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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the issues my old layout, I am in the works of tearing it down and building a new layout.

As the subject says, I am looking for methods of securing the layout to the wall. This layout will wrap around the Rec Room with 3 large areas for turning around. I have considered going with a French Cleat. Allow the wall side of the layout be hooked (for lack of a better term) and then just having 2 legs on the opposite end.

In this case, my french cleat would be made from 3/4 or 1in x 4in lumber cut at a 45 degree angle in the middle. The lower half would be fastened to the wall (most likely at each stud), the other half would be fasten to the layout.

The reason for this, I would like to be able to move this layout or any piece of it. And then have the optional extra legs to hold up the back end of the module. The back end of the layout in-front of the Rear Sliding Door will need to be removable to allow access to the door. With out this, I dont get the green light to move forward with my wife.

Has anyone seen French Cleats used? Are there other options to consider other than directly screwing to the wall.
 

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Would it be possible to build your layout in modules? That would
satisfy the possible need for moving or changes. Perhaps
a larger more stable module at either end of a 'bridge' of needed
length along the wall. That would eliminate the need for a wall connections. You
could use the large modules for a yard or freight spurs. You could
also use the same idea to support a hinged 'bridge' to permit
opening the door.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would it be possible to build your layout in modules? That would
satisfy the possible need for moving or changes. Perhaps
a larger more stable module at either end of a 'bridge' of needed
length along the wall. That would eliminate the need for a wall connections. You
could use the large modules for a yard or freight spurs. You could
also use the same idea to support a hinged 'bridge' to permit
opening the door.

Don

The layout I am building is in a U shape which I am building out of modules. Probably 5 or 6 of them. I am just looking at floating them on the wall with legs in the front of each module. And bolting each module together.

My thought is if the back end is in some way attached to the wall, it should be easier to keep it level.

I could buy a laser level which can be placed in the center of the room, and fasten the French Cleat to the wall in a manor which is guaranteed level on all walls

John
 

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I did something similar, to a layout, that is now disassembled. I originally had 2 by 4 legs, but wanted a “cleaner” look. I attached the new supports, and then removed the legs. On this layout, it was only this side that “floated”. It was strong. I painted the supports the same colour as the wall….cheers🍻
Water World Azure Rectangle Urban design
 

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I was going to suggest looking at wall-mounted or “free floating” workbenches on youtube…
But Andreash posted a photo of the principle idea. Angled brackets instead of vertical legs. You could angle the brackets lower to the floor to accommodate shelves below the layout, if you’d want storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I did something similar, to a layout, that is now disassembled. I originally had 2 by 4 legs, but wanted a “cleaner” look. I attached the new supports, and then removed the legs. On this layout, it was only this side that “floated”. It was strong. I painted the supports the same colour as the wall….cheers🍻
Thanks for the reply. I would really like to see construction pictures if you have any? The end result is a reason for why I am looking at this. I need to know how to handle issues such as planning around corners where 2 walls are not Perfectly 90 degrees.


I was going to suggest looking at wall-mounted or “free floating” workbenches on youtube…
But Andreash posted a photo of the principle idea. Angled brackets instead of vertical legs. You could angle the brackets lower to the floor to accommodate shelves below the layout, if you’d want storage.
Yeah, youtube is my friend. And its the place I goto First prior to coming here so that I have some info on what I am asking before I ask. Most people on youtube are posting methods which are meant for permanent layouts or totally free standing. Even going so far as to build additional l walls. I have a need for the 2 to be blended, and it seems as if I am going to be trail blazing this one.

I had only found 1 video where a dad built his son a free standing 2 layer layout using french cleats. And with that I came here looking for thoughts.
 

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I don’t have a construction photo, but what I recall is….
That section of the railway was approximately 13 inches wide, and the ends were 24” wide to accommodate a 26” radius curve. Total length was 16 feet long. Built with 2 by 4’s, each section was 8 feet long. Because it was “overbuilt” it only required a gusset at the end, and in the middle. The other end, in the corner, was attached with 2 screws into studs. Their was a duck under, and the other end had a connecting span, so the track plan was a loop. More photos can be found in “Burlington Northern Layout”, a thread that started a few years ago. Early photos had legs, but I wanted to clean up the look of my train room. I eventually moved out the workspace, as I thought it distracted from what I was trying to archive. The room now is a storage area, and I’m working on some layouts for future presentations on this forum. Good luck with your endeavour….cheers🍻
 

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I’ve used French Cleats a few times, one being this shelf. Using one for your layout sounds interesting, but I’m thinking that’s going to be a very long module (about 3’ for the sliding door, another 3’ for the fixed panel of the slider and at least 16” on each end to attach the cleats to the studs).

Don’t know if it will help, but here are a few shots of my wall hung staging area. I didn’t use cleats for that.
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plank Lumber

Fixture Wood Wood stain Hardwood Paint

Brown Building Fixture Wood Door

Property Table Furniture Cabinetry String instrument
 

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With the issues my old layout, I am in the works of tearing it down and building a new layout.

As the subject says, I am looking for methods of securing the layout to the wall. This layout will wrap around the Rec Room with 3 large areas for turning around. I have considered going with a French Cleat. Allow the wall side of the layout be hooked (for lack of a better term) and then just having 2 legs on the opposite end.

In this case, my french cleat would be made from 3/4 or 1in x 4in lumber cut at a 45 degree angle in the middle. The lower half would be fastened to the wall (most likely at each stud), the other half would be fasten to the layout.

The reason for this, I would like to be able to move this layout or any piece of it. And then have the optional extra legs to hold up the back end of the module. The back end of the layout in-front of the Rear Sliding Door will need to be removable to allow access to the door. With out this, I dont get the green light to move forward with my wife.

Has anyone seen French Cleats used? Are there other options to consider other than directly screwing to the wall.
johnfm3;

I don't really know what a "French cleat is, though I've heard the term. From the photos in the other responses, it looks like "French cleat" is a fancy name for a board screwed to the wall, and used to support something. If that's true, then I have a "French cleat" supporting the back of my own modular N-scale layout. Mine is a piece of 1x4 screwed into the wall studs and I used an ordinary carpenter's spirit level to make sure the cleat was level. Using a laser level in the middle of the room sounds smart, since you want all three sections of your layout at the exact same level.

My modules are of an odd design, based on an old Model Railroader Magazine article called "Bookshelf Model Railroads." Each 4' long, 16" deep, and 16" high section has three arches that support the shelf top over the actual railroad. (see first photo) These arches also provide an unbroken, panoramic view across the layout, with no supporting piers to break up the view.

I use the top shelf for my collection of railroad books. Below that are two levels of railroad (two stacked sections) then there are commercial metal storage shelves under that, There are no legs as such. The design is cantilevered out from the wall, and completely self-supporting as far as the standard, 16" deep, sections are concerned. Not only do they support themselves, they also support about a hundred pounds of books, a TV set (the old fashioned picture tube, heavy, kind) a VCR/DVD player, Etc. (see last photo)

At each end, there are deeper sections to hold the return loops needed for continuous running, & Seattle Union Station yard.
On the right end a 4' wide & 3' deep section does have a front wall support, though the top shelf of it is solely supported by its own built-in arches.
On the left end, two standard sections are bolted into an 'L' shape and a third section is bolted to the back of the protruding part of the 'L'
Finally, there is a rounded-off end section.
It, and the rest of the left end sections, are supported by a metal angle that runs up through the garage ceiling to a joist in the attic. Many of the shelves under my layout are on casters and can be pulled out for access, and to make wonderfully decorative scenes like the mess in the last photo! 😄
There is a plan of my layout in the "Layout Design section of this forum. It is at the end of a thread called, "Here are the layouts of some forum members." The photos below show a standard section with the arches, and some scenes on the layout.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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johnfm3;

I don't really know what a "French cleat is, though I've heard the term. From the photos in the other responses, it looks like "French cleat" is a fancy name for a board screwed to the wall, and used to support something. If that's true, then I have a "French cleat" supporting the back of my own modular N-scale layout. Mine is a piece of 1x4 screwed into the wall studs and I used an ordinary carpenter's spirit level to make sure the cleat was level. Using a laser level in the middle of the room sounds smart, since you want all three sections of your layout at the same level. My modules are of an odd design, based on an old Model Railroader Magazine article called "Bookshelf Model Railroads." Each 4' long, 16" deep, and 16" high section has three arches that support the shelf top over the actual railroad. I use the top shelf for my collection of railroad books. Below that are two levels of railroad (two stacked sections) then there are commercial metal storage shelves under that, There are no legs as such. The design is cantilevered out from the wall and self supporting as far as the standard 16" deep sections are concerned. Not only do the
y support themselves, they also support about a hundred pounds of books, a TV set (the old fashioned picture tube, heavy kind) a VCR/DVD player, Etc. At each end, there are deeper sections. On the right end a 4' wide & 3' deep section does have a front wall support, though the top shelf of it is solely supported by its own built in arches. On the left end two standard sections are bolted into an 'L' shape and a third section is bolted to the back of the protruding part of the 'L'. There is a plan of my layout in the "Layout Design section of this forum. It is at the end of a thread called, "Here are the layouts of some forum members." The photos below show a standard section with the arches, and some scenes on the layout.

Traction Fan 🙂
This will give a better idea to what a French cleat is and how it is used. It is for a tool wall but would be the same setup for what he is looking at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This will give a better idea to what a French cleat is and how it is used. It is for a tool wall but would be the same setup for what he is looking at.
The inspiration for using the French Cleat was from a youtube channel "Frank Howarth" who has used this several times in his house with really nice looking results, including on his rotating wall which holds his more traditional entertainment system and allows access to a back storage room. Its not so much meant for a tool wall, but is a system for holding things to the wall. Such as cabinets, shelving, and such. If you want to see some really cool wood working, check out "Frank Howarth" channel on youtube. He is as good as Norm Abrams.

My reason for considering the using of this method is so that as I get more involved with a train club or NMRA group, I hope to take my layout to shows. The other reason for this consideration is my house will be remodeled in a few years and I need this layout to be easily removable with out damaging the structure. I am also hoping there to be a benefit to flowing the wall side with regards to changes in weather and warping of the wood and movement of the house. Doors at my house close fine in the summer, and bind a little during the winter. Hence the reason/need to remodel, and soon. Even if I was too move, I would still need to easily move this layout. The ability to unbolt each module from another and just lift off the wall for relocating or storage is appealing to me. Followed by removing the front legs, and its ready to transport. How I would assemble with out the wall is pretty obvious and not relevant to this thread.

It seems that there is no other good option for supporting the layout on the wall which is easily removable. And it seems that the French Cleat option has never been considered. I only found 1 dad using this for his son's layout on youtube. Since there seems to be no obvious reasons for not trying it, I will give it a shot and report back.

My old layout is being torn down this month with hopes of building the new bench work during December.

Thanks,
John
 

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The inspiration for using the French Cleat was from a youtube channel "Frank Howarth" who has used this several times in his house with really nice looking results, including on his rotating wall which holds his more traditional entertainment system and allows access to a back storage room. Its not so much meant for a tool wall, but is a system for holding things to the wall. Such as cabinets, shelving, and such. If you want to see some really cool wood working, check out "Frank Howarth" channel on youtube. He is as good as Norm Abrams.

My reason for considering the using of this method is so that as I get more involved with a train club or NMRA group, I hope to take my layout to shows. The other reason for this consideration is my house will be remodeled in a few years and I need this layout to be easily removable with out damaging the structure. I am also hoping there to be a benefit to flowing the wall side with regards to changes in weather and warping of the wood and movement of the house. Doors at my house close fine in the summer, and bind a little during the winter. Hence the reason/need to remodel, and soon. Even if I was too move, I would still need to easily move this layout. The ability to unbolt each module from another and just lift off the wall for relocating or storage is appealing to me. Followed by removing the front legs, and its ready to transport. How I would assemble with out the wall is pretty obvious and not relevant to this thread.

It seems that there is no other good option for supporting the layout on the wall which is easily removable. And it seems that the French Cleat option has never been considered. I only found 1 dad using this for his son's layout on youtube. Since there seems to be no obvious reasons for not trying it, I will give it a shot and report back.

My old layout is being torn down this month with hopes of building the new bench work during December.

Thanks,
John
Did you finally go the French clear route? I'm thinking the same. 2x4 pieces, HO scale. Would love to hear your experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you finally go the French clear route? I'm thinking the same. 2x4 pieces, HO scale. Would love to hear your experience.
I did not. We are planning a remodel of our house, as such we had inspection work which included the foundation. We have found sagging issues which is causing the house walls to flex. I have decided to go more traditional with legs which I can adjust. After the remodel, I will go the french cleat system. There was one video on youtube with a father who used it for his son's layout. And "frank howarth" on youtube is a craftsman with wood uses them alot, where my inspiration came from.

I will use this method later, but right now my house is not stable enough for it.

thanks for the question,
John
 

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I did not. We are planning a remodel of our house, as such we had inspection work which included the foundation. We have found sagging issues which is causing the house walls to flex. I have decided to go more traditional with legs which I can adjust. After the remodel, I will go the french cleat system. There was one video on youtube with a father who used it for his son's layout. And "frank howarth" on youtube is a craftsman with wood uses them alot, where my inspiration came from.

I will use this method later, but right now my house is not stable enough for it.

thanks for the question,
John
Oops. Hopefully everything goes well with your remodel.

I've seen Frank's videos, I'm pretty sure our laundry cabinets are on french cleats so I know they can hold the weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oops. Hopefully everything goes well with your remodel.

I've seen Frank's videos, I'm pretty sure our laundry cabinets are on french cleats so I know they can hold the weight.
Thanks, worst case we demo the house and build new. The ground below the foundation and slab (I have both) will determine how we proceed.

Good luck in your build, if you do go the french cleat route, I would like to see how you implement it. For the same reason you reached out to me... lol

thanks again,
John
 
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