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Benchwork "Woes".......

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Benchwork "Woes".......
Posted by Trainzman2435 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 8:51 PM

Hello everyone, hope everyone is well. I am having a dilema with my benchwork that i just cant figure out. As some of you know my layout is an around the wall shelf style layout. The room measures 12'x20' and I am modeling N scale if that really matters. My first 2'x18' shelf is level in all aspects, front to back and lengthways. The 12'x2' new shelf i just built is off a mile when i bump it up to the first level shelf. I have measured and re measured. I have used both 2' and 4' levels but makes no difference. No matter what i do the new 2'x12' shelf is off when attached to the original shelf that i know for sure is level. What am i doing wrong lol? I have measured from the floor up 50" on all studs and added a small block of wood for the shelf to rest on to ensure it was level. I am missing something here but cant figure it out....Any suggestions? I have attached a picture showing what i am doing, the red section is the new shelf that will not level. Thanks everyone!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:17 PM

Trainzman2435
I have measured from the floor up 50" on all studs and added a small block of wood for the shelf to rest on to ensure it was level. I am missing something here but cant figure it out..

You don't say how it is off, but I agree there is a snake in every hole.

The floor might not be level, are the brackets to support the shelf different, is the stucture of the shelf different?  50" should be 50" but anything is prone to error, just ask the guy in Iran who launched.  You can find a cheapo laser for $20 at Lowes and measure from the top down.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:21 PM

Have you measured the level on the floor?  I think a small investment in a laser level might be worth it.

How far off from level are you?

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:27 PM

I’ve been told that the difference between a average carpenter and a good carpenter is a good one can cover up his mistakes.  When we moved into our home it was the show home for the division. Great house!  A couple of years later I was adding to the patio and everything I measured was wrong.
 
I finally measured the original corners and one was off 5¼” in 12’.  The carpenter that built the patio was a good carpenter, he hid his errors so good it took me two days to find it.
 
Since then I have found a several more very good covered up mistakes.
 
 
Mel
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:34 PM

How much off is it?

Is this on a concrete floor? 

The floor is off level.  Measure from the ceiling down to your bench work, all the way around.  Put marks on the wall, than measure up to the marks you made, from the floor, to see what adjustments you need to make to the legs.

OR, rent a laser level, as Mr B. suggest.

This is nothing devastating, just need an adjustment in the legs of your benchwork.

You could also use wood shims to shim the sections so they match.

Mike.

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Posted by floridaflyer on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:42 PM

Seeing as the first section is level in all directions, I would use the edge of the level section that you are butting up to as the new zero point. adjust the new section to the edge of the good section and level the new section to the good section, using the level, regardless of the distance from the floor. This will require some adjustment of the legs on the new section. Leg length is not important. level to the first section is.

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Posted by delray1967 on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:50 PM

If you don't have money for a laser level, a bucket of water and a long (clear) hose makes a great way to mark an exactly level line around the room you can measure from. Instead of me explaining how to make/use one, Google it (you'll thank me because I'm not great at explaining things.lol).

http://delray1967.shutterfly.com/pictures/5

SEMI Free-Mo@groups.io

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Posted by irishRR on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 11:41 PM

Have you tried using adjustable foot screws mounted to the bottom of your vertical supports? I manage a restaurant and all of our tables have them. When the tables get moved around, they might not be level in one spot even though they were level in another. You just twist the screws one way or another and it will raise and lower the legs incrementally according to your needs. I have three sectional layouts that have been moved from a couple different houses and rooms and I applied this thinking to my layout. It has proved to be very helpful and makes adjusting the heights very easy with just a little time, patience and a good level. It may not work for your situation, but it has helped me relieve many headaches and having to remove, re measure, re cut and re build. Good luck.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 12:10 AM

Hi Trainzman2435,

As others have suggested, the problem is likely that your floor is not level. Basement floors are not level by design. They are built with a slight slope so that water will drain in the unfortunate event of leakage.

You need to reference your benchwork height from the wall and the easiest way to do that is rent or buy a laser level. Mark a level line at the desired height of the benchwork and then build the legs to meet that line.

Dave

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 6:08 AM

NEVER measure from the floor or ceiling. In my experience, nothing is ever level.

.

The only solution is to RENT a 360 degree laser level for one day. Put it in the center of the room, set it for your desired height, and draw a level line all the way around the walls.

.

This will give you a very good chance at having a level layout. 

.

I am a big proponent of renting tools that will only be used ocassionally. You can rent a perfect professional laser for one day for about the same price as buying a cheap garbage model. This will help stop you from pulling your hair out.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:08 AM

Come to thinknof it.   I never see this addressed in benchwork building parts of layout building info.  

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:27 AM

NVSRR
  I never see this addressed in benchwork building parts of layout building info.  

Your right.  I think most understand that if your attaching layout benchwork to the wall, you need to establish a level base line around the room.

For the modular guys that build in sections, like 2' x 8' individual "tables" put together, they deal with any differences as they go.

Mine is attached, permanently, to the wall, as the bench works original purpose was to provide a storage system for plastic totes.  The layout was an afterthought.

The OP's situation is not a big deal, easy to solve.

I guess we'll wait for more info.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:47 AM

 Laser levels aren't even all that expensive any more. Maybe for a super duper fancy one - but the simple one I got for Christmas seems to work just fine. It probably isn't rigged enough to toss in a toolbox and use on a job site every day, but I kind of only need it twice - once for the lower deck zero line, and once for the upper deck zero line.

 Floors, ceilings, walls - hardly any of it is EVER level, even with quality construction. And especially a basement floor, there will always be a slope to any floor drains. If the existing piece shows level in all directions, attach the new section to it, and at the far end use whatever length legs are needed to bring it up level. Odds are very good this will not be the same length as the legs on the existing part.

 This is the part that may be hard to get your head around - while it seems like common sense that if you build a table with 4 legs, each precisely the same length, it should be level - that's ONLY true if you set it on a perfectly level surface. The art portion of carpentry is adjusting things level as needed, darned the actual measurements. The bubble level doesn't lie (unless you broke it). If the level says it's level, but using a tape shows one end is 35" off the floor and the other end is 37" off the floor - trust the level. 

                                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:56 AM

rrinker
The art portion of carpentry is adjusting things level as needed, darned the actual measurements. The bubble level doesn't lie (unless you broke it). If the level says it's level, but using a tape shows one end is 35" off the floor and the other end is 37" off the floor - trust the level. 

The skill and techniques involved in hanging kitchen cabinets, base and uppers, is a good example of this.  If you start the base cabinets on the low end of an "out of level" kitchen, good luck.

Mike.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 8:47 AM

mbinsewi
The skill and techniques involved in hanging kitchen cabinets, base and uppers, is a good example of this.  If you start the base cabinets on the low end of an "out of level" kitchen, good luck.

.

The crew that installed my cabinets were having a rough time. The floor is not level, the walls are not plumb, and one wall was curved.

.

They did a great job and made it look perfect.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:06 AM

 ANd no,m they did not "build them better" back in the day - I remember helping my neighbor convert half his garage into an office. These house were built int he early 50's. This was the early 80's, so having a chair rail was all the rage. Well, nailed to one corner, it stuck out a couple of feet at the other end, because the wall was so curved. Luckily it's just a thin moulding so it was easily just pressed into place - but getting the end to come out and match up with the piece going across the next wall was fun, because having that curve meant needing a longer piece than just measuring wall to wall.

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:40 AM

Decades ago there was a cartoon in Model Railroader showing a guy whose newly built benchwork just looked totally jumbled and irregular.

He is standing in the middle of it looking at his carpenter's spirit level and the caption is "Well I'll be darned.  The little bubble is stuck!"

Dave Nelson

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Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 10:10 AM

Start at your 2x18. Use that as 0.  Measure level off that setting your height blocks off that.  The ones you have attached to the wall.  Once you have them adjusted to that you should be level for the 2x12 section

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by davidmurray on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 10:32 AM

When using a 2' or 4' or 8' level  always take a reading, then turn the level end for end.  It is very easy to knock the bubble housing out of position causing false readings, and very hard to put it back.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:35 AM

rrinker
Laser levels aren't even all that expensive any more....

An old-fashioned string level will do the same job for this simple problem.

Wayne

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 1:57 PM

I bought a low-cost lazer level. The thing swivels and allows you to mark a line accross the room. Works very well. I don't mind renting things but I have used that level more than once over the last two years: once for installing my drop-down ceiling, once for the benchwork, and once for installing the background. Renting the thing three times would have been much more expensive. And chances are I will use it (or lend it) again in the future...

Simon

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 2:54 PM

We had a 4' level donated to my (now ex) club. It was in good shape when we got it. A few weeks later we discovered that it was bent, noticably so. I can't imagine how anyone could abuse a level so badly that they managed to bend it!

Dave

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 2:58 PM

My dad, who was in construction, told me that some guys tap on their levels with a hammer to get whatever they are levelling straight. Yup, he told me never to do that on his levels!

Simon

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 6:49 PM

I work on old houses for a living, and a quick review suggests I have installed at least 1,000 kitchen cabinets just in the last decade or so.

First thing you always do, find the high spot in the floor.......

Second thing, create a level base line around the walls based on that high spot.

Years ago we managed with 8' levels, today we hang a lazer level on the wall and leave it there until the cabinets are up, so I would rather own one, as suggested, reasonably good ones can be had at reasonable prices.

As carpenters we try to get things plumb and level, it is more important for some things, less for others. But wood and concrete both have a mind of their own after we leave the job...... 

Foundations settle, wood shrinks, things change, making small errors into big ones over time.

Building a layout attached to a wall is no different than hanging kitchen cabinets, you need a level base line on the wall, forget about the floor or ceiling.

And plan on adjustable feet.

Little understood fact about kitchen cabinets and similar built ins - your kitchen base cabinets are not sitting on the floor, just like your wall cabinets, they are hanging on the wall, then we shim the fronts to meet the floor, to stop them from sagging over time.

And if the wall is not plumb, we shim the cabinets to get the front edge plumb as it hangs there, before we shim the space between the front edge and the floor.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:08 PM

I bought a laser level several years ago and being without it would be like being without a tape measure. It did not cost much from what I remember.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by FRRYKid on Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:18 AM

I fully agree with having adjustability built into the legs. When I built my new layout in my old apartment, I built in furniture grade levelers. They are 3/8" diameter as the floor in the bedroom was badly out of level. When it was still in the apartment, I also included a section from my old layout and also included those same revelers. The leverers allowed me to compensate for the out of level.

When I recently bought my house with a garage, those same levelers again allowed me to get that same layout level on the concrete floor which wasn't exactly level. I also built a new section and added yet another piece from the old layout again with those levelers.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."

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