December 24th, 2011

So lets talk splines. I did the usual internet search on how to build this type of subroadbed, and there are quite a few decent sites on how to do it. For the most part, I followed what has already been written about, with a few tweaks here and there. Instead of using nails to clamp the masonite strips to, I used screws. Much easier to move around if the spline needs some changing, which in my case was quite a bit. I also use some stiff cardboard templates cut to certain curved sizes to make sure the masonite strips are staying at a constant radius (minus the easements). And who needs to pay money for a cheap brush to smooth the glue out when you have a finger that works just as good?
I use 4x8 sheets of 3/16" masonite since Home Depot didn't have true 1/4". Using the 3/16" masonite in layers of 5 give me a 15/16" width, just enough for a slight sloping roadbed on each side of the ties. And while I was at the 'Depot, I found some cheap but super strong clamps for 99¢ each. Bought enough to clamp a full 8' strip side to side.

One problem I still have is super elevation. I've read about and tried the masking tape strip technique and do not like it one bit. Way too hard to get enough glue in place so it holds the track but won't ooze up between the ties. So on this section of spline, I staggered the inner and outter masonite strips to give me super elevation. While this way works so far, it's very hard to get a consistant "bank" to the track. Sanding has helped, but it's still a guessing game on how much to sand. Needless to say, I'll be testing out different ways until I find one that works.

Since there are some pics on the last update (I totally forgot to take pics while building the first strips, Duh Michael!), I'll just continue from where I left off.



Ran a bead of glue down the center...


... and smoothed it out with my finger. No need for a brush, no matter how cheap they are. Also, I found it didn't matter which side of the masonite I ran the glue on, just to make sure you use ENOUGH glue! You want that stuff oozing out on the top and bottom.


Lots of those 99¢ clamps from Home Depot


Clamping the main while the siding's middle spline strip awaits placement.
Note the holes drilled into the benchwork for future wiring runs. Doing it now instead of when I'm trying to run wire!


Instead of using nails (like I've read all over the internet), I use screws. Much easier to adjust if the spline needs to be repositioned.



North June Lake siding turnout location. I needed to fit at least a 160" siding in, so that pushed the turnout from the straight area on the left to the curve on the right. No big deal, since I'll be handlaying my turnouts. Note the block of wood clamped to the masonite strip to keep it straight.


Got most of the main spline in, starting to work on the siding.




Working on the curve. Bishop yard will be directly below.


Once the final position of the curved turnout was figured out, it was clamp time. Note the vertical piece of scrap wood holding the siding apart from the main.


Keeping things straight with a "U" shaped piece of aluminum channel.


Here is the curved turnout location. After getting the center masonite strip in place from main to siding, I butted the rest of the strips up to it.


Opposite end


Finished up all the splines on the main and ran some screws in to hold it in place so I could remove the clamp screws.


I kinda messed up with the splines on here. I wanted the center spline of the main line (foreground) to curve around and become the center spline of the siding, but I was one strip off. No big deal, I will just have to adjust the roadbed and trackage when it goes on top.


Completed June Lake Siding spline


More siding. I also started doing some "track planning" on the lower level.


Close up of the turnout splines


Here's my girlfriend helping out sanding the top of the spline.


All sanded smooth. Can't wait to get track on here!


Speaking of track, this is how it looks sitting on top of the spline subroadbed.


Here is my attempt at sanding the spline to get some super elevation. It's been a bit hard to get a consistant bank to the cars, so I might have to find a different way (besides using masking tape)


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