Post 4 from my old blog - building hand made turnouts:
After building 3 turnouts I have been thinking a bit on how to speed up their construction. By far the slowest - and hardest - part is filing the 2 switch rail points and a corresponding notch on the stock rails. It’s also quite stressful and easy to mess up.
My first idea was to create some sort of jig and use a wood router to grind the rail to a point. This might seem strange but I have accidentally routed straight through a nail while cutting slots in wood on several occasions without much ill effect to the router bit, so it seemed quite a reasonable idea at the time :-)
To make the jig I used some thin (3 mm) pieces of mdf glued to a baseboard to hold the rail upside down and another 2 pieces of thicker mdf to guide the router. The pieces holding the rail were at a slight angle to the router guides and the idea was that I would start at one end and the router bit would gradually contact the rail as I moved the router along the guide. Needless to say it was a total failure and I don’t recommend doing this! As soon as the router bit touched the rail the rail shot out of its slot. I tried again, holding down the rail with one hand and managed to stop the rail from flying out, but even after 30 seconds or so I had barely ground away any rail. That stuff is so tough that the whole jig was vibrating like crazy and I was sure I would lose a finger or worse. Maybe not the first time but sooner or later.
Sorry, I do not have a picture of this particular contraption as it ended up in the bin. Lesson learned - do not use a wood router to grind turnout points!