|All the tools you need to make your own |
Everyone responded that they used some form of commercial model railroad roadbed. Except me.
Like many in this hobby, when I started out I didn’t have lots of money. Commercial roadbed seemed too expensive. But what to do?
I found my answer in a local home improvement store—rolled sheet cork.
|A small roll of sheet cork.|
Rolled sheet cork is sold in home improvement stores as an underlay for flooring. But it works great for model railroads, too.
It has a few advantages, in my opinion. First, it is less costly. A quick search on the Web shows that Home Depot sells a roll of sheet cork 50 feet long by 4 feet wide for $118.00. That will provide abut 300 four-foot long pieces, or 1,200 feet of roadbed, at a cost of about 40 cents a section, or 10 cents a foot.
Contrast that with one popular commercial model railroad brand, which is sold in packages of 25 pieces three feet long (75 feet) for about $26 (online sale). That’s $1.04 per section, or 34 cents per foot.
Second, at ¼ inch thick, rolled sheet cork seems to be the right height for prototype roadbed—to me, at least. (Commercial HO scale roadbed seems too high to me.)
|Unballasted sheet cork roadbed.|
Finally, it’s easy to use. No need to cut it in half—it bends easily to fit curves. It also takes nails well.
I buy the cork in large sections, then cut it to size with an x-acto knife. I bevel the edges a bit, to make them rounded, then lay it down. (I use cigar box nails to hold the track and cork in place—no glue. Later, when the track is ballasted, I remove the nails.)
Like most things in this hobby, what works for me may not work for others. But when it comes to roadbed, sheet cork works for me.
|The end result.|