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I'm gonna act like a complete newbie and ask the obvious: how can I build or buy a trestle that won't cost an arm and a leg? For years, I had fantasized that when the tile came to lay track in my backyard, I would buy me a couple of Bridgemasters ready-made trestle sections and go to town. Then, after my wife cleaned up the area where my trestle was to go, I set up a half circle of 8-foot diameter Aristo curved track, counted the number of pieces I'd need and came to a heart-stopping conclusion: unless my math is wrong, at $89 per section I would need to shell out $712 for my trestle! Now I'm no skinflint, but when you consider all the other stuff I'll need, 700 large is gonna hurt. So what to do? I don't want to buy a lot of redwood, a nailer, build a jig, and then spend the same amount of money on "parts" that I would have expended just buying the dang thing. Plus I could always hurt myself. Or should I just build an earthen berm and forget about a trestle?
 

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I made my trestle cheap out of ripping recycled cedar fencing. Even if you have to buy it at Depot or Lowes it's pretty cheap. I used glue, no nailer. I built the jig from some partical board I had laying around and used some cedar strips as the jig guides.

So if you have a table saw that's what I'd recommend. And if you don't, you might consider one, not for just this project but for all those buildings I've seen you build :) Another possibility is to rent a saw or go to a wood shop that would let you use theirs.

There are places that sell kits, like Garden Texture.

A berm? Nothing like the look of a trestle ;-)
 

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Ditto to what the two gentlemen have said. It is cheap to buy and electric nailer, small table saw, cedar fencing and once you get your jig built, you can make all the "BENTs" your heart desires in a heart beat. Like some one has said though, just be careful and not cut the fingers off.
 

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Check with the people at Slit Jaw. They sell black PVC strips in four foot lenghts and different sizes. They can be glued with regular pvc cement. I think this method of trestle building is overlooked and under utilized. Once done they will last forever,PVC doesn't rot!
 

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One 8 foot redwood 2X4 will make several trestle bents and cost $10. One jig the hight of you tallest bent is all you need, then just cut the legs to the lengths you need. I made mine a little tall and cut them to size as I installed them.
 

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Posted By placitassteam on 04/18/2008 6:28 PM
One jig the hight of you tallest bent is all you need, then just cut the legs to the lengths you need. I made mine a little tall and cut them to size as I installed them.







VERY true, this is how my father has been making bents (albiet HO and HOn3) for almost fifty years now. He made a jig to the highest height ever needed and builds them in the jig. Once out, you can put on the far side bracing and build up your bridge.
 

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Joe,
Cheap...I'm the King of Cheap! I built my Trestle from a hunk of recycled Heart Redwood that was used in a house that was built in the '20's. The incredible wood cost me nothing. I drilled and nailed all of the joints by hand using brass pins and glued them with E-6000. Only took me about 6 months to complete /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

And Joe, YEAH, we're still Buddies!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, guys. Maybe I'll give rolling my own a shot. My bents need to be only five inches tall, as they will run through a bed of Baby Tears my wife has planted. We tried Scotch Moss, which didn't take (too shady, I think). Now my wife is Baby Tearing the yard to death. She likes it. And ya can't kill it. Plus it's green.

Ya didn't ask, and I'm getting way ahead of myself, but here's the deal. When we replaced a huge eucalyptus a few years ago, I thought ahead for once and planted three Silver Sheen pittasporum (I think it's spelled). They're evergreen, grow to about 20 feet, and have tiny leaves that shimmer in the wind (hence the name). I picture my railroad cutting through the trees as it loops its way back to where the flatlands and maybe a small mountain will be. I drew up a 1 inch to 1 foot plan and I think I have enough Aristo and USA Trains brass rail. But I'll need more turnouts. Anyway, maybe later this year...

Russell, glad to hear we're still buds. I need all the friends I can get. :)
 

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I picked up about 2 dozen redwood fence boards from a local fencing company. They were going to throw them away so they let me go through them and get what I needed. I found brand new boards that were in excellent condition, no splits, knots, and they were straight. Then I needed some slate so I went to a roofing company and they gave me a trash can full of broken slate roofing tiles. Even though they were broken they were good enough for me since I was going to use them for slate loads. I have enough to make a slate quarry. As for tools check out Harborfreight.com
 

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I built a 9 foot long trestle from several old redwood trellises I had lying around. My biggest expense was $75 for a mitre saw, the material costs were minimal. Redwood is amazing stuff - even though over 10 years old and silver on the exterior, cut into it, and it looks like new. Your biggest investment building a trestle will be in time, but I had a lot of fun doing mine and people always comment on it when the see my garden layout.
 

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how can I build or buy a trestle that won't cost an arm and a leg?
Joe, just thought I would let you in on a "little" secret.
$712.00 for a Trestle is VERY cheap compared to the price of a new leg. Arms, I don't know about. But, legs, yip I can tell ya that a NEW Leg, from the knee down will cost about $8,500.00 to $10,000.00. A FULL Leg, from the hip down can run about $20,000.00 to $25,000.00 !!!!!!!!!. So, you see, $700.00 for a trestle ain't so bad.
This post is meant for humor purposes, not intending to pffend anyone. I am called "stumpy" for reason. :) :) :)
Cliff
 
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