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Baseboard Construction




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#1 andyrawlins

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 15:36

I'm new to railway modelling and I am looking to build my first compact shelf layout in 7mm scale.  I want to build an ultra compact shunting layout and I'm thinking of building my shelf framework using 4" x 1" softwood and use a ply top.  My model will be quite narrow (around a foot or so) as you can see from the attached image, but reading many articles/blogs it appears that a lot of people use ply for the framework as well.  I was just wondering what are the pros and cons for each type of wood and would appreciate any advice really.

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#2 Pete the Elaner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:02

I have tried both.

 

Ply frames are too thin to glue/screw to the tops so I chose to glue & screw small softwood blocks to the frame ply. These have to be flush with the edge.

I then glued the top ply to the frame & glued/screwed to the small blocks. I therefore consider this to be more of a ply/softwood hybrid than a true ply frame.

 

If you use softwood for the frame, you can build the board by gluing/screwing the frame to the top.

 

Softwood will be much quicker but ply/softwood hybrid will be lighter.

Strength will depend on the dimensions of the materials you choose & how thorough you would be if building ply frames.

 

You mentioned it is your first layout, so it may be worth keeping things simple by using softwood. Be choosy about the wood & check that it is nice & straight when you buy it. 4x1 softwood should provide adequate support (4" vertical though - this may sound obvious but I have seen it laid the other way).

9mm ply should be ok, especially for a narrow layout. 12mm ply would be even more substantial.

I gave my boards a coat of varnish because I felt that this would give them extra protection against damp, either from the environment or when ballasting.

 

Did you weather that wagon & figure yourself? They look great.



#3 298

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:10

Softwood framing seems be a traditional choice because there is a belief that heavy equals sturdy. MDF is cheaper than plywood and popular because it hasn't got a natural grain that can warp, but needs to be sealed from moisture else it'll....warp.

Have you considered a baseboard kit? What you've described could be built from a timhorn.co.uk kit and offers a massive time saving and doesn't rely on design work to plan the baseboard, having transport to collect the wood, and tools & workshop space and skill to build it.
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#4 LBRJ

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:21

Hello there! The weathering on the Cargowaggon and the shunter is exceptional!

 

For a fairly small, simple baseboard I would always go for 69x19mm* softwood frame with a ply top - I think the 4x1" you mention would be rather heavy and is over kill. 

You could make the softwood frame on the L girder principle for extra strength and warp resistance.


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#5 Guius

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:36

I would encourage anyone to have a go at baseboard construction, as this is the only way you will pick up skills, it will also stand you in good stead with the rest of your modelling projects further down the line. A few house maintenance tools such as a Try Square, Tenon Saw, Hand Drill & bits, Rule, Glue and Screws and you are in business at very little cost. The only thing I'll say is 4" x 1" might be a bit OTT  for a board @ 4' x 1'. Hope you'll enjoy the woodwork side of model railways and I bet you'll surprise yourself in what you can accomplish in a short time. Good luck.

 

Best wishes

Guy



#6 shortliner

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:40

2" x 1" pine frame, - CLAMPED AND GLUED (with Gorilla glue or equivalent) - with 5 or 6mm MDF top - Make sure the pine is straight and not warped, and leave in the room where the layout will live for 3 weeks to season - glue in cross spacers every 12" - 18" - the only metal in my baseboards are M6 bolts and tee-nuts /washers to join boards together - if the boards are to be portable I suggest max size is 48" long x 12"/18" wide - hope that helps


Edited by shortliner, 12 September 2017 - 08:00 .

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#7 The Johnster

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:55

And now some advice from probably the world's worst woodworker and baseboard builder and inveterate bodger.  My own baseboards are Ikea shelving skipraids strengthened and stiffened by 4"x 2" timber left over from the landlord's fencing job in the garden.  Consider what the boards are to be used for, what they are going to support, what they are going to be supported by, and whether they can remain permanently or semi-permanently in place or have to be removed to be put away or taken to shows.  If they cannot be left in place, then weight and ease of handling become much more important features, and best practice requires a bit more in terms of design and build quality.  Otherwise the only real requirement is that they stay level especially at the joins (your layout may be small enough to fit on one board), but equally must not sag or warp in the middle, and hence the weight or bodgery of construction are of little consequence.

 

Superlative weathering, by the way; you sure you're new to it?  Seriously, I've been at it for nearly 60 years, and couldn't turn out anything that good!


Edited by The Johnster, 11 September 2017 - 16:56 .


#8 andyrawlins

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 16:58

I have tried both.

 

Ply frames are too thin to glue/screw to the tops so I chose to glue & screw small softwood blocks to the frame ply. These have to be flush with the edge.

I then glued the top ply to the frame & glued/screwed to the small blocks. I therefore consider this to be more of a ply/softwood hybrid than a true ply frame.

 

If you use softwood for the frame, you can build the board by gluing/screwing the frame to the top.

 

Softwood will be much quicker but ply/softwood hybrid will be lighter.

Strength will depend on the dimensions of the materials you choose & how thorough you would be if building ply frames.

 

You mentioned it is your first layout, so it may be worth keeping things simple by using softwood. Be choosy about the wood & check that it is nice & straight when you buy it. 4x1 softwood should provide adequate support (4" vertical though - this may sound obvious but I have seen it laid the other way).

9mm ply should be ok, especially for a narrow layout. 12mm ply would be even more substantial.

I gave my boards a coat of varnish because I felt that this would give them extra protection against damp, either from the environment or when ballasting.

 

Did you weather that wagon & figure yourself? They look great.

 

Thanks, I would get the wood from my local wood yard NOT a DIY shed.  I did consider having a purpose built board, but think it will be quite costly especially for a bespoke size.  12mm top makes sense.  Yes I weathered the wagon and painted the figure myself.

 

2" x 1" pine frame, - CLAMPED AND GLUED (with Gorilla glue or equivalent) - with 5 or 6mm MDF top - Make sure the pine is straight and not warped, and leave in the room where the layout will live for 3 weeks to season - glue in cross spacers every 12" - 18" - the only metal in my baseboards are M6 bolts and tee-nuts /washes to join boards together - if the boards are to be portable I suggest max size is 48" long x 12"/18" wide - hope that helps

 

Softwood framing seems be a traditional choice because there is a belief that heavy equals sturdy. MDF is cheaper than plywood and popular because it hasn't got a natural grain that can warp, but needs to be sealed from moisture else it'll....warp.

Have you considered a baseboard kit? What you've described could be built from a timhorn.co.uk kit and offers a massive time saving and doesn't rely on design work to plan the baseboard, having transport to collect the wood, and tools & workshop space and skill to build it.

 

Yes to the kit, but the size will be unique and from what I've looked at bespoke production puts the prices up, but I will have a look at his later tonight thanks.

 

I would encourage anyone to have a go at baseboard construction, as this is the only way you will pick up skills, it will also stand you in good stead with the rest of your modelling projects further down the line. A few house maintenance tools such as a Try Square, Tenon Saw, Hand Drill & bits, Rule, Glue and Screws and you are in business at very little cost. The only thing I'll say is 4" x 1" might be a bit OTT  for a board @ 4' x 1'. Hope you'll enjoy the woodwork side of model railways and I bet you'll surprise yourself in what you can accomplish in a short time. Good luck.

 

Best wishes

Guy

My board will be around 8 foot in length which is why I thought about 4" x 1" as it will only be supported along one edge and both ends, so I need it to be fairly rigid - Thanks Andy



#9 andyrawlins

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 17:03

And now some advice from probably the world's worst woodworker and baseboard builder and inveterate bodger.  My own baseboards are Ikea shelving skipraids strengthened and stiffened by 4"x 2" timber left over from the landlord's fencing job in the garden.  Consider what the boards are to be used for, what they are going to support, what they are going to be supported by, and whether they can remain permanently or semi-permanently in place or have to be removed to be put away or taken to shows.  If they cannot be left in place, then weight and ease of handling become much more important features, and best practice requires a bit more in terms of design and build quality.  Otherwise the only real requirement is that they stay level especially at the joins (your layout may be small enough to fit on one board), but equally must not sag or warp in the middle, and hence the weight or bodgery of construction are of little consequence.

 

Superlative weathering, by the way; you sure you're new to it?  Seriously, I've been at it for nearly 60 years, and couldn't turn out anything that good!

Indoor modelling yes! I have a 7/8ths scale live steam garden railway, but thats built on recycled plastic! I was just concerned that being a fairly long board and only supported at the ends and one side, it needs to quite rigid and I wasn't sure if ply would be rigid enough!  thank you anyway  Andy



#10 teaky

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 20:29

http://www.ikea.com/...e-art-90282180/

 

(Slightly under the dimensions you're after but you could adapt one.)

 

I built a couple of small shunting layouts for my kids around a decade ago using the slightly longer versions of these shelves and they have remained straight and level.

 

The only disadvantage is that the shelves are fully enclosed so you can't hide point motors and the like underneath but on such a small layout hand operated points would all be in reach.

 

I glued some 6mm insulation to the top which allowed wires to be buried with ease.

 

Otherwise, I like the sound of Guius' suggestion above.  This is the perfect opportunity to practice your woodwork on a manageable scale.



#11 Vanders

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:13

There are about as many ways to build a baseboard as there are ways to lay out the track on it! Different people will swear by different methods, and different methods are suitable for different uses, sizes & various other constraints. Fashion also dictates to a certain extent; 20 years ago people would still swear to use softwood with Sundeala as a surface, but you're unlikely to find anyone advocating for it these days.

 

This is one of those topics that seems like it'd be good for one of the magazines to cover; build a baseboard with different method then test & rate the finished item against various criteria? I dunno, it seems like it'd certainly be a good way to fill some pages to me!


Edited by Vanders, 13 September 2017 - 10:13 .

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#12 standardblue

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 13:14

This is one of those topics that seems like it'd be good for one of the magazines to cover; build a baseboard with different method then test & rate the finished item against various criteria? I dunno, it seems like it'd certainly be a good way to fill some pages to me!


You'd be right! Railway Modeller had been covering different baseboard constructions in several issues this year.

Mark

#13 wn 1A

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 16:57

 http://www.rmweb.co....ibition-layout/ see  Post's 268/294/301/304/499/511/590/607 this uses 3 or 4mm sides / ends / strengtheners  with 6mm tops  scenic boards only may be my good friend TEAMYAKIMA can give you more details.



#14 ROSSPOP

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 17:18

Hi

 

In 7mm I went for strength and lightness.

 

I based mine on a module design by Neale Burrows  RM Aug 2012.

 

 

DSC01682.JPG

 

Can be built to any size.  For me MDF would have been too heavy.

 

 

Made a simple end unit jig.

 

 

DSC02225.JPG

 

 

And then proceeded with softwood and ply.

 

 

DSC02224.JPG

 

 

Each unit can be self containes and protective to all the valuable modelling displayed inside.

 

 

DSC02228.JPG

 

 

 

And if you wish illuminated with modern LED strip.

 

 

 

DSC02278.JPG

 

 

John

 

 


Edited by ROSSPOP, 13 September 2017 - 17:20 .

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#15 locomad

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 17:22

Fashion also dictates to a certain extent; 20 years ago people would still swear to use softwood with Sundeala as a surface, but you're unlikely to find anyone advocating for it these days.
 
This is one of those topics that seems like it'd be good for one of the magazines to cover; build a baseboard with different method then test & rate the finished item against various criteria? I dunno, it seems like it'd certainly be a good way to fill some pages to me!


I'am in the process of making some more baseboards using sundeala 9mm on softwood 2 X 1.

Reason because on the whole I find they have lasted, stood the test of time not warped as much as chip board or mdf, not as heavy, other advantages of sundeala ability to take pins easy to cut and drill and a lot less noisy.

I have built lightweight boards using ply it's slightly lighter if you have a semi permanent layout, but I found that you tend to build larger boards which been bulky tend to be more difficult to move about.

My own view, 2 foot X 4 foot boards are about the most convenient to move about in cars or round the house, with other purpose built to fit in a room attic or shed.

My dad built some 60 years ago, they have been used on 6 layouts since, still in use today on my current layout.






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