In a previous life I would cut my O-27 tubular track with a hacksaw, and my recollection is that it worked fairly well.  I would also use a hobby hand held razor saw to cut HO solid track.  Was wondering if anyone has used a razor saw on the full O gauge tubular track, and if so how did it do?  I don't need to hear about power tool methods.  I don't have that much to cut, nor any working power tools that would be appropriate.


Original Post

I've used Zona razor saws.  It might lessen their life(I've dulled at least one), but they can handle it.

I don't have a teeth per inch spec handy for the ones I had used, but I can take a ruler to one later  (assuming I can find the one that I didn't dull down too much )to get a guestimate for you.

I've done it without a vice as well, just holding the track down to a rigid table or maybe a block of wood (2x4, etc) with my other hand.  I figure I risk deforming the track more by clamping it in a vice than I gain.

It is necessary to use a small file to smooth out the rough edge after the cut, but nothing too involved.  A couple strokes with any needle file on each rail, as well as some where the track pins will go is normally enough.

Edit: looks like the one I used was 32 teeth per inch.


Some here have made jigs to make cutting with a hacksaw less vibratory.....LOL   Simply take a block of wood, like a short piece of 2" x 4" and rip grooves into it that match the three rails of tubular track.  For best results, cut the grooves using a table saw.  Make sure they are deep enough for "O" gauge track and wide enough for the rails to fit into.   But not too wide, the rails should fit snuggly.  

Place the track, upside down into the grooves and cut the track with your hacksaw.  The jig prevents the rails from wanting to follow the hacksaw blade back and forth.

Personally, I use a right angle grinder with a thin cutoff blade.  It's the quickest way to make perfectly square cuts.  Depending on the size of the Dremel blade, the body of the tool usually prevents the blade from going all the way through the track perfectly square.  

If you only use the right angle grinder for cutting tubular track, a Harbor Freight model might just be the best choice.  They are incredibly inexpensive. 

Dan Padova


"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill


Even though you don't have a lot of cuts to make, I still highly recommend picking up a Dremel SawMax. You can get the most basic kit for relatively short money, the cuts will be accurate, and it will save you a lot of time. And, there's a very good chance the SawMax will come in handy for other future projects. 


Image result for train collectors association emblem

  TCA 90-30847

  NJ HiRailers Associate Member

When it comes to hand-sawing tubular track, generally speaking, the finer the teeth (the more 'teeth per inch'), the better off you will be.  Cuts easier without so much 'catching'.




2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

George S posted:

If you are cutting O27, you might get by with a hacksaw. If you’re cutting O, forget it and buy / borrow a power tool. It’s next to impossible to cut by hand.


My descriptions above were all for Lionel O Tubular, so it's not impossible.  Start slow with a few strokes in a single direction, preferably pulling the saw towards you. Probably repeat as you make your way through each of the three rails.  This is a benefit of cutting with the track extended over the end of a table - you can easily do one rail at a time.

I've never been an O27 guy, so I've not cut that with a razor saw.  Presumably it's a little easier, assuming the force on the track doesn't deform it since it's lighter.

Here's a link to the saw I think I have. Many hobby stores carry these.  (Yes, I'm aware the description doesn't say it will cut our track, but it does go as far as suggesting copper and brass - as I said earlier, it may lessen it's life, but for under $10, it will work for a fair number of cuts)

Or you could try one of the many power tool focused answers that you specifically said you were not interested in in your first post.




Get a Dremel tool. you will need it sooner or later. Get it sooner because it makes life easier. I am on my third in thirty years. I just wore them out.

Tubular Track cutting. I use a 1 inch diameter disk. Place the track with the cut slightly over the edge of the work bench. Clamp or weigh down the track so it doesn't move. Cut the track about 1/4 longer than needed with an angle cut. Then go back and cut the track again to the proper length with a vertical cut. When taking off only 1/4 inch, you can get the Dremel tool in the proper position for a vertical cut.

Tin snips, needle nose pliers, a flat blade screwdriver, and a track pin. Cut the track to just above the bottom web with the tin snips, bend the track back and forth till the bottom web breaks. Open up the rail with a flat blade screwdriver. Stick in the track pin into the track. Use pliers to reshape rail around pin. Takes two minutes to do all 3 rails. No metal dust everywhere and no power tools required. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

Tinplate Art posted:

Fine teeth razor saw.

I’ve cut O31 and O27 track with a razor saw, seems to work nicely. Made a jig about 25mm long using blue foam board to hold the rails steady, cut steady and it’s easy enough. 

I think I’d use a Dremel in future, though. 

noswad posted:
Chris Lonero posted:

This is what I’ve used with a cutting disk from Harbor Freight. 


Cant find anything like this on their web site?  What's it called?

Thanks in advance.

Here's the link from Harbor Freight:

I found it by doing a search on "Chop Saw" ...

Looks like a cheap power alternative for cutting tube rails.

If it works as stated on metal, I might take the plunge, cause I currently use a Dremel (on Gargraves), but was looking for something that would make clean, square cuts, first time, all the time...

Pat C...


*** If you find yourself in control, then your not going fast enough   ~    Mario Andretti...    ***

I have used the jig in the photo to successfully cut many O gauge tracks. Works on 027 as well.  Great tool.  Place track upside down in the jig and cut with hack saw.  Never really tried a Dremel tool or razor saw with it.  As label notes, need to anchor the unit, which I did with vice grips.  The label indicates where to purchase. I got this many years ago, so not sure still available. 

Hope this helps,


  O gauge track jig



Photos (1)

Additional information:

Hack saw blades can be purchased, different lengths, and different (teeth per inch).  The more teeth per inch, IMO, may be an easier cut. 

Hack saw blades are designed, to cut on the push, out, and away from you.  You can reverse the blade. 

Reciprocating blades, Sawzall, most cases cut toward the machine, though you can purchase reverse cut blades. 

Chris Lonero posted:

This is what I’ve used with a cutting disk from Harbor Freight. 


I had one of these too and it worked well on Gargraves/Ross track.  It dramatically failed when I tried to cut some metal train shelving  Light duty only!





Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

Track Cutting Jig For O27 Track

 I made a Track Cutting Jig to help cut short sections of straight 027 track.

It is made from a scrap of 3/4"  wood 2" x 2 1/4 " with a same size 3/8" plywood glued on the bottom.  Three slots were sawed, with a band saw, 1/4" deep and 1/8" wide at the spacing of the three rails of 027 track.  A 1/16" wide slot was cut at 90 degrees to the track slots to accommodate a fine hack saw blade.



A piece of 1/2" plywood was made to act as a Track Hold Down.  Shown at the top of picture.  Groove was cut to go over the track tie if necessary



Picture of clamp holding Track Cutting Jig, track to be cut with hack saw and Track Hold Down.  The Track Cutting Jig is held in vise.  The vise is a 4in X 10in Columbian woodworking vise I have had for 40 so years.



I use a fine tooth hack saw blade and find the Track Cutting Jig makes cutting shorter pieces of track and easy neat job.

Add Reply

Likes (1)
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653