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Supporting elevated subroad from stringers -- does this look right?

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  • Member since
    February 2021
  • 70 posts
Supporting elevated subroad from stringers -- does this look right?
Posted by crossthedog on Sunday, April 11, 2021 4:26 PM

Hi all,


My benchwork is a hybrid of open grid and L-girder style. I have two long L-girders about 4 feet apart down the length of what is essentially a 5x10ish middle-of-the-garage layout with an added section off to one side against the wall. Stringers (1x4) connect the two L-girders and also connect the wall to the near L-girder. 

My question is about how I should support the plywood pieces of subroadbed. Where there are several parallel tracks or a yard, the subroad pieces can be very wide, as much as 18-inches. I'm raising the zero-level above the stringers somewhat so that I can make the lowest track flat (level).

Aside: Why would I not simply put the lowest level directly on the stringers? Great question. The stringers are not level because I made the legs of the benchwork all the same length but the garage floor slants in a way I did not realize (but should have anticipated [and should have measured - doh!]). I'd rather use the risers or posts or whatever you call them to level the pieces as necessary than try to shim all 9 legs of the benchwork.

So here's what I'm doing. This is a photo of a stringer, to which I have temporarily clamped a riser-piece of spare 1x4, and the plywood subroad is sitting on top of that. 

Do I just sink a screw into the 1x4 riser from above and it's good? Or should I make T-bars to spread the support? What do you do? Does my question even make sense? If you can share photos, please do.

Plywood is 1/2 inch, maybe 15/32. I was looking for 5/8 but they only had 3/4 and that seemed too heavy.

All thoughts and opinions and suggestions welcomed gratefully.

Thanks fellas.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Sunday, April 11, 2021 5:20 PM

crossthedog
Do I just sink a screw into the 1x4 riser from above and it's good? 

Yup. At least, that's what I always did, and it worked out fine.

From what I can tell, you've got the grain in the riser parallel to the floor. I generally had the grain vertical, but it doesn't really matter for this purpose. 

Where I needed a wide riser, like under a yard or to clear several tracks right under where I needed a riser, I would install two risers and a cross member at the top to support the subroadbed. Here's an example where the track with the cans on it are supported by offset risers:

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 11,662 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 11, 2021 7:38 PM

Pretty-well all of the main level of my layout, and not just the sub-roadbed, is on risers, as all of the open grid on the main level is atop a supporting framework, all of it at the same height.  The track level varies from a minimum of 36" to a maximum of 59", and scenic landforms and structures are at various levels, too...

The risers end here, at a height (above floor level) of 59"...

...and the track then continues on the partial upper level.  It's also open grid, but with a 5/8" plywood top directly on top.  The only elevation-changes of track are limited to on-cork roadbed or no-cork-roadbed.
This level is supported by welded steel brackets, which are lag-bolted to the wall studs...

If you wish to add superelevation to your layout's curves, where they're on risers, there's one method outlined HERE.  You'll need to scroll down a bit to read it.

Wayne

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 22,634 posts
Posted by selector on Sunday, April 11, 2021 8:45 PM

My solution would be to cut a smallish cleat of 2X4, about 5" long, and screw it to the side of the rail where your clamp's plate is.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but with the bottom of the cleat about flush with the rail's bottom, screwed into place, with the right cant to the top if there's to be a grade there, the sub-roadbed will have stronger, broader support that way.

I do screw from the top through the sub-roadbed.  I also use a countersinking bit to creat a shallow well for the screw's head so that it is snug below the actual grade surface.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 16,235 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 12, 2021 9:37 AM

I think I'd shim the nine legs, with pairs of appliance wedges stacked on top of each other and hammered on both sides to raise.

Carefully do the legs so that all the stringers are level and you can rely on level going forward without having to shoot it every time there is some kind of problem.  

  • Member since
    February 2021
  • 70 posts
Posted by crossthedog on Monday, April 12, 2021 6:38 PM

Thanks all. From the photos you posted (very helpful, thanks) it seems I'm on the right track (heh) and it looks like some of your tracks are supported by as little as 2x2s in some places. The offset idea will come in helpful, and yes, Selector, I was thinking I could get wider support using another riser (or the clete you suggested) on the near side of that 1x4.

No superelevation for me, I think. I didn't even know what that was until three days ago. Doesn't seem like my little layout will warrant it.

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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