Advice for creating a table?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by prodigy2k7, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I need some advice for creating a table, support for the 4x8 and then lefs on the corners or something (its dead center in the middle of my garage)

    I have a fairly large dining table in the middle also, my 4x8 is ontop of it, I plan to make some legs to lift up up a few inches higher than the dining table so I can run wiring underneath it...

    The 4x8 is about 1 foot im guessing overflow on each side (its sticking over the edge i mean)...

    Any suggestions on how to tackle this?

    I have no idea how to make legs or anything (2x4 pieces?) and what do I use to connect the legs and the table?

    Any tips, suggestions, ideas?

    Anything is greatly appreciated!

  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't understand what you are asking. Do you want to make legs to allow you 4x8 to stand over the top of the dining table? Are you wanting to make the legs for layout to leave it in the garage?
  3. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    A 1X4 framework around the outer edges of your plywood sheet will work. In addition you should have at least (3) 1X4 cross braces evenly spaced across the 4 foot width. That means you could get by with (2) 1X4X 8 foot pieces and (5) 1X4X 4 foot pieces.
    There will be some cutting required since the three cross braces will be 1 1/2 inches less than 4 feet and your 2 , 8 foot pieces will have to be cut 1 1/2 inches shorter than the length of the plywood. 2x4's will make fine legs.
    Do you have tools such as a saw, electric drill , either battery powered or plug in. Also I would suggest gluing the joints and install screws instead of nails. Makes for a much stronger joint.
    The above will give you a basic table. There are lots of other ways to go about it too.
  4. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    I forgot to ask, what thickness is your plywood?
  5. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    yes we have both, one question I have about drilling and putting framework around bottom edge is...thats where my track is on some parts...i have a straightaway on a side and i plan to cut underneith it for a hidden switch box thing...and that leads to my nexy questio, if i do put the framework directly under the straightaway track...can i even drill through it to connect a feed wire? (w/e its called, giving power to the tracks by soldering)...

    Russ -> Yes for both questions...atleast i think its a yes for ur second question, its going to stay in the garage...nowhere else for it to go
  6. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    actually I dont know, lol my current wood is old, im planning on buying a new dad used it outside for a dof fence and it miht be buying a new one soon lol...along with some foam.... what size of wood do you recommend?
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    By "wood" are you referring to the framing material or the plywood? If you have to have your track right on the edge of the plywood you will not have a very easy time wiring and installing switch machines. If you must leave the track on the edge, you can make the framing smaller. Just for talking purposes, 2 inches in from the edge of the plywood. That would mean changing all of the dimensions that I gave you earlier.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you are going to store it in the garage. but use it laid on top of the dining table, then I would put some short legs mounted permanently to the 4 x 8 so that they will make short legs to rest on the dining table top. If you check at Home Depot or Lowes, you can find rubber pads to fit on the bottom of legs so that you don't mare the dining table. For the garage storage, if you don't need it more than 30 or so inches high, buy some cheap folding saw horses and store it on the saw horses in the garage.
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    If you are planning to replace your present piece of plywood, I would suggest nothing less than 1/2 inch plywood. With the framework to support it, the framework will straighten out any bend.
  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Oooh! Oooh! I can help!

    I have recently completed the structure for a nifty table layout. Mine is 6 ft x 10 ft, and the general plan would easily work for 4x8. See pics at Main features are that the frame is rigid, the layout is light enough that it can be picked up and moved (I added handles) and the legs are removable so that it can go through a doorway. I don't have pics of the legs yet, but the bolt-on design I came up with works well and provides for a stable table.

    I would recommend against using any plywood -- just build a frame and a couple of cross-members out of boards, and lay the foam in it. Plenty strong, light, and easy to work through from underneath.

    I did dovetails, which adds greatly to the strength, but then I'm into woodworking. You could do these with simple hand tools (I used only a saw and chisel). Alternatively, you could use any number of other joinery designs. I can help you with that detail.

    I used 1x8 clear #1 boards around the frame. This allows for about 3 in of freeboard above the 3"-thick foam base (nice and thick means that the terrain is easy to sculpt) and a 1.5" space underneath for the 2x2 crossmembers and room for wiring and such below. You could use 1x6 instead, with less freeboard or less foam thickness. If you have only 1" foam, you might get away with a 1x4, with 1.5" below, 1" of foam, and 1" of freeboard above. I like having a bit of freeboard above as a "rim" to keep wayward trains from rolling off the table (!).

    If you want any more detailed pics, let me know.
  11. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    S.F. Jacks suggestion is another option. Using foam instead of a plywood base is a good solution. It will cut down weight and save some money. Just make sure you have some support for the foam. It will require some re-engineering of your frame structure. Of course we are now back to your original comment about having your track already laid right up to the edge of the plywood. Any major modifications to your existing plywood means that you have to re-lay your track. If I may make a suggestion, the edge of the table is not a good place to have track. Pieces of rolling stock tend to follow gravity to the floor.
  12. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    lol i know , its not EXACTLY nex tot...but like pretty not sure im going by a layout picture using flex track...but im going to add a small border so they dont fly off lol

    Santa fe, i dont think i can create that table you did you create those puzzle piece ends ? the fingers that lock together lol...

    im looking for something easy...

    I only have a circular saw and a cord & battery powered hand drill
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Prodigy, here is a crude drawing of how I build my tables, learned from a carpenter. Simple and very strong once together. I have more than once crawled up on mine to do something. The small dots are where screws go. The table is made out of 1x4s for the sides and 2x2s for the legs. For added strength you could use wood glue when you assemble. One thing I did not show, put 1x4s every 16" crosswise to fasten the top to. Reduces drumming effect and help deaden sound.

    Attached Files:

  14. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I dont understand what you mean
  15. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I got an idea...

    I took part of grewsome's idea... (NOT DRAWN TO SCALE) lol


    Red = the 4x8 piece of wood
    Yellow = border along side of whole table, to help attach legs and to help trains not go over the edge :p,
    Blue = Table leg
    Pink = support for leg and part of table
    Brown dots and lines:
    Lines: Side view of screws going from left to right into wood to hold together
    Dots: straight head on view of screws into wood to hold leg supports to leg...

    Make sense? is this good or bad idea? any suggestions?

    EDIT: just thought of something wood isnt that thick, less than 1/2 an inch right? how can i screw that stuff to the table easily? its not that thick lol
  16. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    By "wood" are you referring to the plywood table top? If so, you can use what are called wallboard screws. They will be about 1 1/8 inch long and can be driven with your electric drill if you are careful. Its better if you have a reversable drill. Mark accurate centerlines where your framing is at , on the top of the table, so you hit the framing, not thin air. Also, I would suggest drilling holes through your 1 x 4 framing to prevent cracking it. Use a drill thats about 1/32 inch smaller than the diameter of the screws and don't drive them too hard. The head of your screws don't need to be deeply imbeded into the wood. Just flush with the surface. You have the basic idea of grewsome's sketch.
  17. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    This is called a dovetail joint. I used no power tools to make it, though some people do (that's cheating). You mark it out carefully, use a fine-toothed wood saw to do the rough cuts, then cut out the rest with a chisel. It is a bit more time consuming, and requires a steady hand, but the result is a very strong joint that requires no fastener hardware. It was invented before the age of screws, nails, and even glue. If glued, it is stronger than the wood itself.

    But - if you want something easy, I would suggest perhaps a piece of angled aluminum on the inside of the corner, like 1/8" thick with 1" to 1 1/2" flanges. You can bolt through that to get a pretty strong result.
    Jim - With all due respect, wallboard screws are for wallboard. Wood screws are for wood. I would never recommend using wallboard screws for wood. The shape is different, the application is wrong, and the result is not as strong. I'd recommend using wood screws here, with either a phillips pan head or even a hex head, with a nice wide washer underneath, so that you can tighten it up well without crushing the wood. You'd probably want #10 or #12 size wood screws, with at least 1" penetrating the wood frame.

    For this application, which as I understand it is to attach the plywood to the frame, you should drill a hole through just the plywood that is larger than the screw threads, so that the screw would slip easily through the hole in the plywood. Then make a smaller pilot hole in the wood frame. Assuming it is a softwood like pine, err on the small side. If you use this technique, the wood screw will be holding the plywood to the wood frame, without making threads in the plywood. Does that make sense?

    Also - in general, a glued joint will hold better than any fasteners (screws, nails, etc). Screws, however, are useful for holding the joint tightly while the glue dries, and once in there, you may as well leave them.

    I apologize in advance if this is too wood-techie. One of my other hobbies is woodworking, so I tend to get into that stuff. Just trying to put some good woodworking techniques out there. That said, it is possible to build a suitable table by just banging stuff together, too. :) It's just not my style.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Prodigy, it's said a picture is worth a thousand words. Here you go. It's not pretty, but it's functional and can be hidden later. You can also see the cross pieces under the table I was talking about.


    Attached Files:

  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Prodigy, I'm getting confused. In your original post at the start of this thread, you talked about putting the table on top of the dining table in the dining room to operate trains, but storing the table in the garage. Is that right, and is that what you still want to do? If that is what you want to do, You can't put any sort of permanent legs under the table that are anylonger than the distance you want your table to be above the dining table (probably 6 inches or less). If you put long legs on the table, they will go over the top of the table and support your train table from the floor, but you will have a serious problem. How will you get the table off of the dining table when you are done with the trains and back out to the garage for storage?
  20. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I have an old dining table that is in the garage that my 4x8 wood is laying on top of. I need to lift it up a few inches so wiring can go under it without getting crushed. Make sense?

    It will be static and will always be in the garage, will never move.

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