View Full Version : Track Barrier Height?

11-26-2009, 11:08 AM

Just a quick question, what height are the barriers of most commercial tracks and what material is used to flex round the tight corners?


11-27-2009, 10:24 PM
About 3" is typical, but on the inside of corners you can take them down to an inch or so to enhance visibility.

For tight radius bends, you have several choices. I've used 4 layers of 'doorskin' veneer and a lot of glue. When the glue is dry its tremendously strong, but the finished thickness is a bit less than the 1/2" MDF I used for straight sidewalls, so a lot of bondo and sanding was required for a clean transitional blend. The other method, which I reccommend, uses two pieces of 1/4" MDF. Both are kerfed deeply with parrallel cuts approx. 1/2" apart. Fit in place with the solid sides out, so only the top and bottom edges need to be filled and sanded. Again, don't spare the glue! Common clothespins spaced just an inch apart can hold the layers together while glue sets.

The Pacific Northwest guys have used some flexible composite material used to line hockey rinks, but I've never actually seen it, as it isn't a lumberyard item here in California. I couldn't begin to guess about the UK. Finally, Ogilvie uses kerf cuts in plywood, but I always found the cut edges of plywood were harder to sand smooth.

11-27-2009, 11:31 PM
The majority of Ogilvie/Dadds/Gerding tracks that I have seen are lower than three inches above the track surface; more like 2 1/2". Cutting them down to 1" for visibility is not hard to do after the fact either. Wetting MDF has not worked for me. If the radius is tight, several layers of thin (1/8") mdf WILL bend. Just use a lot of clamps to keep them tight to eliminate cracks and gaps, but they can be filled in with bondo or wood glue.

The sidewall gives stability to the finished roadbed, and will keep it from drooping between the crossribs over time. I have seen tracks that were made with just 1/8" hardboard for sidewalls. They just do not hold their age well, but they can always be upgraded as needed. Make sure you have more than just the 1/2" roadbed to fasten the sides to. Even short lengths of an additional 1/2" strip helps to stabilize any potential sag. Drywall screws are much stronger than staples or finish nails in holding a glued joint.

11-28-2009, 11:57 AM
Have you checked with Mike Swiss? On his flat track, He used some plastic/composite? stuff he found in rolls at Home Depot. It bends really tightly where needed, keeps the cars off the floor, and is as gentle with deslotted cars as one could hope for. He mentions it in his play-by-play of the building of his flat track. Personally, I'm fascinated by the puck board that the guys in the PNW are using. Can't find it around here - may never get a chance to try it. Also, clear Lexan does a good job as a barrier in those areas where line of sight is interrupted by barriers made of traditional materials. They do have a tendency to crack when too tall and "larger" marshals lean over them to get a car back on track. If anybody knows where in the midwest to get puck board, I'd sure like to know!


M G Brown
11-29-2009, 08:48 AM

Puck board is also known as arena board and IIRC from my hockey days is mfg'd by Polyzone and sheets of it can be ordered direct from them in various colors.

I wouldn't expect you'd find it as an off the shelf item in a Lowes or Home Depot.

11-30-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks so much!