Trestles, Cribs and Fills

There are a multitude of timber trestles on the layout. All are made from cedar fence pickets and or pressure treated pine. Most of these were given to me by a friend when he dismantled his layout. I am going to guess he used them for ten to fifteen years. Some were in great shape others had a few rotten timbers. All of them needed a coat of paint.

The trestles I have made are done with 1/2″ X 1/2″ timbers. Girts and sway braces are 1/2″ by 1/4″ strips.

Ohmigawd Trestle:

The biggest project I am working on is Ohmigawd trestle. To get it started I needed a trestle footing for the bridge at the top and an abutment on the mountainside. Here is the footing.

I used the three center guides on my trestle jig to form the bents. These were glued together with TB3 and then 1 3/4″ ribbed panel nails were installed with pilot holes. A small amount of nail protruded on the backside so I cut it off with a pair of dikes.

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I turned the bents on their sides and glued the girts on. Once they were dry I hit them with 1″ pin nails. The girts in the center are only glued to the bents. The lateral supports were installed the same way and then pin nailed.

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To finish, the supports for the bridge and trestle deck were glued on and then pin nailed from the top.


More on this as I get it done.

Pigpen Cribbing:

The inspiration.


I hated building this from the start. It is made from juniper and fig limbs. Juniper is a very dirty wood to work with and both are fibrous and pitchy. Finding limbs the right size and in straight lengths took longer than assembling the item. I begin by cutting the cross pieces for the bottom and then added the first set of beams. I could not find straight limbs longer than three feet so I had to overlap them. Not to bad since this is exactly what the loggers did in real life. Glue would be useless here so I drilled pilot holes and used 1 3/4″ ribbed panel nails. These were very hard to drive in straight with the juniper. Slowly the next two levels were added.

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For the deck I ran the top set of beams and then put on smaller diameter pieces. These were attached with 1″ ribbed panel nails.

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To finish I filled in the deck with more small diameter pieces. A crude guard rail was added. This is where I deviated from reality. I added a pair of 1/2″ X 1/4″ strips to support the track evenly. Small spacers were inserted below these to even out the low spots. Everything was attached using 1″ pin nails. To finish I sprayed the supports black and tan to help them blend in with the wood.

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It looks pretty good but it sure was a pain to build. If you are thinking of building one of these with tree limbs I suggest you get your head examined because it was no fun. That said I still need a curved section three foot long. Installation will be in The Year of Track article for July.

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