AMI roadbed

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by rsn48, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    Feb 28, 2003
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    I wrote this thread about two months ago and posted it in a number of forums, I thought I had done it here but I couldn't find it. Some one asked for anyones experience of AMI roadbed so I thought I would copy and paste this in here. My apologies to those who have already read it:

    I thought since I have seen this topic bandied about a bit I would do a kind of review after having laid about one hundred and twenty feet of AMI and track (about one third of my layout). I will note that I have used cork in the past and homasote at my friends homes.

    First, I was nervous. I had bought what I was going to be using now - and in the future - about a year and a half ago. So I read some positive experiences with it and some negative in various forums. I was nervous as to whether I would be happy with the product.

    I bought HO AMI for my N layout, planning on cutting it in two to extend its length and reduce the cost. So I bought four boxes of AMI in HO - thirty feet long; each box would provide 60 feet of N scale length AMI.

    My first attempt at cutting the AMI length wise wasn't that great; I don't recommend scissors for cutting the product. If you have already purchased your AMI, buy a pizza cutter from the dollar store and dedicate it to your layout.

    My technique for cutting AMI length wise was as follows - first, I eye balled the centre of the AMI and cut with short strokes using the pizza cutter. The issues are the same with AMI as pizza, you will cut most of it, with the occasional stubborn piece not quite making it. I would cut only six foot lengths at one time; I found this easier to manage. I used old hard board underneath so as not to mar any surfaces. Once the AMI was pizza cut, I then folded the AMI back on itself, paper back touching paper back. I found this helped break the tension of some of the stubborn AMI that had been only partially cut by the pizza cutter.

    It isn't the end of the world if pieces touch, but life is simpler if you can keep the pieces apart, not touching. I would then lay a piece down on the centre lines I had drawn in of the track plan. I would then add another length to the end of the first piece by simply pressing one into the other.

    I would press down on the AMI only at a few points until I knew I had what I wanted, then I would press down on more spots once I figured I had it right.

    I then added track and turnouts, making sure to use electrical tape, sticky side down on the AMI, shiny side up, by the turnout throw and points, as instructed to on the package.

    I found I liked the AMI. It has one advantage that no one has really discussed and that is the ability to change your mind, several times in a couple of instances. With AMI your decisions aren't sealed in cement - so to speak. I could move it here, or over there, or just back a little bit, or forward just a tiny bit and it would do it. I found myself thinking that if I had used cork or Woodland Scenic road bed, I would have had a tougher time changing and re-changing. In fact, in one location I added a turnout and extra track, decided I didn't like it, tore it out, then decided it really need to be there and re-installed, all in a couple of hours, try that with other road beds and track spikes.

    With laying track, several times I had to pull up track that I had "permanently" pressed into the AMI, and with patience it came up and I was able to fix some blunders I had made and pressed it back in. Again imagine spiking down your track then having to pull it due to some bone head mistake.

    I liked it so much, that in an area I had decided to not use it; I have changed my mind and plan on using it. Its just too convenient, not to use it.

    It is more expensive than some of the other alternatives, but I found it so forgiving of mistakes, I decided the extra expense was worth it.

    I have edited this in: when pressing down to "permanently" attach the track to the AMI, watch your turnouts. I was using a board to press in the track and unexpectedly caught a point on the board and ruined a new turnout. If I had known that was an issue, I would have been more aware the first time round. My only negative criticism of the AMI company is that they should warn would be "presser inners" to be aware of the delicate parts of the turnout and to put pressure with the flat of the board and not the edge of the board so as not to pick parts and ruin them.