Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by vanda32547, May 28, 2003.

  1. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Well folks..the time has come to consider tearing apart my existing layout and redoing the train room/wifes storage area. I am considering dismantling the layout and clearing out the room to start from scratch.:eek:

    I have been prcrastinating for months now and think I finally have a solution that will satisfy both me and the little woman. She wants more storage...I want more layout and storage. I was thinking about using kitchen cabinets completely around the room (top and bottom) but instead of a countertops I could put my new layout on top of the base cabinets. The bottom of the top cabinets would allow me to light the layout below but I was wondering if anyone else has done something similar?

    What concerns me is the whole wiring, turnout and under table issues...any suggestions?
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Bob -

    Only thing I can think of is to maybe do it in sections, almost modular style, where you could do the majority of the under-the surface work before installation. You'd have to be careful about keeping the sections level with each other. And maybe you could install them so that they could be removable for later work.

    Other than that, you could leave some space between the top of the base cabinets and the layout surface, but to leave enough space to make it useful might be a problem.

    I would also be concerned about the possibility of dropping things onto the layout while putting them into or removing them from the overhead cabinets (assuming you're as clumsy as I am).
  3. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz Member

    I've been thinking along the same lines for my next layout. Only instead of kitchen cabinets I'm thinking of using 48" tall storage lockers or even bookcases that you can get from from office supply stores. These would put the layout at just the right height, about 52 to 54 inches off the floor.

  4. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Sounds like a good plan.

    If you've the space, I'd make the layout top 30 inches deep, (a nice depth --- plenty of space, but you can still reach the back) which would of course would mean it would extend 6 inches out in front of the cabinets. You could run your wiring under that overhang, just sneaking wires in where necessary.

    Also, if you used 1x4 "L" joists for the top construction, that would raise your layout to a nicer height, and allow space for wires, etc to get to where they need to go without getting in the way of the storage. If your track is set on risers off these joists, you wouldn't have to worry so much about making the cabinets perfectly level.

    Bill S
  5. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    Hello. I'm new to The Gauge, but not to model railroading. I am currently building a shelf layout in a multi-purpose room. I am using the Closet maid type shelving brackets. The wall standards are available in different lengths, which allow the layout to be closer to eye level, and to have adjustable shelving below the layout. The layout will be on 2' wide, 2" thick extruded foam insulation. With 16" spacing of the brackets, the foam is easily supported. I'm gluing the foam to 1"x2" pine strips, which are then screwed to the brackets. This allows for lightweight, removable sections, so work and cleaning can be done at the workbench.

    I've got the brackets in place, and foam loosely placed on them, pending a finalized track plan and time to continue construction.

    That's just my $.02 Keep us posted.

  6. belg

    belg Member


    Vanda, I made the mistake of putting a shelf under my layout about six inches lower to store all my extra stuff in the future and have been fighting my wiring ever since. I would suggest raising your layout high enough so that you have at least a foot or slightly more space you could just build your l girder system to sit on top of the cabinets.If I had to do it over again I would probably do that myself.The extra space could be covered by a simple piece of hardboard which could be removed by screwing it it place. Hope this is helpful.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I built my layout on IKEA shelving, with our library filed underneath.
    I used L girders (1x2 + 1x2) on top of the verticals and coming down on the outside. This should let me lift the bits of layout off to work on them.
    I used a 1/2 by 3/4 strip of lath for the cross pieces to keep the layout as low as possible and large sheets of Homasote for a top. Two sides are elevated a bit using the usual L girder techniques.
    The top shelf is about 4" below the surface, giving me room for transformers and wiring and switch machines.
    If the shelves weren't already at armpit height, I would like to have used a bit more space above the L girders. There are some turnouts where I can't put in a switch machine.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another trick for wiring access if you don't have a lot of tall scenery is to hinge the back of the benchwork so that you can raise it up to work on the wiring much like lifting the hood of your car. In fact, if your layout height is @ 48", and you raise it just 15* with 6" clearance when the bench work is down in operating position, you would have plenty of room to work on the wiring. If you have some mountain scenery areas, just keep the trackage simple through that area, and put more complicated trackage with it's attendant wiring in the flatlands.

    60103 What IKEA shelving did you use? I'm using Ivar unfinished pine modular shelving for my switching layout. When finished it will be a 7' x 9' "L" shape running along two walls of a spare bedroom. I'm using 30" wide shelving on the 9' side and corner with an adapter to 18" wide shelving on the 7' side. That allows me to store the center leaf for the dining table behind the backdrop.
  9. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I have roll out shelf units that I built to fit under the benchwork for my modules. You could use the cabinets above, and roll outs below, this would give you clear access to the underside of the layout for wiring work.
  10. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    WOW..SO many great ideas...

    Ya'll are great :D

    Thanks for all the input and ideas. Thanks goodness I am only in the planning stages right this is the time to get everyones ideas and suggestions.

    I was also thinking instead of using a solid top on the base just lay in where I need the tracks to run. then the whole layout would be open and wiring would not be a problem. Once that was completed, I could sectionally scenic the open spaces that could be removable for future wiring work. Sort of drop-in scenic modules. Just some thoughts.

    Thanks again everyone and keep those ideas coming.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Russ: I'm using the IVAR as well.
    I thot I had some pix, but they've all been cropped to take out the shelves.
  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Using ready made base cabinets wouldn't be a bad idea. They're naturally open on the top, with a box girder frame for your layout you'd have faily easy access but a dandy case of plumber's crack:eek: every time you worked underneath. The only drawback is their regular height--32":( not condusive to good viewing.

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