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Author Topic: Track joiners  (Read 5033 times)
Sasha


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« on: May 23, 2012, 08:57:03 PM »

Does anyone know what ever happened to the track joiners that held sections together much better than the smaller, more bendable ones they sell these days?  I have a few left from my childhood track sections, but I don't have my camera right now to show a picture.  Does anyone know or remember these more robust track joiners?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 07:55:15 AM by Sasha » Logged

Doneldon

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 03:17:49 AM »

Sasha-

I can't say that I've noticed that rail joiners are different these days. It may be that rails are more tightly held to their ties which can make it a little hard to install joiners without bending them. Others' experiences may differ.

-- D
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Sasha


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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 04:21:44 AM »

I went up into the attic and found a couple of the joiners I was describing.  I tried to shine them up a little for the photos:

These joiners hold the tracks a lot tighter and straighter than the versions available now.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 07:56:20 AM by Sasha » Logged

Len

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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 11:56:54 AM »

The joiners for nickle-silver and steel rails don't bend around as easily as the brass joiners for brass track did. So it's not so simple to get the 'clinch' effect the brass ones had.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
Sasha


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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2012, 01:53:14 AM »

So you mean the brass joiners were more pliable?  That seems strange knowing that they had a stronger grip on the rails and held the track more faithfully than the newer, narrower joiners.  Now I'm a little confused.
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Len

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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 11:32:28 AM »

Look at the picture of the brass joiners. See how the edge is curled over so it points almost straight down? That let the edge dig into the web of the brass track it was used for, creating a tight connection as long as the track wasn't seperated a lot. Steel or nickle silver joiners rolled like that tend to spring back, so you don't get the same grip the brass joiners had. It's also more expensive to do, so the steel and NS joiners tend to have more of a /_\ shape, with the joiner gripping the side of the rail instead.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
rogertra


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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2012, 12:16:17 PM »

What to use?

NOT brass!

Use good quality rail joiners for your rail size.

Brass corrodes!

Loose joints?  Soldier them to the rail!
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Rangerover1944


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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 08:12:30 PM »

Sasha, I do remember the older joiners were heavier and bulkier and I'm talking way back in the 50's-70's era before 3ft flex track became popular. Not many use brass track these days and sectional track is gone by the way of the dinosaur, not many modelers use 9" sectional piece track. Cork road bed and track nails is also becoming extinct, shucks code 100 track is losing in popularity for most modelers these days and most modelers these days use cheap caulking compound to secure their 3' sections of code 83 or code 70 track to styrofoam for HO gage. Some do use the newer track joiners but also solder their joints and still others use the joiners and don't solder their joints I personally soldered my feed wires to every piece of 3' flex track and used joiners and I didn't solder many of my joints.  I did leave joints open with no joiners for expansion every 12- 16 ft or so.

Now I know that everybody has their own thing when it comes to laying track. About as many variations and suggestions and what works for some and doesn't for others.  The only other reason for track joiners is if you take your track up and down and not a permanent layout, yea you probably would go through a lot of joiners and problems. Stuff wears out when you put up and take down! I think that's why Bachmann produces EZ track, it's more rugged for those that don't have a permanent layout. But I have some EZ track on my permanent layout for my subway. Fortunate enough to have purchased 3' sections of it too!
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Sasha


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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 08:21:17 PM »

I only want to use flex track, but I'm a little lost - you say you use flex track but don't use joiners? How does the track stay aligned properly between the sections?  Huh?
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Rangerover1944


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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 09:25:12 PM »

Well here goes, for me I did use track joiners, I personally won't put track down without them,  except I also allowed for expansion joints  and just butted my joints with a piece of card stock as a gauge for the joint seperation and carefully aligned it. I secured my track with nails and homasote as my roadbed, not the preferred method of caulk that some use, some do some don't.  What some do, so I've read, is they apply caulking compound evenly spread sort of the thickness of heavy paint. They use these T shaped pins, my exwife had them for her wig when she put it on a dummy head. some use weights like full paint cans or anything with weight suitable to hold the track in place until the compound dries. But keep in mind you must use feed wires to the buss line to feed power to your track. I find it easier to use the rail joiners to keep it in line, but I still feed each section of track with feeders to the Buss. Jim
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Sasha


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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 11:04:39 PM »

When you seasoned railroaders talk about "expansion", are you talking about the track itself, or the material the track is nailed to? I plan on using 3/4" MDF for my base. Are there any problems I should anticipate using that material?
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Doneldon

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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 11:15:26 PM »

When you seasoned railroaders talk about "expansion", are you talking about the track itself, or the material the track is nailed to? I plan on using 3/4" MDF for my base. Are there any problems I should anticipate using that material?
Sasha-

There's a fair amount of confusion here. Many modelers worry about rail expansion but that's a big nothing for the lengths of most of our tracks and the narrow temperature range in which we operate. Roadbed or sub-roadbed changes are much more likely to cause problems because they are the result of wide humidity fluctuations in most of our homes. It may not be much of a thing in the Southwest but humidity can swell wood products in most of the rest of the country.

MDF is pretty stable. I suppose you could put a coat of varnish, oil-base paint or lacquer on it for an extra margin of safety.

                                                                                                                         -- D
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Sasha


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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 01:51:08 AM »

Thank you for the reply!  I think a clear lacquer should do it.  I was thinking MDF would be best for me because it's milled almost perfectly straight and has no grain direction.  Plus - it's solid and maybe that could be beneficial for sound dampening...? I'm new to building layouts, so my theories may be all wrong.

I'm in Orange County, California.  I don't think humidity is a year-'round problem.

I still need to figure out what my method of track laying will be.  I had no idea there were multiple ways.

Thank you again for your helpful reply.  It is much appreciated.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 06:45:01 PM »

Sasha-

I agree that you should have few swelling/shrinking problems do to humidity changes in Orange County. Unless you live right on the ocean, which is where most of OC isn't. MDF should work fine for you.

Yes, there are a tone of ways to lay track. I think the quickest and most currently popular is with adhesive caulk and flex track. Lotsof people like sectional track, and it clearly has its uses, but it is a bit pricey.

                                                                                                                     -- D
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Sasha


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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 10:00:36 PM »

Sounds great.  I want to use flex track mostly so I'm not restricted to 'perfectly' straight and 'perfectly' curved tracks.  I know that all of my tracks will end in 360 degrees one way or another, but little imperfections are part of life and I want the finished layout to be as life-like as possible (which may be difficult for me, having never made a layout before).
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