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View Full Version : Rail cutting tool - is it worth it?



coffeeman
11th Jan 2011, 09:00 PM
I've read that a few of you prefer the specific rail cutting tool over other cutters so I'm curious what's the difference?

Is it truely worth the $17 when I have my Mastercraft cutter in my toolbox?

REM37411
11th Jan 2011, 09:07 PM
Yes, it is. I am not familiar with a mastercraft cutter but the rail nippers we talk about provide a flat cut on the back side. This allows you to butt tracks up without a "bump" or other irregularity.

Oh, and I love your avatar!

TwinDad
11th Jan 2011, 09:11 PM
I've been using a pair of heavy duty wire cutters, specifically these guys (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00945084000P?prdNo=4&blockNo=4&blockType=G4). I'm about to pull the trigger on the rail nippers. The wire cutters do "okay", but I frequently have to dress the rail ends with a file to get them so the rail joiners will slide on. Even then, it doesn't look so good.

My daddy taught me that while you can "overkill" something, and sometimes you have to make do with what you have, there's nothing more valuable than the right tool for the job. From what I can tell, a reasonably priced pair of rail nippers are "the right tool for the job".

Oh, and ModelTrainStuff has them for $10 (http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/product-p/791-2175b.htm) (plus S/H).

ScottL
11th Jan 2011, 09:15 PM
I am a recent devotee of the rail nippers. Clean, easy cuts- well worth the modest cost. I keep the Mastercraft tools for bigger jobs.

Sherman
11th Jan 2011, 09:16 PM
Absolutely worth it. I wasn't sure as I was using wire cutters like TD and really, how much better could they be? The guy at the LHS made me an offer- buy it, try it- if I didn't think it was worth the $17 bring it back no questions asked. They are still in my toolbox. Some things are just worth it and the rail nippers are one of those things.

--Sherman

musicman
11th Jan 2011, 10:13 PM
Yep! They were the best 15 bucks I ever spent. I swear by them.

jfinigan
11th Jan 2011, 10:27 PM
I have a question about these rail clippers, for it seems to me to use them as recommended there would inevitably be some compression of the rail, both on the top and the bottom. This would result in the rail not being the same height as the rail it is to be joined to, which could result in some derailment issues. Do these rail cutters in fact cut the rail in a way that does not result in rail compression? And if so, how? This is the only thing that has made me wary about using them.

seanm
11th Jan 2011, 11:04 PM
Main thing with the Xuron Rail Nippers is that you should NEVER cut anything else. Even soft wire. If you do that they will last a lifetime. I have not been as nice to mine as I should be and do dress the end of my rails a bit with a small file. Two quick swipes usually takes care of it.

ranulf
12th Jan 2011, 02:25 AM
I have a question about these rail clippers, for it seems to me to use them as recommended there would inevitably be some compression of the rail, both on the top and the bottom. This would result in the rail not being the same height as the rail it is to be joined to, which could result in some derailment issues. Do these rail cutters in fact cut the rail in a way that does not result in rail compression? And if so, how? This is the only thing that has made me wary about using them.

The beauty of flush-cutting nippers is that the deformation of the rail is almost entirely relegated to the cutoff. There is a very small lip left on the good rail that can be taken care of with a file in a stroke or 2.

Also, Xuron recommends nipping N scale rail with the cutting edge vertical, not horizontal, althogh I confess I have used them both ways.

coffeeman
12th Jan 2011, 01:19 PM
Well I'm sold, next trip to the LHS I will pick up the nippers.

Thanks all.

musicman
12th Jan 2011, 01:57 PM
Please report back and let us know your thoughts on them once you have used them a bit. It's always nice to get feedback when we recommend something to someone.

Have fun!

rrgramps
24th Jan 2011, 11:19 AM
You probably got em now, so let's hear about how they work. (He's probably too busy cutting track to post). LOL

coffeeman
25th Jan 2011, 04:24 PM
I got distracted finally building the benchwork, but I hope stop in on my lunch tommorrow.

Update to follow soon!

coffeeman
31st Jan 2011, 01:02 AM
For the record, it was worth it.

I tried very hard to get a photo, but nothing turned out well enough to show the detail. I cut one side with my mastercraft snips and the other with the rail cutters.

The snips made a mess of the track, would have had to spend a long time filing to get it back to a suitable shape. The rail cutter side was clean and smooth and still maintained the shape of track.

Thanks for the input.

musicman
31st Jan 2011, 02:39 PM
Another happy customer! Excellent! I was skeptical when they first told me about it too. I would not part with mine for anything now.

bicknell
31st Jan 2011, 09:06 PM
I have rail nippers, and they are nice. I use them at shows for quick repairs.

I swear by a cut off wheel though normally, once you get used to it you get a perfect, square end every time.