Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

how strong are 1x4s

4480 views
38 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
how strong are 1x4s
Posted by raptorengineer on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 9:30 PM

so i was watching video on new module layouts using 1x4s and i going to rebuild my layout to make it module but keep the same design and size. so i going to have each section 2 ft by 6 ft. and the stringers will be 16 inchs apart and top will be 7/16 plywood. and hight will be 3 ft tall. now on my current tabletop i sometime crawl to turntable area to move engine and it support me. i wondering how strong is 1x4 with 16 inch stringers?

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: Central New York
  • 279 posts
Posted by CraigN on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 10:00 PM

It will be strong enough to walk on. You just want to make sure you have cross bracing on your legs or else it will be very rickety.

Craig

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 229 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 11:43 PM

As long as the legs are braced to prevent folding, 1x4 6ft with 16oc cross members and plywood would allow you to walk across it.

I have to ask,why are you crawing on it?

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 7,593 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:55 AM

UNCLEBUTCH
...why are you crawling on it?

If you look at the diagram showing the layout in the room, it looks like lots of reasons to need to crawl on it.

I'm guessing that the O.P. doesn't plan on having much in the way of scenery or even structures on the wider portions of the layout - hands and knees scuffing across the tabletop won't be too kind to the track either. Whistling

If you're not to far along in your layout construction raptorengineer, you might want to re-think your trackplan and the area occupied by benchwork.  It looks like it won't be a lot of fun to build or operate if major portions of it are hard to reach.

As for the strength of 1"x4"s, there's a part of my layout's second level which has a 1"x4" front edge, but the 39" long crosspieces are 1"x2"s, and it supports my full weight. 
I learned that when it was time to paint the rail, and I discovered that while I could reach it, I couldn't see the back (normally unseen) side of the rails.  This usually wouldn't be of concern, but I often take layout photos with the camera on the layout, facing towards the aisle, and don't want shiny rails messing up the view. Smile, Wink & Grin
The area of which I'm speaking is at the far end of the aisle in the photo below...

Wayne

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 20,898 posts
Posted by selector on Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:21 AM

The sides of my modules or sections are either L-girder made with 1X4 clear spruce (with the top part of the girder 1X2 or ripped 1X4, whichever I have plenty of...), or just 1X4.  All my stilts/legs are 1X2 braced, but also blocked up where they tuck against the framing corners. By blocked I mean a short 4" length of 1X2 is snugged up against the leg on its outside, both flat against the same 1X4.  Over both of those, flush against their flat exposed sides as they snuggle, I screw a square of 1X4 flat against them.  The small block of 1X2 keeps the leg from rotating in that direction, the corner of the frame prevents its motion the opposite way, and the 1X4 square cap does exactly that...caps it all in the 90 deg direction.  A couple of braces and it's very rigid.

Another thing I do to help the whole stay rigid is to drive some 2.5" deck screws through the side frames of the layout, through the drywall, and into studs that I have previously located and marked, but on the exposed side of the 1X4's that are up against the walls.  I have commenced laying track on my yard and have had to crawl up onto it.  Doesn't budge...at all.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:42 AM

well at this current state of my layout how i made it back then it was nice i guess for first timer in away. i use alot of 2x4s and few 2x6s and uneven plywood witch i even out by useing commercal fiber ceiling tiles and it work out really nice. and since my layout is nothing but e-z track and the trains run well on it. if you want to know how i got woodland grass mat flat like that... double sided carpet tape also i addeding like 3 layer of latex paint on top of fiber ceiling tiles. work amazing.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:01 AM

cool cool. i going to reuse 2x4 legs and look at ways to make them taller by jointing another 2x4. and find way to braces them too. 

  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
  • 4,912 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:29 AM

raptorengineer

cool cool. i going ot reuse 2x4 legs and look at ways ot make them taller by jointing another 2x4. and find way ot braces them too. 

2x4 legs are overkill but if you want to reuse wood and save on costs, there is no reason you couldn't reuse them to legs.  I use 2x2's for benchwork legs, and 1x4 for open grid framing and 1x3's for cross members and 7/16" thick OSB wafer board instead of plywood.  The OSB is cheap and cheerful and I've used it on 2 different layouts with great success.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Contrarian's contrarian
  • Member since
    April, 2003
  • From: Clinton, MO, US
  • 3,803 posts
Posted by Medina1128 on Thursday, January 19, 2017 7:47 AM

Except for early parts of my layout (I used 2x4s for the benchwork), ALL of my benchwork and legs are made with 1x4s. I used 1x4s to make the L-shaped legs, as well. With X-bracing, it's plenty strong. When I made my 20'x26' expansion, I cut the legs using a tapering jig, giving them a more finished look. I used 2x2s, drilled for T-nuts and bolts to get everything level. Most basements don't have a totally flat floor, so water will drain to the center of the room.

  • Member since
    February, 2013
  • 479 posts
Posted by HObbyguy on Thursday, January 19, 2017 8:27 AM

A 1x4 grid is extremely strong.  Absolutely no need for 2x4's.  The potential weaknesses are the joints and the leg connections.  So I glued and screwed my 1x4 base grid together.  And my L-shaped legs are ripped from 1/2" ply using carriage bolts to attach them to the frame.  No leg X-bracing is needed and access underneath is very clear for working underneath and storage.  In fact I used to slide this whole section around on the carpet and the legs never wobbled at all.  This is a very early picture but the leg design was so successful I built the rest of my layout the same way.

Funny thing, my dad was building a layout at the same time and when I went to visit I found he built his legs the same way.  We never discussed it before-hand, just had the same exact idea.

Huntington Junction - Freelance based on the B&O and C&O in coal country before the merger...  doing it my way.  Now working on phase 3.      - Walt

For photos and more:  http://www.wkhobbies.com/model-railroad/

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:59 AM

thanks for all the help. one other question i'm looking at 1'' inch pink foam board for top layout. would foam board leave indents if i have to crawl over to reach something on my layout. 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 10:12 AM

riogrande5761

 

 
raptorengineer

cool cool. i going ot reuse 2x4 legs and look at ways ot make them taller by jointing another 2x4. and find way ot braces them too. 

 

2x4 legs are overkill but if you want to reuse wood and save on costs, there is no reason you couldn't reuse them to legs.  I use 2x2's for benchwork legs, and 1x4 for open grid framing and 1x3's for cross members and 7/16" thick OSB wafer board instead of plywood.  The OSB is cheap and cheerful and I've used it on 2 different layouts with great success.

 

ya that type of plywood i be using 7/16'' wafer OSB board. it strong and cheap. 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 3,813 posts
Posted by rrebell on Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:10 AM

Yes the foam will dent.

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:08 PM

HObbyguy

A 1x4 grid is extremely strong.  Absolutely no need for 2x4's.  The potential weaknesses are the joints and the leg connections.  So I glued and screwed my 1x4 base grid together.  And my L-shaped legs are ripped from 1/2" ply using carriage bolts to attach them to the frame.  No leg X-bracing is needed and access underneath is very clear for working underneath and storage.  In fact I used to slide this whole section around on the carpet and the legs never wobbled at all.  This is a very early picture but the leg design was so successful I built the rest of my layout the same way.

Funny thing, my dad was building a layout at the same time and when I went to visit I found he built his legs the same way.  We never discussed it before-hand, just had the same exact idea.

 

cool i going to bolt the legs to the table. now since each section is 6ft long would it be wise to put 2 legs in middle of 6ft or no? i will add legs at each end of table section.  

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 2,116 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:34 PM

It's none of our business but is there a medical reason to have the layout 3' tall? 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:01 PM

this is the video i saw that got me thinking about redoing my layout table

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc1n7jitv3g&t=377s

 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:03 PM

BigDaddy

It's none of our business but is there a medical reason to have the layout 3' tall? 

 

easier to crawl under

  • Member since
    April, 2011
  • 539 posts
Posted by LensCapOn on Thursday, January 19, 2017 3:04 PM

BigDaddy

It's none of our business but is there a medical reason to have the layout 3' tall? 

 

??? I just thought the shot was by Peter Dinklage.

 

 

Live and learn!

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 229 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:08 PM

If your not really changeing anything, and what you have is working,

Why bother to to tear down and rebuild?

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:34 PM

UNCLEBUTCH

If your not really changeing anything, and what you have is working,

Why bother to to tear down and rebuild?

 

future expandability. my current layout can somewhat be exspanded but it be little tuff. that table design in that video i like cause you can easiey expand or incase i need to move i can remove track and building and such and take apart and set up in new place easy i think, and also look little cleaner. 

  • Member since
    February, 2013
  • 479 posts
Posted by HObbyguy on Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:25 PM

raptorengineer
cool i going to bolt the legs to the table. now since each section is 6ft long would it be wise to put 2 legs in middle of 6ft or no? i will add legs at each end of table section.

As long as your 1x4 frame is sound then you don't need additional legs in the middle of a 6' span.

The biggest enemy is leg wobble since that can weaken the whole structure.  My solution prevents wobble because there are two bolts connecting the leg to the frame in both directions.  Just bolting up 2x4 legs at each corner won't accomplish the same thing.  You can always add cross bracing to the straight legs which is the more common solution.

Huntington Junction - Freelance based on the B&O and C&O in coal country before the merger...  doing it my way.  Now working on phase 3.      - Walt

For photos and more:  http://www.wkhobbies.com/model-railroad/

  • Member since
    February, 2004
  • 9 posts
Posted by stello on Thursday, January 19, 2017 9:54 PM

Hi Raptorengineer,

I built my layout (12 x 12 dogbone) using 3/4" and 1/2" plywood. I cut the 3" strips in the 3/4" for framing and cross braces (every 16").  2x2 for legs and 1/2" plywood for decking. The modules are 30" wide (so I can move out of my basement door if I need to) and roughly 4' to 6' long.  The modules are then bolted together - this is a very sturdy build - I can climb on top of the layout if need be.

The use of 3/4" sheets of plywood was my son-in-law's idea, and it worked great. Just cut up a 4 sheets and got to work.

This is an image earlier in the build - I have added additional bracing since.

https://goo.gl/photos/pcFxMoi1XaAsf7BZ6

Steve

 


  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Thursday, January 19, 2017 10:22 PM

stello

Hi Raptorengineer,

I built my layout (12 x 12 dogbone) using 3/4" and 1/2" plywood. I cut the 3" strips in the 3/4" for framing and cross braces (every 16").  2x2 for legs and 1/2" plywood for decking. The modules are 30" wide (so I can move out of my basement door if I need to) and roughly 4' to 6' long.  The modules are then bolted together - this is a very sturdy build - I can climb on top of the layout if need be.

The use of 3/4" sheets of plywood was my son-in-law's idea, and it worked great. Just cut up a 4 sheets and got to work.

This is an image earlier in the build - I have added additional bracing since.

https://goo.gl/photos/pcFxMoi1XaAsf7BZ6

Steve

 


 

that cool way of a table. ya i going to add bracings to the legs that way it stable. i'm thinking bracings middle of legs or would it work to add brace to bottem of legs. i will double check each leg to make sure it level.  

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Friday, May 05, 2017 12:22 AM

so i be getting the wood and making my new tabletop sometime next week. i do have another question abouit 1x4s. now i going to try and fine the straightest wood home depot has. but if i pick some peces that are little uneven will the legs somewhat even it out best it can when standing the table up? 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 7,666 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, May 05, 2017 1:30 AM

Home Depot may not be the best place to find 'straight' wood. Do you have any lumber mills close to you? Companies that specialize in mouldings often carry poplar dimensional lumber as well. Poplar stays very straight and is knot free. Poplar will be more expensive than what HD offers, but it is so nice to work with that it is worth the extra money.

Another thing that a lumber mill may be able to do for you is rip plywood sheets into 3" or 4" widths. Plywood makes great framing material and it may be more cost effective, although you may have to do a little more work at the joints to make them strong. Home Depot does not have the proper equipment to rip 3" or 4" strips.

Dave

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 4,579 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Friday, May 05, 2017 4:51 AM

hon30critter
Home Depot may not be the best place to find 'straight' wood

Actually, Dave, H-D has a brand called Claymark from New Zealand that is pretty nice. Of course the price is in line with select grade lumber, however for many of my more critical projects I find it is worth the extra cost. NO knots, smooth finish and 99% straight.

http://www.claymark.com/

Regards, Ed

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Friday, May 05, 2017 6:20 PM

i don't think there lumber mill i live in city. but i will try and pick the straighest wood they have. as for claymark i look around tomorrow. 

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 2,116 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, May 05, 2017 6:34 PM

BigDaddy It's none of our business but is there a medical reason to have the layout 3' tall?

easier to crawl under

Not for us old guys Big Smile 48" also brings it closer to eye level.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 1,742 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, May 05, 2017 10:15 PM

I agree there, Henry.  Mine is 52".  Looking at the way the OP's current lay out is supported, a revised 1" x 4" grid with diagonally braced legs would be 3 times sturdier that what is excisting.  His current bracing reminds me of my 2nd plywood cental I built.  Started with a table here, added on an extension there, more extensions over there, extra width here, etc., with whatever was needed to support the extensions, as I went.

Mike.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • 99 posts
Posted by raptorengineer on Monday, May 22, 2017 5:04 PM

so i have built my new tapletop for my layout. home depot had some straight wood. i cut the plywood first to right size then made the frames around it and but stringer every 16 inces oc. and i used 1/2 bolts to join sections together. i still have to take down my other layout but i'm waiting for bowser sd40-2. anyway what i like about this new layout is that there some waight to it. so the waight load should be put on all the legs. and it alot cleaner even on the edges. i still have ot make hold for wiring. and bolt give it little bit of flexabilty. and it easy ot put together. i used 1x4s for frames and 7/16 osb plywood. by the way predrill your holes for screws when making new tapletop  photo IMAG0136_zpsedw1jkax.jpg photo IMAG0137_zpsuypjn8jj.jpgit works wonders.   

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!
Popular on ModelRailroader.com
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Search the Community

Users Online

ADVERTISEMENT
Find us on Facebook