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Foam or Cork


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Forgive me if this topic is answered elsewhere......if it is I cannot find it.

 

Is there any particular reason why 3mm of foam [recommended in the dvds] is preferable to 3mm of cork when laying track?

 

No doubt members will have preferences for either or neither. I would be interested to hear their views.

 

Thank you

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Try them both on some test track before deciding on the right one for you.

Avoid PVA for track or ballast. It dries rock hard which ruins the sound deadening provided by the foam or cork.

Cork is normally too dense to absorb much sound anyway to be honest and does just transmit it into your nice hollow baseboards.. PVA is fine on these materials though as long as you stop it permeating into them.

 

We actually used balsa on the club layout as sound deadening wasn't a concern and its easier to cut than cork.

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I am using foam underlay for wooden flooring for my fiddle yards as it is much cheaper than cork for covering large areas. Am sticking with cork for scenic areas for no other reason than is what have always done. I am however using Copydex glue instead of PVA which seems to come recommended. As well as being slightly rubbery when dry I am told that it holds in less moisture so reduces rail dirtying / corrosion as i am using steel rail.

 

M

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So what do you recommend instead?

 

 

Brian

 

Like Matt, I have tried Copydex & find it is much more suitable for track than PVA. I use it neat to glue the track down & diluted with a little w-up liquid for ballast.

 

It dries rubbery & the flex allows sound deadening.

Because it flexes, when you knock the dried ballast, it gives a little rather than breaks off like with PVA.

It dries more quickly than PVA...just long enough for you to lay a yard of track & space the sleepers out B)

It does not make granite-based ballast dry with a green hue like PVA does. Copydex makes it dry very slightly brown which is a lot more authentic.

You can cut dried copydex with a knife very neatly. This is especially useful at board joins & for tidying up dried ballast which has moved when the glue.

 

Try it. I doubt you'll ever use PVA for track again..

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Like Matt, I have tried Copydex & find it is much more suitable for track than PVA. I use it neat to glue the track down & diluted with a little w-up liquid for ballast.

 

It dries rubbery & the flex allows sound deadening.

Because it flexes, when you knock the dried ballast, it gives a little rather than breaks off like with PVA.

It dries more quickly than PVA...just long enough for you to lay a yard of track & space the sleepers out B)

It does not make granite-based ballast dry with a green hue like PVA does. Copydex makes it dry very slightly brown which is a lot more authentic.

You can cut dried copydex with a knife very neatly. This is especially useful at board joins & for tidying up dried ballast which has moved when the glue.

 

Try it. I doubt you'll ever use PVA for track again..

 

The trouble with Copydex is that if you try to drill a hole through it (eg for wire droppers) the dried glue wraps itself round the drill bit and simply peels off the surfaces. Try it. I doubt you'll ever use Copydex again. (Sorry!)

 

Recently I've been using a spray adhesive sold for carpets. Trouble is, it sets very quickly, but it seems to have none of the other drawbacks.

 

Also, re Foam or Cork. On my loft layout I used (on someone's advice) camping mat 6mm thick for the trackbed, and I have to say that if I was starting again I would lay the track direct on the baseboard, or at least on something no less rigid than Balsa sheet. There seems little noise insulation, and maintaining levels is very difficult. Incidentally, on our group layout (Burntisland 1883) we laid the track on 3mm foam, and have had a lot of problems with alignment, especially at baseboard edges.

 

I think solid lead baseboards might be the answer..........

 

Allan F

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The trouble with Copydex is that if you try to drill a hole through it (eg for wire droppers) the dried glue wraps itself round the drill bit and simply peels off the surfaces. Try it. I doubt you'll ever use Copydex again. (Sorry!)

 

:D

 

I did 18' of layout with Copydex & will use it again for my next layout.

 

I got around the rubber-wrapping.

I'm not entirely certain how because I finished wiring several months ago. I think I drilled into the glue to break the surface, untangled it from the bit then continued with the hole.

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If you have already pinned the track onto cork and wish to ballast, what method and glue do you recommend?

 

DesA

 

The most common approach is flood-ballasting: Spray the ballast with a fine mist of water wetted with a drop of washing up liquid (or propan-2-ol aka iso-propyl alcohol).

Once wet, apply diluted glue, again wetted with a drop of w-up liquid or propan-2-ol.

 

As mentioned above, my choice of glue is Copydex. Some have recommended Johnson's Klear but I have not tried this. Others use PVA but I think this is poorly suited to flood-ballasting.

 

I have read of others who ballast with neat PVA by painting it between the sleepers before applying the ballast. SOunds like hard work to me but apparently the end result is quite effective.

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I have read of others who ballast with neat PVA by painting it between the sleepers before applying the ballast. SOunds like hard work to me but apparently the end result is quite effective.

The problem with doing that between the sleepers is the ballast you then lay on top tends to form a U between sleepers following the glue painting. Its much easier to ballast and lay in one go on a layer of neat PVA but some people don't trust themselves to be able to align the track well enough to place it on glue and ballast in one go. The thing to avoid there is getting ballast under the sleepers.

 

Personally i'd say take the pins out anyway as you dont need them and slightly lift the track and put some pva under it then ballast while its weighted down. It depends on the wiring and motors though really. I motorise after ballasting.

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Others use PVA but I think this is poorly suited to flood-ballasting.

 

I have read of others who ballast with neat PVA by painting it between the sleepers before applying the ballast. SOunds like hard work to me but apparently the end result is quite effective.

 

I would disagree that PVA is poorly suited to flood-ballasting, I've built several layouts, including a well known blue P4 layout, using exactly that technique, without problems, but it's not quick.

 

I also tried the paint first, lay on top approach but I didn't like it, although CK uses it very successfully I believe.

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Forgive me if this topic is answered elsewhere......if it is I cannot find it.

 

Is there any particular reason why 3mm of foam [recommended in the dvds] is preferable to 3mm of cork when laying track?

 

No doubt members will have preferences for either or neither. I would be interested to hear their views.

 

Thank you

 

Thought this looked familiar:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php/topic/33394-polystyrene-packaging-materials/page__p__354023__hl__cork__fromsearch__1?do=findComment&comment=354023

 

:)

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I'm just in the process of pulling up my layout, which I'd nearly finished, because I wasn't happy with the running (no fault of the underlay). It is round a 10' x 9' room, and the baseboards were covered with 3mm grey laminate flooring underlay - the type that comes in a z-fold pack. It all has to be lifted because it was covered in scenery. It was stuck down with PVA and has been very easy to peel off, leaving virtually no residue. Also, the track, which was also stuck down with PVA, lifts easily for re-use.

 

However, I have a hinged lifting flap, and I found that the foam allowed too much movement of the tracks where they crossed the joins, even when pinned down, so I used a 6" strip of cork at the edge instead. This was brilliant for rock solid trackwork, but it is proving an absolute @$#* to lift both the track from the cork (so far I've had to throw it all away) and also the cork from the baseboard.

 

For my new layout, although I will stay with cork for these edges, I will definitely be using the grey foam again, it is certainly quieter than cork and, if I ever want to change it again, it will be much easier to lift.

 

Regards

Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...

Simon, what make of ballast did you use? I've heard of some others having this problem, but no-one who uses a good quality one rather than the cheapest they can find. I used Woodland Scenics grey ballast on mine, and it stayed grey even after fixing with the PVA solution. Cascamite is simply powdered PVA, I believe, I did try some (when I eventually found a shop that sold it), but didn't find it at all successful, so I reverted to dilute PVA.

 

Regards

Keith

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  • 1 month later...

I'm just about to start tracklaying too and was planning to take the same route mentioned by a couple of others here - I have a good stock of 3mm grey 'Z-fold' foam left over from a previous incursion into laminate flooring. This combined with copydex (and some kind of trackbed strengthening at baseboard joins) looked like the way to go, but at EM Expo last weekend I was regaled with a tale of horror from the nice man on the trackbuilding demo stand. He said there'd been occurences of copydex reacting disastrously with plastic sleepers and causing them to warp out of shape.

 

Does sound likely/possible or has anyone experienced something similar?

 

Andy

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I've used cork floor tiles (From Wickes) onto 9mm of ply and then the track PVA'd to the cork with the rail ends on each baseboard soldered to 1" no 8 brass screws. I used this method on my last layout and then spread the ballast before wetting it and covering it in wet PVA to stick it down. I was able to lift most of the track for re-use (100yards at secveral £ per yard is worth salvaging) and have also been able to salvage wash and reuse the ballast which was limestone dust from a quarry near the prototype location. PVA allows all the amterials to be re-used which you wouldn't get with copydex. As to the sound deadening I don't see any major difference at shows as there is so much ambient noise anyway.

 

Jamie

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i.m now on layout 6 or so, no exhibiting they are just for me,the first were stuck with PVA and track used several times more,the last two I used Copydex and the track has also been re used as have the turnouts. Wiring completed before any ballasting and blue tac to protect blades and wires and no problems. running is quieter than with PVA.

so my view is Copydex and cork granules for ballast. with foam sheet as a base .Cork sheet is really useful if ground up with a coffee mill!! as very soft and flexible ballast.

robert

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  • 3 weeks later...

An update on my adventures with copydex and laminate floor underlay. I've decided to go with 2 layers to see if it gives a bit more resilience, plus by raising the trackbed that bit more I hope it should help with surrounding scenery, bedding in buildings etc, and allowing runs of wire in tube on the baseboard surface rather than underneath. Also I have relatively quite a lot of foam offcuts so its got to go somewhere!

 

First layer went on fine, beautifully smooth and easy to lay. Same with the second layer, except when I returned to it after a few days and discovered some rather horrifying lumps had appeared. I'm guessing this was air trapped between the two layers or perhaps something produced as the copydex cures? Either way it had to go. Luckily, as observed elsewhere, the nature of the copydex made it easy enough to part the two layers, peel off the old skin of glue, reapply and relay this time with a weighted sheet of hardboard over the top (I'd just smoothed down by hand and left flat before).

 

So far so good on mark 2 then, I'll report back with any further news (good or bad). Incidentally in some areas I tried removing the less extreme bubbles by either working them to the edge of the foam sheet by hand, or weighting under board as above but without regluing/relaying. Again it seems to have worked, time will tell...

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