Spline roadbed Part I …

Hi all,

Yesterday I had delivered some masonite sheets to use for the spline roadbed.  The sheets were 8’ x 4’ x 1/8”.  I bought three at this stage.

Today I spent the morning cutting the sheets into 25mm wide strips.  The three sheets were clamped together and then I used a straight edge as a guide for the circular saw.  The three sheets produced 120 strips which equals 960 feet of spline material.

Now, over the last few weeks, I have been working out the details of the spline ie what width and whether I should use solid or ‘open’ spline.  I have decided to go with the ‘open’ spline.

Open spline roadbed

As can be seen, six strips will be used for the spline, which will end up around 31mm wide.  So from this first batch of masonite, I’ll get about 160 feet of spline.


I have always wanted to use closed cell foam as the roadbed, mainly for its noise deadening properties.  This afternoon I went down to the local Clark Rubber to see what they had.  After some discussion with the bloke, I came away with a 9.5m roll of self adhesive foam tape, 3.5mm thick by 150mm wide.  The stuff was $8.95 per metre, but the plan is to cut it into strips around 20mm wide to go on top of the spline, one each either side of the track centreline, so I’ll end up with about seven times the quantity which works out to be around $1.30 per metre which is not too bad.

I had originally thought about getting the foam in sheets and cutting it into strips, but the Clark Rubber bloke said that the sheets cannot be guaranteed to be uniform thickness, whereas the tape is, which is better.

Also, with the tape having adhesive on one side, I think it will make it nice and easy to attach to the spline.

Foam roadbed on spline


So after the foam is down, next comes the Central Valley tie strips.  More on this later when I get to that stage.

Track laid on foam


I hope to make a start on the spline tomorrow, with the first job to work out how to start and attach the spline from the end of the storage yards plywood top.  More updates as things progress.

Cheers for now.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011, in Benchwork and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Russell WILLIS

    Bunnings sell masonite packing strips up to 100 in a box 1 inch x 1/8″ x 6’or7′ long.
    I have had trouble at joints with plywood roadbed when the weather changes due to different expansion rates.

    • Hi Russell,

      Thanks for the info. At this stage I have quite a supply of spline strips to last a while but when that runs out, I’ll check out Bunnings for the packing strips.


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