February 17, 2010

10,000 Spikes

Gosh, sometimes realizing a simple thing hits you like a sledgehammer. I recently ran out of spikes while laying the track from Potomac Creek to Brooke. In the past I could saunter over to the local hobby shop and pick up a pack or two. Since there are no longer any hobby shops in the Northern Virgina area, picking up mundane supplies like spikes and bottles of glue have become an exercise in logistics planning. So I decided to order a batch of spikes to see me through the end of the project. I calculated that I need about 24-28 spikes per foot of track. With about 300 linear feet of total track to go and allowing for a 25 percent waste factor, I needed 10,000 more spikes to finish the project! Wow, that was a revelation. I just hope my elbow can hold up driving all those spikes.

Speaking of spikes, finding model railroad spikes with near scale size heads has become a lot tougher, not just locally, but nationwide. I have heard the tool that the vendor Micro Engineering uses to make the spikes wore out or that the vendor went out of business. The replacement vendor is using a different die that does not cut the head as small as the previous spikes. The low profile spikes that Micro Engineering currently offers have a blunt end that punches and crushes the wood of the tie and does not allow for a secure hold without pre-dilling.

After consulting with other hand laid track modelers, I ordered a batch of 10,000 small spikes from Micro Mark. I hope these are closer to scale size than the spikes I have been using.


  1. I have an easy way to take care of this... doesn't micro engineering make flex track in O-Scale? ;o)

  2. Flex track? ...

    Flex Track?

    We don't need no steenking flex track.

  3. After using them for several months I can say that the new spike from Micro Mark are excellent.