table recommendations

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by TooManyHobbies, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. TooManyHobbies

    TooManyHobbies New Member

    Sometimes this winter I will be building a table for my train,the price of plywood is expensive and I have been looking at other materials as I want something smoother to work with. While at home depot today I noticed some 3/4 fiberboard that was real smooth and I was wondering if anyone has used that or other materials to build a table. Jeff
  2. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    the common thing these days seems to be styrofoam insulation sheets. The best kind is the extruded pink or blue type, the bad kind is the white "beadboard". Foam is not any cheaper then plywood, however. The cheapest I have used is stuff I have heard called "chipboard" - kinda halfway between particle board and plywood. It's made of small chips of wood a few square inches in size, glued together.

  3. Marxed

    Marxed Member

    don't forget to consider strength, you don't want it to break!

    i never actually seen or used anything other than plywood, if your going to do a large scale, its the way to go.... small layouts under 6x6 with N or HO trains could do foam with ease i would assume..
  4. Zman

    Zman Member

    Foam board is great, but I wouldn't use it as a stand-alone base. You need to glue it to some plywood for strength.
  5. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I am using the 2" blue extruded foam, it is simply glued to an open grid style wooden frame.
  6. Zman

    Zman Member

    Will, your frame must have a certain amount of cross beams to reinforce the foam. I wonder if that's more work than just using a solid piece of plywood. Just asking...
  7. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    My layout is in an "M" shape. It is actually four modules.

    Left side is a 24"x72" frame with crossmembers every 12" (using 1"x3").
    Along Back is 24"x90" same construction.
    Right Side is 24"x78" same construction.
    Center penninsula is 36"x48" same construction.

    Don't know about more work?
    I got the 1x3s off my uncle, they are some form of hard wood, not a pine.
    I just drilled and screwed.
    Then common white glue for the foam to wood adhesion.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You don't need to use the best quality plywood. Cheap cdx is fine, and if you support it with 1 x 2 cross members every 12 inches or so, you can use plywood as thin as 1/4 inch without problems. 1 x whitewood at Home Depot is much less expensive than plywood, and if you have a table saw, you can save even more by buying a 1 x 12 and ripping it into 1 x 2s or 1 x 3s. We had a member of our modular club build a demonstration module with a thin luan door skin for the top, and he supported the luan with 1 x 2 cross members on 12 inch centers and the top was extremely stiff. Fine for anything we wanted to run in ho scale.
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    If you're going to cover the base with foamboard, you could use 1/2" OSB (oriented strand board) available at Home Depot or Lowe's for less than half the price of plywood. Prices on all sheet goods have gone up thanks to these recent hurricanes, but this stuff is still a lot cheaper than anything else.
  10. koconno2

    koconno2 New Member

    I have done some cabinet work with Medium Density Fiber (MDF) board and it's easy to work with, cheaper then cabinet grade ply-wood and paints well. There are some small issues with working with MDF.

    - It's heaver then most comparable ply-woods.

    - It creates a very fine saw dust that could be an issue for some.

    - You should pre-drill all screw holes.

    - It does not accept nails well.

    - Mechanical fasteners into the end grain are useless. But most ply-wood is the same here.

    - It does not have the stiffness over a similar 4' length (on its side) as ply-wood has. Meaning it will bow more then ply-wood.

    I used MDF to make my train layout table support structure. All of the horizontal boards (stiles) that the table top attaches to are MPF. The legs are normal solid pine. This layout table does not need to support much weight but it will support me at 220 lbs when I crawl on to it during the set up.
  11. coupesteve

    coupesteve New Member

    i used 6 standard sized loft boards arranged like so


    Then held them together with 2"x2" blocks of wood running horizontal and lengthways
  12. koconno2

    koconno2 New Member

    I'm not sure what "Loft Boards" are. Is that a different term for tung-n-groove ply wood flooring for attic / loft floors.
  13. coupesteve

    coupesteve New Member

    oh yeah sorry, guess you dont use the word loft in the US.

    Its the wood used for the attic?? that what its called in states? floor.

    Kinda like compressed chip board
  14. koconno2

    koconno2 New Member

    Interesting how we call the same thing by different names. Where do you reside?

    Normally a new construction house will use ¾" tung-n-groove ply-wood with a construction grade quality surface (CDX). But many builders are trying to save on material cost so you will find ¾" tung-n-groove Orentented Strain Board (OSB) also known as chip board. Then there is particle board, which just has smaller chips and more glue. Then MDF (dust and glue). I have not seen any flooring made out of particle board or MDF.

    So, are using six 4'x8' sheets of loft board to make your layout on? If so, that would take up half of my basement or cellar. J
  15. coupesteve

    coupesteve New Member

  16. koconno2

    koconno2 New Member

    That's great to have a dedicated space to build in. Some day I'll give up a few of my hobbies and concentrate on a HO scale layout. My first idea for a layout is to reproduce the Ford Rouge Foundry & Manufacturing complex. But back in the 1930 – 1940 time frame.

    Thanx, KO.
  17. Dorcas

    Dorcas New Member

    I have been using foam board 2”thick and about 48” square. I found it at an auto battery distributor they come in large quantities and have some difficulties in getting rid of them, try your local battery distributor, he will kiss you for helping to unload his “Trash”.
  18. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I'm doing the same as Will for my current layout (HOn30)
    On my previous layouts, I've glued the foam board to plywood, but have come to think that the extra weight is not necessary...I've found that the foam, laminated over 1x2 joists, spaced about 8" apart, makes for a quite sturdy base.
  19. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    When I added the 4' x 6' "L" to my N scale layout, I weighed the effort I'd need to construct framing (or joists) inside the base, against using sheets of something under the foam. Cost wasn't a factor since it would amount to under $10 either way. The sheet goods won out. I used 3/4" particle board for the frame and some 1/2" MDF for the table under the foam. Now when I do the wiring, I don't have to be concerned about any support joists getting in the way.

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