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Baseboard alignment - is this advisable?


Pete 75C

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Hi all.

Thoughts are turning to a new N gauge home layout in the not-too-distant future - those that know me will be aware my preference is for roundies and the pleasure of just being able to watch trains go by!

I don't have any issues with construction, in other words providing a couple of sturdy flat top or open-frame boards, but I am wondering if my latest idea would work...?

The total baseboard size is 180cm x 90cm featuring a double track main line crossing a branch with the obligatory storage sidings at the rear. Quite a lump to move around but this only needs to be transportable, not totally portable - it will remain at home.

Zillions of modellers have (for example) a BLT with one or more scenic boards and fiddle yards aligned with brass dowels and held together with coach bolts but the join is usually along the narrowest point.

Am I courting disaster by wanting to split the board along the longest length? With the fiddle yard and control panel at the rear, it would be handy to save some room space by splitting the layout and storing it flat against the wall with the fiddle yard section stored underneath the main board.

The plan would be to support the joined boards on substantial trestles and use pattern makers dowels and coach bolts to keep everything together. A rough idea below, the dowels shown as a red X.

All timber will be hand-picked for quality and the cross-members will probably be my usual 70x19 redwood. Top surface will be ply. Apart from making sure that no cross-member is warped along its length, are there any issues that I haven't considered? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Pete.

 

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Well, one advantage of that arrangement is that you might find it easier to 'lose' the joint, make it less visible, by aligning it with some scenic features.

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Well, one advantage of that arrangement is that you might find it easier to 'lose' the joint, make it less visible, by aligning it with some scenic features.

 

You've accidentally discovered my morbid irrational fear of visible joints through scenery! Yes, the black line in the pic roughly corresponds with the backscene and the end of the scenery. I genuinely tend to shy away from scenic joins.

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I wouldn't see this as a problem, I have gone to 1.5m with 2 dowels without any sign of movement in 18 months on boards that are only 50mm deep.

 

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I am, however, generally distrustful of softwood and would always try to use either ply or sealed mdf.

 

Having said that you will notice that on the longest 1.5m boards I am using softwood as a strengthener, as 4mm ply was definitely too thin! two dowels and two bolts should be sufficient, particularly as the only really critical joints are the tracks at either end of your boards.

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