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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to start work on a 6' x 4' baseboard for my son's birthday gift of a model railway. In order to solve the storage issues, this will be split into two 3' x 4' sections connected by sturdy hinges. With the sections being quite small at 3' x 4', is it necessary to brace the bases?

I plan on using 12mm MDF as the base. I have used this in the past to construct wargames boards and found it to be very stable and resistant to warping and deformation. The advantages of avoiding bracing is that is keeps the width of the board to a minimum (storage space is a premium) and keeps the weight down. In terms of the weight, I guess I could compromise and use a lighter board with bracing.

Any help is much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After some further thought and planning, it may be more sensible to split the baseboard into two 2' x 6' sections. This would mean cutting fewer pieces of track and also keeping cuts well away from any points. I think that 2 pieces this long probably would need bracing, but I'd still like to avoid it if I could.
 

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Hi Cookiechem,

Normally I would say that your boards will need bracing at 1ft centres but you might be able to do away with bracing if you used a good quality thick (18mm) plywood as a baseboard instead of your proposed MDF.

I'm not a great fan of MDF at the best of times and, bearing in mind that you probably need to work to tighter tolerances than for war-gaming when laying and jointing track, I think you might be tempting fate to use it without bracing.

Regards,

Expat.
 
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Either way yes. Plus diagonals to stop it twisting. Use a good quality scandinavian plywood and not MDF.

New Street boards are 3'3" by 4" and they are braced with 5 inch deep ply sandwich sides - a sandwich strip down the center (long side) - cross braces half way and a diagonal per corner. Thing is they are VERY heavy!

(9mm tops 6mm sides)

HTH

Jim
 

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12mm MDF is what I use and seems to be very sturdy. I built a cabinet with it to house my layout with two shelves for storage underneath. The sections underneath must be at least 2 foot long without bracing and there is no sign of warping after 5 years of use.
 

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QUOTE (cookiechem @ 29 Mar 2008, 14:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I am about to start work on a 6' x 4' baseboard for my son's birthday gift of a model railway. In order to solve the storage issues, this will be split into two 3' x 4' sections connected by sturdy hinges. With the sections being quite small at 3' x 4', is it necessary to brace the bases?

I plan on using 12mm MDF as the base. I have used this in the past to construct wargames boards and found it to be very stable and resistant to warping and deformation. The advantages of avoiding bracing is that is keeps the width of the board to a minimum (storage space is a premium) and keeps the weight down. In terms of the weight, I guess I could compromise and use a lighter board with bracing.

Any help is much appreciated.

I would say bracing is required as with variable weight and folding and unfolding, I would think some bracing (using 50mm X 20 mm planed softwood on the edges and one diagional would stop any warping (just in case). You could then uses a 6mm mdf (although I also dislike mdf it is a good smooth surface but make sure you waer a mask when cutting or sanding it).

Have fun

Basil
 

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A nuisance dust mask is no good for cutting any kind of wood. Use a proper respirator mask. Read the safety label for suitable masks.
 

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I think bracing with thinner top face is better, and probably lighter, than much thicker single piece. I would also advise you to steer clear of MDF partly because it doesn't take pins at all well. Plywood would be much better. If you can afford it bracing with 25mm hardwood might be best.

Have you thought about making the layout slightly larger and using a pair of ready made doors? You might even be able to find them only 2ft wide.

Think very carefully about how you are going to take the track across the breaks. Best if it's exactly at right angles to the board edge. Some comments about this in the archives of this site.

Good luck with it anyway, Robert.
 

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If you use extendable track accross the joins you shouldn't need to have exact right angles. Extendable track also solves the problem of having to raise the hinges for a folding board. Think I read about it on this site.
 

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Yes, can't agree more fully. A full respirator mask (I have one) is a necessity. Take any and all precautions.

Have fun (safely)

regards

Basil

QUOTE (poliss @ 29 Mar 2008, 20:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A nuisance dust mask is no good for cutting any kind of wood. Use a proper respirator mask. Read the safety label for suitable masks.
 
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