Benchwork delima

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by kdolz, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. kdolz

    kdolz New Member

    Hello all,

    O.K., I was almost done constructing my benchwork when I realized that I have a problem. Once my layout is complete I will not be able to reach the "mountain" left rear section of my layout.

    I do not know what to do? Hidden hatch, ropes, harnesses and pullies. Or anything to allow me to reach that area of my layout! I even thought maybe I could rig up a track on the ceiling with rollers and a body sling so I could "hover" over the layout, pretty funny yeah! But seriosly what do I do? I would like to keep the dimensions as-is if possible.
    Any help would be appriciated!

  2. kdolz

    kdolz New Member

  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    First of all, welcome to the Gauge. You'll get plenty of fine and friendly advice from some knowedgable folks here.

    Let's cover first things first. There are two ways to post pics here, upload and link. Both are covered in this thread. If you're still having problems, let me know and we can walk you through the process.

    Secondly, if you're not an aerialist, I'd scrub the harness and pully thing. :D:D If you have to have your mountains where you can't access the back side, and you are running track through them, then you need to make some sort of a removable hatch, or partition, or if possible, make the whole mountain removable. I have a tunnel on my layout, but it's on the end and I can access it without problems. Another solution is to put the layout on wheels and pull it away from the wall when you need to. Someone else may come up with a slick idea, but that's my contribution for now.:rolleyes::wave:

    Good luck.:thumb::thumb:
  4. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Member

    First, like EZ says, welcome to the Gauge.

    Second, I did what EZ suggests. My 8'x11' layout is on adjustable rolling casters. Most of the time it sits tight in the corner against two walls, but it can easily roll out a couple of feet each way to access behind it when needed.

    Thirdly, I'd like to see some pics of the harness and pully thing. :D
  5. zedob

    zedob Member

    Didn't some guy do that for an in-accessible area of his layout in an old MRRer article?

    That would be kind of neat and fun to try, if I had a huge layout. Get an old massage table with an open face support, hanging from a x-y gantry crane and fly all around the layout. That would be a kick running a train while following it like a bird.

    Ehhh,...I don't have that problem with my 12" wide shelf layout, so...
  6. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Just a side thought, how big is the mountain? Is it possible to have a bottom opening so you could crawl under, then reach in or poke your head up to clear any derails,etc.

  7. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    I'm always been able to deal with access issues as yellowlynn says - come in from the bottom. Helps to clear derails or such, but no good for topside work.

    "flying" isn't as outlandish as it sounds. In order to deal with a 4' reach at 52" height, I did, at one time, have a big eyebolt mounted over the layout. You don't need to fly so much, as be able to lean way over without falling on the layout. I used a mover's strap with a hook on each end and ran it under my armpits, hooked to the eyebolt. I could stand on a stepstool, then lean out nearly my whole height "reaching" an easy 5'... But certainly recommend that only as an occasional thing, i.e. during construction or for 'emergency' issues.
  8. kdolz

    kdolz New Member

    Thank you to all who responded! I like the caster idea, but my mountain is going to be in the corner of my layout and be built up against the backdrop "wall" to hopefully create the illusion of being larger than it is. But I might have to modify my thinking to allow for casters.

    I also like the hole in the bottom of the mountain, I just do not want to have a hole or hatch in the middle of the layout pulling all eyes towards it.

    And last but not least, I realy like the eyebolt in the ceiling. I am 6' 7" so I have a pretty good reach. My benchwork is currently 40" tall so I can still comfortably reach back the 4' , its just the corner that is completely out of reach.

    Thanks again,
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    When I said "hatch", I meant in the mountain, not in the layout. I've seen hatches that were so well done that one had no idea it was there until it was open. I'm thinking that:
    • you decide what part of the mountain can be open,
    • build a frame around that area, support what will be the hatch cover,
    • plaster and shape the mountain,
    • cut open the hatch cover,
    • then with the hatch cover back in place, go ahead and scenic the mountain as you normally would.
    Open the hatch and you have front access, close it and no one is the wiser.
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I have a similar situation on my layout, although the track is all accessible from the aisle. However, I still have a lot of trees to plant on the mountainside, the rearmost part of which is about 4' from the aisle. Because the top of the mountain is about 66" high, it is easy to disguise what's behind it. Even with no trees, a viewer is unlikely to notice that the back of the mountain isn't really there. This area is in a coved corner and I simply brought the screen wire support for the mountain down about 1" and ended it about a foot from the wall. In other words, rather than carry the scenery right to the backdrop, I created the "peak" of the mountain about 15" away from the wall, then used the screen wire and plaster to create about 1" of the reverse slope. Behind that is enough room for me to pop up from behind the mountain (after crawling under the benchwork, there's enough room for me to stand behind the mountain and work at the rearmost edge). While I will probably only use this to do the scenery, there's no reason why you couldn't use it for intermittent access. I'm only about 6' and pretty skinny: you'll need to adjust the gap to suit your needs. A bonus to this method is that, even as a "naked" hillside, the three-dimensional effect seems to make the scene appear even deeper than it actually is.

  11. SteamerFan

    SteamerFan Member

    if the mountain is right up against the backdrop, you can leave the mountain open on the backside and use the caster idea to access the inside of the mountain as needed.

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