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Mindheim's floating benchwork

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Mindheim's floating benchwork
Posted by IDRick on Thursday, January 21, 2021 7:10 PM

Has anyone built Lance Mindheim's floating benchwork?  It is discussed here:

https://mrr.trains.com/how-to/build-model-railroad/2018/09/how-to-building-floating-shelf-benchwork-for-a-model-railroad

Makes for a nice looking layout!  If so, what are your thoughts, you like it?

Pocket hole screws likely is a better way to attach the outriggers to the backplate.

 

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Posted by DSchmitt on Thursday, January 21, 2021 8:50 PM

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by gregc on Friday, January 22, 2021 5:23 AM

i doubt this would work if the layout wasn't L-shaped to prevent it from folding down.

as he said, "Layout presentation is important ...".   otherwise, wouldn't angled shelf brackets be sturdy and provide clearance? 

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by trevorsmith3489 on Friday, January 22, 2021 6:54 AM

I have floating shelves - a two deck layout.

The floating shelf allows a smooth back drop to the lower shelf and no intrusion into the lower deck modelling area

https://kaleyyard.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/cimg8607.jpg

A full explanation of construction is here

https://kaleyyard.wordpress.com/baseboards/

(I live in the UK so trade names/products may not be available in other countries.)

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 22, 2021 7:31 AM

I wouldn't depend on the drywall anchors.  I'd screw direct into wall studs, and as Greg has mentioned, each corner you make, to a nother wall, would add to the stability.

Mike.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:10 AM

Any bookshelf design is strong enough for a model train.

Floating shelf type use steel rods drilled into studs. No drywall anchors required. 

The trick is to ensure the outer edge stays horizontal and perpendicular to the wall, no sag. Width of the shelf is the most significant loading factor. 18" deep would be wide.

There is another style I used for kitchen shelves which is a slotted wedge shaped aluminum bracket you screw to the wall  inside the slot and then simply stick accurately dimensional plywood sheet into that slot. Very strong. 

A google search for this style shows several variations of U or W Channel supplets  

L shape adds some strength but the longer the L the less you can rely on that support. On the other hand just one L or Wedge shaped bracket under the otherwise floating shelf increases load capacity out of all proportion to its size. 

The benchwork itself is the heaviest part of the layout, ironically. 

Just by the by that load rating for wall anchors will be vertical in sheer. For floating shelves the main loading on the wall fasteners is horizontal pulling the fastener out of the wall. That's how cantilever forces work. That's why even a small flange screwed into the wall above the fulcrum point against the wall adds so much strength. Use the longest and most robust fasteners above the shelf. Also why the bottom fastener on standard L brackets does almost no work. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:11 AM

 Notice Mindheim's system is only about 16" wide. With foam, there is very little weight on the supporting board across the back, which is screwed to the studs, not just screwed into the drywall. You won't be able to climb on it, but it should be plenty strong to support some trains and structures.

 Since I had my basement drywalled, I added my own second set of studs screwed in to the wall studs, and cantilever everything off that. When I first showed it, some were sceptical that it would be strong enough. Since putting some of it up, I've put a good portion of my not inconsiderable weight on to some of the plywood horizontal arms with no creaks, groans, or ominous cracks. Once a whole wall are filled with these, linked by the plywood subroadbed, and across the front with the fascia, I have no doubt that it will be plenty strong - probably overbuilt.

                                       --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 Doughless on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:39 AM

If you didn't want to see the verticle leg of a wall bracket protrude below the layout along the wall, I would think using threaded pipe screwed into threaded pipe flanges secured to each stud 16" apart would be more sturdy. 

Probably could support a deeper shelf too.

Could trim out the front and bottom of the layout to hide the pipe and the flanges.

 Screwed Flanges

 

- Douglas

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 22, 2021 10:48 AM

Lastspikemike
Floating shelf type use steel rods drilled into studs. No drywall anchors required. 

I was referring to the drawing from Lance's blog, that DSchmitt linked to.

Mike.

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Posted by hornblower on Friday, January 22, 2021 5:38 PM

The floating shelf idea is basically what I used to construct the around the walls portion of my current double deck layout.  The shelves are 24" deep with open spans as long as 13 feet.  I used fender washers with the wall mounting screws so that the screw heads would not pull through the 1/2" plywood benchwork.  All benchwork joints were glued and pinned with 18 gauge wire brads. Once the glue dries, the open grid shelves are extremely rigid.  As extruded foam insulation is prohibitively expensive in Southern California (assuming a store will even order it for you), I used 3/16" plywood for the layout deck to keep things light.  NO sag in the 10+ years the layout has been up.

Hornblower

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Posted by IDRick on Friday, January 22, 2021 9:08 PM

Excellent discussion!  Thank you so much!  I am planning a shelf layout (single level, max 20 inches wide, 24' x 12' around walls) and will start construction after I move in 6 months.  I retired at the end of the year and can't wait to get started!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 22, 2021 10:02 PM

IDRick
Excellent discussion!  Thank you so much!  I am planning a shelf layout (single level, max 20 inches wide, 24' x 12' around walls) and will start construction after I move in 6 months.  I retired at the end of the year and can't wait to get started!

Yes

Mike.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, January 23, 2021 9:35 AM

mbinsewi

 

 
Lastspikemike
Floating shelf type use steel rods drilled into studs. No drywall anchors required. 

 

I was referring to the drawing from Lance's blog, that DSchmitt linked to.

Mike.

 

I was just clarifying that drywall anchors would not necessarily be required for that design. There was an error made in assuming that the load rating for the drywall anchors (80lbs was it) referred to the cantilevered weight capability. I believe those ratings are for vertical loads only. I may be mistaken but I'm pretty sure I'm correct.

Now, per fastener, this is adequate either way for the modest loads of a shelf layout. I'd still put fasteners directly into studs in preference to drywall anchors.

For shelf layouts foam sheet seems very appealing, rather than building mainly from wood. I'm trying that at any rate. My steel channel pilaster and shelf bracket system is screwed only into studs. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by ericboone on Saturday, January 23, 2021 5:38 PM

I ran across this interesting floating shelf technology out of Canada.  They claim significant strength over traditional floating shelves.  It's a little pricy, especially when you consider shipping, though.

 The big advantage I see is it is easy to take down and put back, allowing you to take segments to your workbench with appropriate gaps / seams in the layout shelf of course. 

https://hovrbracketsystem.com

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Posted by IDRick on Saturday, January 23, 2021 8:53 PM

Thanks for posting Eric!  Very nice shelving system and plenty strong but as you said expensive!  Good idea for other applications though where appearance is key!

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, January 23, 2021 9:00 PM

ericboone
https://hovrbracketsystem.com

Plus the special tools and blades you need, unless you have them already, along with a table saw.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 23, 2021 9:50 PM

 Blade for a saber saw is cheap enough. There are no special tools, it just screws to the wall with ordinary screws. The only other thing is available in their tool pack, and that's the clearance and tap drill for the set screws.

 And remember for an 8 foot long module, you do not need 8 foot of this, you need 4.

 Oh and it says shipping for orders over $150 is free. So 8 feet of the rails and the tool pack and it ships free.

 I'm thinking something similar could be made with some angle iron but it would probably require some welding to make the part that attached to the shelf. Sort of a French cleat sort of thing with the open side of a U channel facing up mounted to the wall, and a downward facing one attached to the shelf. If the wall side was screwed in to the studs, the weak point would be the attachment of the shelf to the shelf section of metal. The trick is firguring out how to get a nice consistent gap. Or use angle iron bolted to the wall, with a strip of square stock welded to the top edge to form a lip, and a similar piece screwed to the back of the shelf, with a lip welded to the inside top edge to engage the lip on the wall mounted part. You wouldn't need much - maybe a 6" section every other stud.

                                         --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 Lastspikemike on Saturday, January 23, 2021 11:40 PM

The key to this design is the 90 degree hook on the female channel. Well, that the aircraft grade aluminum alloy. 

I'll bet they ship with Robertson screws....

Alyth Yard

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, January 24, 2021 8:34 AM

rrinker
Blade for a saber saw is cheap enough. There are no special tools, it just screws to the wall with ordinary screws. The only other thing is available in their tool pack, and that's the clearance and tap drill for the set screws.

You need a table saw and dado blades to cut the notch for the bracket.  Not that a table saw is a special tool, but it is a tool not everybody has, along with the space/shop to use it in.

Mike.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Sunday, January 24, 2021 8:57 AM

As stated in the video you can create the dado with a single blade using multiple passes. If you are reasonably competent with a chisel fewer passes would be required.    The same router could also be used.   

I can't see using a solid 2" thick shelf for model railroading. Mind you, I wouldn't build a shelf out of solid wood like that anyway, for any reason.

Question is will this system support a fabricated shelf made from a set of 2" (+/-) stringers and end pieces all faced with say 1/4 plywood like a hollow door fabrication? They don't say.

 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by DSchmitt on Sunday, January 24, 2021 10:09 AM

Lastspikemike
Question is will this system support a fabricated shelf made from a set of 2" (+/-) stringers and end pieces all faced with say 1/4 plywood like a hollow door fabrication? They don't say.  

Actually they use that construction for the shelf in their "how it works" video

https://hovrbracketsystem.com/pages/how-it-works

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, January 24, 2021 10:13 AM

Lastspikemike
you can create the dado with a single blade using multiple passes.

True, I didn't watch all the way through.  I've done that with a circular saw, and chisel.

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, January 24, 2021 12:24 PM

 Exactly, there's no need for a channel. Thick wood in good quality is hard to find in many areas anyway, a fabricated chelf like they show is every bit as strong, and no special cuts needed. At the end of the into video they also show an option with the bracket mounted to the back of the shelf, not recessed in - the presenter says it was a suggestion by the inventor of the product. A little different, but certainly a workable option as well. 

                                         --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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