What would you use?

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
Buelligan
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What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:53 pm

Hi all, I'm in the process of planning a different and more practical layout for my kids. It'll go along their bedroom wall, and then partly along either end wall. I've got the rough dimensions worked out overall, but I'm struggling to figure out the best and most economical way of getting the boards cut. I'll try and add a rough diagram below. Also can't decide what board to use, either MDF or plywood, and can't decide on thickness either! Really need a lot of help to be honest. I was initially thinking of 9mm thick. It'll sit on top of their chest of drawers and storage units, so will have 4 ready made strong supports that can be utilised. I'll run a baton along the longest wall, to support the rear of the board, and then put in extra supports between the chest of drawers etc. This is what I was going to use for the baton and supports: https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Sawn-Ki ... 9000036491

This is the rough plan for the baseboard, dimensions to be finalised once I've done a proper measurement of their room, but its within an inch or 2. Overall length is 360cm, coming out 120cm at 1 end and 150cm the other, with the middle section at 60cm wide. I'd get the sawmill to cut it into sections, and then trim it to shape for the middle opening once it was home and put in place.

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: What would you use?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:07 pm

What you are planning is a recipe for trouble! Baseboard construction is where a lot of modellers try and cut corners so save money and end up with problems (I talk from experience with an early layout). Are the drawers/units exactly the same height? If not the board will be uneven and stock will roll when not attached to a loco. I would strongly advise using 12mm ply on a 2 x 1 timber frame, which is what most model railway design manuals will advise. Having the timber frame also gives you space to run wires to your track, if you place the baseboard on top of drawers you will not have space to do this, and as you have kept the reverse loop you will need the track divided into isolated sections each with independent feeds. I still thin you should avoid this feature.

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NickH
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Re: What would you use?

Postby NickH » Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:43 am

Nothing to do with baseboards but just a couple of points regarding your scheme.
Firstly, if the boards are fixed to the wall, how are you going to reach into the extreme corners? It's over 1.4 metres to get to, nearly five feet in old money, and well beyond the reach of most people, and definitely for children, who will be inclined to clamber over the board to access a derailment or work on the scenery. Even the suggested properly framed boards would be hard pressed to take that.
The other point is that the crossover which connects the front and rear main lines creates a reversing loop, which is a good idea for operation, but creates a problem electrically. Not too difficult to resolve, especially if using DCC, but with normal analogue supplies you will require switching which the operators have to understand if short circuits are to be avoided.

Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:17 pm

Thanks, I’m still learning how to use RailModeller, inside the loops either end would be a cut out that they could pop up inside the track to reach the corners. Didn’t really know how to illustrate that on the plans.

It will be run using analogue controls, can’t afford to convert to DCC, especially not as a kids toy. That reversing section is primarily there because for ease later, I want to lay the points ready for the third innermost track to be laid. What I didn’t want was the points to get knocked and the trains go flying off the wrong part of the point and crashing onto the baseboard. So it was more like an escape lane found on steep hills than something for them really use. Just with the added bonus that they could use it to change direction if they wanted. I was planning on using isolating joiners each end, then solder some wires from the powers track to the isolated track, and have a separate switch to make that section live.

Track layout isn’t ideal, but I’ve got to make it fit into a specific space, so the shape has to remain roughly as it is, certainly no bigger. It has to have the ability to have a 3rd track added in. It also has to sit on top of the furniture, to put it above the level of the furniture would make it too high. The chests are 77cm high and the box units are 79cm high, so should be easy enough to pack out under the board on the chests to level it all off.

I think the wood I linked to is only slightly smaller than 2x1” have to say I don’t think wickes do true 2x1” do they? Understood about the 12mm ply, it’s only a little more expensive, it was more about ease of cutting, and being a little lighter when handling it. I’ll have an accurate measure of the room later, I think there may be a few extra cm’s I could add to the length.
Last edited by Buelligan on Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RAF96
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Re: What would you use?

Postby RAF96 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:42 pm

2 x 1 was never ever true size. Most wood yards would say it was planed all round (par) from 2 x 1 rough cut stock.

My next board will be at least 12mm ply top with a similar or more thickness ply frame as I found the softwood timber framing never held its shape over time, resembling those expensive laser cut skimpy mdf things you can buy.

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Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:44 pm

RAFHAAA96 wrote:2 x 1 was never ever true size. Most wood yards would say it was planed all round (par) from 2 x 1 rough cut stock.

My next board will be at least 12mm ply top with a similar or more thickness ply frame as I found the softwood timber framing never held its shape over time, resembling those expensive laser cut skimpy mdf things you can buy.

Rob



Thanks for the reply, how would you cut framework from ply? I've always found the glue in ply dulls blades pretty quick, plus my cutting over longer lengths isn't great.

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RAF96
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Re: What would you use?

Postby RAF96 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:48 pm

Buelligan wrote:
RAFHAAA96 wrote:...My next board will be at least 12mm ply top with a similar or more thickness ply frame...

Thanks for the reply, how would you cut framework from ply? I've always found the glue in ply dulls blades pretty quick, plus my cutting over longer lengths isn't great.


Cut long narrow strips that connect together egg box fashion (half depth slotted joints) I just use a new handsaw with a hard tooth blade, but a power saw (rotary blade not jigsaw type) with a guide fence would be quicker. Handsaws are fairly cheap and last out a project.

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Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:19 am

Thanks I’ll give it some thought. Wouldn’t mind having an excuse to buy a nice new saw.

I’m in 2 minds at the moment anyway, we’re planning on moving in 3-4 years, so don’t want to spend too much time and money on something long lasting, when in all likelyhood, when we move I’ll have to start again, or at least heavily modify it to fit the new room. But at the same time, we imminently need a 3rd track for my youngest to use. Ordered him a Bachmann Toby, and will get a Henrietta to go with it.

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Re: What would you use?

Postby mjb1961 » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:22 pm

Buelligan wrote:
RAFHAAA96 wrote:2 x 1 was never ever true size. Most wood yards would say it was planed all round (par) from 2 x 1 rough cut stock.

My next board will be at least 12mm ply top with a similar or more thickness ply frame as I found the softwood timber framing never held its shape over time, resembling those expensive laser cut skimpy mdf things you can buy.

Rob



Thanks for the reply, how would you cut framework from ply? I've always found the glue in ply dulls blades pretty quick, plus my cutting over longer lengths isn't great.


Draw up a plan and ask your timber yard to cut them for you ,,,mjb

Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:50 am

mjb1961 wrote:
Buelligan wrote:
RAFHAAA96 wrote:2 x 1 was never ever true size. Most wood yards would say it was planed all round (par) from 2 x 1 rough cut stock.

My next board will be at least 12mm ply top with a similar or more thickness ply frame as I found the softwood timber framing never held its shape over time, resembling those expensive laser cut skimpy mdf things you can buy.

Rob



Thanks for the reply, how would you cut framework from ply? I've always found the glue in ply dulls blades pretty quick, plus my cutting over longer lengths isn't great.


Draw up a plan and ask your timber yard to cut them for you ,,,mjb


I was going to get them to cut the baseboards, but not sure about getting them to cut strips, the only place within about 20 miles that I know of does 5 cuts free, then something like £1 per cut after that!

I'm still unsure how permanent to make this, with the plan to move in a few years, it'll only have a finite lifespan. The last bits of track required have been ordered. I then need to make up my mind about the baseboard and get on with that. The other issue I have is that I need to be able to assemble the board within a day, so that I can rearrange their bedroom in the morning, then build the baseboard and supports, and be done by the time they go to bed.

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End2end
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Re: What would you use?

Postby End2end » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:57 am

Buelligan wrote:I'm still unsure how permanent to make this, with the plan to move in a few years, it'll only have a finite lifespan.

You could always just pin the track down so it doesn't move but can be lifted easily by using drawing pins inbetween the sleepers. (Rather than say using track pins through the sleeper holes or glueing the track down). If you find the bright gold of the drawing pins too much just use a permenant marker or paint over the heads of the drawing pins. :idea: :)
Just dont ballast the track or, you could lay the ballast loose so it can be easily removed.
Hope it helps
Thanks
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Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:48 pm

End2end wrote:
Buelligan wrote:I'm still unsure how permanent to make this, with the plan to move in a few years, it'll only have a finite lifespan.

You could always just pin the track down so it doesn't move but can be lifted easily by using drawing pins inbetween the sleepers. (Rather than say using track pins through the sleeper holes or glueing the track down). If you find the bright gold of the drawing pins too much just use a permenant marker or paint over the heads of the drawing pins. :idea: :)
Just dont ballast the track or, you could lay the ballast loose so it can be easily removed.
Hope it helps
Thanks
End2end



I like the sound of that, would allow for easily fixing any hiccups. I won't be ballasting this layout, apart from the limited life of the layout, I just don't have that much spare time, it'd probably take the best part of 3 years for me to do it all. I was planning on just painting grey and lay the track on top, then I'll use the rolls of grass to cover the empty spaces.

Just 1 question about the drawing pins, is there a chance they could cause a short across the rails when running?

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Re: What would you use?

Postby End2end » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:54 pm

Not in 00, the heads of the drawing pins should be too small to touch both tracks at the same time. Not sure about N gauge though.
You could always use plastic coated ones. These are black saving having to paint them - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50X-Round-Pu ... ctupt=true
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Buelligan
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Re: What would you use?

Postby Buelligan » Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:34 pm

Ok thanks, I’ll get some of those ordered. Then I just need to figure out the most efficient cuts to get the board I want, and decide how to do the framework.

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Re: What would you use?

Postby Dublo » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:37 am

Hi
Regarding the construction of your baseboard could you possibly cut everything to size, drill all holes etc in the garden beforehand. If you did all the prep work before you would effectively end up with a kit to assemble in the bedroom. That should cut down the time needed to erect the board in your children's bedroom.


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