Large Scale Central

Understanding tresetles design and implementation

Not wanting to step on anyone else’s post, I’m doing this standalone. I’ve been reading and studying trestles here for awhile. Please correct me if I’ve got this wrong. But basically you come up with your width at the top and make a pattern (jig) and replicate a bunch of them exactly the same. Then when you install them, you cut them down at the bottom to fit. So you can just go crazy making them, given whatever basic height you expect, then deal with it as you install. Am I basically getting it, or am I missing something.

I think that method is great, assuming a couple things. Some guys here have done lots of these, I’ve only done 1 (and am designing 3 more). So these are just opinions, but here goes.

First, I’m assuming that you’ll need a bunch of nearly-the-same bent heights. You’d not want to cut through diagonal bracing if you don’t have to. You can also set up a jig for various finished-bent heights (or “stories” of bracing), if you want to pre-plan things. Then do final trimming on site.

Second, I’m assuming that you’ll have a method of “capping off” the bottom ends of the cut bents. I don’t think you’d want to stick bare ends of posts into the soil without a “mud sill” running beneath them. All you have to do is attach that horizontal under the cut ends. And perhaps make it a larger member, as in some prototypes, to last longer.


FWIW, Stan Ames builds his in one piece in his shop, and then they are brought outside to be set in place/footings poured, etc.

i made all bents on the same simple jig, but each to an (pre-determined) individual hight.

the jig is on the second pic in this link:

I build everything in my garage and then moved it to the layout.

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Being a modeler my personal feeling on building trestles is pretty much building from pics and not so much from scale plans. I do measure my wood for scale sizes, if you don’t your trestle will look out of scale with the rest of your layout. I enjoy cutting the wood on my table saw, just part of the building process and if you want to use NBW’s they will add to the overall look of a nice build structure. If your trestle is to be used outside, use the correct wood that weathers with age and not rot and self destruct as trestles are a lot of work to have to be replaced anytime soon.


So this base they sit on, does it not move, settle, etc.? Pouring a little cement will stay in place and now wash away with rain, etc?

I set my bases on a stone base…as much stone that I could fit (drainage)