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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,


I'm actively building my short line now and have discovered a problem I don't know how to resolve.


The difference in the height of my track (Llagas Creek narrow gauge 250 Al) vs my switches (SwitchCrafters narrow gauge 250 Al) is 0.11" (about 7/64). The difference of course is in the tie height. But I don't see anything I can do to level these out so I don't have lumps wherever my switches are.


My track base is a ladder structure using red cedar (I'm using Richard Smith's Port Orford Coast as my guide to construction). I don't have much track down yet. But I do have enough to get to my first switch installation. After spending a considerable time making sure my track was level going through the town of Eagle Creek, it dawned on me that every time I go into or out of a switch I was going to have a change in elevation.


Has anyone else had this problem and figured out a way to fix it?
 

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Either you shim the lower track or you sand the taller ties down.
Mount a belt sander upside down and locked on and sand the ties, have a fixed gauge handy to check your work.

John
 

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Shim underneath the switch between it and the ladder roadbed. Probably sufficient to rip some .11" redwood strips on the table saw and tack them to the top of the stringers where the switch will go. That'll level things up. Or, you can just fill in with ballast and let the ballast support the switch. That's what I've done on my railroad, where I have a similar difference between the heights of my track ties (AMS) and my switches (Sunset Valley). I just let the switches float above the support. The ballast keeps them plenty stable.

Later,

K
 

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I take it that switch ties are to tall. If your track is out doors and in ballast then just lower the ballast section under the switch so it will be level with your track. Later RJD
 

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You could use a router with a straight bit to cut away material in the top of the ladder to create a recess for the switch. If you don't own one already and don't foresee any other uses for it, you could get away with a real cheap one from Harbor Freight. Use the biggest diameter bit the router will accept to make the work go quickly - red cedar cuts extremely easy and won't bog down the router. Just don't hit any metal fasteners!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all,

I think I'm going to use an Xacto strip cutter to lower the ladder rails under the switches and an orbital sander to take down the blocks between the rails. The red cedar is very soft and should cut without any problem. Fortunately I only have 2 switches I need to cut down. I haven't put down the ladder any further than that yet. From now on I think I'll build the ladder for the switches as seperate modules that are .11" shorter and use strapping to attach them to the normal ladder.

Using a belt sander would have been the quickest solution, but I don't have one. And to cut down for 2 switches, I can't justify that cost (maybe later).

I'll continue building platform until I get the strip cutter. Will post some pics later and everyone can admire my exceptional wood working skills :)..
 

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I would advise against building separate switch modules of ladder just to solve this problem. That will introduce joints in your track foundation at exactly the points where you least want them - near a switch.

It could be pretty tricky to get an even surface with a belt sander. They work fine (mostly) on big planar surfaces, but are hard to control on narrow areas like ladder roadbed. You're likely to end up with bumps and dips.

Another way to do it, using hand tools, is to scribe a line on each side at the depth you want to remove, use a saw to cut down to that line in multiple places, and remove the waste between the saw kerfs with a chisel. That's the way carpenters have been notching joists and beams for centuries.
 

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use a saw to cut down to that line in multiple places
Jim's traditional approach is good, but requires a steady hand with the saw.

I use my portable circular saw, with the depth set to exactly the slot depth, when I'm doing the cuts for a slot like yours in a flat surface. Set the depth, test it, reset it and then make as many passes over the area you want to cut as are necessary. In soft wood like cedar, you can move the saw sideways and it will cut the slot for you - no chisel needed! And on your ladder it will also cut the blocks.
 

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Well either way you are trying to do it the hard way. Later RJD
 

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Posted By aceinspp on 06 Oct 2011 06:06 PM
Well either way you are trying to do it the hard way. Later RJD
Well, that's a really constructive comment. Do you have a better suggestion that isn't dependent on the track being in ballast?
 

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Well that comment pertains to being in ballast and I see no reference to other than that. So if you are not laying your track in ballast then I guess my hint does not work for you. Later RJD
 
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