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Ok fella's.... I'm about ready to pull my hair out and give up laying track!!!!! Ok maybe not that bad but close..... How do you guy who have used the ladder method get it to form to the curves??? I am trying to get the artifical decking cladding to stay curved while i connect the blocking for track support. Every time I get things connected the material wants return to straight and turns and twists the track..... HELP!!!!!
 

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Scott,

I screwed my blocks to one side of the ladder. Bent it around my pipes and clamped it. Then screwed the other side on, and then screwed it to my pipes.
 

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Posted By Trains on 10/11/2008 5:58 PM
Scott,

I screwed my blocks to one side of the ladder. Bent it around my pipes and clamped it. Then screwed the other side on, and then screwed it to my pipes.






Ditto! I'll only add that I used the block attached stringer as the inside section for sharper curves (doesn't matter for wide curves). I attached the blocks with a single screw to allow it to move when curved. Then I used a single screw to attach the second stringer to the block. Hope that helps.


-Brian
 

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I'll go along with the crowd.

I put in the stakes and then bend the first stringer.


Once that second stringer is screwed to the blocks, the curve will hold the shape VERY nicely.




You can end up with some great easements.

After the second stringer is screwed in place, I then adjust the elevation and make sure the track is level side to side. That's when I screw the stringers to the stakes.
 

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Bruce...you built a ladder bulding jig that I copied (thanks by the way...great idea)...but I can't find your post with the jig shown. It's saved me beaucoup time doing the initial assembly of the ladder. Can you post the photo of that for Scott?
 

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Mike, I can do that! :)


I just used a spare piece of 2 x 8 and put some stops against a 2x2 screwed to the board. The 2x2 spacers fit between these stops. Then, you place the stringer over these and screw them in place.





Two tools really help:
1 - a cordless hammer drill. This is a great tool for putting all those screws in place - and getting them out if necessary.

2 - a chop saw. Great for cutting all those spacers as well as the stringers.

I used hex-head deck screws to put everything together. No stripping.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well thanks guys but the stuff I'm using is about 1/4 inch thick and 4" wide X 12' long. I'm sinnking the whole works in the ground up to the top of the side boards. Basic plan goes like this, layout track, mark ground, move track, dig trench, set in ladder section, refill with dirt, pack the dirt down to about an inch from the top, fill the rest with ballast, re-lay track, pour more ballast on top and finally brush off extra ballast. This works great for straight sections but those darned cuvers are going to be the death of me.....

My ladder consists of the 1/4" X 4" X 12' cladding with 2" X 4" green treated spacer blocks about every 2'..... Track will fit in between the cladding sides and rests on the spacers which are the depth of the ties down from the top of the cladding sides.

I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow and post them so you can see what I have gotten done.....
 

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I used 1x3 cedar screwed about every 8 inches or so like this.



Then I used 3/4" styrofoam for my roadbed



Then track
You could use this and use temp stakes while screwing the joists to the stringers and your curves will stay.

Rodney
 

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Rodney, I had a few questions about your construction. What size PVC pipe are you using (it looks like 2 in)? How did you drill the holes in the ground for the pipe and what tool did you use? Did you fill around the pipes with concrete or just backfill the holes with dirt? Lastly, did you fill the pipes with concrete or some other material? Really looks solid and nice.

Thanks...Bret
 

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I agree with the rest - When I built the ladder system the posts of 2" PVC were holding the first side of the roadbed then the other side without the spacers were installed.

Maybe install some PVC posts every 2' in your trenchlay the roaded the same as up but above your grade. Then once you get the backside of the roadbed together you can unscrew the posts and remove them so you can put the now prebend sections in the ground. Another option may to be leave the posts in the ground and use them to keep your height in the trench.

Hope that helps.
 

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Brent,
Yes it's 2" PVC driven in the ground 15" to 18" with a sledge hammer. I bevel (sharpen) the end with a cheap B&D 3" belt
sander mounted upside down on a piece of plywood. The PVC is very solid till you get higher than about 30" off the ground.
For that I use a longer piece off wood down in the pipe and put 2 more screws in it.
I have a tread started under WEER CREEK here in the track section.

Rodney
 

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You can use a bulb planter bit out of the garden section of a hardware store. Hook it to your drill and you can drill down 20-30" depending on your soil type. Or dig down some, then drill the rest. Works here in Nebraska, not much in the way of rocks, depends on your soil.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok Guys.. Thanks for all the input. Last question, where do you get the 3/4 inch stuff and what is the standard size.? Also, cost??? What about doing it at ground level? I'm planning on having it buried so the track is just at ground level.
 

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Most of the big box stores carry the plastic trim pieces. If you have a table saw, you can rip down Trex deck planks to 3/4" width. Might look back a few weeks and Don(trains is his name here) did his whole backyard with plastic boards from one of the box stores. Jerry
 

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I' ve done it using trex 2x4 stock which I ripped down on a table saw. The nice thing about the trex is there's no waste--you rip off two side rails, cut some spacer blocks, and what's left is the posts. It breaks if you try for a tight curve though

I've also used "tuff board" from home depot. It's cheap and easy to work with. But you need to paint it and you need to use something for posts. I used PVC pipe


It is much much easier if you are using a track bender. Once I got a bender it was really really easy
 

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Scott,

I did mine with 1x2" plastic trim from Menard's, and Home Depot.

Been very happy with the way it came out.
 

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Posted By sbaxters4 on 10/12/2008 2:19 PM
Ok Guys.. Thanks for all the input. Last question, where do you get the 3/4 inch stuff and what is the standard size.? Also, cost??? What about doing it at ground level? I'm planning on having it buried so the track is just at ground level.




I use Tufboard like Bruce does. I buy the 1"x6"x12' (3/4"x5.5") and rip it down into four strips about 3/4" x 1 3/8". That's enough for 24 feet of stringers. A 1x6x12' board runs $20 at the home depot so it works to about a buck a foot when you add in screws and the PT 2"x2" spacers.
I only use 1 inch PVC supports as they have the same outside diameter as the 2"x2" spacers (1 1/2"). I have only used it for low level installation where the underneath is filled in so 1 inch pipe would probably not be sturdy enough for a table top level, non supported layout.

-Brian
 

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Scott,

Go to Home Depot and ask for the Never Rot stuff. There you will find 1"x2"x8' pieces for the stringers and 2"x2"x8' you can cut into blocks for the spacers. We used PVC pipe for the supports every 2 feet, but I found the PVC fills with rain water and will freeze in the winter lifting the ladder bed up. You may want to drill holes in the PVC pipe or fill with cement or something... if you go that route anyway.
 
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