck timbers with it (using them to build my new layout) and I am sure it will outlive me.
Meranti is a softer wood that is primarily used indoors in Australia, it has a good grain that polishes up well. I have used it for the facia on a HO layout.
A 2.4M long plank of Merbau is heavy as lead while the a similar meranti plank is as light as pine.
Putting meranti outside in Australia is akin to opening a bistro for termites.
If you do use merbau (if you can get it) a new sharp blade in your saws is essential.
 
justme igor

justme igor

Registered
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Thanks for all your replays, excellent and great food for my thoughts.

Even if you notch the sleepers (ties) and glue the track into them, I think these glued joins will fail, in 2-3 years. - You did not state if the track would be on the ground? if it is, this will be worse, than a raised track.

Some people have had success with a rectangular metal strip as the track, in notched sleepers:
GregH and his Sandstone and Termite Railway come to mind.

I would suggest making a test section of track, and seeing how it performs for you.

This exactly something i am afraid of, the glue is going to be used not as it is intended, it will be applied on a very small surface.
And than a live steamer in the canal.....
The track height from ground level, i did not give much thought on that, to be honest, aldo i would like some tunnels, i think it is wise to get a 10cm/4inch clearance from ground level, for the lowest tracks.

With metal strips into the sleepers i thought of that, it is easy and fast to make, i have a 2mm thick saw blade.
 
justme igor

justme igor

Registered
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If you have plenty of wood and this track is largely out of site, can I suggest you use planks of wood and route two grooves 45mm apart. I think that the fine work you suggest will break, twist and fall apart - sorry, but I do..
I think this is a excellent suggestion! would not only save some work, it is more firm and i dont have to be afraid that a live steamer is going to take a swim!
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

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two things come to mind.
don't use quebracho neither the red, nor the yellow. even being hard as steel, outdoors it keeps warping for decades. the inner(darker) wood of palisander is stable.

i wouldn't use wooden rails for curves. with time the wheels will roughen up the diagonal going grain, causing derailings.

oh, and a third: if you plan with live steamers, forget the sharp curves of R1, R2 and R3.

and don't trust any glue! use nails or screws.
 
justme igor

justme igor

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Merbau is lucky also available over here, we have the same uses for it, if i look at the deck poles in the canal(30 years plus) without oil or such, i am not so afraid, however, now it will be very small tiny pieces instead of 3x3 inch poles.
I was thinking to socke/drown it in transparent "wood stain"
Working with hardwood has more essentials, you are absolutely right on that. not only a sharp saw blade with the right setting/amount/dept of teeth, the dust...I still must connect the dust collector....:cry:
For your information: We pre drill the holes also in the wooden framework and screw it all together, i can imagine that it will be a very tough task to drive a nail into it, screws are harder metal than iron nails, but for the fun in life...i am going to try it out!:rofl: thick 4 inch nails????
With air tacker it is no problem.

thanks to all
 
justme igor

justme igor

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korm kormsen korm kormsen ,
I am not familiar with that wood: quebracho, with a quick google search i could find axe breaker? and that it is a collection name for very very hard woods.
I think, if we are talking about the same wood, we call it(freely translated): iron rich wood.
Palisander i have, for a test run track i was planning to use bankirai.
I like your third!
I am not sure about those R's i still must dive into those ones, but i had in mind 240 cm radius minimum for the live steamers next track would be 260 cm? any good? or do i must scale up to 3 meter radius?

Thanks.
 
Paul2727

Paul2727

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If you have plenty of wood and this track is largely out of site, can I suggest you use planks of wood and route two grooves 45mm apart. I think that the fine work you suggest will break, twist and fall apart - sorry, but I do..
If you go this route, don't forget to drill drainage holes in the groove or it will hold water and decay faster. I had this problem with deeply grooved decking, plus when it froze in the winter, it was a nightmare. Drilling drain holes every 30 cm or so cured it.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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I think this is a excellent suggestion! would not only save some work, it is more firm and i dont have to be afraid that a live steamer is going to take a swim!
Planks routed for track should work fine as Alan says, I use this in my storage shelves. As Paul says drainage holes should help prevent damp lingering in the groves but I cannot see this working except for perhaps large and I mean large radius curves. Will also be fiendishly tricky to get the gauge correct on curves with perhaps pre made jigs for each rail. Pic of one of my shelves.
image.jpg
 
GAP

GAP

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Thinking about it if the tracks are to be hidden from view then just routing a couple of grooves into merbau would work really well.
I will second or third the use of drain holes, you could even space and offset them so you get the clickety clack sound.
A 2.4 to 2.6 Metre radius is a very big curve even 2.4 M diameter is fairly big.
Mind you I'm using 1.5M radius curves as my minimum if I can.
 
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Paul2727

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I have cut large radius curves using a router and trammel arm. (I was making a 1.2 meter radius table top for a garden table.)
But can see no reason why you couldn't go larger with a suitably rigid trammel arm.
The top was cut from scaffold planks which were far to thick for the router bit, so the channel I cut was used as a guide for a jigsaw.
However I did make three parallel channels by reducing the radius by an inch each time. The inner two were purely for decoration.
For a useful guide to making a trammel, take a look at the you tube link below.
 
Greg Elmassian

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Thinking about it if the tracks are to be hidden from view then just routing a couple of grooves into merbau would work really well.
I will second or third the use of drain holes, you could even space and offset them so you get the clickety clack sound.
A 2.4 to 2.6 Metre radius is a very big curve even 2.4 M diameter is fairly big.
Mind you I'm using 1.5M radius curves as my minimum if I can.
Wouldn't you route the slots to be deeper than your deepest flange?

If so, and the holes were drilled in the slots, there should be no contact, i.e. noise.

I'm thinking you have something different in mind?

Greg
 
PhilP

PhilP

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To Igor:

Did you say something about running above a canal? :eek:

Not a good idea, I reckon? Especially if the train will be out of sight. :shake::shake::shake:
 
GAP

GAP

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Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
Wouldn't you route the slots to be deeper than your deepest flange?

If so, and the holes were drilled in the slots, there should be no contact, i.e. noise.

I'm thinking you have something different in mind?

Greg
I was thinking that the flange would be what is in contact with the bottom of the cut and what the train was running on.
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

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korm kormsen korm kormsen ,
I am not familiar with that wood: quebracho, with a quick google search i could find axe breaker? and that it is a collection name for very very hard woods.
I think, if we are talking about the same wood, we call it(freely translated): iron rich wood.
the quebrachos are from the Gran Chaco in Southamerica. is heavier than water, was used for rural constructions, later for the industrial extraction of tannin. to fell 30cm thick trees, i had to resharpen the chainsaw at least twice. if you plant a board or post into the ground, it decomposes where earth and air meet.


I am not sure about those R's i still must dive into those ones, but i had in mind 240 cm radius minimum for the live steamers next track would be 260 cm? any good? or do i must scale up to 3 meter radius?
as far, as i know (not very far), 240cm/6 foot radius should be enough for live steam as well. (R1 is 65cm radius)
but, if you got the space for 3 meter radius... do it! trains, specially with longer roling stock, look much better on laaaarge curves.
 
korm kormsen

korm kormsen

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on second thoughts...

have a look at the pics below.
using simple strip iron and hardwood ties (with grooves) you could make simple and durable track, that holds up very long time.
(and curve-making would be so much easier)

the second and third pic are more than five years older, than the first)






 
justme igor

justme igor

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WOW, thanks for all the replays.
korm kormsen korm kormsen
Your pictures are very familiar....you would be surprised what is running next year on the track.....:party:
Or what was already printed...:angel:
Your track system is going to be tested as well btw.
I was already planning with different kind of materials, incl cutting some hard plastic sheets, dubble iron (bonding?)band ect
About the radius:
I think i found out that the majority of the live steamers and "longer trains" could handle 2 meter radius, but steamers like the challenger and the big boy needs 3 meters minimum:worried: and this is something to take in consideration, especially with what i would like to achieve: the bigger ones
For example
I realise this is going to be a lot of work, time, money and it will take yeeeeeeeears if not decades.(and probably only for show and not even working order).
And this is basically what i want/like to achieve, tracks locos and some wagons, sorry to say but i am not much for a scenery guy.
I have some space, from what i have read so far, the general rule of thumb seems/would be: go as big in radius as you can.
Going to be tricky, probably some higher elevated smaller radius track above the bigger radius track, to fill out the corners a bit, but it will take some (long?) time before i am at that point!
Thanks for your input.
About the wood, i think we are talking about the same wood? Also a clarinet is made of it? With normal woodworking tools, you can forget it, nearly impossible.
Sharpen your chain saw twice to cut a 30 cm tree.....

PhilP PhilP
Yes indeed i did say something about that, running next to the canal out of site.
There will be some safety like some fence work and firmly/strong/secure build and thural testing before i allow them to drive over there.
Those machines i can not buy at monthly bases:disappointed:
The idea that a live steamer is going for a swim, i am not weak hearted, but it is nightmare fuel.
First i would like to make/create decent trackwork.

Greg Elmassian Greg Elmassian and GAP GAP
Yes the slots are going to be deeper than the most flances, i think 6mm deep and 2mm wide is very safe and future proof?
There will be some drain holes every 30-50 cm.
Hmmmm that clic clack sound, live steam on coal and no clic clack, very good thinking.
I think with a thin handsaw (precision saw? back saw?)cut some 1mm deep 1mm wide slots in the track head, to simulate the gap from the track joiners?
I think that would be better than drill the drain holes off center.
This one is also asking for experimentation.

Paul2727 Paul2727 .
I had a similar setup in mind.
With the router i used a 4mm cutterhead, to cut the slots, it was not entirely to my satisfaction.
The next experiment in line for cutting the curves, would be the jig on top of the saw table with a 1.8mm thick saw blade in it, and set to 6mm height from top table.
Yes i am pretty handy with woodworking tools:angel:
You can even cut the brick work profile in a piece of wood with a saw table and finish with a chichel, but i don't have to explain that to you. You know!

Thank you all, for all your great, no, excellent and wonderful input, thoughts, comments and ideas!
Sorry that my technical english is not up to date yet on those subjects.