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What I Learned Today about Benchwork

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JPD
  • Member since
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  • From: Berkley, MI
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What I Learned Today about Benchwork
Posted by JPD on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 3:35 PM
I am in the process of expanding my layout around the room. I have learned three lessons today.
 
First, model railroading is the art of hiding your mistakes. My carpentry is not perfect, but all my mistakes are going to be hidden under the benchwork and the foam. Nobody is going to see these errors unless they crawl under the layout and hunt for them. It is more important to make progress than to be perfect.
 
Secondly, an elevator really helps. The house I own has an elevator because it was previously owned by a handicapped person. This has been great because my workshop with my table saw, chop saw, and drill press is in the garage. I can ride the elevator from the basement to the garage without having to run up and down the steps.
Also, I can lower the elevator, open the upstairs door, and then lower all the lumber down the shaft to the basement.
 
When we bought the house, I thought the elevator would be nice to have when I finished my layout so people with limitations could still go down to the basement to view the layout. I did not realize how helpful it would be building the benchwork.
 
Is an elevator essential, no, but is it wonderful to have, yep!
 
Lastly, it really helps to have a wife interested in the hobby and eager to help. She not only acts as my assistant, but she also has a nack to point out better ways for me to approach difficulties with the work. It helps to marry the granddaughter of a locomotive engineer.
  • Member since
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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 4:21 PM

Elevator?

Here's a neat thought — run a siding into the elevator. Maybe set it up like a car ferry. Run the elevator to the next floor and continue the layout there, or at least have a staging yard or branch line. Cool

Truly a multi-level layout Whistling

I helped my former father in law build a dumbwaiter in his three-story condo but it was no where close to being large enough for anything bigger than, say, a pony keg of beer.

Good Luck, Ed

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by SpaceMouse on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 5:53 PM

JPD
First, model railroading is the art of hiding your mistakes.

When I was, uh, em,...younger, I worked construction. We had a saying:

Our Saying

The difference between a journeyman

and a master carpenter is,

the master capenter makes his mistakes 

look like they were meant to be that way.

People still do say that, right? 

Chip

Building the Rock Ridge Railroad with the slowest construction crew west of the Pecos.

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 147 posts
Posted by JPD on Friday, October 16, 2020 10:37 AM

Interesting suggestion, but the land baroness, patient as she is with me, would object to running a line from the train room, to the elevator hallway, up the elevator, and into the garage. Besides at 29' by 12' I have a large enough train room to play with.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Friday, October 16, 2020 10:54 AM

Interesting findings!  I talked to an engineer and shop teacher before building my benchwork.  Both suggested adding 1x2s between the table legs and the benchwork.  Apparently, triangles are the strongest geometric shapes.  That's why I also put three screws in a triangular shape to hold the 2x4 legs to the benchwork.

Chip: Love that statement!  

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:10 PM

The hypotenuse is difficult to distort....

Arches (arcs) are technically stronger than diagonal bracing but then an arc is just an infinite series of tiny, tiny little triangles.  

And devilish hard to build into benchwork. Its amazing how much stiffness you can add to benchwork with little strips of 1/8 masonite type hardboard fascia once you fit a curve to it.

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 16, 2020 2:53 PM

 Almost wish I had an elevator. Getting stuff ina nd out is easy for me though - the garage and basement are on the same level, so I just bring stuff in the door between the two. Too much other stuff was good about this house to pick something different where the garage would eb on the level of the upstairs - but that would be a HUGE extra space in the basement I could have used. The garage eats up about 24x26. If I had that space to use in addition to the rest of the basement I am using, I wouldn't need to build a double deck layout to get what I want.

                                    --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 riogrande5761 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 8:31 AM

Secondly, an elevator really helps.

That lesson learn is no good to the 99.9% of us with no elevator.  Many of us don't have the extra cash to blow on an inhouse elevator.  Just sayin....

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by NorthBrit on Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:09 AM

Elevator?    I am not allowed to let the railway leave the spare room on to the landing. Sad Laugh

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:28 AM

JPD
Is an elevator essential, no, but is it wonderful to have, yep!

My house is truly single level, no basement and no attic.

Serious question... what are the maintenance issues and expenses involved in a residential elevator? Also, how similar is it to a public elevator?

-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 Medina1128 on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 9:02 AM

What I learned about benchwork is that it's easier to make close to flawless benchwork with a good table saw and a drill press. I was able to make an end-plate template so that sections fit together more precisely.

 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 10:36 AM

I learned I could make pretty good benchwork with only two power tools: 1) A jigsaw, and 2) a cordless drill.

I learned I could make good benchworks faster by adding a compound Mitre saw and second cordless drill.  I've managed to get along without a table saw quite nicely so far.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 1:04 PM

 I got halfway through my previous layout with a hand saw, mitre box, and cordless drill/driver. I only got a power mitre box when I was about halfway done with that one - and it's not even a compound type. I do now have a jigsaw and a circular saw - the circular saw with the Kreg Ripcut attachment takes the place of trying to move full sheets of 3/4" plywood (heavy) around on a table saw - I just have to tip the sheet up on sawhorses, and then I can make repeatable cuts to get strips all the same width.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

JPD
  • Member since
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  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 147 posts
Posted by JPD on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:08 PM

Soon after we moved into the house I contacted the company who installed the elevator and asked for them to do a maintenance check since I knew nothing about elevators. It cost about $250 for the check up. 

I should add that actually this house has two elevators. One from the main floor to the garage floor that only does down steps. The second elevator is from the garage floor to the basement. Both have battery backup.

Also, do not think of them as large commercial elevators, they are more like platforms that go up and down.

I have no idea how much it would cost to install elevators. This house was built with them in mind so there is a shaft from the garage to the basement.

Before we stumpled upon this house and got it for a fantastic price, we considered other houses and adding a stair glidding chair. They cost in our area about $6,000 to $10,000. But I cannot imaging setting on one of them and bringing lumber down clutching it while sitting in the chair!

SeeYou190
JPD
Is an elevator essential, no, but is it wonderful to have, yep!

 

My house is truly single level, no basement and no attic.

Serious question... what are the maintenance issues and expenses involved in a residential elevator? Also, how similar is it to a public elevator?

-Kevin

 

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 147 posts
Posted by JPD on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 12:10 PM

I have a table saw, meter saw, and drill press, and still make mistakes. But I agree using templates and jigs cuts way down on my mistakes. And most of my mistakes are hidden. You would have to crawl under the benchwork and hunt for them.

Also agree on using angled braces.

To update on my progress. I now have all the wall mounted brackets done, the L-girders in place, the joists with three holes all installed, built two tables to bridge where there are no walls for the bractkes, and I am nearly done with the electrical wiring for outlets around the benchwork. Tomorrow I start laying the track, tortoise, and accessory busses. All this work was done in just four weeks and includes building two walls to enclose the train room. 

Normally, I am a prograstinator and spend more time watching model railroad videos on YouTube than working on my layout. However, I credit two things for making this much progress in such a short time: (1) the pandemic, I go no where and have the time and money as we are not spending on anything else; and (2) my wife, a hard worker, has engaged in building the layout far more than I had hoped for, she is eager to help and is more than an assistant.

Lastly, I should point out that three years ago I started building a switching layout, 2' x 12', which I only finished about three months ago. It gave me the confidence to know that I could build a bigger layout around the room. This switching layout is plugged into the around the room layout as a penninsula. As it is complete, as soon as I reattach the track bus to it, I can play with trains on days I do not want to work on the expanded layout. I highly recommend this approach to anyone starting out model railroading. Get the skills on a switching layout and then build your empire.

Enough, back to work.

 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 5:15 PM

 Wow, 6-10k for a chairlift? Put one in at my old house for the mother in law, it was maybe $3K, and super easy to DIY the install - they supply the track cut to length witht he proper risers based on your measurements, for the length of the staircase in that house there were 4 supports, 2 lag bolts in each one. Took less than an hour from opening the boxes to having it running.

 It would not be very good for moving material, although it did occasionally get used to carry a box that fit on the chair full of stuff - there was a remote control that could send it to either ends, so plop the box ont he chair, use the remote to shoot it upstairs for someone to grab. Or vice-versa.

 That's my solution should I stop being able to get upa nd down from the basement. As part of my basement redo, I had the stairs put back to being straight down like they originally were (previous owner set up a landing 3 steps up so it could drop to two sides of a wall) so it will be easy to install one if I need to.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 147 posts
Posted by JPD on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 5:50 PM

Randy, I never seriously investigated the chair lift. The price range I gave was based on my memoery of some printed ads I saw. Obviously, I was looking at the wrong ads! A chair lift for $3,000 would not be out of my price range, but fortunetly I do not need one.

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