Some Better Tie Plating… Part 2

Trains

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When we last saw our heros… err… ties… a 9″ section was racked up ready for tie plates. I started prepping by cutting out some tie plates to work with. In my first tie plate test I used an X-Acto knife which worked but wasn’t terribly quick or easy so after digging around the Proto87 Stores website I found they recommend using a scissors which ended up working perfectly.

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Next up was preparing a glue syringe, getting the glue (I used a gel super glue) in the syringe was…. well interesting… but I eventually got some in there and I was good to go.

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And with that I was off, as a side note it’s really hard to take pictures of these details with a phone, especially the spikes as we’ll soon find out. I’ll have to see about borrowing my wife’s DSLR and tripod for future detail shots.

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One of the first observations you’ll make doing this is that it’s really hard handle these tie plates because they are so tiny, and you are working with super glue which is not really the most forgiving glue. P87 stores recommends a dental pick type tool which I could definitely see working but as I didn’t have one ended up dabbing just a tiniest bit of superglue on the tip of my X-Acto blade and using that to pick up and place tie plates and when the glue dried on the blade scrape it off and dab another miniscule amount on. Really I was just making it tacky enough to pickup but not sticky enough to be a stronger bond than the glue on the ties.

Gluing itself with the syringe had it’s ups and downs but I’ll admit it might be related to the glue I was using (and it being a little thicker than intended for the syringe). One of the problems I encountered was a siphon effect was created and just sitting there it would start oozing out and then I’d have more on the tip than I’d need for a tie plate and I’d have to use a pin to kind of move glue off the syringe onto the tie. This actually worked pretty well and I might use it instead of the disposable syringes.

My second glue observation was that the amount of glue mattered more than I’d expected. Too much and the template would glue to the tie (happened a couple times but was easy enough to pull off), and too little and the plate would set before I got it positioned right and I’d have to scrape it off and retry.

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Soon I had a whole row of tie plates, my thinking was get one side done. I’ll be honest as I started I wasn’t sure it was something I’d stick to but it got smoother as I went. The next problem is attaching a rail. The tie plates have some vertical definition but not much. I’m not sure if the tie plate itself is supposed to help align the rail very (or if it’s just decorative). Next up I was trying to figure out how to bond the rail to the tie plates, I had gotton some pliobond (I got the idea from the Fast Tracks videos) but on first opening the bottle a gloop of the stuff dropped right on my work space and made a mess but worse of all was quite a noxious smell so I knew I couldn’t work with that inside.

I decided to pick one tie glue it in place and my first attempt of that worked… but it didn’t have a great hold when I tried moving things around so I did it again and this time put in a spike to give an additional mechanical grip. Here is a picture of said spike.

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You probably can’t see it… I couldn’t see it in any pictures. You may be thinking, I think I see it, there is a little silverish dot but that’s just where the rail weathering paint hadn’t adhered properly… but it is near there. Those Proto87 spikes are tiny, it was an interesting challenge getting it in there. Even my smallest needle nose pliers was comically large nosed compared to these spikes. I’m thinking what might be more appropriate is a sturdy set of tweezers or see if there are fine needle nose pliers available at hobby stores for jewlery makers.

Moving forwared I’m going to try and figure out how I’m going to attach that rail before starting the other side. I’ll leave you with a parting shot of the rail and tie on the rest of the ties in the jig… though because it’s a phone picture and the details are super tiny you probably can’t make out the tie plates.

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