Tips for Model Railroad Tools: Scalpels vs. Hobby Knives

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You’re going to be making a lot of cuts when building a model railroad layout, and it’s important to know which model railroad tools ought to be used for which kinds of cuts. Hobby knives are great for doing a variety of inexact cuts and handywork on structures and landscapes, but they don’t always do the trick.

This is especially true for cases when you’re looking to make precise cuts along a straight edge or you need to cut through a large amount of material, and for those situations where a hobby knife just won’t cut it, you’ll more often than not want to opt for a scalpel. In this lesson, we teach you a bit about these handy model railroad tools and introduce you to some of the options you might have when buying your own scalpels.

Picking the right model railroad tools

Scalpels are a must-have for any dedicated model railroader. Hobby shops and hardware stores sell a range of scalpels in different sizes and shapes of blades that are geared toward specific tasks. These thin, sharp model railroad tools can be utilized in a number of situations when you’re building your layout, so NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone gives you a quick rundown of the pros and cons of scalpel use.

In his demonstration on model railroad tools, Gerry teaches you about a few of the jobs for which scalpels are ideal, from cleaning and scoring to making exact cuts. He also discusses some of the shapes you’ll see when you look for these model railroad tools in your local hardware store or hobby shop, and warns against certain types of cuts you shouldn’t try to make with a scalpel. With Gerry’s tips on using scalpels, you’ll be able to add a whole new dimension to your box of model railroad tools!

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