Re: Cutting a large quantity of switch ties

Jim Marlett

I use a Chopper to cut switch ties and it isn’t that time consuming. I cut them three at a time and cut all I anticipate needing of any particular length at one time, then move on to the next length. Each length is put into its own zip lock sandwich bag with a label identifying that length in HO scale feet. You may have to do this in more than one session, but it shouldn’t take weeks.

To place the ties, I download a template from Fast Tracks, print it out and tape it to my workbench. I use a left hand template for right hand switches and a left hand template for right hand switches since I will be taping the ties upside down. I place a strip of painter’s tape sticky side up down the center of the template then tape the ends to the workbench somewhere beyond the template. I label the template for each tie length in HO scale feet so I can easily know which sandwich bag I should be dipping into for that particular tie. I place the tie on the template and tape until I have the whole template covered, lift up the tape/ties, hang them in a convenient place and move on the the next one. I suppose I could make a three dimensional template like I have for making standard length tie strips, but by the time I finished that, I would have a pretty significant number of switch tied glued to the layout using my “slow” method.

I should probably mention that Fast Tracks presupposes that your standard tie length will be 7 feet. If you use 6.5 foot. or 6 foot. ties, you should shorten the  length of each switch tie by six inches or a foot if you want to match those tie lengths.

In the photo, this switch will have pc board ties in the places where they are left off. If you aren’t soldering rails to pc board ties, you will want to include all of the ties indicated. The Kapler switch ties I use are only 12 feet long vs. Mt. Albert ties which are 14 feet long. That has consequences at the wide end of the template.

Jim Marlett

On May 7, 2021, at 9:18 PM, Bill Lugg <luggw1@...> wrote:

I've got a situation where I've got to cut switch ties for 24 turnouts that will go in a yard.  Are there any thoughts for a quick way to do this other than sitting in front of a Chopper for multiple weeks cutting a few at a time?

Bill Lugg

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