Some Better Tie Plating


My first attempt at tie plates used the Proto 87 Stores sample kit. It has a sample of tie plates, spikes, joint bars, etc and a very simple spacing template that looks like this:

WP_20160210_13_11_49_Pro_LI (2).jpg

They specifically say it’s for someone who’s not too sure how invested they want to get in it. After gluing down one tie plate with it I could definitely see why, you basically had to fasten it in place and glue tie plates in without gluing down the template and there was nothing to keep it in the right place or aligned. I decided to just upgrade to the suggested method which comes with a tie alignment jig.

WP_20160210_12_58_58_Pro_LI (2).jpg

The tie jig is pretty cool because it can easily handle three different tie lengths and two different spacings.

WP_20160210_13_04_04_Pro_LI (2).jpg

Once you get your ties aligned you overlay the the tie plate jig with the correct settings and then glue on your tie plates and swap the jig to the other side. The kit I got came with two syringes for applying glue but since these are really disposable once the glue dries in the syringe I’m going to finish painting my all my ties before I start gluing to avoid prematurely having to dispose of one.

I got the 19″ pro base system which appears to just be a picture frame with a stainless steel “picture” and then some nice strong magnets to hold the jigs in place. What I like about this system is once you have a base it lowers the cost of subsequent jigs because you only need to purchase the parts you need and they also offer a upgrade kit for the 19″ base to 38″ (for the really big switches). That said, I’m going to stick to Fast Tracks for turnouts as I’m not really terribly interested in going full P87 right now and I really like Fast Tracks turnouts.

6 thoughts on “Some Better Tie Plating

    1. Glad you are enjoying them! I’m a little nervous about the next step as it involves precision gluing (precision anything makes me nervous 🙂 ) and once the glue is in the syringe the clock is ticking before it’s glued shut which means I don’t want to waste a syringe on just a couple ties… I want to get a bunch done. I’m nearly completion with my tie painting so hopefully I’ll be able to get a segment of track done this weekend or early next week.

  1. I worried about the glueing step too.

    For a while now I’ve been using these small adaptor tips that fit on the ends of CA bottles. They permit much finer control of the amount of glue coming from the bottle. They appear to be made of the same material most CA bottles are made from. As expected, they do get stuck shut but that bit can just be trimmed from the tip and we start afresh. The ones I use are from Hobbico but Carl Goldberg used to sell their own and so did SIG Manufacturing. Here in Canada, Great Hobbies list them on their website:

    Do you think you’ll paint the tie plates before installing them or after?


    1. Those look perfect, I’ll have to give them a try!

      I’ve already painted them, my airbrush is still not fixed (just need to order parts) and it was too cold to be outside with a rattle can so I went with what I had which was a variety of paint markers for track weathering (Rail, Tie, and Rust colors). The tie plates themselves to stand out are a blend of rust and rail. My thinking was to give the individual steel components (rail, tie plates, and spikes) slightly different coloring so they stick out a little but still on the other hand don’t stick out too much as to look.

      Just for the record… painting a bunch of ties with a paint marker is a pain in the you know where I won’t be repeating again 🙂

      1. I can only imagine and I appreciate your decorum in expressing your “joy” regarding the work of painting ties with a marker. Ha!

        How do you plan to attach the rail to the tie plates, ties? Andy sells spikes which should work. Just curious.


      2. I’m gluing the tie plates down with a CA gel, I’m going to try pliobond for fastening down the rails (thinking it’ll give me a little better working time than CA). I’m also going to use the Proto 87 Spikes once I get the track section glued down to the roadbed.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s