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Needing advice on new build

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  • Member since
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  • 1 posts
Needing advice on new build
Posted by redcamaro88 on Monday, December 25, 2023 2:41 AM

So I am starting a new layout build and have ran into a few questions to start.  I decided to use 1x4 this time instead of the 2x4 I previously have done.  That being said my layout is going to be about 15x50 roughly and I'm looking to do a double or triple tier.  I'm wanting to fully support all tiers on the base. But do it in 3 or 4' sections to keep it modular and moveable if I ever decide to move again. I'm  not looking into drilling into my walls as much as it would be easier I'm looking to keep the house intact. Heres the first problem. I have carpeting and the biggest issue with it ive noticed is settling. I know there Are adjustable feet but I feel like constantly adjusting would mess with the track to much. what size of legs does any one suggest also any advice for dealing with carpet?  Anyone done two or three level freestanding layouts of this size have any advice that they can give. Will 1/4" ply be enough for a top? and when assembling 1x4 what's the recommended screw size I'd need. Again I'm used to building with 2x4 so new realm here. 

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Nashville, TN area
  • 712 posts
Posted by hardcoalcase on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 1:16 PM

I'll offer a few bits of advice.

For the 1x4's (actual .75" x 3.5"), I recommend making your own.  I used cabinet grade 3/4", 7-ply plywood and ripped it down to nominal 1x4 planks (some lumber yards will do this for you).  It's less expensive than stick lumber and the planks are very stable, basically not subject to twisting or warping.  

For legs, rip a straight 2x4 into 2x2's, anything bigger is overkill unless you plan to park your car on the layout. Smile

My train room has loop-pile carpet, so when installing the legs I placed a rubber 2"x2" caster under the leg (in case I ever wanted to paint the legs), then loosely clamped the top of the leg to the cross member, then I stacked scuba weights (about 10-11 lbs. total) on the top of the leg to crush it down onto the carpet.  I let it sit, usually overnight, then tighten the clamps and installed the screws.

I used drywall screws for everything on the benchwork, 6x1-5/8 in. screws for benchwork framing, and 6x1-1/4 in. for attaching the 1/2", 4-ply plywood subroadbed to the  benchwork.  I always drill a pilot hole with a countersink bit.

My layout is not modular, but if I were going that route, I think I'd make a sub-frame with L-girders (1x4's capped with 1x2's) for the modules to sit on.

Sounds like you're planning a huge layout... we'll look forward to reading about it in Model Railroader!

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 1,500 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 1:45 PM

redcamaro88

So I am starting a new layout build and have ran into a few questions to start.  I decided to use 1x4 this time instead of the 2x4 I previously have done.  That being said my layout is going to be about 15x50 roughly and I'm looking to do a double or triple tier.  I'm wanting to fully support all tiers on the base. But do it in 3 or 4' sections to keep it modular and moveable if I ever decide to move again. I'm  not looking into drilling into my walls as much as it would be easier I'm looking to keep the house intact. Heres the first problem. I have carpeting and the biggest issue with it ive noticed is settling. I know there Are adjustable feet but I feel like constantly adjusting would mess with the track to much. what size of legs does any one suggest also any advice for dealing with carpet?  Anyone done two or three level freestanding layouts of this size have any advice that they can give. Will 1/4" ply be enough for a top? and when assembling 1x4 what's the recommended screw size I'd need. Again I'm used to building with 2x4 so new realm here. 

You can get protective casters with a bunch of little prongs for the legs to sit/ride on the carpet.

The Best Furniture Casters For Carpet - Home Previews (bearinns.com)

Not an endorsement or promotion . . . just a quick link.

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,317 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 4:26 PM

With the layout being on carpet it may take a while for the leveling to settle down. For levelers that work great, I have suggested my hockey puck method. One guy I suggested it to, actually wrote about it in his layout blog. Give it a read it looks like he may have some other ideas that may help with your situation.

https://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/2017/10/finished-benchwork.html 

 

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

  • Member since
    September 2011
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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 7:59 PM

hardcoalcase
For the 1x4's (actual .75" x 3.5"), I recommend making your own.  I used cabinet grade 3/4", 7-ply plywood and ripped it down to nominal 1x4 planks ...

I was told that when such a plywood board butts against another, that the screw won't hold when it is inserted parallel to the ply.

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Nashville, TN area
  • 712 posts
Posted by hardcoalcase on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 9:01 PM

MidlandMike
  I was told that when such a plywood board butts against another, that the screw won't hold when it is inserted parallel to the ply.

In my experience, for benchwork - as long as you drill a pilot hole, the chances of a split on a plywood plank is very unlikely unless you're using over-sized screws or place the screw too close to the edge - as would also be the case with stick lumber.  

My benchwork is mostly open grid (lots of butt joints) with some L-girder, and is about to celebrate its 10th birthday; last I saw it, it was still standing!

Jim

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,621 posts
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 9:36 PM

I am going to suggest that you do some planning on how the whole thing is going to come together, particularly how the top levels will be supported.

Also you should consider how you want to disasemble this to move it.  If it is double deck, is that two independent sections each with one level or one section with two levels?  Makes a difference how it is designed from a support and moving standpoint.  You will also have to plan it to minimize the amount of complex trackage falling on joints, especially a consideration if the joints are every 3 ft.

I will suggest a unique type of benchwork that was used by a modeler named Jeff Otto in Minnesota (not the guy that sells trackwork).  I call it "centipede" benchwork because it's all legs.

The supports/legs are made from 1x4's (whether you use plywood or lumber)  and they look like a "chair" with a high back.  They are oriented with the wide side perpendicular to the wall.  The back extends up at least to the 2nd leveland can go as high as the top of the backdrop on the upper level.   The "seat of the chair comes out as far as the lower level and has a 1x2 -1x4 leg on under the lower support.  There are sway braces between the back and the front leg.  The upper level is supported on an arm, made from a 1x4 extending out from back at a height under the upper level.  The top support can be a straight 1x4 or can be a board cut at an agle so it's 2" wide at the front and 4" wide at the back.  These legs are placed every 16-24".   The layout can be put on splice or open grid sections resting on the "seat" and the "arm".  If they aren't level you can use a riser to level them off. 

If you have legs every 16" you could make the framework of the open grid sections out of 1x2 because they would be supported by the leg sections.  Since the leg are flexible where theare located, they don't have to exactly match the joints in the open grid layout.  

The backdrop and fascia, even if made from 1/8" hardboard, connect al the leg sections and give it great rigidity.

To move it you remove the layout grid sections and then just move the feet.  When you reassemble it, since the feet are more or less independent of the layout, they can be rearranged to fit the new space and if they aren't in exactly the same location, it's not a big deal.

The picture below shows it with cookie cutter or spline roadbed but it could be used with open grids just as easily.  Also the chair and arm can be the same length or different.

centipede

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
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  • From: west coast
  • 7,642 posts
Posted by rrebell on Thursday, December 28, 2023 7:44 AM

First off, one or two holes in the wall are easy to fix. Second if you want lightweight which you will need on the top layers, just use 2" foam and your 1x4's. 

  • Member since
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  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 2,297 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Sunday, February 11, 2024 5:42 PM

Hello All,

hardcoalcase
For the 1x4's (actual .75" x 3.5"), I recommend making your own. I used cabinet grade 3/4", 7-ply plywood and ripped it down to nominal 1x4 planks (some lumber yards will do this for you). It's less expensive than stick lumber and the planks are very stable, basically not subject to twisting or warping.

"Dimensional Lumber" needs to be carefully inspected before purchase.

My father taught me how to "sight" lumber.

Ripping your own from marine- or furniture-grade plywood assures consistency, especially in climates with humidity swings or non-temperature-regulated spaces.

MidlandMike
I was told that when such a plywood board butts against another, that the screw won't hold when it is inserted parallel to the ply.

Yes, the butt end (thin end) of any piece of lumber- -dimensional or ply- -can split when attempting to use a mechanical fastener: wood, drywall, lag screw or bolt, to make the joint.

Rather than using a mechanical fastener to make a butt joint, I use a 2"x2" reinforcement block; versus a metal bracket- -a common practice in building construction.

The side of the butt end is mechanically and chemically fastened (glued) to the reinforcement block, which is then mechanically fastened to the face of the perpendicular member.

The fasteners I used to attach the reinforcement blocks to the perpendicular members are lag bolts with fender washers.

If I were concerned about repeated assembly and disassembly I would substitute the lag bolts for Hex head bolts along with the fender washers, and "T" nuts in the reinforcement blocks.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 21,442 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, February 11, 2024 7:07 PM

I built my layout in a carpeted room.  I used casters for part of it, and used 2x4s for those legs.  For the rest of the layout I used 2x3 legs and adjustable feet for leveling.  For those, I cut flat bases out of plywood and placed the feet on them.

Phase 1 was moved around a lot, so the wheels were necessary.  The rest of the kayout was stationary.  Mine was also free standing and not attached to the wall.

My layout was built with an open frame of 1x4 and 1x3 lumber, with a subroadbed of 2 inch foam.  I did not use a plywood base.  This worked well.  However, my whole layout is single-deck and I've noticed how heavy it gets after track, trains and scenery are added.  2 or 3 levels will increase the load.  You may want to reconsider stronger legs for the multi-deck sections of your layout.

Throughout construction, I averaged about 1 month per square foot of layout building.  That includes everything from benchwork and scenery to replacing horn hooks with Kadees, but it was all necessary.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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