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A big sorry in advance. Having almost completed my loft lay out I've now decided to build an oo gauge layout in my rear garden, it will be basically a tail chaser with the track fixed to a platform 50 cm above  the ground. My confusion lies in what to put my track on? wood is my first choice but on a rough calculation I will need 22 mtrs in length and when I priced up soft wood decking I found that to expensive. Online information tells me chipwood is a big no no for outside so what is an affordable material to put my track on. Sorry again but I've spent a short while looking on this webpage for answers to help me with my problem and alas can't find any so if any one has the time to point me in the right direction a big big thank you. Kind regards from Mike in Stoke on Trent.

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Welcome to the forum Mike.
Hopefully someone will be along with a better answer than I can give.

I guess you could give a local timber merchant a try, they might be able to suggest something equally as solid but cheaper.

I'm further down the Trent from you, I don't think there are many members in the Staffs area.
Barry.

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Hi Mike

I don't want to put you off, but if you are going to get more than 1 or 2 years from your railway, you need to buy quality materials - this doesn't come cheaply! Hence why, many people on here will tell you to do a little bit at a time - what you can afford, when you can afford it.

I think i'm right in saying, most people who use timber for their trackbed, also cover & seal it, to prevent as little moisture to get into it, as possible. This involves roofing felt, mastics / glues or bitumen - all things that add to the cost. Personally, I make things completely solid, using concrete! This isn't to everyone's taste, but I'm lucky as I have a very understanding Wife! I have previously used recycled plastics - the posts were great, the boards not so - needed to be smaller, to minimise the effects of expansion / contraction. This wasn't a cheap option either.

Have a look through peoples build threads and the section on trackbed construction.

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Has anyone used old pallets for the wood? I was thinking of doing this. If you can find a load for free or cheap locally that could be an option for cost saving. Just strip them down and use. I intend on doing this, was still going to treat and wrap in felt to protect and give a ballast look.

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On 13/08/2020 at 16:15, Dav2 said:

Has anyone used old pallets for the wood? I was thinking of doing this. If you can find a load for free or cheap locally that could be an option for cost saving. Just strip them down and use. I intend on doing this, was still going to treat and wrap in felt to protect and give a ballast look.

Why not?

I haven't had a layout in some time, yet mine was made from wood salvaged from alleys. Same difference really. 

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On 8/13/2020 at 11:15 PM, Dav2 said:

Has anyone used old pallets for the wood?...

I intend on doing this, was still going to treat and wrap in felt to protect and give a ballast look.

Hi, I'm going to use reclaimed pallets and timber for the structure of my temporary section. Though I don't need it to last forever and the top boards will go into the garage for bad weather. But I can at least report back on how it goes.

Barry.

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Hi Mike,

I was basically in the same position as you. I ended up building from pallets and reclaimed wood, I put down a marine ply roadbed, topped with roofing felt . its all treated with good quality wood seal. Honestly, I read up as much as I could then just jumped in and built it. I’m knocking on a year now and still going strong. 

Karl

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Having a very tight budget l used pallets on my original section, some most of which are still I  use. I found it hard to get them apart so in the end l cut them up and used them as slats rather than length wise, screwed or nailed on to 6ft treated 2 x1 and covered in felt. Cheap and cheerful.  BUT, the problems. I had support posts at the end of the 6ft lengths which meant the boards could sag in the middle, not all pallets are the same thickness so you may have to be careful, wood quality varies too and l have had the odd exposed bit rot very quickly.  You can even use the block pieces glued together as support posts. Cheaper than ply and excellent way but be prepared to replace the od bit.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've just had a delivery of logs neatly stacked onto a wooden pallet and with a wooden framework around to hold everything together. It's one of several similar deliveries we've had over the years and every year as soon as I've dismantled the wooden framework and taken the pallet apart I think of @traingeekboy and the uses he could make of all that timber! It's really solid stuff and yet all I do is cut it into short lengths and make sticks out of it for lighting the fire.

I don't know how suitable it would be as I don't have any experience of using timber from pallets to create a track bed but I do know that eventually softwood decking boards will twist & warp leading to uneven running if they are not firmly supported.

What about using scaffolding boards? Are they easy enough to get hold of at a decent price?

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On 09/09/2020 at 11:23, mick said:

I've just had a delivery of logs neatly stacked onto a wooden pallet and with a wooden framework around to hold everything together. It's one of several similar deliveries we've had over the years and every year as soon as I've dismantled the wooden framework and taken the pallet apart I think of @traingeekboy and the uses he could make of all that timber! It's really solid stuff and yet all I do is cut it into short lengths and make sticks out of it for lighting the fire.

I don't know how suitable it would be as I don't have any experience of using timber from pallets to create a track bed but I do know that eventually softwood decking boards will twist & warp leading to uneven running if they are not firmly supported.

What about using scaffolding boards? Are they easy enough to get hold of at a decent price?

Mick, IMHO lumber is lumber. As long as it isn't warped or already decayed in any way, all you gotta do it seal it up and go. That is the most important thing I learned is that you have to protect the wood from the elements.

Screws work best for fastening.

I think some of the tried and true methods on here are worth following.

And yes, I am still using scavenged materials, but now it's all for scratch building train cars. ;)

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On 09/09/2020 at 18:23, mick said:

I've just had a delivery of logs neatly stacked onto a wooden pallet and with a wooden framework around to hold everything together. It's one of several similar deliveries we've had over the years and every year as soon as I've dismantled the wooden framework and taken the pallet apart I think of @traingeekboy and the uses he could make of all that timber! It's really solid stuff and yet all I do is cut it into short lengths and make sticks out of it for lighting the fire.

I don't know how suitable it would be as I don't have any experience of using timber from pallets to create a track bed but I do know that eventually softwood decking boards will twist & warp leading to uneven running if they are not firmly supported.

What about using scaffolding boards? Are they easy enough to get hold of at a decent price?

From my limited experience scaffolding boards are ok but tend to bow width ways, great for water drainage but not much else! Scaffolding, decking or just plain floor boards are great for doing long lengths but need plenty of bracing to stop warping every which way. According to Ebay (other action sites are avaliable)  you can get scaffolding boards for as little as £1 each the problem being that you have to collect them, so you can guarantee the nearest to you are 100 miles away ! As l have said l use pallet wood as slats screwed to a brace. Yes they may not provide  a perfect flat surface but you could always top it with a thin sheet of ply, much cheaper than the thick stuff and cover with roofing felt. In my garden the slats have lasted longer than some of the ply sections. Red ants seem to love the glue holding the ply together !

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