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Tomathee

Permanent legs

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Hello folks, pleased to report the train set was well received by our four year old on Christmas Day and there's enough interest from he and approval from the boss to set it up in the spare room.

 

Briefly, it was a 4'x2' and 4'x3' board on top of 44x27mm frame, joint together with bolts and latches.

 

As part of moving it out the lounge where its been sat on the floor I want to put it on legs and repaint it. It only got as far as undercoat and took a bit of a battering over xmas, as a walkway and drinks coaster among other things. I've made this thread as most of the others I searched related to portable or folding solutions, which I don't need. The layout threads I read through didn't really cover legs in detail that covered what I wanted to know. So...

 

I have some 44x27mm sticks left over, will they be enough for the job or do I need thicker? I'm equally conscious about overkill so I avoided picking up some fence post size wood I saw by chance the other day.

 

Would a suitable plan be a leg on each corner of the 4'x3' and two on the outside corners of the 4'x2', or would I need four on that board as well? Additionally would there be need for a 5th or even 6th leg on the longer sides or centre of the bigger board?

 

One brace across the legs at each end or will a diagonal as well help?

 

I had planned to put the legs inside the frame edges and screw in from both sides, then down through the board as well, or is it better to have something in between for the leg to be fixed to?

 

I think that's all, if there are specific layout threads that anyone can suggest where I can find this for myself I'm happy to read a few pages to find it, I wasn't having any luck going through the search with pot luck.

 

Many thanks

Tom

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Hello Tomathee, glad to hear your four year old is enjoying his new railway. My toddler is at the Brio stage of things and enjoys pushing thomas around the tracks.

 

Regards putting legs on your baseboard, my first question would be does the board deform under its own weight? You mentioned a frame but not the thickness of the ply. Also there is a join so sagging could be a risk unless you introduce some thicker bracing.

 

Have you considered wall mounting? It might require a bit more clearance from the domestic authorities but has the capacity to be more stable and it can be 'put away' when out of use if you use a hinge/ flap setup.

 

I think introducing legs would require some deeper bracing as when you think about the forces on the tops of the legs when the table might get knocked or leant on resulting in a wobbly railway.

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Depends on height to some extent but 44x27mm sticks should be OK strengthwise, provided they are securely fixed to the baseboard top, you may need an extra block of 44x27mm at the top to provide a secure fixing. One board with four legs and the second with two ought to be fine provided the joint between the two is rigid, It's how many exhibition layouts are supported. I use that for one of my show layouts which has 4ft long boards that doesn't flex but it does have deep ply sides.

 

As Neal says above the need for extra support does very much depend on the rigidity of your boards.

 

John

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Can you fix the baseboards to the walls? That saves a set of legs and makes the whole setup more secure.

 

Tell the boss not to worry - it can all come out again and just leaves a few screw holes to be patched up.

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Can't advise on the correct size, but given that this is for a young child maybe a bit of overbuilding would be advisable given the possibilities of say, being climbed on, that a normal layout wouldn't really face.

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If the basboards, when set up, make an area 5' x 4', I think your proposal is OK - if the boards are attached end to end, then there may be a tendacy to rock sideways unless fixed to a wall.  In any case I think you would be unwise to rely on the top fixings to keep the whole assembly stable.  For a four-year old, I guess the height will be about 2' or so, but I would provide some form of bracing from (say) the middle height of each leg to the top frame, lengthways and sideways - then, if a leg is kicked accidentally, it shouldn't break anything.

 

Harold.

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Assuming that you've configured the boards into a 5'x4' arrangement, I think wall mounting might be a non-starter as it is unlikely a 4 year old would be able to reach the back of it, so I'm assuming you are intending for access all the way around, and that legs will be the way to go. your plan for 6 in total (4 + 2) should be sufficient. Diagonal bracing of the legs will help as triangles are stable structures. Given that the average height of a 4 year old is about 40 inches (~1metre) you'll probably want to ignore the advice for exhibition layouts of making the tops about a metre or so from the ground, and will probably want to go for a more child friendly height (Harold's 2' sounds more likely), which will inherently be more stable too. 

 

One thing that cropped up in my Joining Baseboards thread in this section that looks useful is to put a ledge on the edge of the 4x3 section so that the 4x2 section has a little extra vertical support, and makes it a more hands-free operation when you're bolting the two halves together. 

 

If you haven't already done so, add some battening under the board as well as what you have around the edges (some more of your 44x27mm material should do the trick) to prevent it sagging. Also remember, if you intend to use track-pins, the more rigid you can make the board structure, the less force you will require to hammer in the pins, and are less likely to damage the track.

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Hello Tomathee, glad to hear your four year old is enjoying his new railway. My toddler is at the Brio stage of things and enjoys pushing thomas around the tracks.

 

Regards putting legs on your baseboard, my first question would be does the board deform under its own weight? You mentioned a frame but not the thickness of the ply. Also there is a join so sagging could be a risk unless you introduce some thicker bracing.

 

Have you considered wall mounting? It might require a bit more clearance from the domestic authorities but has the capacity to be more stable and it can be 'put away' when out of use if you use a hinge/ flap setup.

 

I think introducing legs would require some deeper bracing as when you think about the forces on the tops of the legs when the table might get knocked or leant on resulting in a wobbly railway.

 

Thanks Neal, he also has Brio and I think this has replaced the plastic Thomas take & play stuff, which I didn't rate. I possibly jumped the gun a bit as he's not quite picked up things like putting them back on the track properly and understanding speed and corners etc but I figured get in and make the most of it before he gets to Xbox age which might take him away from this sort of thing.

 

The board is 12mm thick, there's pics below that explain better than my waffle. I considered wall mounting with a hinge but I'm not sure the effort would be worth it. For instance the only thing currently fighting for the space it will occupy is a clothes airer, which is easier moved elsewhere, and hopefully we'll get more into scenery and buildings than I managed in my childhood, making fold-away either impossible or time consuming.

 

Depends on height to some extent but 44x27mm sticks should be OK strengthwise, provided they are securely fixed to the baseboard top, you may need an extra block of 44x27mm at the top to provide a secure fixing. One board with four legs and the second with two ought to be fine provided the joint between the two is rigid, It's how many exhibition layouts are supported. I use that for one of my show layouts which has 4ft long boards that doesn't flex but it does have deep ply sides.

 

As Neal says above the need for extra support does very much depend on the rigidity of your boards.

 

John

 

Cheers John, they felt quite solid when I put them together, with a fair few people walking across them to reach the sofa while it's been in the lounge with no apparent ill effects. I'll probably do it in stages so I'll see if the leg/bracing works for one section before I replicate it on the smaller one.

 

Can you fix the baseboards to the walls? That saves a set of legs and makes the whole setup more secure.

 

Tell the boss not to worry - it can all come out again and just leaves a few screw holes to be patched up.

 

Thanks Harlequin, as mentioned above I'll avoid this for now as there's also high chance he'll swap bedroom into the room it's going into so may need re-arranging in the short term. Maybe once that's settled and we have a final area I can revisit the idea.

 

 

Can't advise on the correct size, but given that this is for a young child maybe a bit of overbuilding would be advisable given the possibilities of say, being climbed on, that a normal layout wouldn't really face.

 

Thanks, this is very true, I was pleased with how solid the boards turned out after following the advice of the good people on here so hopefully the legs will match.

 

If the basboards, when set up, make an area 5' x 4', I think your proposal is OK - if the boards are attached end to end, then there may be a tendacy to rock sideways unless fixed to a wall.  In any case I think you would be unwise to rely on the top fixings to keep the whole assembly stable.  For a four-year old, I guess the height will be about 2' or so, but I would provide some form of bracing from (say) the middle height of each leg to the top frame, lengthways and sideways - then, if a leg is kicked accidentally, it shouldn't break anything.

 

Harold.

 

Thanks Harold, 5x4 is correct, for now at least. I've been playing with the height in my head, switching between regular table height and something lower, as you suggest, both have pros and cons. I've also been thinking about the bracing, I'd like to keep the front as open as possible, so I was planning to have a horizontal piece between the front and back legs and some form of diagonal. If that still leaves a wobble or doubt then I'll have to do another diagonal across part of the front. That's my current idea anyway, based on no expertise.

 

Assuming that you've configured the boards into a 5'x4' arrangement, I think wall mounting might be a non-starter as it is unlikely a 4 year old would be able to reach the back of it, so I'm assuming you are intending for access all the way around, and that legs will be the way to go. your plan for 6 in total (4 + 2) should be sufficient. Diagonal bracing of the legs will help as triangles are stable structures. Given that the average height of a 4 year old is about 40 inches (~1metre) you'll probably want to ignore the advice for exhibition layouts of making the tops about a metre or so from the ground, and will probably want to go for a more child friendly height (Harold's 2' sounds more likely), which will inherently be more stable too. 

 

One thing that cropped up in my Joining Baseboards thread in this section that looks useful is to put a ledge on the edge of the 4x3 section so that the 4x2 section has a little extra vertical support, and makes it a more hands-free operation when you're bolting the two halves together. 

 

If you haven't already done so, add some battening under the board as well as what you have around the edges (some more of your 44x27mm material should do the trick) to prevent it sagging. Also remember, if you intend to use track-pins, the more rigid you can make the board structure, the less force you will require to hammer in the pins, and are less likely to damage the track.

 

Thanks, I'm not too worried about him reaching the back as hopefully he won't be using it unsupervised, although he does do some neat tricks if he's up and about before we realise. I've also got it up against the wall, not enough room for walk around in its current guise. The height thing I am leaning towards lower and as you say that will make it stronger, so I feel a bit more confident going with the leftover 44x27mm. I'll have a read through your thread as I'm not exactly sure what you mean. I did inside battening, pics should be below, took some as I went along in case I get round to making a thread about the layout at some point.

 

First is the 4'x3', then the 4'x2'. Reason I didn't do all 4'x2' was it becoming a permanent feature soon after Xmas. I had a thought on the legs about putting two lengths together to make an L shape leg, not sure if that would help or just double the amount of wood needed....

32819356888_9d68ebbb36_c.jpg

 

39729284843_baffdff3d7_c.jpg

 

Thanks again for reading and all your help so far

Edited by Tomathee

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