I need a lumber gauge calculator

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by repeters1, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    Any one have or know of a good lumber gauge calculator? I would like to start making some tresell bridges but I need to calculate 2x4's, 2x8's, 4x8's, etc....I've always loved train bridges but the big wooden ones are my favorite. I have the tools & the wood, I just need the calculator.:mrgreen:
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Not sure what you need, but what about a scale ruler? Your lhs should have them.

  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I saw a scale lumber gauge somewhere recently...my thinking it was made by midwest and was near the scale lumber at my LHS. Or maybe it was Kappler who made it.

  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    A common desk cacalulator plus knowing the scale you are working in will give you the info you need. HO scale, 1 foot is equal to approximately 1/8 inch (.125) in decimals. O scale is approximately 1/4 inch equals 1 foot. (.250) in decimals. A 12X12 timber would be 1/8 inch square in HO scale and 1/4 inch square in O scale. A 2X12 would be .020X .125 in HO. etc. etc. Vernier calipers will be needed to measure thickness in smaller dimensions. How are you planning to cut your wood?
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    In HO scale, .011" is very close to one inch actual. As Jim notes, a Vernier caliper would be a useful tool for you to have, along with a scale rule.
    For those working in styrene, Evergreen makes HO scale dimensional "lumber", although not all hobbyshops keep it in stock.

  6. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    I was looking for a software type calculator that I saw awhile back that let you put in the dimensions of the board you wanted to emulate, then the gauge you were working in and it gave you the final dimensions to cut to. Wow, I didn't even think of a desk calculator. It migh take a little longer doing each side but that might work. H-m-m, I might be able to do something in Excel also.
    Thank you everyone. Now that my mind is going, I have something to go on.
  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    whenever you see a fraction...such as 1/8....divide 1 by 8 to get the decimal. Architects and engineers scales scales are handy for reading plans...they are available in some arts stores and college bookstores.

    Be leery of the measurements listed on the evergreen packages...not all are actually scale...their O scale 4x8 is actually a 4x7.5". I make extensive use of digital calipers ($15-$20) and of a calculator.

    I don't know that I'd trust midwest's lumber gauge...I have one...and it substitutes 1/8" scale for HO...1/8"=1' scale is 1/96th scale
  8. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Yeah, I have seen HO scale lumber sold as 1:72 scale (OO). But sometimes, that's all I can get, and for most of the stuff I build I consider the difference to be acceptable. Also keep in mind that a modern 2x4 is not really 2"x4" - it is 1.75"x3.5". But in the past, a 2x4 was actually 2"x4".

  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    For me, I take advantage of those 4x7.5s...as they are great for the side sills on DSP&P & CC platform cars. Unfortunately, I have to cut 2x10s from 0.040" thick sheet styrene. The big problem with not-to-scale lumber is if you don't realize it when building...and suddenly parts don't fit...which is what prompted me to think about the dimensions.
  10. TCH

    TCH Member

    just googled "scale conversion calculator" and came up with a couple of sites

    give it a try
  11. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    I tried the "Google" way and I found Stan's train calculator program that you can download for $10.95 or order a CD for $16.95 that has quite a bit info and different calculators. Will look a little more but this seems to be the one I'm looking for.
    I did do a little programing in Excel and it's not bad but Excel doesn't let you convert to 1/64" fractions. I did get it to get me to decimals which I can look up to find the nearest fraction.
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Now all I have to do is start making some planks and try my first scratch built bridge. Happy Holidays everyone!
  12. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    Jim, I noticed you asked me how I was going to cut the wood.
    I have a band saw with a 1/8" blade & a zero tolerance table I made to put on top of the original table. With a good fence I should be able to get 4x4's and bigger out of this. 2x's may be a little to small but I may be able to plane down the wood first to the 2" thickness than cut it to the 4's, 6's 8's and so on with the band saw. I have a lot of good hard wood scraps lying around to play with. Maybe next weekend (I have a four day weekend w/ Xmas) I'll give it a shot. I'll let you know how it turns out.
    If you have a better way of cutting these , please let me know.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Derrel Poole does that same sort of thing...builds his cars board by board with hand cut lumber...commonly ship lap siding...he then adds commercial hardware usually...darn good modeler...sounds like you have a similar interest in techniques...

    Scroll down and you'll find some of his work. He's a part of the team for Cimarron works
    The Cimarron Works Gallery
  14. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    WOW! That is really nice work. It takes years I would assume to get that good. All I want to do is make something that's decent to look at and functional. Maybe if I started doing this when I was 'lots' younger, I may have been able to get close to his expertise, but at my age, well you know the old saying about teachig old dogs.:mrgreen:
    Well, tomorrows another day and I have to get up early for work.
    To quote A.S., "I'll be back".
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How important is it to have the dimensions "dead on?" What era are you modeling? How long have they been making precise dimensional lumber? I suspect most of the lumber trestles were made with rough cut lumber that wasn't precisely dimensional. What I'm getting at is if you get the lumber close to the right size so that it looks right, your finished bridge should look fine. It won't look any better if you go to a lot of trouble to get fine scale lumber, and may look wrong just because the lumber is too precise for what you are modeling.
  16. repeters1

    repeters1 Pete

    Your right Russ, As I said before, all I want is for it to look decent and be functional. Anyone can go to the local HS and get precut wood, but I want to use woods not offered in the shops and I'd like to say I did it myself.
    As far as what era I am modeling? I'm a steam engine type of guy, and most of my collection is the New Haven RR, but I still love the western tall trestles (there's not too many mountains here in CT that I could copy from. Might just do a diorama so I can use my bridge when it's done). And yes, perfection in the dimensions is not critical. Close is good enough.
  17. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    there is a totally free rogram i use to turn real measurments into scale ones and 1:87 measuremens into 1:1 its called scalecalc ,google it.its totally free and works fine for me.--josh
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    HO scale - 1:87.1 or 3.5 mm to the foot

    Items and/or stripwood/styrene in these "close to HO" scales may be useful:

    OO scale - 1:76 or 4mm to the foot

    1:72 is a common scale for model airplanes

    1/8" to the foot is 1:96

    For scratchbuilding purposes, and to check key dimensions of kit parts, I took the plunge and got a "blindman's" digital caliper. It has a large display that you can toggle between mm, decimal inches, and fractional inches. You can also zero it at any point open or closed.

    Hope that helps.

  19. tebee

    tebee Guest

    Here is a table of the equivalent fractional sizes (to the nearest 64th inch) of sizes from 1 inch to 24 inches for the most popular scales.

    If you want to expand it or use it for a different scale I've attached the excel file used to create it in a zip.

                    n scale        Ho scale         oo scale        o scale
            ratio     160              87              76              48
    1                                 1/64            1/64            1/64
    2                 1/64            1/64            1/32            3/64
    3                 1/64            1/32            3/64            1/16
    4                 1/32            3/64            3/64            5/64
    5                 1/32            1/16            1/16            7/64
    6                 1/32            1/16            5/64            1/8
    7                 3/64            5/64            3/32            9/64
    8                 3/64            3/32            7/64           11/64
    9                 1/16            7/64            1/8             3/16
    10                1/16            7/64            1/8            13/64
    11                1/16            1/8             9/64           15/64
    12                5/64            9/64            5/32            1/4
    13                5/64            5/32           11/64           17/64
    14                3/32            5/32            3/16           19/64
    15                3/32           11/64           13/64            5/16
    16                3/32            3/16           13/64           21/64
    17                7/64           13/64            7/32           23/64
    18                7/64           13/64           15/64            3/8
    19                1/8             7/32            1/4            25/64
    20                1/8            15/64           17/64           27/64
    21                1/8            15/64            9/32            7/16
    22                9/64            1/4            19/64           29/64
    23                9/64           17/64           19/64           31/64
    24                5/32            9/32            5/16            1/2

    Attached Files:

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