Tape for track. Take 2.

When I build track, I use double-sided tape to hold the ties against the paper template that I’m building the track on. I had a brilliant moment – at least that’s how it felt – where I thought I could use that same tape to hold track on the layout. While I was very happy with the bond between the tape and the layout top, the tape I was using wasn’t as flexible as I would have liked and stretching it along curves could have been tidier. Working this tape onto the layout meant touching the glue surface a lot. My fingers got stickier and the tape, less so, and this affected how much was available to hold track down. In the end, I wasn’t entirely sold on this but still enough so, to wonder what the next option could be? In the time since that first experiment was conducted, I’ve been continuing to think about other options. In several different model forums, David K. Smith has been advocating toward using foam tapes such as those used for weather-stripping a house. He does great work and his conviction regarding this roadbed option is infectious.

The foam tape Mr. Smith is using is 1/4″ thick but I notice that Scotch sell the same product titled Scotch Mounting Tape (http://www.scotchbrand.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/ScotchBrand/Scotch/Products/Catalog/~/Scotch-Mounting-Tape?N=4335+5584757+3294603557&rt=rud).

This tape is only 1/16″ thick and comes on shorter (72″ long) roll. Here in Charlottetown, a roll of the stuff sells for under four dollars so would be cost competitive compared to a similar amount of N scale cork roadbed. I bought a roll today and look forward to trying it this evening.

Leading up to my test, here are some of my aspirations and concerns for this product:
– I don’t want the typical cork roadbed thickness as a roadbed height. The 1/16″ thickness of the tape should be just enough.
– The tape is 1/2″ wide so it will be narrower than a typical N scale tie. With a square edge it does have the typical chamfered edge we’d have in cork. This isn’t a big problem as the tape is shallow enough that I can just make up this profile with ballast.
– I’ve used this tape before and found it flexible so tracing along a curve should be easier.
– The tape has a backer to protect the glue from my fingers. Having this in place will make it easier to press the tape into the layout for a good glue bond.
– I really think that the tape will bond nicely to the foam layout surface.
– Regardless of the adhesive I use, N scale ties don’t get any bigger and neither does the contact patch available to glue against. I hope the tape holds well enough to keep things in place until I ballast. After that, I think everything is equal again.
– I wonder how much room I’ll have to fuss around with the location of track. I doubt there will be much and I’ll need to have my act together when I put the tracks down.

I’ll update again later with how this works out. I’m keen to play around with this product.



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