I'm designing my layout that'll be mostly Ross switch and Ross sectional track and roadbed. Will use Gargrave flex for many places. I'm using AnyRail software and inevitably have a few areas that need a filler piece that's not standard. If I fill that with Gargrave's flex it could be pretty small (a few inches) which doesn't sound structurally like a good idea. Should I remove another section of track and go for a longer piece of flex track (maybe a foot) that's easier to manage in its place or can I simply cut a piece of the sectional track to fit? As this is my first layout I'm sure there is a best practice out there. Likewise there are a few areas that needed 2 or 3 3" straight in a row sections to fit the software and this seems like a waste of $ if I can just cut down a single piece to fit the area.
I would remove a piece of sectional and go with a longer piece of flex or sectional track, cut to fit. Short fitter pieces can cause a noticeable "bump" later on when your trains are running, as they may not lay perfectly flat with respect to the adjacent rails. Longer pieces of track are much easier to manage and greatly reduce or totally eliminate the chance of being flat with adjacent pieces.
I have a short piece in my layout and it's OK but if I was doing it again I would do like Paul above.
I agree with a moderate size piece of flex rather than a sectional piece plus a short flex. There is also the advantage of fewer rail joints. So it becomes bit of a balancing act.
Think if it in terms of laying a floor, would you want to look at a bunch of whole pieces and then one thin slice of something. If you have a for example 38 inch length of track and the flex track is only 36 inches what I would do is divide the 38 section by 2 and use two pieces cut to length. You still have the same number of joints but the spacing is better.
Minimize the joints. Use the longest piece of track that fits in the space.
In some cases you end up with a short piece of flex track needed to complete the loop. If you can't shorten the two sections before the small space equally so that you can fill the space with a larger section, put the small cut section in, solder it in place and smooth the joints with a Dremel tool. You should have no problems with this.
Thanks guys. Kind of what I had thought.