Jump to content
Following a software upgrade the Classifieds section is out of action. I'm working to resolve this. ×

Handbuilt track - basic questions


Recommended Posts

Inspired by what I've read on here, I'd like to build myself some 0 gauge trackwork, rather than use ready-to-lay, for the better appearance, running qualities, cost, and eventually (hopefully!) to build a station throat arrangement that I'm armchair planning that would be impossible otherwise.


The intention is to use templot for template production in 0-MF (although until I've more stock built I'll probably vacillate between 0-MF and S7...) Starting with a short length of straight, plain track that will be used as a DCC programming road, then some basic turnouts on a diorama plank, perhaps then a slip or three-way, and so on.


I've been doing some reading up and have a series of conclusions and questions - please let me know if I'm wildly off-base with anything!


Regarding construction there are two basic choices - copperclad and soldered, and chairs glued to plastic/plywood. Is that correct? I'm leaning towards glued chairs on ply but I'm sure both approaches have their advocates.


Use of roller gauge(s) is recommended (needed?). I know 0-MF ones can be supplied by Debs. How many roller gauges would be recommended for plain track and for turnout production? I've seen photos on here with as many as 4 on what looks like a simple turnout. 


Are there any videos available that demonstrate construction? I'm nowhere near any clubs and it's unlikely I'd be able to get to an exhibition to see it being done in the flesh.





Link to post
Share on other sites



My experience in building 0 gauge turnouts is very limited, but I will have a go at answering.


On a small layout where close inspection is likely then chaired track does look very good, some use and prefer copper clad construction but in 0 gauge the chairs are so much bigger and are in my opinion very conspicuous by their absence. 


Number of gauges is personal preference, 2 is the minimum but more allows you to do another section whilst the first is setting


You could use copperclad sleepers with chaired track, just buy the same thickness and have spacers 1 mm thick which will keep the sleepers and rail at the same distance apart for fixing chairs to them. This will allow you to solder the common crossing to copperclad sleepers which you may find easier than building the crossing as an individual unit


Most folk use flexi track rather than building flexi track on cost grounds, on smaller layouts this may not be an issue


There is a chap who sells on Shapeways special chairs. 1-6 common crossing chairs and check rail chairs, not seen any in the flesh yet but do look very good

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

I can recommend C&L complete point kits. Gauges, choice of chairs and tie bars are included. All the difficult constructs like crossing V's and point blades are done for you. In FS there are compromises with crossing gaps, unless you opt for making your own crossing Vees or choose S7 standards. After 20 years in 4mm P4, I fancied a modicum of wheel drop.

Link to post
Share on other sites



I don't think you're miles out in your conclusions, were I starting out fresh, and were able to get to grips with Templot, I think it's the right way to go. If you haven't built a lot of stock I would think you might veer to S7, there's no doubt in my mind it's the 'right' way to do it, but like many I'm too far down the road to start changing.


While you only perhaps need a couple of gauges they are useful for roughly locating the whole rail length, and hold it down correctly, also I have found some lengths of cut bar steel around 4" x 1.5" x .5" have been useful to keep glued track located until dry.


The only other thing to consider is hardwood sleepers, there's nothing wrong with ply but timber does mean you can mate to flexitrack and commercial points in fiddle yards etc. (though not an issue if you go S7), and I personally think they look better than either ply or plastic.






and finally, I know I've posted it before, but I think it makes the point



Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the help.


Who sells the hardwood sleepers?


While S7 would be the theoretical ideal I've got 5 locos worth of Slater's wheels, and a similar number of wagon's worth. Of course these could be sold to recoup some of the expense...


See what I mean about changing my mind?:P


The other concern about S7 is what modifications would be required to kits designed for 32mm, that might be a bridge too far for me, or at least slow me down even more from my current glacial pace.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like it will have to be 31.5mm then. :)


Hardwood sleepers are available through the S7 boys, I think, though I sorted my own by buying sleeper and crossing timber sized stripwood and cut to length as required. Sleepers are easy, you just bundle about 25 strips together with masking tape and put them on a chop-saw with a pre-marked stop for length. Simples!






You should find it possible to get the timber strips cut at a Joinery shop or model boat supplier, I was lucky as I had one right on my doorstep, and they cut to my requirements.




It's also worth a look at the Exactoscale chairs (on the left), I think the mouldings are a tad crisper, though it's probably not noticeable at normal viewing distance.






Good luck with the track building, I hope that like me, you find it rewarding to see the finished product.


It's not that much different to RTR track, and it's probably more expensive, but if you have the time I think it's well worth the effort as long as you haven't got miles of it to lay.

Link to post
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...