Benchwork Question

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pa3de8

GO PENNSY!!!
Since I'm about to get ready on my embarkment of putting the framework together for the layout, I was wondering about the opinions of what everyone thinks of the different benchwork styles out there. I've seen a few different styles, which ones are the sturdiest?

Scott
 

Trucula

Drum Driver
Bench work can be completed in many ways...I've seen kits that are nice but pricey!!!..Some guys use metal like in new building construction...there again $$$..unless you get free leftovers at work..LOL...Some guys build like "I" beam with furring strips..its all in what you want..I saw a couple picture recently that a guy added multiple braces(as in ALLOT)...The more braces the sturdier...There is no one way that's stronger than the other when it comes to materials...its all in the construction...How much weight do you expect to hold?..Your not gonna walk on it are you??...LOL...I like 1x3 inch boards for the base..seem a little flimsy but when you add the rafters at 8" and glue and add the plywood, even 1/4in. is very sturdy. and the side boards are much nicer for the finish.
 

Trucula

Drum Driver
No sorry!...It's actually known as Mt. Union, Pa. It got its name from several mountains that join at this location...hence "Mt. Union"..it's nicknamed Bricktown because it had 3 brick manufacturing industries in one town..The East Broad Top used to haul coal (used in the plant furnaces) and ganister rock(used in fire brick making). to Mt. Union. Then the fire brick was shipped to the steel mills thru out the area for their furnaces via the PRR.
 

Doc Holliday

Gentleman Gambler
I used 3/4" plywood ripped into 3.5" strips on 16" centers, all covered with 1/2" plywood and 2" white foam. Legs are "L"s make of the same strips with adjustable rolling casters so I can move the whole thing out away from the wall on the back side. Legs are set in about 12" from th eedges and braced in two directions by about 18" pieces of 1x2 furring strips. The resulting table is incredibly sturdy. I'm 300# and I actually laid on top of it when I decided to paint the basement ceiling after I build the benchwork. As far as I'm concerned, no need to go anything more beefy.
Doc
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
What benchwork you use can depend at least partially on what type of layout you are building.

Do you see a lot of elevation changes? L-girder

Mostly flat? Domino/grid with foam.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I'm going to use allot of basic carpentry skills, and build laminated beams, legs & sub-roadbed. Allot of Masonite & plywood.
 

pa3de8

GO PENNSY!!!
I will only have one spot that there might be an elevation. I'm going to seperate the layout with a body of water so that might the only area.

Scott
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
I used the open grid method (probably the strongest and easiest) using 1x4's for the framing and 2x4's for the legs. The area that is designated flat terrain is covered with 1/2" BC graded plywood using plenty of screws. In fact, use screws for fasteners in the entire construction. (Save money and use drywall screws w/pilot holes.)
The joists are set at 16" centers. Legs are supported with 1x2 diagonal bracing.

Yes, I did have to stand, sit, and lay on the benchwork during different phases of layout building...and still do. I'm 190lbs and it didn't flinch. While this design is very strong, you may not have a need for such. As an example, if you have a narrow, around the wall, type of layout then you wouldn't need that much strength. Also, if you plan on moving it around you would want a lighter construction method.

L-girder is another very popular and strong method, but requires a little bit more time in construction. One advantage it has that I like: you can easily shape the edge of the benchwork with flowing curves if that is desired.

One thing to keep in mind is the underside; it will get almost as much attention as the top. You will have to make sure that your bracing will not interfere with under-the-top turnout motors (Tortoise) and any wiring of lights, detectors, Turntables, and etc. With mine, I simply framed these areas a little different if I thought ahead of time. There were times that plans were changed and I had to move a joist or notch it for an installation. This is not a big task and is easy enough to do.

Hopefully, these photos of my first half will give you some idea. Click the link at bottom for more photos.
 
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pa3de8

GO PENNSY!!!
That is such a easy and simple looking design. Looks as if it would work real well. My layout is running around the outer 3 walls of the loft of my garage but I'm also leaving it open to expansion, not on the fourth wall, but more along the lines of going down the middle.

Scott
 
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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Scott, this will work for any style layout and as you said: It's easy to assemble. The other half my garage now has a 30" round-the-wall and more table type using this same method.
 

pa3de8

GO PENNSY!!!
My loft above my garage measures 31' L x 19' W. I've got to keep room for a small refridge/cooler, TV and seating.

Scott
 

Myowngod

Pennsy Tuscan Red Blood
I used t-girders made from plywood and crossmembers are 1x3s. The risers are any solid wood around from 1x1s to 2x4s, and anything in between. The roadbed is 1/2" plywood with cork roadbed. You can see all of this at my progress post below.
 




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