Making a baseboard....

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
Chelle
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Making a baseboard....

Postby Chelle » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:09 pm

I have no carpentry experience, but I am practical, how much equipment/tools do I need to make a baseboard? Is it possible with a saw, and a bag of nuts and bolts and screws...Husband thinks we should buy a board, but I am thinking about making one......are there any good books to read on the subject, or web sites etc

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stuartp
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby stuartp » Thu Dec 01, 2016 11:42 pm

if you want something relatively low-tech you can do it with a saw, a hand drill and a screwdriver, I did for years. It depends on the size really - if you're building a fairly small board you'll be fine, if you're going all round the garage you'll be thoroughly pig sick of cutting, drilling and screw-driving by hand after the first few feet and dreaming of jigsaws and power screwdrivers.

In it's most basic form you need a flat top and something underneath to brace it and stop it warping. The traditional method is half inch chipboard with 3"x1" softwood on edge underneath, drill through the chipboard and screw through it into the softwood. That's heavy though - the lighter you need it the more complicated it gets. If you're building anything of any size you'll find a power screwdriver (or a screwdriver bit in a small power drill) invaluable.
Last edited by stuartp on Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

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Emettman
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby Emettman » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:53 am

Hello and welcome, Chelle.
I'm afraid the answer to how many tools really depends on the size of the baseboard, and whether it is going to moved regularly or be permanently in one place.
One set of four baseboards I built only needed a saw and glue, but that isn't typical

Can I ask...
What size and shape are you contemplating?
And what will its home or homes be?

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

b308
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby b308 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:58 am

There's lots of things to think about when building a board...

Size - do you move it around often in which case a solid 6x4 is a no-no
Weight - same as above
Permanent or portable - if you are going to take it to shows then a large board won't fit into a car!
Type of layout - if you want flowing scenery then a solid board of the traditional type Stuart mentions is very restrictive and you'd be better off with "open top" boards using plywood construction.


The traditional type of board (flat top/bracing) is ok for a flat layout but if you want to do gradients (especially multi ones) and hills an open top board using ply is better. Most people start with the trad method and move on to ply/open top when developing their skills.

There are lots of threads on here discussing the various construction types and even more if you Google search baseboard construction... And quite a few books on it!

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Emettman
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby Emettman » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:54 am

b308 wrote:There's lots of things to think about when building a board...

Size - do you move it around often in which case a solid 6x4 is a no-no


Seconded, and it's not that good if you don't want to move it around: the Devil's Tablecloth!

Sometimes you can do without structural baseboards. A layout around a room on a shelf, for example (other shelves, room still useful for other things!)
Or from below: if "underneath" is storage units of the same height then adding a top surface bridging these can be very simple.

Lots of ways.

Chris
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

b308
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby b308 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:11 pm

Yes, as you said earlier we need more detail from the OP about location, type of layout envisaged, etc!

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NakatsuHime
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby NakatsuHime » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:00 pm

We have a woodyard, quite close, and I got them to cut the baseboards to size, and also the thicker wood of the support legs. The thinner wood I cut myself.

Apart from the cutting, all else was done with bags of screws. I preferred screwing (!) as this ensured I could disassemble if required. As it was, it was a good job I did, as I decided to enlarge the baseboard area to prevent derailments on the - already - tight curves.

Chelle
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby Chelle » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:34 pm

Hi thanks for all the replies. It is going to be situated in a spare bedroom, 00 gauge, would be handy to be able to move it in the future. A simple layout that is achievable for a beginner, not sure what dimensions, but nothing too big, or too small that it becomes limiting. Also something that isn't too much of a mammoth task, so that i can actually do it.u

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alex3410
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby alex3410 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:21 pm

Welcome to the forum


when i first started i grabbed a 'argos value' drill and a hand saw and while i did mange to get my fist baseboards together the quality was rubbish :oops:

I am really not a DIY person :lol: and the drill was rubbish, at the end it would hold its charge for about five minutes!

My suggestion would be to get a really good quality drill and jigsaw (my preference is Bosh), if you can get local store to cut your wood for you then you could get away without the jigsaw but its a useful investment

I have
Cordless drill
Corded drill
Jigsaw

The corded drill is heavy which is why i went for the cordless one as well, but if i am doing any extended work i always reach for my corded one - no worrying about batteries and it just seems to have more oomph.

Anyway I got much better results the second time around, I dont doubt its down to learning from my mistakes as well but the whole process was made so much easier by having reliable tools.

The third time around i got myself a mitre saw - a cheap 'homebase value' one - and it was fantastic for cutting the lengths of wood, i cant cut straight by hand to save my life so having the mitre saw made a real difference. The layout was perfectly level for a change :lol:

This time around i thought i would have everything i wanted to do the baseboard work - until i spotted a small hand circular saw in homebase reduced to 30% of its RRP :roll: I have not got around to using it yet but will report back if its any good.

I guess what i am trying to say is yes you can do it without the tools but they can make your life allot easier, and if your going to buy, invest in decent tools for the ones your likely to use again (e.g. drill).

The other thing to do is to see if family / friends have them to borrow for a weekend?

Good luck

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Emettman
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby Emettman » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:13 pm

If the spare bedroom still needs to function as a bedroom, a shelf layout round the room might be a good way to go.(a bit above headboard height.)
If trains that run continuously are required a simple flap or lifting section to clear the door is not difficult to arrange.
This can feel much less constrained than a single rectangular board. There could well be potential for matching shelves above or below the layout level, making excellent use of space.

If operating a station is of greater interest than running trains, a shelf layout on two or three sides of the room avoids the door issue
Alternately resting the layout on cupboard or drawer units could be a neat option.

Chris
Last edited by Emettman on Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It's his madness that keeps him sane."

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stuartp
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby stuartp » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:16 am

My layout started off 30 years ago as a shelf, these two (poor) pics show the chipboard/softwood construction, the aluminium shelf brackets were not man enough and were replaced with steel Spur brackets which proved more than adequate:

Portwilliam001.jpg
Portwilliam001.jpg (32.83 KiB) Viewed 1153 times

Portwilliam003.jpg
Portwilliam003.jpg (30.09 KiB) Viewed 1153 times


Half a lifetime later it looks like this:

800.jpg
800.jpg (152.41 KiB) Viewed 1153 times


It was rebuilt on wider ply frames but reusing the original chipboard top, and that was a task and a half !
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

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alex3410
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby alex3410 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:36 am

talking about tools i just spotted this Link

no idea on the brand but its a good price

paule23
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby paule23 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:24 pm

I'm a bit late to the party, but thinking of tools I'd very much recommend a drill driver if you need to be inserting a lot of screws. They are so much quicker, stable and effective than a power drill for screws.. I bought mine principally to build some wood stores, but it was great for the baseboards as well.

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TimberSurf
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Re: Making a baseboard....

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:49 am

To answer your original question, start here, http://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/Layout%20building.html
Minimum is a hand saw and screwdriver. A cheap cordless drill/driver is a great help. Circular saw or Jigsaw is a good labour saver for larger projects.
You need 9mm ply top, 2" x 1" batons for small board, 3" x 1" batons for medium board, 4" x 1" batons for large board, with cross braces to give maximum of 2ft square unsupported areas. Support with trestles, legs, wall brackets or wall/legs.
Come up with a layout plan with board size and we can help design the base board.
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