Here I describe how I manufacture cord
roadbed from rolls of cork floor underlayment. For other topics, click on
the text links below.
the layout's "Zero," or starting, elevation
to Construction Methods
you see all that's necessary for creating cork roadbed from a
large roll of cork. The list of items include: A table to work on,
a 1X4 board to keep from damaging the table with the cutter, a
four-foot steel rule that acts as a cutting guide, a combination
square, a utility knife, three clamps for securing the cutting
guide, cork and board to the table, and a couple of scraps of wood
to keep the roll of cork under control.
fellow model railroad and my good friend Walt is setting up to cut
a strip of roadbed. I cut my roadbed in 5/8 inch strips. Like the
commercial cork roadbed, I use two parallel strips to make the
roadbed. That way I can bend them easily around curves, and lay
them along the track centerlines drawn on the plywood subroadbed.
square is set so that 5/8 inch of the ruler protrudes from the
90-degree face. I butt this face against the edge of the cork, and
the end of the rule locates the cutting guide to give me the
roadbed width I want. That makes it really easy to cut wider
sections of roadbed for yards and other areas that would benefit
from larger expanses of cork.
One end of the
cutting guide is set to expose the right width of cork for cutting
and clamped in place. The other end is then done in the same way.
The third clamp goes right in the middle of the cutting guide -
with four feet between ends of the cork roll, the center also
needs support or the cork will move under the cutting guide, and
the roadbed won't be uniform in width.
now we cut the strip.
This is real simple - Holding
down on the cutting guide with one hand (adds a little more
stiffness to the guide), simply cut the cork strip off the sheet.
I cut the areas that are clear of the clamps first, then go back
and release each clamp and cut the cork under where it was,
starting with the center clamp first. And voila, a strip of
roadbed ready for use!
I'm using two thicknesses of
cork - 1/4 inch for the mainline, and 1/8 inch for sidings and
other secondary tracks.