Fastening American Flyer track

The holes in the ties on American Flyer S gauge track are absurdly small, so fastening American Flyer track has been a mystery for ages. What size fasteners can you use?

American Flyer veterans recommend using #17 wire brad nails, 1 inch long. Drilling pilot holes helps if you have a small enough bit, a #56 or smaller.

American Flyer track fasteners

fastening American Flyer track
American Flyer track fasteners go on the ends of the ties, in tiny little holes. Finding a small enough fastener is the hardest part of fastening American Flyer track.

You won’t find screws small enough to fit in the holes in Flyer S gauge track. If you want to fasten it to your table in addition to or instead of using track locks, you’ll have to use nails.

You can get 17-gauge wire brad nails at a good hardware store. They are very small, but useful in woodworking. Get 1-inch nails so you have enough to grab into your plywood surface. They’re inexpensive; a big box costs less than $3.

Drilling a pilot hole

Drilling pilot holes makes it much easier to drive such a small nail. But the pilot hole has to be smaller than the nail in order for it to work. Otherwise the fastener will work its way out quickly.

For pilot holes, you need an absurdly small drill bit. Use a 1/32 inch, 1mm, or #56 drill bit or smaller. Position it on the hole in the tie and drill straight down at as close to a 90-degree angle as you can. Broken drill bits happen because of not holding the drill at a 90-degree angle with a steady enough hand. You can use your rotary tool at a very low speed if you want. That can help.

Once you drill the pilot hole, driving the nail becomes much easier. One tap with your hammer will get it through the tie, and a few more taps will drive it into the table.

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