Hand Laid Turnout Tutorial
Page 4


Starting at the throwbar side of the turnout, we'll take and spike in the diverging route's rail.
Take a track gauge and put it in place on the rails.
Here is a pic of both kinds I have. Either of them work great, but I prefer the 3 point gauge since I can keep it closer to where I'm spiking the rail.



Once in place, spike the first tie next to the throwbar area. Do both sides of the rail. Then jump back and do the same tie that you spiked the other side on. Do both sides of the rail here also.



Now that we have the "skinny" side of the turnout spiked down, we'll go to the "fat" end of the turnout. I have a temporary piece of flex track spiked down on the diverging route. This is lined up with the centerline I drew on the homasote earlier. We are going to need to keep the stock rail on the turnout straight with the flex track rail, and parallel with the centerline on the homasote for a little ways until we find the frog point area. On a turnout this large, we can come in quite a few ties and put in some spikes, since the frog isn't going to be located right back at the end (unlike on a smaller turnout). So come in about 8 to 10 ties, remembering to put this side's stock rail spikes in the same ties as the other side's stock rail. You will always want to keep each side's spikes in the same ties to keep everything visually pleasing and even.

The whole point of this is to keep the rail straight while it passes through the frog area. We don't want it curving at the frog.
Here is a pic of keeping the stock rail straight with the flex track rail and adding some spikes. On this turnout, I happen to come in 11 ties. (ignore the pencil marks on the ties, got ahead of myself)



Now that we have 2 spikes in, we need to make sure this rail stays straight, so add a few more to it. (again, ignore the pencil marks, got ahead of myself)



Now that the diverging route's stock rail is in place, we can now find the frog point. There are 2 ways to do this.

1. Using the paper template.

Since we are doing a standard sized turnout and using a paper template, we can lay it over the top of the turnout to find the frog point. Using something sharp (I used a pencil), poke a hole through the template at the frog point and mark the turnout below.



2. Using some trucks.

If we are doing a turnout that we can not use a paper template with, we can use a truck to find it. Take and set one side's wheels on the stock rail of the straight route and make a mark on the ties at the center of the wheel on the other side.



Now put the truck on the diverging route's stock rail and mark the center of the wheels again.



Mark each side untill you come together. This is also why we need to keep the diverging route's stock rail straight in this area, to help find the frog.

Now that we know where the point of the frog is, we can finish putting in the spikes on the stock rails for this area. Spike from the point of the frog back towards the "fat" side of the turnout. Do Not spike past the frog point on the diverging stock rail. That comes later.

In this pic, I have finished the spikes on each stock rail from the frog back. You can also see the dash lines on the ties from using the truck/wheel to find the frog point. The small circle in the homasote between the ties is the mark made from using the paper template. Notice how they both are in the same place. =)



This part of the turnout is the most critical and the hardest to get correct, so we'll call in the help of a Fast Tracks point former. This tool allows you to file down the rail at the correct angle to form the frog point. Before I bought one of these, it would take quite a bit of time filing and checking to get the rail correct. This tool cut the time down immensely. It is not needed, but I do recommend it. Here is the link again: Turnouts : Point Former Tool

As I stated earlier, these come in all the popular turnout sizes, but you don't need to buy a bunch of them, just one or two, depending on the turnout sizes you have planned to do. I personally bought a #6 and a #8. I figured I'd be doing alot of #6's and with the #8, I can get up to about a #12 with it.

Here is what they look like. I have the rail pushed into one of the frog point grooves further than normal to show how they work.



Even though this is a #8 point former, we can get our #10 out of it by sliding the rail a bit further out than normal. All this does is take off more rail, but it won't matter, since we'll be filling the area between the frog points up with solder. In this pic, I have the rail out a bit further and have started to file it down.



After filing it down smooth, this is what we have. Note that the rail is now "cut in half".



Continued on page 5


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