Tony’s toothpick bridge

“Hi, my name is tony and I thought you might like these pics. I have been modeling n-scale for 35 years. I saw your tip about using sedum for trees. This scene is the Bailey Logging Company, it is on the Green River and Meristein Valley Railroad. I used sedum for almost all of the trees on the hill when I built it three years ago. If you are iterested the trestle is built from round toothpics cut to scale lengths between 8 and 20 feet then I nic them up with my modeling knife and painted them.


“I found a great way to keep the truck screws from comming loose. Take a toothpick and put a very small dab of rubber cement on the threads of the bolster…making sure not to get any on the face of the bolster where the truck makes contact. Tighten the screw appropriately. The screw will not come loose…but yet stays soft anought the the schre can be removed without any problems.


A huge thank you to Robert for sharing. A wonderful narrative too. But if it’s made you a bit daunted, don’t be: Help is here. I have to say, it’s been my savior.

Don’t forget to have a look at the latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’ – it’s here.



(There are hundreds and hundreds of posts to enjoy and learn from – but the only way you’ll get to see them all is by being on the newsletter).

35 Responses to Tony’s toothpick bridge

  1. That’s an impressive trestle!

  2. Great bridge I consider myself a patient person but thinking about going from ho to n scares me the parts for ho are small enough for me. any man that can pull something off like that has the patience of a saint.

  3. Always informative as well as entertaining.

  4. I’ve seen the layout in the header you use to advertise. The one with the two square access holes. Where can I get some information on that exact track diagram. Is it done in HO, O, S etc. What are its dimensions. I work at CMC in Cincinnati and we are looking into building an HO layout for Holiday Junction.

  5. Very well designed. I too model in nscale. I make my bridges out of bass wood. You have great patience to work with tooth picks. Great job and keep up the good work.

  6. I just wish for a year that I had the patience to build that bridge.
    I have been collecting Popsicle sticks and have a bunch. I now see you can buy them.
    Does anyone have a picture of how to use them?

  7. Great work on the bridge, patience is a must. Sedum looks great as well!

  8. interesting toothpick trestle….and the sedum trees are brilliant….which strain of sedum do you use as there are MANY….and do you grow it yourself?…what a novel and economic idea and way to get trees for both N and Ho guage I would suspect..!

  9. Great bridge Tony, can we have more pics closer look please?

  10. good looking bridge

  11. Great work top of the class

  12. The trestle and trees look great but I have two questions.
    First: I am surprised toothpicks will carry the load. What is the distance between the trestles?
    Second: Like the previous reply, I would like to know what variety of sedum is being used. Also why doesn’t the sedum dry out ant rot away?

  13. That’s a lot of martini olives for that bridge!

  14. Hi Wayne Wallace.Are those the long sticks.I made up a jig to make Ho scale windows with.Im building a two level home now.Could show you a ton of ways.I sent a photo to Al of the house im doing now.

  15. Tony;
    You have a fine looking layout. The trestle is ingenious. My first thought was that it reminds me of the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai”.

  16. Dear Dave,
    I always look forward to your videos on the modification. I learn new things every time. This time the paint market was an eye opener.
    I salute you for your detail modelling and willingness to share. I wish you the very best of railway modelling and look forward to being educated by you on railway modelling through your videos.

    Dear Tony,
    That was truly a herculean task and you have a mountain of patience and finesse.

  17. I like the Bridge and really enjoyed part 9 Dave. Thanks to both of you. Cheers Rossco

  18. Tony
    that is a lovely peice of work well done

  19. Tony
    That bridge is a lovely peice of work well done

  20. Dave
    this layout gets better and better every time i see it great idea for doing the lines on the roads ill try that thanks now i wait for the next exciting episode

  21. that bridge is a nice piece of work. The update with Daves was interesting.

  22. The variety I use is called autumn joy. I do grow some but in the fall the stems turn woody so it has to be cut back each year. So I just drive around and ask people if they would like me to trim it for them. I get it by the box full and I t is free. My favorite modeling term.

  23. It’s just phenomenal! Thanks for sharing both your expertise and the wonderful results of your work.

  24. Wonderful… truly wonderful! This is one of the best scratch built bridges I have ever seen!

  25. Tony…… many hours do you have into making the Trestle…….
    Great Job…..You must have great patience

    Dave…..would like to know how you came about with the Cable Bridge, because I have been wanting to either build the Mac or something like yours.


  27. An AMAZING piece of work!!! Reminds me of the great “Bridge on the River Kwai”

  28. Nice set up, just need some weathering on the trains, and bridge.

  29. Always good to see the updates on dave’s new layout, still inspiring me to get stuck in to my own layout.
    The bridge made from toothpicks is well made…how long did it take to build from start to finish.
    Al, a great site as always, lots of great tips; I’ll need to start keeping note of them all.
    Well done everybody.

  30. Very nice Tony!

  31. Dear Dave

    Modelling is made simpler for us by you and I hope the general manager of Bachmann is reading this because you must be their greatest advert. I have purchased this year because of your videos 2 two tone green class 47s (Thor)and 18 brown Bauxite vans, 12 GW grey vans couldn’t find the SR wagons. Class 37 highlander 37 train set. Two blue DMUS (Yellow ends) and one blue grey DMU, ! class 24 blue and yellow and one on order, I class 37 in EWS maroon on order. I am also going to purchase a green class 25, two steel girder wagons, eight similar wagons and one blue grey buffet coach. I have also purchased some Peco point side motors, One of those Ballast spreaders (ps I prefer your tracks fully ballasted) an ECOS (50200 off the top of my head the number I can,t get to my emails right now) is on its way now to me and I will purchase a Noch static grass machine later this year. I have purchased Bachmann Dave because of your recommendation. Al If you know the Bachmann manager please send him my response. Thank you Dave Bachmann are excellent. The videos are always great! I cannot be the only person buying because of your videos.

  32. MOST IMPRESSIVE WORK!! And in “N scale too. If there were a river under it, I almost thought I heard Jack Hawkins telling Robert Holden, “Yes, we’re going to take out the Kwai Bridge. Glad you’re coming along. Good show!. Jolly good show!” And I say to you, sir, Well done!!

  33. all of my comments get cut out never see them, so I just say good bridge dan o in arkansas

  34. That is simply fantastic work. Planning a trestle bridge myself but not so sure that I will use toothpicks, although cutting anything and putting it together is going to take time, so if it can handle the load; why not.

  35. Tony
    That is a better use of toothpicks than popping your fillings out !
    I bet that took some time to build , I love it guy !

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