Trestles for supporting layout?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I was wondering what are the best ways to support your layout?

    To make a long story short, I have a 4x6' layout in our basement. Currently, I can only use the layout around weekends because a good friend of ours (who lives outside of Toronto) uses our basement during the week while he's at work. So I have to set it up, stow it away, set it up again, etc. Well, our friend is retiring at the end of March so we will then have full use of our basement.

    I currently set my 4x6 layout up on my sons' Thomas table of all places!! :mrgreen: They no longer use the table, it's nice and stable and a good height for us to use the model railway.

    Since the model railway will now be set up "semi-permanently" (I'll still have to stow it away when visitors come to stay with us), I'm looking to find what could be used to support it other than the Thomas table.

    Ideally, I'd like the layout to be 4 to 4-1/2 feet from the ground. I recently read an article in Hornby Magazine (a British model railway magazine) that recommended using trestles to support one's layout. Apparently, trestles don't cost that much, are stable and easily moved.

    So I think I'll consider this suggestion and see what Ikea or Home Depot, etc. has to offer. Since I'm just starting to look into this, I thought I'd toss this question out here. Again, whatever I choose, has to be easily moveable, stable and (hopefully) not too expensive.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S

    It depends, but maybe....

    A friend has his 4x6 with two door hinges on the side which is mounted to the wall. On the other side are two screw eyes. When not in use the table swings up and hooks on to hardware on the ceiling.

    Of course all the equipment needs to be stode first and all the building and scenery needs to be fixed.

  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, that's a good idea. But, while I remove most of the buildings from the layout before stowing it away, there is still a fair bit of scenery and hills that would make it a little tricky. I still leave 2 small buildings which are glued on the layout. So I couldn't totally have it vertical against the wall -- it would have to stick out at a slight angle. Still worth considering though -- thanks! Rob
  4. KentBy

    KentBy GN, NP, SP&S


    Instead of hinging directly to the wall, it might work out better to build some extention that would allow you to go vertical with everything glued down.

    Get out your tape measure.:thumb:

  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    That makes sense! I didn't even think of that ! but that would solve the problem. I'll give it some thought. Thanks, Rob
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    A lot of the modules in our club have legs made with 2x2 lumber with a 1x2 cross piece in the form of the letter "H". The leg sets are hinged at the top and are off set from each other enough to nest when folded. Apiece of aluminum electrical conduit is then smashed in a vice at each end for each leg set and bent and drilled to make a brace to keep the legs from folding while in use and to stabilise the module until it is bolted into the layout. Since our module standards for the club require modules to be bolted together with bolts and "T" nuts at module connections, most members use the same size bolts and "T" nuts on each end of the braces.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    My feeling is,"it depends on how heavy your layout is". If you have used plywood as a base and heavy scenery materials, you may need something like sawhorses or good substantial legs that are removable. My On30 module is built for transportation and "lighter is better". I can get by with 2X2 legs and minimal bracing because the module is almost entirely foam construction. Probably very similar to what Russ B. was talking about.
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Jim. It is made of plywood and does have heavy scenery details, so something like sawhorses might work well. I think sawhorses are pretty much the same thing as trestles (and that "trestle" might be a British term?). Rob
  9. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    I'm still trying to figure out the good friend using the basement during the week thing?
  10. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Here's an added thought on the trestle/sawhorse option. There are metal brackets that can be purchased that allow the completed sawhorse to be folded up when not in use. You would also be able to customize the height of your table.
  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    It's nothing major -- he simply lives outside of the city in a small town but is still working in Toronto in his pre-retirement years. He basically needs a place to "crash" while he's in the city working. As mentioned, this arrangement will be ending in March which will give us full use of our basement, :mrgreen: so I can have a more permanent set-up for my trains. Rob
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Wow, this sounds perfect! I forgot to mention that the ceilings are rather low in the basement. The ceiling height is less than 6 feet -- not a problem for me because I'm only 5' 8"! So if I did mount the layout on hinges screwed to the wall, the layout would still have to be quite low to the floor, less than 2 feet. Ideally, I'd like to have the layout higher up to keep little hands off the layout (sometimes when my sons have friends over, they touch the layout when I'm not around :eek:).

    Thanks again for these suggestions.

  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: I picked up a set of plastic sawhorses a few years ago at Cdn Tyre when they had a weekend special. 4 of these support a layout reasonably if the layout is stiff enough. They're also at a lowish height.
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member


    Hopefully they would be around 4 to 4-1/2 feet in height. I'll check out Canadian Tire then -- thanks!

    I suspect Home Depot and Ikea be other good sources.


  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I have 4 of those plastic saw horses that I got from Home Depot or Lowes, I don't think Ikea carries anything like that. They are really lightweight standard carpenter's saw horses, which puts the height around 3 feet. I use them for all sorts of projects around the house, but I think they would be too low for what you are wanting to do. I think your best solution, if the layout is heavy, would be Jim Krause's suggestion to make your own saw horses using the metal brackets with 2 x 4 lumber you cut to length yourself to establish the table height where you want it. One thing I would add to the saw horses would be some sort of bracket or cleat to the top of the saw horses that would positively locate the table on top of the saw horses so that an accidental bump to the table does not knock it off the saw horses. Presuming that your table has 1x3 or 1x4 lumber for ends and sides, it could be as simple as 4 pieces of aluminum angle bolted into the top of the saw horses that just fit inside of the table sides to keep the table from sliding sideways on the saw horses.
  16. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Russ. I was wondering about that -- that they might be too low. I'll consider Jim's suggestion then. Cheers, Rob

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