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lowering a layout

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  • Member since
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lowering a layout
Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 7:34 PM

 Due to health, I have been looking at rebuilding the existing layout to have wider ilse and up dated design.  Two sections that are the newsest (the original being 10 years old) I wnt to save they reall yshow the last decade of skill improvement.  Working with two paper cutouts to scale of those pieces with a scale drawing to work on a new design,   I keep ending up with narrow ilses no mater how I design it.  keeping to the short list of wants.  all of which are but two are  current layout.   With the many issues with the design, I openned up to the idea of redesigning the existing. starting by moving it back two feet.     The challange is lowering it the 8 inches to move it back the two feet.   any ideas how that could be done without major reconstruction?    The layout is free standing.  currently 14 x 14. this is rough planning, nothing in stone yet. 

 

SHane

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by davidmurray on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 9:13 PM

Precut shorter legs, and lots of strong friends?

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 10:10 PM

If it is free standing, three or four hydraulic automotive floor jacks and some willing friends should get it done.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

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  • From: Dearborn Station
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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, January 19, 2023 7:14 AM

NVSRR

I openned up to the idea of redesigning the existing. starting by moving it back two feet. The challange is lowering it the 8 inches to move it back the two feet.   any ideas how that could be done without major reconstruction? The layout is free standing, currently 14 x 14. 

So, the layout is 14' x 14'. Is it built as a square or, if not, what is the shape? If it is built in sections, how are these sections held together. I ask because I wonder if the entire layout could be lifted at once with floor jacks.

Also, you say that the challange is lowering it 8 inches to move it back the two feet.  Once it is moved back two feet, does it need to remain at 8 inches lower or could the layout be restored back to 8 inches higher to its current height?

One other question. How is the layout surface supported. Are the legs 2x4s, 2x2s, other?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, January 19, 2023 8:37 AM

I lowered a big freestanding G-shaped layout about 5-1/2 inches some years ago. It took a bunch of clamps, a level, some temporary legs, and some patience.

Here's what I did:

  • First I clamped the temporary legs in place next to each permanent leg. I used six sets (12) of temporary legs.
  • I removed the six sets of permanent legs and cut 5-1/2 inches off the tops, then reinstalled them with the bottoms now 5-1/2 inches above the floor. The temporary legs were still in place: lowered one end set of legs one inch, clamping them solidly in place at the new height. Looked like this:

  • I lowered the temporary legs about an inch and reclamped them.
  • Then I moved to the adjacent set of legs and did the same thing.
  • I moved back to the first set of legs and lowered them an additional inch.
  • I moved to the third set of legs in line and lowered them an inch, then worked my way (in order) back to the first set, lowering all legs an additional inch.
  • I repeated the last step until the first set of legs was at the new elevation, then moved the first set of temporary legs to the spot next to the last set and clamped them in place.
  • I cut that set of permanent legs and reinstalled them. 
  • I worked my way down the whole line, lowering each set of temporary legs another inch.
  • I repeated until the entire layout was at the new lower elevation.
  • Using the level, I checked that the benchwork was all even and level, then permanently attached the legs.

No problems at all!

 

  • Member since
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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, January 19, 2023 10:45 AM

In his book on benchwork the late Linn Westcott mentions almost in passing that he lowered the height of his layout twice over the years. He wrote that he put books or other temporary risers under the legs, then attached legs of the new height, then removed the overlong legs.  It might be that he removed the overlong leg one at a time, and then cut it down to be the next replacement leg

One word of caution from Westcott himself.  He mentions that a height of 40 inches offers good visibility and good ability to work on the layout itself, but "this height is murder when work must be done underneath the layout."

Remember that LHW used his L girder approach which is a sort of minimalist approach to lumber.  Also his use of hardshell scenery would have made his scenery a bit lighter than the usual methods used back then.   He did not mention whether he had help with his change of height or not but I do believe his two sons both of which had appeared in the pages of MR for project layouts, were adults and out of the house by then, so quite possibly he did this solo.

Good luck!

Dave Nelson

PS I myself use the David Barrow "domino" benchwork system with 2'x4' dominos.  Each domino has a double frame using 1x4 lumber.  The legs attach to the lower frame.  Then risers (also 1x4 lumber in my case because it was handy) raised the upper frame to the "final" height with the track etc.  This system has the advantage that you can lower that final height quite a bit while leaving the "real" legs alone, and in fact I too lowered the layout after building the first five or so dominos.  The disadvantage to the David Barrow domino system is that it uses more lumber which based on current prices, didn't matter that much in 1995 but sure matters now!

DN

 

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Posted by NorthsideChi on Thursday, January 19, 2023 10:57 AM

I'd recommend building cribbing boxes to lower the layout.  Use 3/4 to 1 inch pieces of wood at the top that will be slid out.  You won't need anyone's help or expensive equipment.  There's other methods, but this is the only safe way I know of to avoid damage or coordinated struggle having a bunch of people try to do this.  

I used this method to support steel beams beneath a 4 story 120 y/o staircase in my basement for new foundations.  No special equipment.  Just easy to find materials.  No cracks in the plaster, so I imagine a train layout will survive just fine with a similar method 

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