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Hi all,

 

I‘m in the middle of building a number of 4ft x 3ft baseboards for my layout. Each board is made entirely of 18mm plywood so it makes up the frame and the top. 

This is a permanent layout so it won’t be moving any time soon. 

 

I’m getting to the point of placing legs on each board. Inspired by Richard from Everard Junction I was planning on making L shape legs from two pieces of 3 1/2 inch wide 18mm ply which are glued and screwed together with adjustable feet at the end. 

 

My main issue is that I’m not sure how many legs I need for each board? My initial thought was one in each corner but I’m not sure that’s enough. The last thing I want is for the whole thing to sag or warp because it wasn’t supported enough. 

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Many thanks

Andy

 

 

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Posted (edited)

My thinking is that the board should be strong enough by itself to be stable.  Legs just hold it off the ground. 

 

P1010002-004.JPG.9a389751655382ca0c2b810dd14254bd.JPG

 

Tops are 3/8" (18mm I think), sides are 1/2" ply and 4" wide.  I installed self leveling feet in the legs.  Workmanship won't win prizes but it gets the job done.

 

The near board has 2 sets of legs as it is the anchor.  Subsequent boards only need 1 set each.

 

John

Edited by brossard
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You don’t say how deep the sides are, but assuming they are, say 3 inches / 10 cm or so then I would have thought a leg in each corner would suffice.  18mm is quite thick...good job you are not planning on moving them any time soon...I bet they weigh a ton!

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Solid top baseboards are the heaviest way to build a layout.  If you have already settled on the track plan you only need a top where the track and maybe the yard or station will be.  The rest can be completed using lightweight materials and allow features below track level to be modelled.

 

Regarding legs, lightweight A frames are very stable and can support each board joint without additional bracing.

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Thanks for all of the replies folks.

 

@brossard those look great and your thoughts are along the same lines as mine. I've already got a bunch of self levelling feet to cater for the garage floor being uneven in places.

 

@Andrew1974 the frame is 4 inches/12.5cm. The whole thing is going to sit in the garage which is subject to the extremes of the Scottish weather so rigidity and strength were top of the priority list over weight. Having said that they aren't too bad to lift but I wouldn't want to do it repeatedly.

 

@Jeff Smith thanks Jeff, I'm going to use open top in some places and solid tops in others. I'll look into A frames, thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all of the replies folks.

 

@brossard those look great and your thoughts are along the same lines as mine. I've already got a bunch of self levelling feet to cater for the garage floor being uneven in places.

 

@Andrew1974 the frame is 5 inches/12.7cm. The whole thing is going to sit in the garage which is subject to the extremes of the Scottish weather so rigidity and strength were top of the priority list over weight. Having said that they aren't too bad to lift but I wouldn't want to do it repeatedly.

 

@Jeff Smith thanks Jeff, I'm going to use open top in some places and solid tops in others. I'll look into A frames, thanks.

Edited by AndyMac7
Sorted frame widths
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30 minutes ago, ITG said:

Probably not critical, but the frame can not be both 4” or 12.5 cm.

 

That's what happens when I've not had my morning coffee! You're totally correct it's 5"/12.7cm, I'll amend the original post and thanks for picking that up.

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Weight can be an issue.  My first layout was built like a battleship and was agony to move around to shows.

 

The sides of my latest were cut at the lumber yard and are of rubbish both sides 1/2" ply.  This is quite light and only has to stop the board from bending.

 

The ends though are of the best Russian ply, 25mm.  Again cut by the lumber yard.  The ends of the board have to be stable because the alignment of track needs to be maintained.   I used machined steel dowels.

 

The boards are not lightweight but I hope they are manageable.

 

John

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Posted (edited)

I would really like to see how people have joined their wooden legs to the plywood top. I am using some 19mm ply that I have on hand and I have a pile of timber that is 35X90mm for the legs. I will brace under the plywood top with the 35X70mm pine I bought today.

I already have a few ideas about legs  but I would like to see what other people have done.  The plywood top is only 50cm wide and is in three sections, each 1.2metres long. I intend using screw-in levelling feet.

Any photos would be much appreciated.

Edited by brian777999
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Posted (edited)

I just use 1/4" carriage bolts and wing nuts.  My layout is being designed for exhibition.

 

See pic above or the link below.

 

John

Edited by brossard
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Posted (edited)

Please excuse the poor quality photo.  I have just cropped one I already had.

853262991_baseboardassembly02.jpg.e83cd92415a6577ec514bf401805dcc8.jpg

I have used simple 22mm x 47mm sawn softwood legs.  They are stable on their own because, depending on where they are on the layout, they are only between 300mm and 450mm long and the vertical baseboard bracing to which they are fixed provides a degree of triangulation.  They are attached to the baseboards using pairs of 4mm diameter bolts, washers and nuts.  There are adjustable feet at the bottom of every leg.

 

If the layout was portable, as well as making them folding, I would probably add cross pieces but this doesn't seem necessary for the permanent set up I am building and retro-fitting bracing would be an easy task should stability alter unexpectedly.

 

This probably horrifies engineers and carpenters but it is inexpensive and effective and it is easy to fit legs wherever they are needed rather than being constrained by them only being at baseboard ends or always having to be in pairs.

 

Edited by teaky
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On 17/05/2020 at 23:30, AndyMac7 said:

Hi all,

 

I‘m in the middle of building a number of 4ft x 3ft baseboards for my layout. Each board is made entirely of 18mm plywood so it makes up the frame and the top. 

This is a permanent layout so it won’t be moving any time soon. 

 

I’m getting to the point of placing legs on each board. Inspired by Richard from Everard Junction I was planning on making L shape legs from two pieces of 3 1/2 inch wide 18mm ply which are glued and screwed together with adjustable feet at the end. 

 

My main issue is that I’m not sure how many legs I need for each board? My initial thought was one in each corner but I’m not sure that’s enough. The last thing I want is for the whole thing to sag or warp because it wasn’t supported enough. 

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Many thanks

Andy

 

 

Provided you have used good quality plywood and everything is securely fixed together, a typical man of say 80kg should be able to sit on the baseboards you describe, Andy, and still only get a deflection of around a millimetre.

 

I have constructed one baseboard from 9mm birch ply that is 1.5m long with 150mm bracing and I can sit in the middle of it without any discernable movement and I weigh 105kg.

 

It is important to say that I am not an experienced layout builder but unless someone with more experience knows better I'd say that provided your baseboards include cross bracing you needn't worry about only having legs at the corners.

 

 

 

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Thanks for all of the replies folks. I'm going to go with a leg in each corner and go from there, if anything looks unstable I can always add more fairy easily.

 

Cheers,

Andy

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How are folks supporting the join between boards? Are you relying on the alignment dowels? I ask as I am also approaching a point in the not so distant future where I will need to consider legs for my project. I've previously used a system not dissimilar to @brossard, but I feel that it's not really robust enough and am looking at other solutions.

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I'd take this with a pinch of salt because I've not got this far yet but I'm intending on using carriage bolts and heavy duty toggle catches. I think that should give enough stability and alignment for a permanent layout which still allowing it come apart if it really really has to.

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My boards are held together with a pair of 3/8" carriage bolts.  These give good clamping force.  You need dowels for alignment IMO.  I think toggle catches that I've seen are used on folding boards.

 

John

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Two 10mm diameter bolts with washers, at each baseboard joint.  Far stronger than necessary but very easy to tighten up just enough to pinch into the plywood.

 

It is a permanent layout so I didn't feel alignment dowels were required.  I tried the first joint I did and couldn't budge it.  I would definitely fit alignment dowels on a portable layout though.

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2 hours ago, teaky said:

It is a permanent layout so I didn't feel alignment dowels were required.  I tried the first joint I did and couldn't budge it.  I would definitely fit alignment dowels on a portable layout though.


I’m in the same boat regarding the dowels but I would absolutely use them if the layout was to be portable. 
 

I’m curious though about laying track over the board joins in a permanent layout. Is the track still cut at the join like it would be on a portable layout?

 

I guess cutting the track would mean that if one side did move it wouldn’t affect the other too much. 

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Cut some grooves in a scrap piece of wood that fit over the track (or there are jigs you can buy).  Use this to hold the track while you cut with a razor saw.  If the cut is at an angle, I found a ply offcut useful to use as a hold down and ruler for the saw.  I tried a Dremel cutting disk, it made quite a mess, mostly because it is hard to get the disc perpendicular to the rail.

 

Here's a pic of a baseboard join on my layout:

 

P1010172.JPG.bd3a05496c4120b71ed6628edc4b86ba.JPG

 

The join is at the point of the skewer.  I used a saw and you can hardly tell where the rail is cut.

 

John

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9 hours ago, AndyMac7 said:


I’m in the same boat regarding the dowels but I would absolutely use them if the layout was to be portable. 
 

I’m curious though about laying track over the board joins in a permanent layout. Is the track still cut at the join like it would be on a portable layout?

 

I guess cutting the track would mean that if one side did move it wouldn’t affect the other too much. 

See Brossard's posts regarding portable layouts.

 

For my permanent layout I considered the idea of being able to remove a baseboard, turn it over or around, work on cabling, scenery etc. but in the end I decided to sacrifice the convenience of this for, I hope, more reliable running and no scenic joints to hide.  Track will run across baseboard joints but I have made sure that points and joints do not coincide.  Where scenery is supported on wire mesh I aim to finish or cut the mesh at the baseboard joint and use masking tape to hold it together before applying papier mâché over the top.  The idea is that when the layout needs to be dismantled the rails can be cut with Xuron track cutters or a slitting disk and the scenery can be sliced with a trimming knife and/or saw.  Obviously, this would mean some rework to reassemble it but I'm only thinking this might be a one-off anyway.  Where buildings need to go across joints they will be on separate sub-bases which I will probably do elsewhere anyway.

 

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If it's permanent but capable of being dismantled I would use fishplates on the rails crossing the join, as opposed to portable where I would use rails soldered to brass screws screwed deep into the baseboard framing. with dummy sleepers added to hide the screws.   My last attempt involved laying track with 6" overhead clearance and only visible from the side, that's when I found how much easier set track is to join than flexi.    Long bolts, not sure about Coach Bolts but left overs from car suspension fitted in accurately drilled holes will hold things together nicely and also come apart.   without being able to get at them end on.   I actually used wood screws and dowels which are a sod to do up and don't don't come apart when you want them to.   . 

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