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Gary:
I made a jig to hand lay my straight track also. For my curves I marked 4 radii on a 2'x4' piece of plywood. Painted it white and marke 3 1/2', 4', 4 1/2',
and 5'. I have some plastic spacers that fit over the railhead that a friend gave me. I use slightly tapered spacers between the ties. He dosn't remember where he got them. Maybe someone else knows. I had to open the railhead slots a little. I made my own rail bender based on the plan that was in GARDEN RAILWAYS a feww years ago.
Did you spray your rails with paint or primer? I would think primer would bond better. I 've been thinking about checking with Michael's for brown Magic marker.
I've built about 120' of straight and 24 ' of curved track so far. I alternated 6 and 4 1/2" spikes per tie with 8 on the end ones. They have been sitting around being movd and knocked over while we added a second story to the house and repaired the damgae to the existing house and garage. They've weathered nicely. I havn't used any preservatives as the weather her is normally pretty dry.
I have limited space so I have to build a platform over one end of my patio and use styles over my walkways. It will be raised 16".
 
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