Benchwork question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Soonerfan, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. Soonerfan

    Soonerfan New Member

    Yippee! Done with the frame of the benchwork. Used L-girder construction--kids helped thinking it was a workbench for myself. Now to install risers--without a definite track plan as yet, do you install risers or wait until a plan is in place? Using 5/8" plywood with blue styrofoam panel (not the bead stuff) over it. Can you use any paint with the styrofoam? Guys, really appreciate all the help you've given!!

  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member

    I've painted the blue styrofoam on my layout and haven't had any troubles. I painted directly on top of the plastic cover. I imagine that paint will adhere even better on the foam (after removing the plastic).

  3. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Another method

    This is how I am building the new MAT.
    This is N gauge. I cut strips of masonite then use 7/8s pices of wood to seperate them. Then I fasten it to the L-girder frame.
    Next step is to glue 1/2 inch styrofoam to the masonite strips.
    I get this white styrofoam from Home Depot or the Building Box.
    It is around $2 for a 2ft by 8ft 1/2 inch piece.
  4. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    When most people talk about bench work, I read that I should be using 3/4" plywood and 2x4 braces 1' on center and I'm thinking I could run an actual prototype on the framework. 3/8" plywood over a 36" open frame will support the concentrated wieght of a full grown man, why overbuild your benchwork by so much?

    Look at Robin's photo above, you could jump up and down on that.
  5. billk

    billk Active Member

    I agree that most of the support systems I've read about are w-a-y overbuilt - you get the impression that they are going to hold a barn dance on their layout! (Can't say that for Robin's, though.)

    I'm thinking 1/4in plywood with 2-4in of foam on it, supported at 18in centers (just because that's the stud spacing) for a shelf-type layout, with the shelf depth up to 3ft. Sound too flimsy?
  6. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Sturdy Framework

    I agree about making too heavy framework. Mine is light weight so I can move it easily if I want to.
    I use L girder made up of 1" by 4" topped by a 1"by2". One girder goes at the back and the front girder is 2ft. from the back. 1"by2" cross beams are placed 12inches apart. This allows track and scenery to be at whatever height you choose. Now all this is supported at a height of 4ft 6inches by 2"by2" legs. Cross bracing is important. Done properly it is very steady and doesn't move if you bump into it. It looks spindely but it works. You can kind of see it in this photo.
  7. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    track laying

    Getting back to track laying: I use white glue to fasten cork roadbed onto the styrofoam. The cork you see in the picture is recycled cork from my previous layout.

    Next comes track. I had sprayed this track with grey automotive primer. I run feeders up to the track about every 3feet. The next step is to paint the track with an acrylic burnt umber paint I get at the dollar store. Once it is dry, I add ballast.
    In this photo you can see how I cut a slope to the foam. This is easily done with one of those knives with break off blades. The station is scratchbuilt and is based on one that used to be in North West Toronto. You can also see the pushrods I installed to control switches.


    In this next picture the track is painted and ballasted and my MAT GP40-2 along with one of Catts GVR GP40-2s arrives at what will be Tayside.
    So there we have it. A lighweight frame and foam trackbed and it all works together. Once the foam is painted with laytex paint, it is protected and then can be sceneicked
  8. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member


    Here is what my benchwork looked like before I covered it with 1/2" oxboard and 1/2" blueboard.

    It is done with 1" X 2" in sections (not really modular) bolted together. I'm sure I could jump up and down on it without any possibility of it collapsing. Much of the strength comes from building it in sections, I'm sure.

    I calculated that by doing the work myself rather than using one of the companies that advertises building benchwork for you at a bargain price I build the whole thing you see here (10' X 21') for 10% of what they would have charged me:eek:


    Attached Files:

  9. John Sneed

    John Sneed Member


    I,am readly to start my layout and was reading what others have done with their layouts. I am using 3/8 in. plywood as a base, nd was thinking of 4 in. styrofoam covered by blue board. I,am doing a flat 4x8 ft layout. by doing it this way I can rise or lower the track as i want too.I was going to use that preformed roadboard for my track, but in looking at some of the pictures, it appears like some of you are laying their track right on the boards. Is this the way some of you do this, or am I not seeing, or missing something? My track is going to be 2 mainline in a dog bone share with a small yard between loops in HO gauge.
    I have leared so much by just reading what other people are doing that it has been a great deal of help decieding on my own layout. Thanks for all your help and information on this site/ John
  10. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    John, there are many ways to lay track as you are aware. I like your approach to use thick layer of styrofoam as this means your track will be well above the baseboard and gives you great opportunity for realistic embankments, culverts, underpasses etc.
    Laying the track on thin roadbed right on the baseboard is probably easier but limits you creative abilities
  11. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    This is one of the reasons I really have liked to work with the Woodland Scenics risers, they are extremely flexible, lightweight and if you follow the directions and put the right pieces together in the right sequence you have precise grades. For a layout the size of mine they aren't cheap, but again, I think you get what you pay for in the long run. Oh, and I think they also serve to deaden a great deal of the sound you would experience by just running your roadbed on oxboard/plywood. I have 1/2" oxboard covered with 1/2" blueboard insulation and then the risers which makes for quiet, if not silent operations.


    Attached Files:

  12. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    In regards to the question about pre-formed roadbed, I've always used cork for representing mainlines, & have always been happy with the results.
    On my latest project, though, I wanted to convey the look of not-so-well-maintained industrial track, so I glues the track directly on to the foam base. I used sifted dirt for ground cover, & just senicked the tracks along with everything else, & then added some Woodland Scenics Cinders for some extra ballast. I wanted these tracks to look kind of crummy, & not like a well-manacured mainline.
    So your approach to roadbed all depends on the look you want your track to have.
    That's a fantastic looking layout!:cool:
  13. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    sorry if am opening an old thread but i've readed some where that you can use 3/4 plywood cut or rip to the size of 1x4 pine because fining straight boards round are hard to come by :confused:
  14. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I know the article your refering to. The person who wrote says the 3/4 ply is cheaper and stronger.

    I thought about it but then I realized that trying to cut a 4X8 sheet of plywood with either a circular saw or a table saw and gettin a near perfect 1X4 would be a tedeous job. So I went with the pine.

    I could have used my big table saw with the wings and feed/outfeed tables but setting that up to rip one sheet of plywood seemed unfeasable.

    As for strength the plywood is deffinatly stronger but for this type of application I'd consider it over kill as a pine 1X4 will support most indoor scale rail roads. even G scale would have enough support.
  15. rich maiorano

    rich maiorano Member

    well i like playing with power tools,just got to keep a phone around to call for help(honey have you seen my finger) ha ha ha:eek: :eek:

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