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Trestle Package #2 Kit

Glue Tips,
Use waterproof glue suitable to your climate and available in your area. As with all glues excess is best cleaned up before it sets. If you will be doing a clear finish, we have found that small glue mistakes don't show if clear setting glue is used. Still it is best to clean up, especially areas where a hardened glob interferes with further construction. (Easier to remove a soft lump than a hard glob)
Cutting Tips,
A razor saw or band saw with a fine tooth blade works well. For fine tuning a piece of sandpaper laid on a flat surface works great, holding the piece vertical and giving it a few strokes with light pressure across the sandpaper will shorten a board up just fine. With all tools, caution and safety is important. Remember this is a real wood product. There might be some warping. Material if not being used for a while (overnight) should be wrapped or bundled together. So when you stop for the day, wrap it up. If you do get some warped pieces, carefully bend them in the opposite direction and you can temporarily remove some of it. Once it is glued together as a composite structure it will become stable. Most material is shipped in 18"-20" lengths, that is equal to 36-40 feet in real dimension. I don't think you will find many real boards that long without some warp. Always cut longest elements first and use the leftovers for the smaller items.
Work area,
Use a flat smooth surface to work on. We recommend you use wax paper laid on the plans and on your layout board to keep glue from sticking. So on with the show!

(click on photo's for a larger image)

The kit builds a trestle 48” long and 13” tall

Use a sharp pencil to mark material for cutting. Most elements can be cut with no measuring at all by marking them from the drawing. Make sure to cut the longest parts first and use the leftovers for the shorter ones. You will need to make (2) 6” and (3) 12” trestle bents.

Start by laying out the frame with 12" x 12" . Make sure to keep things as square as possible. Work on a flat surface. Waxpaper laid on top of the drawing will keep glue from sticking to the plan sheet. We used the optional 12" x 12" bottom crossbeam this further stabilizes the bent. Add elements a few at a time, weighing them down with wood blocks as shown here or whatever you have to hold things in place.

The 4" x 12" sway brace applied on the topside. After the glue has set up, turn it over and apply the sway brace to the other side. We drilled holes slightly smaller than the escutcheon pins we used to avoid splitting.

One bent complete. We found it easier to wait until the glue was cured before nailing. In this case we used 18 gauge brass escutcheon pins. The difference between them and brads is a larger rounded head. Our local hardware store didn’t have the recommended 7/8” so we used 1” for the 12” x 12” to 12” x12” joints, and ½” on the sway braces. Your choice as to what you use. Brads, escutcheon pins as well as material, brass, or plain wire. Wire brads are available in plated versions so they don’t rust. But you may want that look. You may want to drill the 4” x 12” sway brace material as you may get some splitting. You will also find it easier than trying to hold the brad with a pliers or nail starter. We used an old fashioned tack hammer.
Here starting on a 12" bent kit using the same method of construction.

Again wood blocks used to hold down the sway braces while the glue cures.

An example of using a needle nose pliers to hold a short brad. Lightly tap it with a small hammer.

Another option shown here is a brad setter pliers used for picture framing. They are available from Rockler woodworking stores usually for around $10.00. You might also decide to use an air nailer to speed up the process especially if you are constructing many bents.

Bents complete. Two 6” and three 12” bents. In this kit the bents will be spaced 8” apart center to center. We are using 4” x10” for cross bracing on all levels as well as 8” x 8” girts. Notice the 4x12 sway braces extend down to the bottom crossbeam. If you don't use the bottom crossbeam leave the sway brace as shown on the plan sheets.

3 24” pieces of 12” x 12” track stringer material nailed on one end to a piece of leftover 12” x 12” from building the bents. Spaced as shown on the plans. The inner 2 will be shown later in shorter length to stagger the joint to make the trestle stronger. We drilled the stringer material for the 7/8” escutcheon pins.

Top view of 6” bent with its center 8” from the end. The inner stringers in place with their length meant to meet the center of the next bent.

Shown here 2 16” long pieces of track stringer. In the same positions next will be 24” pieces then the last on the other end of the trestle are 8” ones. Always stagger your joints for a stronger trestle. This trestle uses 8 @ 24” long, 2 @ 16” long and 2 @ 8” long.

Completed stringers with bents attached on 8” centers. The trestle ends up 48” long and 13” tall.

Trestle on its side and starting to add 4” x 10” cross bracing. Use a square as you go to keep the bents perpendicular to the track stringers. Keep in mind you might have to trim sway brace ends it they interfere with your cross brace application. Notice only the bottom escutcheon pin is in place. The top end will be held in place with a single longer one holding 2 layers of material down. On the single layer we used 1/2” long pins and 3/4” long on the two layer joints. We also drilled holes in the braces to avoid splitting. Use a drill slightly smaller than the pins you are using.
Example of the double layer joints. Again the double layer uses a 3/4” pin.

Bottom of end 6” bent. Notice brace placed higher to clear the sway brace on the bent.

End view showing added 8x8 girts. Stagger the joints on them as well. Only the upper bay gets them. We used 4 @ 24 1/4” and 4 @ 8 ¼”. Adjust as needed to fit your construction results.

Finished and ready to sealing.

Side view.

One last addition was a fire barrel platform (Not shown on the plans) that was made from leftover scraps. It sits on a pair of 8" x 8" beams that slide under the track between the ties.

Top view, the railing sets back about ½" from the end of the ties which for all of the locos we own leaves more than enough clearance. The platform is approx. 3 ½" square. You will probably have enough scrap material to make a couple of these.

We recommend all parts that come in direct contact with the ground get a good sealing with any clear sealer that works in your area. If you stain the wood, do that first then seal. If you want to have a natural gray cedar finish, seal only the ground contact areas (footings) and let Mother Nature do the rest.

Good Luck and Happy Railroading!



Mark & Sue Smith
Smith Pond Junctions Railroad Products

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