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Benchwork Question

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  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: Neenah, WI
  • 197 posts
Benchwork Question
Posted by sschnabl on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 12:53 PM

I've decided my new layout will have the benchwork attached to my basement walls.  I'm going to use 2 x 2 pilasters and extend bracket arms off those pilasters into the room, with a diagonal brace for support.  I saw this method in an earlier edition of Kalmbach's benchwork book.  My question is how far apart should the pilasters be spaced?  In some of the photos, it looks to be about 32" (every other stud), but I would like to know what has worked for those using this method.  I plan on using L-girder construction with 1 x 4's.  Depth of the benchwork would be 24" or less in most spaces (one yard with a roundhouse will be 30").

Thanks,

Scott

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 2:17 PM

As I read my 1980 copy of Linn Wescott's book, $5.50; figure 4-8 

For a 1x4 L girder he says a 13 foot spread!

a 1x2 instead of L girder,  29" and a 1x2 L girder 6'

1x3 L girder is 9' - 6"

He is describing a 2" pilaster, a diagonal brace with 2 horizonal supports and a plywood gusset at the bottom of the brace and pilaster.    Based on that, you are over building.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 2:44 PM

I might suggest you have a look thru an alternative idea.....horizontal metal benchwork.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/265524.aspx

I looked at a number of different options that make use of 'brackets' attached to the wall studs that would support plywood decks/shelves.


I've now arrived at a really different and simple solution (on page 2 of that discussion),...

Over the past year I have been thinking and experimenting with ideas for my benchwork for my new layout in a shed.

I was over at my local metal scrap yard this past Fri and noticed some hollow square steel tubing they use to mount street signs with. Its 2" square verses my flanged 1-1.25" bed rails, and its really strong, and its galvanized. So now I am definitely considering this stuff.

 

I was originally considering making vertical brackets at each of the wall stud location to support the plywood shelves. then I ran across these steel square tubing at the local metal scrap yard.

My contractor friend. who was going to weld up the considerable number of vertical brackets I had sketched up, came back with an interesting idea. Why not lay these square tube 'beams' horizontally along the walls and lag them into the wall studs. Then the plywood shelves (decks) could be attached along their wall edge and cantilevered out. And where the shelf/deck is of a substantial depth, the outer edge might also be supported primarily by another long piece of this horizontal square tubing with only an ocassional vertical support.

I am now planing on utilizing this 'horizontal framing' idea on my staging track level and my lower primary deck. I may even utilize the idea for my upper deck, particularly as they will be more shallow than the primary deck. I will definitely utilize the larger 2" square tubing to support the lower primary deck. For the staging level (relatively shallow), and the upper deck I may utilize my 'bed frame angle iron'. I'll document this more thoroughly as I get to building it.

Quick update,....the first piece of horizontal steel tube framing along the back wall of the shed. The large size square tubing is the type that will be utilized to support the edge of the plywood deck next to the walls.. This will be selectively placed around the perimeter of the shed. There will also be central pieces at the inner edges of the shelf somewhat like shown on this preliminary dwg.
 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Neenah, WI
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Posted by sschnabl on Friday, September 28, 2018 12:46 PM

I already have some of the lumber purchased and sitting in the basement acclimating to the environment, but thanks for the idea.

I do remember building my previous benchwork and the legs were 1/5 of the way in from the ends.  So for the 8-ft sections, that worked out to about 58" apart.  Following that logic, I could space every 3rd wall stud (48"), which would save me $$ and still be stronger than my previous benchwork.

Thanks for the input.

Scott

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, September 29, 2018 10:01 AM

I always overbuild my benchwork. I have never regretted that decision.

.

The plan for the next layout is even more overbuilding.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, September 30, 2018 1:45 PM

Instead of pilasters, a better use (and size) of lumber would be 1"x2", used horizontally and screwed, on its flat, to every stud.  You could then add an additional 1"x2" atop that, to form your rear L-girder. 

The front (or near the front) L-girder could be typical 1"x4", with a top plate of 1"x2", but instead of bracket arms for support, why not simply use either legs (spaced as Henry suggests) or diagonals, similarly-spaced, from the rear of the front L-girder to the base of the wall, where there's a solid sill-plate supporting the wall studs?

A friend's layout uses brackets for support, but the space below the layout, over time, accumulates a lot of "stuff".
My layout is open grid, supported on mostly 2"x4" benchwork (surprisingly, I had a lot of 2"x4"s "left-over" from building my house - they were a lot easier to hide in the home-construction material orders than would have been "Select" pine lumber.)
The space beneath the layout, naturally, still accumulates a lot of "stuff", but it's all hidden behind either sliding- or lift-off Masonite panels...

...and is well-off the floor, too....

Wayne

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Posted by railandsail on Sunday, September 30, 2018 11:26 PM

Hi Doctorwayne,
Do you recall the subject threads were you have posted some photos of your excellent structures, track plans, etc?    Or would I be able to find them by just doing some sort of 'search' for all of your postings?

I realize a lot of the images were stored in photobucket, but I believe I have discover a way to extract them into a jpeg image i can save in a file on my computer.

You've done such great work, and I think I will get some ideas for a few such structures/scenes on my new layout planning.

Regards, Brian

  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, October 01, 2018 2:48 AM

Brian, I seldom use the search function here, but a quick look at my profile page shows over 5200 discussions in which I've taken part.  None of those, however, make mention of whether or not I included photos.
Also, I don't start very many threads here, as most of my posts (and photos) are in response to questions or problems posted by others.

Any photos which I post here are from photobucket, but my albums there are private, and not accessible to the general public unless I post them somewhere.

If you want to see photos which I've posted, probably the easiest way is to go to the Big blue Train Forums, then click on the "Member List" near the top right of the screen.
 
Members are listed alphabetically, and I'm the second listing under "D".  Click on my user name, and you'll get a rather bare-bones profile, but which also includes a listing of "Total Threads" - these are ones which I've started, and most are several pages long and usually with lots of photos. Click on the "Find All Threads", and you'll get a list of click-on thread titles. 

I hope that you'll find something there that's useful or at least interesting.


Probably the most well-illustrated ones are among the "Challenge" posts (semi-informal contests where a number of participants illustrate (each in their own threads) a project which they hope to complete within a specified timeframe.

There are some threads there in which the photos are attachments, and many of those were messed-up during a recent "upgrade" to the site.  The photos are there, but not in their original order, so the captions/descriptions don't necessarily match the photos.  I've re-done a few of them, but the list is fairly long, and the work time consuming.

You should be able to find stuff on locomotives, rolling stock, scenery, and structures at least, but nothing in the way of trackplans:  the layout was built without one, and I've not taken the time to do a to-scale one of what's there.  There is, however, an illustrated layout room tour (in which I'm working on restoring the photos).

Wayne

PED
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Posted by PED on Monday, October 01, 2018 7:11 PM

Be sure to consider the times you may want to climb onto your layout. Needs some good strength for that. Even if you don't plan to do any climbing, I will bet that you will be leaning against it and putting a lot of weight on it. Even with a 24" width, you may be surprised how many times you may lean on it heavy durning laying track and landscaping.

Metal sound good until you discover a place that the metal piece is in the way of some piece of equipment such as a tortoise or hole to drill for wire. Wood is a lot more forgiving in that regard. Wood also is easier to attach stuff (wiring, etc) to under your layout.

Paul

Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Circa late 1970's in south central Oklahoma

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  • From: Northern Virginia
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 6:27 AM

PED

Be sure to consider the times you may want to climb onto your layout. Needs some good strength for that. Even if you don't plan to do any climbing, I will bet that you will be leaning against it and putting a lot of weight on it. Even with a 24" width, you may be surprised how many times you may lean on it heavy durning laying track and landscaping.

For sure, leaning or occasionally getting up on the layout happens.  I did.  The half inch OSB was solid and fine.  People can overkill of course, but if I would have overkilled on my last layout, holy moly, some of the pieces would have been insanely heavy.  The half inch OSB sandwiched with Homasote was heavy enough; I couldn't imagine 3/4 inch.

Metal sound good until you discover a place that the metal piece is in the way of some piece of equipment such as a tortoise or hole to drill for wire. Wood is a lot more forgiving in that regard. Wood also is easier to attach stuff (wiring, etc) to under your layout.

I totally agree about metal vs. wood.  Been there done that.  I prefer wood much more and for the reasons given above.  More forgiving.  I know from experience.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 6:40 AM

L girders are strong and don't sag.  They're like I beams.  8 feet is actually fine, IMO, but I would go 48 inches.  Any closer than that and its really overkill.

Its just to hold up the entire layout, right? 

You'll want joists about 16 inches to prevent sagging of the shelf top or to support the risers.

- Douglas

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    February, 2009
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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 9:19 AM

Strong and Great Access

Wood is easy to work with, no doubt. Metal brings up questions.

But look again at this method I'm using on my decks,...horizontal metal beams attached to the wall studs. Then 3/4" good grade plywood cantilivered out from those metal beams

My staging level decks below this main deck will likely be 12-16 inches deep. No need for any other supporting benchwork under that overhead main deck, so:
a) staging deck level can be close up under the main deck level.
b) I will have a totally open access to the staging tracks with NO vertical members to interfere

verses this arrangment with wood...

 

Lag bolts secure metal beam to wall studs. Machine bolts and nuts secure plywood to metal beam.

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  • From: Richmond, VA
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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 2:35 PM

railandsail
My staging level decks below this main deck will likely be 12-16 inches deep. No need for any other supporting benchwork under that overhead main deck,

I believe you are seriously overestimating the rigidity of your cantilevered plywood.  Anything more than 6" or so is sure to sag (and/or warp) over time.  Do this on your own layout if you choose, but advocating it for someone else before you have proven it'll work long term is forum malpractice.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 2:56 PM

"Do this on your own layout if you choose, but advocating it for someone else before you have proven it'll work long term is forum malpractice."

I can understand that,....sorry.

Of course it might take a few years to prove yea or nei?

And now that I think about it there are a LOT of 'forum subjects/discussions' that are not proven facts,...they are discussions of possibilities.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Richmond, VA
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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 3:28 PM

railandsail
And now that I think about it there are a LOT of 'forum subjects/discussions' that are not proven facts,...they are discussions of possibilities.

Nothing at all wrong with that, IMO, as long as you disclose it as such.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

  • Member since
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  • From: In the heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, October 02, 2018 4:27 PM

railandsail

My staging level decks below this main deck will likely be 12-16 inches deep. No need for any other supporting benchwork under that overhead main deck, so:

a) staging deck level can be close up under the main deck level.
b) I will have a totally open access to the staging tracks with NO vertical members to interfere

verses this arrangment with wood...

 

Lag bolts secure metal beam to wall studs. Machine bolts and nuts secure plywood to metal beam.

 

You can stiffen plywood by gluing and finish nailing 1xs to under the plywood.  In the picture above, eliminate the vertical posts and retain the horizontal members, if your attachment to the steel beam and wall is strong enough to hold the vertical forces. 

Attaching 1xs to the underside essentially turns a chunk of plywood into its own L girder.

All you need for an L girder is two pieces attached perpendicular to each other, then the strong direction of one piece offsets the weak direction of the other.  It doesn't necessarily have to be the common way, usually done with two 1xs.

- Douglas

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    June, 2007
  • From: Northern Virginia
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 6:14 AM

Doughless

 

 
railandsail

My staging level decks below this main deck will likely be 12-16 inches deep. No need for any other supporting benchwork under that overhead main deck, so:

a) staging deck level can be close up under the main deck level.
b) I will have a totally open access to the staging tracks with NO vertical members to interfere

verses this arrangment with wood...

 

Lag bolts secure metal beam to wall studs. Machine bolts and nuts secure plywood to metal beam.

 

  

You can stiffen plywood by gluing and finish nailing 1xs to under the plywood.  In the picture above, eliminate the vertical posts and retain the horizontal members, if your attachment to the steel beam and wall is strong enough to hold the vertical forces. 

Attaching 1xs to the underside essentially turns a chunk of plywood into its own L girder.

I didn't have a horizontal beam (wood or steel) along the front side because of the limited 7 1/2 clearance was low enough on that construction.  Adding a beam would have been more to have to reach under.  I did have horizontal support on the back side however:

The top that was supported in the first photo was 30 inches wide.  On the planned layout it will be only 24 inches wide.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

Silly Aspie's, I have NT syndrome

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