2.6: Siskiyou Line - Spline roadbed

24 Oct 2013

Average: 4.1 (12 votes)
14:03 - Hardboard spline model railroad roadbed construction (2005)

Using spline roadbed on your model train layout can save you money and give you a beautiful flowing roadbed alignment almost automatically. Joe Fugate shows in detail how you can build model railroad spline roadbed from 1/4' hardboard in this step-by-step how to video segment.

Note: This video was originally shot in older Standard Definition and then upsampled to HD for TMTV. As a result, the image is softer than is typical for TrainMasters native HD video.


Well presented once again.  You should have your own show on RFDTV or PBS (the only 2 I know of who have ever produced model train shows).

You present this material in such an understandable yet detaied manner that you may be just the guy to get the teens interested in this hobby again.  The one thing I hear more than any other when talking to kids and teens about model railroading is that they think it will take too much time to learn, they don't have the tool skills and it is too difficult to understand the techniques of modeling.  The odd thing is, those same young folks will spend hours with a new smart-phone, tablet or game and not only master it, but be able to manipulate it well beyond the manufacturer's design in a matter of days.

We need to do a better job of showing not just telling the younger folks about how rewarding this mobile art work truly is.  Afterall how many forms of artistry are there that actually require you to fondle your artwork after you have created or aquired it?  I also collect and restore antique rifles and shot guns because I get to fondle my art collection :)

The techniques for assembly don't have to be sooo messy.  A simple (and inexpensive) woodworkers roller applicator bottle will allow you to apply an optimum film of glue on each spline eliminating not only the mess but the wasted glue.  You can get these from Rockler.com or Woodcraft.com or if you have either of these stores in your town you don't have to wait.  A woodworkers craft set of glue applicators for these bottles is also available and provide you with a number of useful cap attachments for everything from brushing and controlled spreading to pinpoint application to spray mist.  Again these are very inexpensive and depending on you glue can be easily washed and ready for the next use.

You may also want to consider the use of "titebond" adhesives as you get better holding power, joints that are less susceptable to temp and humidity changes and a faster cure time.  You still get the a long working time but once it begins to set, it "flashes off" or cures much quicker.

Just a thought and taking a page from bent lamination, a set of templates with your route/radius can be made from poster or card board and you can cut/assemble numerous runs of spline bed at you work table in sets using your cardboard templates of you run, versus staking the splines one 8-foot segment at a time.  This way on repeating pattern sections around the layout you can simply gang assemble those common sections and make the next template while the first budle sets up.


I've never seen spine road bed put together before.  Great job.  I thought spine roadbed was too diffecult to make or install, so I never used it.  However, your video put those fears to rest.  May be showing how the strips were cut on the saw and what to go though to achieve the finish work would help young people to start!

Tim Garver