1800x1200mm Baseboard advice

 
  warp_kez Station Staff

I am about to undertake the construction of a baseboard for my son's layout which is 1800x1200mm split into two sections 1200x900mm using 70x35mm structural pine.  The last thing I made out of wood was a lab bench that was an 8'x4' piece of MDF supported by 6 legs and anchored to the wall.

During the preparation for this, I have been reading up on the methods and designs, and most seem pretty straight forward and whilst easy to follow some are throwing up some design suggestions that have got me wondering.

The majority I have seen use butt joints, but I have been encountering finger and half joints for even smaller layouts.

The design that I have come up with: [img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7427/8755026045_c902a23a7b.jpg[/img]

I have included extra measurement points to add additional support should it be needed, but will a butt joint suffice?

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The majority I have seen use butt joints, but I have been encountering finger and half joints for even smaller layouts.

warp_kez
any joint can do the job. it's just wood work some have the time to do the extra work and show there skill in the hobby. but you have to have a soild base and fame to allow for any mounting of model rail products above and below the base board

edit - all desgins have one point you should be able run the layout on any flat surface ( table , floor , bench top) without any damage to the wiring , points motors and any other item under the base board.
  warp_kez Station Staff

Thanks for that.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I have always used butt joints when building baseboards and have never had that much of a problem with them, once the baseboard is screwed to the top of the frame it should hold together well. Also note that a wide board might not be such a good idea all solid, as you then have to reach over things to work on something. It might be preferable to make some removable sections of baseboard so that you can get to places without leaning right over scenery etc, as it can damage what you have already done.

I now find that I make boards that are about 2-3 foot wide so that if I have to reach over it I am not stretching and forcing myself to do it. My layout is modular though but some cut outs in places on your baseboards will do the same job and make later maintenance either by you or your son a lot easier.
  warp_kez Station Staff

I have reworked the design.  It is made up of two sections measuring 1200x900mm at a height of 700mm.  Upon reflection, I should give each section its own set of legs rather than a shared leg at the center join.
[img]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/8756876301_d8e6bd2ab0.jpg[/img]
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
That is way over designed and too heavy. That's internal wall framing territory or load bearing with a short roof span.

I made a platform for building a bike using 16mm formply. From memory the frame was made from the same formply cut into strips 90mm deep. It was supported on furniture feet 200mm in from each end.....so that would have been 1700mm from support to support. This was able to support a 200kg + bike with sfa deflection.

Personally I'd use 70x19 pine, selecting the the straightest stuff you can find, have four legs on one module and two on the other. A simple box construction should suffice and if you really want to brace the frame mid way I'd use some 42x19 and fix that so that there is a gap top and bottom.

From experience you'll be hard pressed to find any 70x35 that doesn't have a slight bow in it. Most yards don't store it that well. Actually it's maddening to see how some places actually have it stored.
Is there any particular reason why you're building in 2 halves ?

Butt joints are perfectly fine with a little glue. Before you place the top down give the underside a good coat of paint to protect it from moisture. Also before you go to town screwing it down in the middle try and work out where you track goes.......Remember Murphy's law.

42x42 will be fine for the legs, just make sure you have some bracing as 70mm of fixing is not enough deep enough to prevent the wobbles.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I think it's pretty hard to find any pine without a twist in it. I would not automatically expect 70x19 to be less twisty than 70x35.
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
Generally the smaller sizes seemed to be better stored, whether it's cos they care or looks better who knows.

Anyways the main point I was trying to make is that the frame work needn't be that heavy nor expensive.

Construction wise it'll be easier to stagger the intermediate pieces rather than have them in line. Tho if you do end up using 70x35 they wouldn't be needed.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The other possibility, particularly for a layout that has to be shifted, is to build it up using sections of ply, glued and screwed. Ply can help with the backboard, scenery risers and so on, and you can use a hole saw to cut holes in sections not visible in order to reduce weight. Having so many cross braces might be something you regret when you need to cut out a section for a sub-ground level feature or perhaps to install point motors.
  warp_kez Station Staff

I designed the table in two halves so that if we (my son and I) decide that we want to do something different such as a narrow layout, but longer then we have two tables 900x1200mm end to end (900x2400mm in total) and either way we can add more modules as time progresses.  And it also make it easier to dismantle should the need arise - easier to put two 4'x3' tops in a ute than a 4'x6'.

With regards to using 70x35mm, this is what Bunnings has readily available.  I have tried other dimensions, but the lengths were restrictive.  At 70x35mm the minimum length was 2400mm, others were 3600mm or 4800mm and ended up costing about the same +/- a couple of dollars.  I have also spoken with other hardwares, but the delivery fee and surcharges were far less with Bunnings.

The cross supports I can compromise with, but I would rather keep the center ones in place to further prevent sag, but from experience it will also provide a bit more rigidity to the sides preventing any torquing of the timbers even with the top on.

I am being a bit over cautious with this build as I have taken short cuts or have underestimated a need only to have it bite me in the butt big time - I blew up a video card over the XMAS/New Year break because I underestimated my needs.

I really am appreciating the feedback too.  Just have to convince the wife that the layout belongs in the disused formal area and not is a dark, damp, dingy garage.
  hosk1956 Deputy Commissioner

Location: no where near gunzels
I personally, would go with your first version but use 70 x 19, 70 x 35 is just total overkill, use some of that 70 x 35 cut to 70mm long and put into the corners then screw your side and end pieces into the corner block, don't bother screwing into the end grain of the timber, they won't hold very long.

Wayne
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I designed the table in two halves so that if we (my son and I) decide that we want to do something different such as a narrow layout, but longer then we have two tables 900x1200mm end to end (900x2400mm in total) and either way we can add more modules as time progresses.  And it also make it easier to dismantle should the need arise - easier to put two 4'x3' tops in a ute than a 4'x6'.

With regards to using 70x35mm, this is what Bunnings has readily available.  I have tried other dimensions, but the lengths were restrictive.  At 70x35mm the minimum length was 2400mm, others were 3600mm or 4800mm and ended up costing about the same +/- a couple of dollars.  I have also spoken with other hardwares, but the delivery fee and surcharges were far less with Bunnings.

The cross supports I can compromise with, but I would rather keep the center ones in place to further prevent sag, but from experience it will also provide a bit more rigidity to the sides preventing any torquing of the timbers even with the top on.

I am being a bit over cautious with this build as I have taken short cuts or have underestimated a need only to have it bite me in the butt big time - I blew up a video card over the XMAS/New Year break because I underestimated my needs.

I really am appreciating the feedback too.  Just have to convince the wife that the layout belongs in the disused formal area and not is a dark, damp, dingy garage.
warp_kez
I'd suggest you start work now, and keep the momentum of enthusiam  going. Any mistake, well  there is a next time - for now get into the hobby, get a train running !

Regards,
David Head
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
I'm going to show my complete lack of willingness to "conform".......

I have previously posted pics of my "layout" and am not ashamed to say that my timber-work is pretty bloody rough. Various parts of it are thin strips of either 12mm ply or 12mm MDF; sometimes in quite long lengths and barely supported (certainly not supported by full frame work).

These various sections have become "undulating" over the past couple of years....not to the point where it has caused issues for me, but rather my long straight runs are similar to a real railway. To my eye it is quite pleasing to watch a 6 meter long train come towards me along a long, straight, undulating section of track....but that's just me.

The two largest "baseboard" sections I have are made of 12mm ply, 600mm x 2400mm and are nailed onto to a simple 4-sided pine frame using 19mm x 75mm (approx). These 2 sections have remained very flat and stable and are where my main yard is located.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes it doesn't hurt to have some sections of timber-work that are NOT perfectly flat and supported. As long as you don't plan to walk on the board (or apply any other substantial weight), then I can't see the point in having construction-quality framing under the layout.....but that's just me!

Roachie
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
70x19 will hold screws fine in the end grain, as long as they are pre drilled, enough years as a chippy showed me that. If you intend walking on it it may get a bit hairy.

If you start with a stable base everything on top of that is a breeze, if not you'll have a lot of stress.
  a6et Minister for Railways

70x19 will hold screws fine in the end grain, as long as they are pre drilled, enough years as a chippy showed me that. If you intend walking on it it may get a bit hairy.

If you start with a stable base everything on top of that is a breeze, if not you'll have a lot of stress.
BladeHunter
When considering the benchtop itself. I would strongly recommend using ply instead of MDF, especially if in dampish areas owing to the prospect of the MDF getting dampness in it, & consequently it may expand.

I have used 12mm nonstructual ply from Bunnings for the top of my layout, as Ply also has open grain on the ends, make sure its well sealed & painted, & if you use MDF the same thing applies there also.  While at Bunnings, also check out their Merch grade pine usually in 2.4m lengths especially for the legs, you may have to go through what is there to get some straight pieces as against the rubbish that is in the stacks also.

My old layout I used 12mm MDF & as I lived in a more humid area it was a concern & even with some cross braces at 600mm it did bow in between some sections. Now living in a wetter area again, & using the 12mm Non structural ply which is 5ply, I have had no problems & I am able to walk, sit & stand on it without any problems.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
My layout is modular to a point but the framing is 42mm X 19mm pinus with a chip board top. This is strong enough to stand on and I have actually done it several times to demonstrate it. Even the legs are 42mm X 19mm pinus. I built it light weight on purpose so that it can be moved easily and so far it has had 2 moves of house and the boards are still level etc. I can pull it apart and assemble it myself if needed.

Oh and from prior experience it is a good idea to put 4 legs on every section, our tram layout had boards cantilevered off, of one another and it was a right pain in the you know where to erect like this. I got some extra timber and made some more legs for each module and last time we put it up it only took half an hour and some of the helpers had never put it up before.

One other tip though where ever you put it put levellers on the bottom of the legs to get it level, much easier to use a spanner and turn it up or down as needed rather than trying to find some scrap whatever to level it up by packing.
  warp_kez Station Staff

Thank you for all the replies and advice.  I am glad I was on the right track to the point of going beyond what is really required.

One thing that I did see whilst hassling the sales rep at Bunnings was some three way corner braces which would allow me to mount the 12mm ply from underneath thus giving me a clean and level surface to work with.
  LaidlayM Chief Commissioner

Location: Research
Thank you for all the replies and advice.  I am glad I was on the right track to the point of going beyond what is really required.

One thing that I did see whilst hassling the sales rep at Bunnings was some three way corner braces which would allow me to mount the 12mm ply from underneath thus giving me a clean and level surface to work with.
warp_kez
Use L girder and you can always screw from underneath.  While you are at it you can use T girder for legs and save material without losing strength.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
A baseboard has to be fit for purpose.  It must have sufficient rigidity to prevent twisting and warping yet be light enough to shift if required.  Joints need to be firm and precise but don't need to be cabinet-maker's finest dovetails.  At all stages of model railway construction and operation we make some compromises.  The baseboard is no different.

For a modest indoor layout I see no reason to use anything more than what I know as 2x1 (70x19 if you prefer) butt-jointed and with a golden rule that every piece of wood is both glued and screwed to every other it touches.  I use two screws on all my joints.  Any corners cut in the basic construction will come back to haunt you later.  

I don't see a technical reason to build in two halves but there may be another such as a need to get those halves through doorways at some stage.  That's OK.  If that's what you do I would secure the two halves together with some sort of bolts through both adjacent bearers and if they are intended to part company in the future then fix them with wing-nuts which are easier to undo later on.

If the span of the actual board causes concern and may need extra woodwork across the centre then a single 2x2 bearer (70x35) can be used.  The added weight does nothing to help but the additional rigidity may be of benefit.

In terms of where the cross-bearers go it can be of great assistance to have the track plan ready before the woodwork is done.  This allows the position of points (and therefore of motors beneath the board) to be identified and the woodwork constructed to allow clear space for those motors.  Laying track onto a completed board without planning can result in there being points required where they cannot be motorised beneath the board due to the woodwork.  I speak from experience!  Luckily I have been able to make use of surface-mounted point motors neatly disguised in ballast and vegetation.

Good luck with the build and keep us in the picture with progress.
  SPSD40T2 Chief Commissioner

Location: Platform 9-3/4 and still waiting !!
Speaking as a tradie... and long time modeller... if youre building L girder or glue and screw , it is somewhat over kill to glue AND screw that much. Glues today are brilliant.. Most times the fastenings are only there till the glue cures..   I.e gluing and nailing might suffice for many occasions.

Build it sound by all means but dont create work that neednt be there.  Use twist shank nails..  

In reality use whatever methods you feel comfortable and able with
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
I'm spoilt with a good choice of cordless drills, thanks to my previous employment and the tax office, I find it easier to use screws than nails. Or a couple of air driven pins top and bottom and a screw in the guts. But yeah glues are pretty damn good nowadays.
  warp_kez Station Staff

Using the original design (per the first post), and based on feedback from other members, would I be correct in thinking that because I intend on using 70x35mm structural pine that there is no real need for me to use the cross members?

What about if I wanted to go larger, for example moving from the 1200x900 to 1220x1220 per section?

I do need the two separate sections to make relocations and redesigns easier.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I would suggest that you do still need cross-members because the baseboard itself will tend to sag in the middle otherwise.  In some cases this can become significant and cause ridges at the joins though in the early stages or in less severe cases you might only notice rolling stock moving under gravity rather than staying perfectly still and level.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
I would suggest that you do still need cross-members because the baseboard itself will tend to sag in the middle otherwise.  In some cases this can become significant and cause ridges at the joins though in the early stages or in less severe cases you might only notice rolling stock moving under gravity rather than staying perfectly still and level.
Gwiwer
I echo Gwiwer here any board not really supported will sag over time, so it is best to leave the cross members in and avoid the problem, The layout at The NRM at Port Adelaide suffered from this in places and it is coming back now to haunt us. I have had to put in several support pieces to actually get them level again in several places. This layout is fully sceniced by the way so that makes things a lot harder to do after.

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