I suppose if you have to reinvent something, it’s time to write it down so you don’t have to invent it yet again later. Tonight, I had hoped to get the Screaming Banshee Rail Grinder out, but I only got as far as filing the gauge side of the frogs and points before the noise abatement rules came into effect. Because grinding the back of the rail weakens it, I always bend the rail away and file off at least the head on the gauge side, and ideally much of the web as well. This way, the head is supported at the tip of the point.
Filing one side, I can support the rail against a piece of wood with my fingernail, and file against that; I don’t even lose too much fingernail in the process. For the other rail, it requires quite a contortion to be able to hold the file in my right hand. That’s when I reinvented the dog.
It’s actually just a finishing nail, driven slightly proud of a piece of scrap plywood. There is space beneath the head to accept the foot of the rail. I support the head of the rail against the head of the nail and file away. This not only saves on fingernails, but it also saves on time.
In the photo above, the point against the nail is bent and awaiting filing. The one in the middle has had its head filed, while the one to the right has had both its head and foot filed so they are in line with the straight section of the rail.
Once I reinvented the dog, the whole process went very quickly, and I finished all the points and frogs for the staging yard in the time it took to get through the Mozart clarinet concerto.