Switch-Works New Gluing Techniques

I have a couple of new techniques for putting together the Ultimate Turnout with the Switch-Works fixture.

  1. Glue the ties to the tie base using 3M #45 Spray Adhesive. I make a mask to keep it off of the tie jig, but if I do get overspray it cleans easily with mineral spirits. Preciously I was using a Barge Cement/MEK mixture, but it’s slow because you need to lay out ties first then brush the Barge/MEK mixture on tie by tie.
  2. Glue the tie plates to the ties using Barge/MEK. I use the tie plate jig to mark where to place the glue;then lift the jig and apply Barge/MEK mixture to several ties; replace the tie plate fixture; place the tie plates; clean up the barge goo with a dab of MEK. This replaces my previous method of placing a dab of CA into a hole then placing a tie plate. The advantages are
    1. of the new method is it allows more work positioning the tie plates than using CA glue.
    2. I can clean up any globs of Barge Cement with MEK, as opposed to having to chip away CA residue
    3. It’s much faster because I can place the glue for multiple tie plates at a time instead of individually with CA
  3. Glue the special tie plates, the close together tie plates and the very end tie plates using the Switch-Works jig. Install the rail and fill in the remaining tie plates by slipping it under the rail. This allows me to use the Heavy Duty tie plates (which don’t fit in the jig) and is faster. The trick is to apply Barge/MEK mixture to the bare ties and the bottom of the rail; it generally has enough tack to press the tie plates in place; I drizzle MEK across all the joints when finsihed to clean and reactivate the Barge.

The new techniques seem to provide a stronger bond and a cleaner look.

I intend to make a video to better illustrate the techniques. For now, here are a few photos of in-progress turnouts using these techniques.


Author: Greg Amer

2 thoughts on “Switch-Works New Gluing Techniques

  1. I’m really enjoying your Blog, learning a lot about Proto 87. My question is how the Barge MEK dilution was made? Was there a specific ratio of the two chemicals?

  2. I was talking to Andy Reichert today and I mentioned the method of using Barge/MEK to cement the tie plates to the ties. He cautioned against doing so as you bear the risk of reactivating the Barge cement holding the tie plates to the ties when you glue the rail to the ties with Barge/MEK. There is the possibility that reactivating the Barge could misaling the tie plates.

    I currently have two turnouts under construction. One of them has the special tie plates attached with CA, the other will have all tie plates attached with MEK. I’ll have to monitor the success and report back after I’ve finished.

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