Basic Table Talk

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  • Member since
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Basic Table Talk
Posted by carney2 on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 9:05 AM

I have a collection of O-Gauge 3-rail engines that have been mostly used for display over the years.  Some of these are 3rd Rail that require HUGE turns to operate, so space has always been a problem.  We are moving/downsizing and suddenly I will have relatively unlimited space to set up the layout of my dreams.  So, I come to you with basic rookie questions:

1.  Plywood thickness has been addressed many times.  One guy said that he uses 3/4 in. because he couldn't find 1.0 in.  I'm 75 years old and don't feature pushing these big hunks of wood around.  How about 1/2 in. braced?

2.  What do I treat the plywood with?

3.  I have a supply (not nearly enough) of Gargraves track.  If I continue at least one line with Gargraves, what do I use for a roadbed?

4.  Any suggestions for track besides Gargraves?  I plan to have 3 or 4 lines.

 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 9:38 AM

1/2" will work just don't go below that as it may warp depending where you are at and the dampness/humidity subject to your train area. 

There all sorts of track out there but using Gargaves and ross switches is probably the cheapest. ( Other than going back to old O-27/O gauge track. ) There was a article a few months back in CTT where this guy was using some type of insulation on a roll which appeared to look and work fine. 

Some don't treat the plywood they just put what there going to use for ground. You could just paint it if you want to seal it. 

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Posted by V8Vega on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 10:07 AM

I read somewhere that a sheet of 3/4" plywood weighs 54 lbs.

Dennis  San Fernando Valley CA.  Joined August 2009

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Posted by Sturgeon-Phish on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 11:18 AM

1/2" ply or 7/16" (OSB) is fine braced 24" on center and it may not be dance floor strong but very adequate for layout use.  I like to paint the decking a grass green to provide a undercoat so later flocking does not need as heavy.  A mud or dirt brown works too.

Keep the table height in mind the compromise for access under and working over on top.

Bracing is another consideration.  2x4s are super strong but overkill.  5/8 or 3/4 CDX cut into 6" wide "boards" are very strong.  Use screws and glue and you will have a table that is strong enough and fairly light weight.  Kreg pocket jigs and screws are a little pricy but great to work with

Jim

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 11:39 AM

Here is a description of my layout's structure that I have posted before:

First, it is an around-the-room layout.  This geometry gives you the longest run for the space you use; but it may seem impractical for a layout that you anticipate moving (as I do).  But the trick is to put all the complicated stuff in the corners, then connect them with sections having only straight track.  When you move, it is relatively easy to change the lengths of the sides to fit a new room.  But the structure works with freestanding layouts too.

The layout is ordinary 15/32-inch ("half inch") CDX plywood, stiffened with perforated steel angles and supported by PVC pipe legs.  Each leg is 1 1/2-inch schedule-40 pipe with a 1/2-inch bolt through it near the top.  The bolt length is the same as the outside diameter (2 inches) and is held in place by two nuts inside the pipe.  The bolt goes through the eye of a 1/4-20 screw-eye, which protrudes from the top of the leg, through a hole in the plywood, and is snugged to it with a washer and nut on top.  This makes a very strong and rigid joint.

The steel is 1 1/2 x 1 1/2, with perforations on 3/4-inch centers, or 2 1/4 x 1 1/2 for longer spans, fastened to the plywood with 1/4-20 x 1-inch carriage bolts.  I just pop the angles and the legs in wherever needed.  The steel generally doesn't touch the legs.  I put legs right at the joints between sections, with a short piece of angle centered over each leg to join them together and to prevent any discontinuity in slope across the joint.  This also makes assembly and disassembly easier than when the legs are offset from the joints.

My layout is fairly high at 45 inches, because I have cabinets, desk, workbench, bookcases, etc. underneath.  The legs that I use are limber at that height, so I have tied the layout to the walls at a few points.  However, stiffness decreases rapidly with leg length and increases rapidly with leg diameter; so the concept can obviously be applied to shorter or thicker legs as needed to keep a freestanding layout from swaying.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Buckeye Riveter on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:34 PM

I built my layout the light weight way with foam.  After 15 years in use, no problems.  The 1" x 2" joists are on 16" centers.  This is a classic L girder construciton. 

 

http://cs.trains.com/ctt/f/95/p/226923/2528877.aspx#2528877

 

Now if you want to walk around on your layout, foam doesn't work.  

You can see a video of the layout at: 

 

Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member, a Roseyville Raider and a member of the CTT Forum since 2004..

Rogers Corners, OH, ELV 936 - Home of the Baltimore, Ohio & Wabash RR

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KRM
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Posted by KRM on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:58 PM

Great video Byckeye!!!  Yes

Not to say what I did is better or worse,,just what I did.

My table is 1/2" CDX with 2x4 cross ties every 24" and 2x4 legs screwed in where ever they needed to be to make it level. That makes up for the floor not being level in the basement.  

I used 1/4" Fanfold insulation over the top to kill sound (at any home supply store) and covered it with Ready Grass from Woodland Scenics, and install trim strips over the edges.

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/category/ReadyGrassVinylMat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by Buckeye Riveter on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:03 PM

Thanks Kev!  

Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member, a Roseyville Raider and a member of the CTT Forum since 2004..

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Posted by carney2 on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:33 PM

Foam is an interesting option.  I don't understand how it works.  For instance, how do you attach track/roadbed to it?  Any sites for articles and/or videos?

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Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 7:19 PM

Great video Mr. Buckeye, I enjoyed every second of it!

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Posted by V8Vega on Thursday, February 08, 2018 9:28 AM

My layout is traditional LGirder with sawn out roadbed that follows my track plan. This is a lot slower than a table top type. It's all drywall screws.

My slot car table I am just finishing now is two 10' 2x4's outside with 1x4 ends and crossmembers around 16" apart. It's 39 " wide and I had 7/16 plywood for the top. And it's all nailed together.

 

Dennis  San Fernando Valley CA.  Joined August 2009

KRM
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Posted by KRM on Thursday, February 08, 2018 12:08 PM

carney2

Foam is an interesting option.  I don't understand how it works.  For instance, how do you attach track/roadbed to it?  Any sites for articles and/or videos?

 

carney, 

 For me because the foam is only 1/4" thick I use 5/8" small screws smaller than the holes in the track and screw them into the table top. The trick is leave them loose so the track floats on top of the foam and the screws just keep the track from moving. Very little sound is carried into to the table so it runs pretty quiet.

 Not sure how Buckeye does it with the thick foam??

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:14 PM

Most get foam thick enough to put screws/nails into it to hold track in place from moving. The idea is to hold in place not screw down or naiil down. 

Now there is another method used also by some where you drill a hole thru the hole in the track and another just out side the tie and use zip ties to keep in place. Again not tight enough to secure the track of any movement at all.But just being snug

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Posted by fifedog on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:57 AM

I've been trying some lighter materials for my new layout, which I've been constructing somewhat modularly.  The longest module is 7' long, and the widest module is 46" wide.

Most of the new lumber is 1x4 and "2x3s".  Legs are pressure treated 1x1s, suitable for deck stanchions.  

I'm trying Pergoo style flooring planks, foam side up, for subroadbed.  Comes in 51" lengths, easy to cut, easy to handle, and does help deaden the sound somewhat.  Look for sales at outlet stores (like Ollies, Big Lots, etc..), and scoop up the loose planks for more savings.

For the areas that need more covering, I enjoy working with the 2'x4' pre-cut luann plywood sheets.  Emphasis on ease of transport, easy to cut, and easy to handle.

72 degree return loops will chew up a lot of space, so I would be leaning towards a complete around the wall style layout, to show off those big shelf beauties you've been amassing.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Friday, February 09, 2018 8:24 AM

There's a simpler way that I have seen to hold the track with cable ties:  Drill only one hole through the crosstie.  Stick a first cable tie tail-down all the way through that.  Then put a second cable tie's head onto the first cable tie's tail where it protrudes under the table.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Buckeye Riveter on Friday, February 09, 2018 10:28 AM

KRM
 
carney2

Foam is an interesting option.  I don't understand how it works.  For instance, how do you attach track/roadbed to it?  Any sites for articles and/or videos?

 

carney, 

 For me because the foam is only 1/4" thick I use 5/8" small screws smaller than the holes in the track and screw them into the table top. The trick is leave them loose so the track floats on top of the foam and the screws just keep the track from moving. Very little sound is carried into to the table so it runs pretty quiet.

 Not sure how Buckeye does it with the thick foam??

 

 

I use a little longer screw, maybe 1- 1/2".  It has been 15 years since I put most of them in place and I have had no problems with movement. I let the track "float" too.  The foam is fairly dense and I get very little track sound.  I use rubber ballast and it knocks down the noise, too. The electrical tie method with my MTH RealTrax would be hard to make work.  The screws went in very quickly with the electric screwdriver and I can back them out if needed.

When I need to mount certain accessories to the foam, I have used paper clips with a little hot glue. 

On my next layout, I going to do something on grades closer to Kevin's system.  Building grades with foam is not easy even when using the prefab foam.

Even with the two grandsons bumping the layout, nothing really moves.  I have had scenery damage but I just get out the paint and paint the foam and then hid the damage with a bush. I also use Velcro to attach the switch levers to the front face. Even with several people in the room the levers were never damaged when bumped and the Velcro let go.

As to publications on using the foam; CTT had an article about building with foam and the Kalmbach book on building bench work talks about foam.  I just took it to the extreme.

 

Buckeye Riveter............. OTTS Charter Member, a Roseyville Raider and a member of the CTT Forum since 2004..

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Posted by Jim Hornaday on Friday, February 09, 2018 11:45 AM

Hey Kev, 

What is your layout height?

KRM
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Posted by KRM on Friday, February 09, 2018 12:28 PM

Jim Hornaday

Hey Kev, 

What is your layout height?

 

 

33" Jim.

 Lets the little people/grandkids see the action at eye level. And I can still work under it.

Here are a few shots of the grade build on the Kid's side of the layout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by Pennsy55 on Friday, February 09, 2018 8:05 PM

Getting back in the game and getting caught up on all the new electronics.  Looking for a track plan that appeared in CTT sometime in the past 5 years or so but can't find it in any of the issues.  Have a number of CTT T0213 _ APLAN.  I am lost and had no success in finding the plan on the web site.  Can any one help?  Much appreciated.  Complete rookie to blog so please forgive any missteps.

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Posted by Bob Keller on Sunday, February 11, 2018 7:51 AM

0213 would mean February 2013 issue. If the number is from the track plan data base, it might mean it was posted inFeb 2013, but I'd bet it was the issue date.

 

Bob Keller Classic Toy Trains

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Posted by wrmcclellan on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:14 PM

Carney2

I did both of what the other guys stated. I used 1/2" blue building foam (lowes, home depot) glued (using dots of foam safe Liquid Nails  - or similar) to 1/2" plywood. Plywood is on a simple 1 X 4 white wood (light weight) ladder frame with 1 X 4 supports every 2 feet.

You could have the building store cut the 4x8 ft 1/2" plywood into 4x4 ft pieces (a bit cheaper to buy a 4x8 and cut it - first 2 cuts at Home Depot/Lowes is usually free) to get the weight down. Most of the stores also carry precut 2x4 (as FifeDog) recommended) or 4x4 1/2" plywood.

I don't know where you live, but here in the south the building stores do not normally carry the 2" blue (sometimes pink) foam. Buckeye lives in Ohio where the thicker foam is commonly stocked.

By using the 1/2" foam on top of the plywood, I am able to put small screws (black self tapping #4's, 1" or 1 1/2" long) to secure the track.

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by wrmcclellan on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:57 PM

Here is a nice video by Lionel on how to build a basic 4x8 table.

https://youtu.be/PBNCmCxwUEA

Note they are using lighter weight white wood 8 ft 2x4's vs heavier yellow pine stud wall 2x4's (which are typically precut to 93 inches vs 96 inches to allow for the toe and top plates).

So in my case I substituted 8 ft 1x4 in white wood boards (for even lighter weight) for the plywood base and adjusted the cross member dimensions accordingly to build a 4x8 ft table. I also used 3 internal cross members to space every 2 ft to support the 1/2 in plywood. 

The 2 ft spacing would allow you to place the 2 pieces of 4x4 ft plywood on top.

I then placed about 1/2 in diameter dots of foam safe adhesive on the plywood top about every foot or so and then placed the 1/2" foam on top of the 1/2" plywood, holding it place with a lot of books to sink it into the adhesive.

To adapt to Buckeyes idea and exclusive use of foam...

If you have access to the thick foam (2") you could build the 2x4 or 1x4 white wood frame and then run  bead of foam safe adhesive on top of the 2x4 or 1x4 frame pieces and place the thick foam directly onto the frame. 

If you do not have access to the thick foam you could add a couple additional cross members to the frame and use two pieces of the 1/2" foam (glue down one at a time) to get a 1" thick foam base.

If you want something to more solid to screw track to, you could glue down 1/4" luan plywood (sheet or just strips under the track) Onto the foam.

My layout is 8x20, 5 sheets of plywood. It comes apart in 4x8 sections and two folks can easily lift each section off the base for storage. I used 1 - 3 layers of blue foam over the plywood and thus could carve some features into the foam (I.e. Ditches on each side of the main line). The layout is essentially flat and all the buildings, etc., lift off for storage.

If I were to rebuild the layout I would get the 2" foam and eliminate the plywood base to make it even easier to use.

Finally, my layout has two bases depending on where it will be set up. One base is a wood frame, but the other for short shows is 10 folding plastic (cheap) short sawhorses.

My layout sets at normal dining table height so kids (like Kevs and Buckeyes) can easily access it.

I will go find a couple of videos of the layout and add in another post.

 

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by wrmcclellan on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:06 PM

First 3 videos from a layout festival at Trainworx in Dallas last year.

https://youtu.be/ME1vi-72HdE

https://youtu.be/vHA346NsZws

https://youtu.be/TVDAR5QJ_b8

A better view around the layout taken by a friend from the same event in 2014.

https://youtu.be/3DIasS3OMXE

 

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by lionelsoni on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:13 AM

Precut studs for 8-foot ceilings are 92 5/8 inches long.  This length plus 4 1/2 inches of plates, accommodates 96 inches of wall gypsum board, 5/8 inches of ceiling gypsum board, and 1/2 inch of clearance above the floor.  They, and full 8-foot 2x4 boards, are both available as SYP (southern yellow pine) or SPF (spruce-pine-fir or whitewood).

Bob Nelson

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Posted by Jim Hornaday on Monday, February 12, 2018 12:57 PM

Cool! Thanks Kev! Looks real nice

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