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Mianne benchwork, 1/2 plywood, glued 1 inch foam onto it.  Glued roadbed down.  Placed GarGraves/Ross down with tacky glue.  Let dry.  I went to correct an area and when I took up the GarGraves I had tacky glue stuck hard to bottom of wooden ties.  It seem to somewhat ruin the track.  There must be a better way.  I am finding it hard to get off of go with this layout.  I am also not sure I want to ballast due to the fact my housing development is not what I thought it would be and we may be moving,( escaping Colorado Springs), soon.  So..I do not think I have a prayer of saving gargraves track if ballasted in with white glue.  Boxed in here...any ideas welcome folks.

Original Post

Any comments I make are just my suggestions and my opinions. Others will have different ideas.

First - what are the dimensions of the layout and what material did you use for roadbed? Cork roadbed can be glued down onto extruded pink (or blue) foam with yellow carpenters glue.

I recommend assembling all the track atop the foam temporarily and adjusting it until you have a track plan that is satisfactory. Then mark the track plan onto the foam and begin to glue down cork roadbed section by section, making sure the roadbed is in the exact position beneath the track. I would not glue the track down. Instead, drill holes through some of the wooden ties (between about 9 and 12 inches apart) and use track screws to secure the track onto the cork. I found that Atlas O track screws worked well with the Atlas O track on my layout.  This will allow the track to be removed easily if necessary. I would leave ballasting until much later in the layout-building process when you're certain where the structures and scenery will be on the layout.

In my opinion, it is not necessary to ballast the entire track plan. You may be able to omit ballast altogether at the rear of the layout where it is not readily visible. You may also be able to get away just with ballast outside the rails and not between the rails. You can secure the ballast with yellow carpenters glue diluted half-and-half with water and applied with an eye-dropper. This makes things much easier if you ever need to replace a piece of track or disassemble the layout for moving.

Again, just my opinion and my way of doing it.



Last edited by MELGAR

You can release white glue with alcohol (but good luck finding mass quantities of that any time soon). If you use adhesive caulk, rather than glue then you can get the track off with a putty knife and a lot of elbow grease, but honestly, if once it’s ballasted, by and large, it’s expendable. I’d put the effort into salvaging switches and other specialty items. Plus, GG flex doesn’t go back straight once it’s bent anyways. 
I glued some track down with dynaflex 230. I’ve been able to pull some up and tweak it. Just sand the residue off the foam, repaint the pink spots and go again. 

Tacky glue?  What kind of tacky glue???  That might be part of the problem.

I'd recommend trying Elmer's Glue-All for gluing down the track and then later ballasting.  Elmer's will dry clear and flat, but is not water-proof.  You can come back anytime later, soak it down good with water, and get it to loosen up.  When you get your track loose, you can put track sections in a tub of warm, soapy water to further loosen any residual glue and ballast, then you should be able to brush it off with a stiff nylon brush.

That being said, I have not tried this yet with GarGraves track, but I have with N-scale and HO scale track (yeah, I know, they have plastic ties as opposed to wooden ties).  The water-softening method works well with plastic ties, I'd be willing to bet it should work at least half way decent with wooden ties, too.

Mixed Freight is correct on the Elmer's glue. It is what I used. I did not glue track down. I used Atlas 21st Century Track and put Carpet Tape under it. It is double sided. When I did finally ballast, I used Elmer's Glue. When I have needed to remove a section of track (due to adding an accessory), If the track was ballasted, simply wetting it and using a putty knife removed it fine. Ballast easily comes off the track if any is still on it. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL but the track will come off the Carpet Tape you just can not rip, Tear, Bust, Break. Take your time. All my track is directly laid on carpet tape which is on 1" Foam on top of my bench work (which I did not glue to bench work in most places).


Not sure how you arrived at fastening the track down at the earliest stage of layout construction using tacky glue.  WAY too early for visions of permanence.....IMHO.

If you have wooden ties on the track, I'm not at all confident that a water soak of even just the bottom of the ties is prudent.  Reason?...Gargraves uses a fairly soft wood....pine, I would guess.  It's going to absorb the water.  That's problematic to the rails....if they're tinplated.  They'll rust (PC = oxidize), for sure.  And, once that starts, it's hard to stop it.  GG uses tinplated steel in their standard line of track.  But it starts as tinplated sheet stock.   Which in the manufacturing process is cut into strips prior to being formed into their unique rail shape.  Every cut edge of tinplated sheet steel has no plating to protect it.  So that's where the rust  oxidation will begin.  And, if you look at the construction of GG track, the bottom edges of the rail are deeply embedded into the wood ties.....near the bottom....near that water soaking.

Rather, if you're determined to salvage the track and clean off the old tacky glue, I'd suggest some sort of very coarse sandpaper or abrasive mesh drywall sanding media fixed to a flat surface.....and your track then 'powered' with good ol' elbow grease....with some rhythmic music to stimulate....and a libation to rejuvenate.  Keep a shop vac'll need it.

Another take-away from this sort of track-laying experience.....IMHO and to ballast everything as a very LAST step in the entire layout building process.  I know, I know.....that's not how most folks do it.  But here you are.  In fact, I'm from the school of not gluing the ballast down at all....when that day comes.  Gravity seems to keep it in place on a permanent (read: horizontal, always) layout.  Just as the 1:1 guys do, an occasional dressing of the ballast is part of the game.  They use heavy-duty MOW equipment....we 1:48'ers can use a clean brush.

So, how to otherwise fasten down the track....without tacky glue?    There must be eleventy-seven techniques that folks have espoused in periodicals and forums.  Here, again, I'm from a different school.   I tend to rely on hold track DOWN.  It works most of the time.....grade transitions being one example of an exception.  My early goal is to keep the track from shifting side-to-side....keep its alignment.  If you're using foam, I'd try using screws....but run in short of having the head compress the tie.  And, go ahead and get a bite into the 1/2" plywood beneath.  If you're trying to avoid transmitting train noise to the table top, that's something that can be corrected when you're assured everything is A-OK, and we're wholly ready for permanence.  THEN go to a different non-screw bonding technique.  One interesting technique that's been presented several times is the use of plastic tie-wraps....bundle binders, if you will.  

As for maintaining track value, that's my heirs problem.  But the ol' basement-sized layout will come up a lot easier/faster with less use of glue in the building process.  I'm sure some of it will be headed to the roadside pick-up pile, but there's still a lot that could be of value to a future layout builder on a tight budget.

Finally, my track is laid on cork roadbed on 1/2" plywood.  Although the cork is bonded to the plywood, that didn't happen until the track was all laid out with proven alignment.  Then the center line of the track was marked with a pen, the track removed, the cork laid (water-based, low odor contact cement....Weldwood GREEN can), the track replaced, and fastened down with screws, the screw head stopped short of the tie, but well below railhead height.

Too wordy, I know.  Hope it helps in some way.



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Last edited by dkdkrd

The HO crowd often uses dabs of white caulk. (not gobs)

A wide spackle or putty knife will pry it right up or slice through small gobs, but the hold is good.

Also, I know you want "a real layout" and done "yesterday". But I always suggest a small carpet loop to run on while you meditate on the next step for the real thing. It keeps the spark going, itch scratched, and keeps impulsive mistakes in the name of finishing at a minimum. It can really inspire imo.

The key to wet metal vs rust is not delaying in drying it fast and fully and wiping a little protective oil on the metal after. 


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