What is the best tool in your railroad toolbox?

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Well-Known Member
Bunch of things: Needlenose pliers; #11 X-acto knife; NMRA HO scale gage; Swiss needle files; multi-meter; tubes of Walthers GOO! The latter serves for a number of things, including my leather-making business. I've got one passenger car with wood roof and frame and metal sides that I assembled years ago, using GOO, and it is still solid!

Ash Pit

Well-Known Member
I'm not going to call this THE BEST TOOL IN MY RAILROAD TOOL BOX as there are many tools that are the best for a specific job. Right now I am in the process of tearing out my old HO layout and a really handy tool to have for this process in the handy 5 in 1 Professional Painters Tool Scrapper/Putty knife. I'm not really certain that is the proper name for this tool; but, it works for me. It is handy for ripping through plaster and prying things up and without it, the work I am involved with right now would take much longer!


The pointed edge is great for scribing through plaster and the rounded cut-out is great for ripping through the plaster and carboard strips I used for making my scenic contours in my scenery!

Another tool I am using regularly is a 1 1/2 inch wood chisel, I use it with a hammer to bust through thick plaster and prying apart wood structurers. Does everyone know what a wood chisel is or do I need to take a photo>

Mountain Man

Well-Known Member
Name the best tool you have for building or maintaining you railroad.

I will start with my #1, the CMX Track Cleaning Car. Before getting this track cleaner I could never keep my track clean and my locos stalled out on the dirty track. I had a hard time cleaning the track in my tunnels and other hard to reach places. I fill the tank car with alcohol and push it with one of my locos. Very easy and super effective.

Pencil and paper. Think, sketch, think some more, erase and revise...repeat as necessary.


Well-Known Member
The three best tools I would have is a #11 hobby knife, a scale rule and a pin vise with drill bits. With those three I can build just about any car or building. Throw in a fine tooth razor saw, a 4-6 inch flat file and dial calipers and I'm set.


Same Ol' Buzzard
Ok hang on, after shattering a cutoff disc last night I’m going to have to change my answer.
It is now my safety glasses! Then my bottle opener, then my first aid kit. 😉
Use the cut-off discs in pairs to reduce the likelihood of shattering. As a 43 year veteran as manager in a factory environment, I can't begin to stress how important safety glasses are. We had a few who found out too late, and lost their jobs as well because they didn't wear them. That and hearing protection were required of all employees and visitors to the factory floor.

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