shelf layout design questions

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Hello everyone!
After a 6 month hiatus I am finally able to get back to model railroading. I have truly missed the forum and the help! With the new house comes a new layout. :D Anyways, I will refrain from posting the layout design for personal reasons, but I could really use some help/input on the engineering aspect of it. I am try to figure out what size 3/4" plywood to cut in order to support a 20" shelf cantilever style. I am using supports every 16" and the base will be 3/4" 7 layer plywood with a 1/2" layer of pink builders foam on top.
What size have you guys used?
I was hoping to use 2" tall by 3/4" wide supports but I am worried that will not be enough. Especially in the yard area. The reason for trying to get the supports as small as possible is to leave room for a lower level to be built down the road.

Thanks in advance and again, I am glad to be back!

Seann
 
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montanan

Whiskey Merchant
Here's an idea that may help. The majority of my layout is a shelf type layout around the walls of the train room. I used 1x4's for a frame work. The back of the framework was screwed to wall studs. I used half inch rigid electrical conduit to support the front edge of the layout. The ends of the conduit were flattened for about the first 2 inches and holes were drilled into the flattened ends. One end was screwed into the back of the front edge of the frame work. The lower end was screwed into a wall stud. I have mine spaced on 32 inch centers. ''

This is extremely strong. I had a 250+ pound doubter put his entire weight on the framework and it didn't move. I learned this from an old time cabinet maker. My layout ranges from 24 up to 40 inches deep and has been up for over 25 years. I used 5/8 plywood for yard and town areas. For open areas I used the cookie cutter method for changes of elevation and terrain. You can lay your plywood and foam on top of the framework. Using foam wasn't around when I started this layout. Also access to the underneath of the layout is easy and you'll have plenty of room for storage under the layout.

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Welcome back to the hobby. Hope to see pictures of your progress when you get things going.
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
I used cantilevered benchwork on my last layout while we were living elsewhere. Like Chet, I used 5/8" plywood, and 1"x3" boards for the framework. I also screwed the frames into wall studs, and for the braces I used simple 1"x2" pieces of wood, instead of the bent conduit that Chet used. I weighted at the time about 25 more pounds than I do now, and with me on top, it never sagged one bit. I believe that Chet's bracing is definitely stronger than the method I used.

I couldn't use this method on my current layout, as it had to be free standing. I have said that this layout would be my last, due to my age, but you never know what the future will bring.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
I left the studs exposed below the layout level so I could attach 3/8" plywood vanes to the studs then build the 3/4" roadbed on top of that. A very sturdy structure.

IMG_5314.png


Here is a shot of the same section as it is today with fascia on it.

IMG_6671_zps84369437.png
 
D&J That is really nice. Can I inquire on the shelf heights? I too have exposed studs but wish to keep the plywood vanes thinner than what you have. I was trying to keep around 16" between levels. And doing that, I would want as much clear height between them. I have a rough plan of 56" for the top shelf and 40" for the bottom shelf.
I left the studs exposed below the layout level so I could attach 3/8" plywood vanes to the studs then build the 3/4" roadbed on top of that. A very sturdy structure.

IMG_5314.png


Here is a shot of the same section as it is today with fascia on it.

IMG_6671_zps84369437.png
 
I like the idea but I was wanting to stay away from diagonal braces. Just to keep as much room as I can for the lower level. I have no doubt it holds a tremendous amount of weight, more than I require actually. Maybe I'm being unrealistic but I was hoping to just use a horizontal piece of wood without a brace. I'm not sure it doable, that's why I love this forum. The minds of many is far more resourceful than mine.
Here's an idea that may help. The majority of my layout is a shelf type layout around the walls of the train room. I used 1x4's for a frame work. The back of the framework was screwed to wall studs. I used half inch rigid electrical conduit to support the front edge of the layout. The ends of the conduit were flattened for about the first 2 inches and holes were drilled into the flattened ends. One end was screwed into the back of the front edge of the frame work. The lower end was screwed into a wall stud. I have mine spaced on 32 inch centers. ''

This is extremely strong. I had a 250+ pound doubter put his entire weight on the framework and it didn't move. I learned this from an old time cabinet maker. My layout ranges from 24 up to 40 inches deep and has been up for over 25 years. I used 5/8 plywood for yard and town areas. For open areas I used the cookie cutter method for changes of elevation and terrain. You can lay your plywood and foam on top of the framework. Using foam wasn't around when I started this layout. Also access to the underneath of the layout is easy and you'll have plenty of room for storage under the layout.

attachment.php



Welcome back to the hobby. Hope to see pictures of your progress when you get things going.
 

number9

Member
If you are really worried about strength, perhaps you should do a box shelf. Unfortunately, you will have to do the wiring at the same time that you put up the shelf (OR you could drill holes in the top and bottom of the shelf, OR you could drill little access panels in the bottom)...

I built a few in a house I used to own, and one of my friends asked me how strong it was. Same thing as montanan said, I got on it and it did not move.

In a nutshell, build a box but leave the back side off (the side facing the wall). On the wall instead of putting a 1/2" or 3/4" piece of wood that would be the back, make it a 2x4 screwed into studs. Now place the box on the wall and screw the box to the wood as if you were completing the box.

Here is a fancier than it needs to be diagram. They call them floating wall shelves. There is also a torsion box, but this is quite different as it has studs all the way down the box to make it super strong.
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
Here's an idea that may help. The majority of my layout is a shelf type layout around the walls of the train room. I used 1x4's for a frame work. The back of the framework was screwed to wall studs. I used half inch rigid electrical conduit to support the front edge of the layout. The ends of the conduit were flattened for about the first 2 inches and holes were drilled into the flattened ends. One end was screwed into the back of the front edge of the frame work. The lower end was screwed into a wall stud. I have mine spaced on 32 inch centers. ''

This is extremely strong. I had a 250+ pound doubter put his entire weight on the framework and it didn't move. I learned this from an old time cabinet maker. My layout ranges from 24 up to 40 inches deep and has been up for over 25 years. I used 5/8 plywood for yard and town areas. For open areas I used the cookie cutter method for changes of elevation and terrain. You can lay your plywood and foam on top of the framework. Using foam wasn't around when I started this layout. Also access to the underneath of the layout is easy and you'll have plenty of room for storage under the layout.
Interesting. I was looking at this same conduit to do another job on a trailer home awning. And its pretty cheap also. I'm going to have to keep this in mind, as I have in mind starting a double-deck layout construction later this year.
 
Here is an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish. I increased the lumber dimension to 1x3. The 20" is the lower level. The upper level has track no deeper than 21 1/2" from the edge. benchwork.jpg
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
I used cantilevered benchwork on my last layout while we were living elsewhere. Like Chet, I used 5/8" plywood, and 1"x3" boards for the framework. I also screwed the frames into wall studs, and for the braces I used simple 1"x2" pieces of wood, instead of the bent conduit that Chet used. I weighted at the time about 25 more pounds than I do now, and with me on top, it never sagged one bit. I believe that Chet's bracing is definitely stronger than the method I used.

I couldn't use this method on my current layout, as it had to be free standing. I have said that this layout would be my last, due to my age, but you never know what the future will bring.
I believe I know what you are saying, but could you spell it out just a bit more clearly, just in case?
Brian
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
Shelf Layout I once had from an estate sale

Been looking for these photos and finally found them. This is a shelf style layout I once salvaged out of an estate sale, and subsequently sold off when I was anticipated a permanent move overseas.

I don't recall the exact details of the supporting structure to the wall, but being a single-level layout of really light weight I doubt it needed much at all.

That conduit arrangement is quiet appealing, and less expensive than the prefabricated steel angled shelf supports.
 

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beiland

Well-Known Member
...couple more photos.
Track was all hand laid onto homasote base.
 

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new guy

Active Member
WIN_20150927_193342.JPG2 pieces of 1x4 screwed together and cut to size. I can sit on the thing, I crawl around on it doing track work, no problems, the top frame is screwed to the wall.
 
Plan to build my bench work like my old bench just smaller units to get through the door. 1 by 4 frame and 2 by legs with 2 by 2 braces if needed.
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
FOAM subroadbed
I had forgotten all about this subject thread,...and particularly this extensive documentation on a shelf type layout utilizing a lot of foam board for the sub-roadbed. I need to read this thru again.


I've often thought that a lot of layout benchwork is 'overdone',...just way more heavy than needed

Here is a construction site/blog/whatever you call it that documents a nice light shelf layout construction

http://users.frii.com/gbooth/Trains/GreatWestern/Construction/Benchwork/Benchwork.htm
 

new guy

Active Member
Go ahead and build it "light" YOU may know the limit it can handle but not everyone will and THINGS happen around a layout that cannot be foreseen. People trip, slip, and LEAN on things when and how you least expect!

After much consideration "overbuilding" is not just some macho thing where we pretend we are carpenters and grunt like Tim Taylor. It is INSURANCE for the THOUSANDS of dollars worth of stuff and HUNDREDS of hours of modeling that will eventually be put on that layout! I'd hate to see all that work and all that money go tumbling onto the floor!
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
Bruce
People trip, slip, and LEAN on things when and how you least expect!
Truer words can never be spoken. While my benchwork is not as "overbuilt" as yours, I can climb on top of it without any fear of dislodging it. Foam layouts without plywood benchwork scares me, and I have seen the results once on a home layout tour...fortunately it wasn't me!!!

Willie
 




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