Benchwork Question

steveparkinson Sep 29, 2018

  1. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Morning everyone, I started building benchwork for my second layout. In the past I just used plywood cut to the shape of the benchwork and nailed down.

    This time I’m planning on using plywood strips that will eventually be mounted to risers for grades up and down to a second deck.

    Can anyone tell me what they would rip 4x8 sheets of plywood or equivalent into while at Lowe’s or Home Depot? Trying to keep them in manageable sections I can come back and later cut out the sections from.

    Thanks
    Steve


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  2. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

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    For me it's usually whatever fits into my car if I can't bribe a friend with a pickup with pizza and beer.
    All joking aside that's what I did as everyone was busy that day. Since I am building a modular style layout, I know I'm moving at least one more time in my life, I had the 4X8 piece cut up into approx 2'X4' (don't forget about the saw cut) pieces that would easily fit into my Fit:sneaky:. But if you are going to be be making your curves on strips as well, I would try to get the whole sheet home, or at least in 2 4'X4' sections to try and keep joints to a minimum on the curved strip. I didn't even like having joints on curves on the Woodland Scenics foam risers we used on our club layout. But I got over it after some prepping before laying down the track. But I'm probably too much of a perfectionist at times. All that nonsense aside, I think it depends on what size you can transport home and then easily manage cutting into strips when at home.
     
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  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    One small caution about sheet goods cuts at Lowes and HD is that their panel saws are often out of square and 24T blades are deployed. If your stores are like mine, crooked cuts and tearout result. I'd so some cut planning beforehand so that what you request at the store is an inch wide of the final precision cut you'll make at your house.
     
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  4. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Honestly what I would do is leave the ply (or mdf) whole. If you cut into strips, you are stuck at that size or smaller. If you need something larger for a passing siding or to support a structure you can accommodate yourself if you have a full sheet to work with. Curves are another thing that benefit with a full sheet. A skill saw or table saw can work well for straight cuts and a jig saw will handle the curves perfectly. I personally only have a skill saw, Jig saw and a miter saw and I can accomplish 99% of anything I need with just that. A router can be handy too.
     
  5. NDave

    NDave TrainBoard Member

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    How wide is your widest section? What radius or diameter is your widest loop? The plywood you take home need be only as wide as your widest benchwork, or a couple inches wider than the diameter of your widest loop. Lengthwise... as long as your longest section, or plan the lengths based on curve locations, grades, positioning of joists, what will fit in your car, etc.

    My layout is 42" x 114", with "cookie cutter" benchwork. I had Home Depot cut two 4' x 8' sheets of 3/8" plywood to size: one to 69" by 42" and one to 45" by 42"... Easily fit into my 4Runner. Had lots of extra plywood, but it will get used for something, someday. I also had them cut the legs to length, figuring they could do a better job matching them than I could. IIRC, 4 cuts were free, after that fifty cents a cut? Or something like that? The cuts I got from Home Depot were straighter and squarer than I could have made them... off <1/16" over the longest length.

    Note that the two pieces of my table top (before it was cut to make the subroadbed) were NOT the same size... the joint in my top was offset to have the least impact on curves, grades, yard tracks, match joist spacing, positioning of legs, etc. I built/assembled my benchwork with legs, including cutting and installing the risers and subroadbed, over a period of weeks in my detached garage. Then I removed the leg assemblies, separated two sections, moved and re-assembled the benchwork in my hobby room downstairs. Had to tweak the risers a bit for the grades once in its final location, but it worked out pretty well.
     
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  6. steveparkinson

    steveparkinson TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I ended up having Lowe’s cut a 4x8 sheet in half - Two 4x4 sections..... did this for 4 pieces and hauled it home.

    Widest/deepest section of the layout is 48 inches so far so I think I can get some pretty good cuts out of these pieces.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. X12Aesq

    X12Aesq New Member

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    Regarding benchwork and sheet goods, is there any recent experience with either Mianne or KamKonnect? The last post about Mianne seems to have been in 2011, and for KamKonnect 2015. I've actually traded e-mails with the folks at KamKonnect, but it seems to take them quite a while to fill orders. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has had recent dealings with either, and what the experience was like.


    edit:Sorry, I could have sworn this thread was in Inspection Pit; please move it if it needs to be elsewhere
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  8. Timlsalem

    Timlsalem TrainBoard Member

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    Woodland Scenics has great products for raising track so nobody has to use a cookie cutter benchwork anymore if they don't want to.
     
  9. X12Aesq

    X12Aesq New Member

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    Agree completely; that entire product line looks very useful.
     
  10. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I used the Woodland Scenic risers on my first and 2nd incarnations of the TCC. The nice thing about them is that they are curvable and on both renditions I did just that.
     
  11. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen TrainBoard Member

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    I am finding a cross line laser marker is very useful, and cheap foam core in quarter and half inch. set up laser showing grade, simply stand up a section of foam core in the spot I want a support and mark the height of the laser, cut with a utility knife and metal ruler, repeat. Very cheap grade risers and very quick cutting and installation. Straight sections I can just support a half inch section of foam core with a few supports, curved sections I am using a flexible ruler that can be bent along the center of the track, and 24 inches long is nice as 2.25% grade is about a .5" rise or drop per 24". 4 half inch supports will hold a 1/4 inch curved section cut to the track curvature. Sub roadbed that then can be a template to cut another section of 1/8 or 1/4 inch plywood as a final base surface the 1/4 foam core is glued to and new wood supports the height of the old minus the thin plywood go in and its then permanent part of the display. But up until then it is very easily modified in seconds to minutes with minimal exertion. Making it in layered stages but able to run trains and test the track and layout as I go.

    Edit:I am using the WS risers as well in some spots, but the cost has me a little hesitant, only where the curvature makes the convenance worth the cost, S turns mostly since they need curve tuning and those nice WS risers allow repeated changing of position slightly, a super nice feature to find the best alignment.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 4:41 AM
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  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting discussion here. Despite my best effort, my previous N Scale road suffered from inconsistent grades. Instead of a constant 2.5% from the base to the summit, the grade would unnecessarily vary along the way and create a more demanding route profile than was required. I'd like to avoid this on my new railroad with smooth, consistent grades.
     
  13. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Was your base absolutely level?
     

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