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Mianne vs Sievers benchwork

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Mianne vs Sievers benchwork
Posted by NevinW on Thursday, May 10, 2007 5:51 PM
I haven't decided what kind of benchwork I am going to use for my new layout.  My last layout used heavy duty shelving, hollowcore doors and foam.  Due th the shape of the new room, a shelf layout will only work on about 1/2 the room so a more conventional benchwork will be needed.  Since I am always short of time I have been looking for shortcuts.  I have found the Sievers and Mianne websites.  Both look good.  Sievers has been around a long time and it is easy to design on cadrail.  Mianne looks lighter and more technologically advanced.  What is everyone's opinion? Any preferences?  Any other benchwork companies I should consider?  -  Nevin
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:03 PM

Nevin,

I couldn't nail a fencepost to the side of a barn so the OL and I looked around, did some investigating and finally settled on Mianne Benchwork.

It was a joy to work with them. Dealing with Mr. Foley at Mianne Benchwork was a breeze.

He helped work out a custom kit for our needs using as much of their standards kits as he could - to help keep the price down - and got an estimate out to me fast. Once we settled up on cost he and his folks had the stuff tooled out and shipped to me quick.

It came in four c.48 lbs boxes and went together like dream with only two screwdrivers, a level and elbow grease. It took me only a few evenings to get it all up too, a "weekend project".

As for total price... well for c.122 odd square feet of benchwork at 48" height and shipping and handling for c.200 lbs. of materials it cost me a grand total of $1315.00.

So in the end for a fellow with absolutely no carpentry skill or tools needed to cut my own wood was it worth it -for me- ? You bet your sweet bippy it was!

I'd do it again in a New York City minute with no regrets.

Here are a couple of pictures of it going up:




Peace.

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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:11 PM

Well I am with Granpa on this one, but I went with Sievers.  Both are good and easy to use, it will boil down to personal preference.  Both are expensive compared to the do-it-yourself benchwork.  But for the carpentry challenged folks like me and a strong desire not to spend my time on benchwork, it was a no brainer for me.

 

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Posted by ARTHILL on Thursday, May 10, 2007 6:54 PM
Unless you already have the tools, it is even less expensive.  To do it yourself with a handsaw and a coping saw would takes weeks of frustrating work. I am a cabinate maker, so I did do mine, but I had the tools just sitting there. Both systems look good, even to me.
If you think you have it right, your standards are too low. my photos http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a235/ARTHILL/ Art
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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, May 10, 2007 11:24 PM

I didn't use any "professionally fabricated" framework.  What I DID use was steel stud material, 2x3 and 2x4 equivalent, from the local big box home improvement emporia.  Working time to construct a 5X12 foot table (classic Westcott L-girder design) was about 8 hours - and for the second (asymmetric approximately 5x10 foot) table the time came down to just under 5 hours.  Tools?  Rafter square, tin snips, cheap plastic 'look like clothespins' clamps, drill (3/32" bit) and power screwdriver (could have been manual, but I already had the power model.)  Fasteners are short panhead framing screws from Ace Hardware.  As for cost, if I had started with the $$$ stated above, I could have bought all the tools and materials used and had enough left over for a couple of brass locomotives (at full MSRP.)

My main reason for going with steel was (and is) the unfortunate tendency for wood to assume fantastic shapes when subject to high heat and very low humidity.  There are no corkscrews or compound bows among my stock of steel.  I wish I could say the same for the wood shelving and 2x4s sharing the garage with it.

To contol the plywood used for subroadbed, I use relatively thin material on closely-spaced risers, and add chunks of angle iron as necessary.  Several of my hidden tangents are laid inside steel studs positioned as troughs (with flex track caulked to 1/2" foam plastic, which is caulked to the steel.)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - on steel stud benchwork)

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Posted by wrconstruction on Friday, May 11, 2007 8:15 PM
tom, i own a general contracting company, and we use steel studs more than ever these days. what a wonderfull product with uses that wood could only dream of. i intend on using them not only to finish my basement, but for bench work as well. as you stated, they are very easy to work with and i intend to post photos on here some day when the bench work construction starts.
Old Trail Industries
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, May 12, 2007 5:24 AM

I built my benchwork out of 1 x 2's (clear grade). I just built a "ladder" of 1 x 2's on 24 centers. I put the 1x2 legs directly underneath the the 1x2 crosspieces at about 4" from the front and back. I gusseted this with 1x2 scrap and screwed everything together with sheetrock screws.

If you go wall to wall your diagonal bracing doesnt have to be as good, but plan on some diagonal bracing and stringer running the length at the bottom of the legs.

It was all built with skill saw, an electric drill and a powered screwdriver.

For 2' wide deck it takes about 10 lineal feet of 1 x 2 and my 1 x 2 was about $.65 a lineal foot, again this is for 2' wide deck, but it's going to be less than double that for 4' wide tables.

I put 2" of blue foam on top of this and used Woodland Scenics roadbase and Peco track and swtiches. If you want manual throw turnouts, Peco are the ones to get. Nothing to add, they manual throw great. Get a walkaround throttle for ops and you dont need remote switching.

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Posted by jbloch on Sunday, May 13, 2007 9:47 AM

Very nice stuff--I wasn't familiar with Mianne, but certainly looks as nice as the Sievers, whose website I've checked out before.  My home "engineering" skills are average at best, but the bottom line is that the cost for these prefabricated benchwork units are just too prohibitive.  The cost of this is just too great, even taking in to account the costs of tools needed for carpentry work(just got a mitre saw on sale @ HD after months of procrastination).  I think a review of Linn Westcott's benchwork book will make most of us realize that you don't have to be a master carpenter to do model railroading benchwork.  After having said that, more power to you--I think Mianne and Siever produce an excellent product, and if money were no object . . .

Jim 

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Posted by tcf511 on Sunday, May 13, 2007 10:19 AM
I have used Sievers benchwork in a couple of different circumstances. The quality and dimensions are always very consistent. The people are great to work with and will help with the odd custom sized piece if necessary. I am very pleased with their products and would buy from them again.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

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Posted by espee3004 on Sunday, May 13, 2007 4:53 PM

I expect there will be many different opinions on benchwork. Have you considered 2' x 4' ceiling tiles on top of hollow core doors? I found ceiling tiles contoured very easily with a wire brush. The desert is not flat.

Ralph

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Posted by drgwcs on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:38 PM

While I was nibbing through a Menard's I saw something that looked like it might be easy to use ready made benchwork for less than 10.00 for an eight foot section. They were sides for shelving units that were made up of 2X4s laid on edge and the height was 8ft. The idea was that you would slide in a 12" or 24" board as a shelf. If you used 2" foam on top they looked plenty strong enough and lightweight to boot to be used as layout sections. You might wind up using a little more foam though becuase your sizes would come out weird on width. They looked pretty true on flex.

 

Jim C.

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Posted by espee3004 on Sunday, May 20, 2007 3:30 PM

I have to rethink my post on using ceiling tiles. While they do shape quite nicely it can be a bit dusty and spikes for handlaid track do not hold well.

Ralph

Amargosa RR

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 7:23 PM

Actually the Desert is kinda lumpy and sometimes It looks strangely like It was carved and in some cases It was. Interesting thread, Anyone have a house with a Swamp Cooler and this MDF/Hardwood framing? As I'm designing a two level N scale layout for a 10'x12.5' bedroom with XTrkCad 4.02 and I'd like to know, Here's what I've done so far and the layout does have a double helix at the top left.

1st level(Left/Top image), 2nd level(Right/Bottom image).

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Posted by tcf511 on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 9:15 PM
I've bought quite a bit of Sievers benchwork and have always been very satisfied. They ship quickly and it is a consistent top quality product. I even had them create some custom sizes in some of their modules and they were very cooperative. If I had to buy and then learn to use the various power tools I would need for a decent sized layout, I would never get it done. To me, they are a bargain.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

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Posted by sfcouple on Thursday, March 27, 2008 12:31 AM

I've used Sievers and think they have an excellent product, are very easy to deal with, and offer prompt service.  Would definitely use them again.  They saved me a lot of time with the benchwork as living in an Apartment in San Francisco is not the ideal location for this type of project.

Wayne  

Modeling HO Freelance Logging Railroad.

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Posted by chatanuga on Thursday, March 27, 2008 10:30 AM

I used Sievers for my layout (http://chatanuga.org/WLMR.html) and have been very satisfied with the results.  I hadn't heard of Mianne before now.  While the Sievers benchwork can be a little pricey, I don't have a lot of tools for doing carpentry, and living in a townhouse, my neighbors wouldn't want to hear a saw going at all hours.  Plus, I didn't like the idea of measuring and cutting lumber, making mistakes, etc.  The benchwork comes carefully packaged with all of the screws, bolts, washers, etc. (including extra).  It goes together very easily.

Kevin

http://chatanuga.org/WLMR.html

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Posted by ezmike on Thursday, March 27, 2008 1:08 PM

Not ever owning both products I will not comment as to which is better. I can only tell you about my experiences with each during my decision making process and with my experience with the one I purchased.

After reading and browsing each web site several times I decided to contact each and get estimates. On the Mianne site I was able to browse their catelogue of "stock" plans. There I found a "U" shaped layout that, with some modifications, would make the best use of the room I had for my Train Room (plan #11). I called Tim Foley at Mianne one afternoon about 4:00 pm EST. I asked if he would be willing to give me a price for my bench work. He asked if I had a plan, I told him I was interested in #11 with some modifications. While on the phone with him I re-measured the entire room and gave those measurements to Tim. He asked if I could give him about an hour and he'd get back to me with two plans, one at 30" and one at 36" wide with 48" square corners. About an hour later he called with the prices for both including shipping, then he e-mailed me the plans. After discussing the specs of his product and the reasons for the way he builds it and assuring me that there's no presswood or particle board involved, I told him I'd get back to him one way or another after I got a price from Sievers.

 I called Sievers and asked the same series of questions and asked if I sent them a scale diagram of what I wanted could theygive me prices. Although extremely friendly and polite, I was told I'd have to make copies of their template pieces from their web site, afix them to my drawing and I could either mail or fax it to them. Once I did that they could tell me the price, so off I went to copy, cut and glue these squares and triangles to the drawing and faxed it to them a couple of hours later. The next day I received a fax from them with the price and list of materials needed but the shipping was an estimate and I'd either get a refund or another bill once it was actually shipped.

 Both products appear to be quality items. I'm not going to debate the pine in the Siever's product versus the poplar and MDF used in the Mianne product, the Mianne product was about $200 less. So I went with Mianne for price and the all important first impression made by Tim Foley.

 Now on to my experience with the Mianne product itself. I discussed a ship date with Tim that worked for both of us and on that day the boxes were shipped, 3 of them totaling about 100 lbs. and arrived the next day by UPS Ground (Boston area to Putnam County, NY). They sat in the garage for 3 days before I decided on a Friday to "take inventory" of the parts, just in case any were missing or I was not happy with them. Well, about 3 1/2 hrs later, all but 10 pieces of my 10' x 10.5' x 12' x30" (48") bench work was up. Assembly was easier than expected, the general assembly instructions are detailed and well written and included with the parts list for "your" bench work is a color coded diagram and instructions sheet of your bench work for you to follow.

 Sorry for the long story but I'm please with my decision to use Mianne. The structure is relatively light but strong. That's my 2 cents! I'll try to post photos of it later.

Mike

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Posted by Lillen on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:08 PM

Hi,

 

I've heard of people using IKEA kitchen foundations(I do not know the word in English), the kind you put under the benches and make cabinets of. It's cheap and high quality, but then I'm Swedish so I'm biased. I'm not sure how much it would cost to make a whole layout.

 

They do come with legs that can be changed and adjusted to take out any changes on the floor.

 

Magnus

Unless otherwise mentioned it's HO and about the 50's. Magnus
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Posted by Bill54 on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:55 PM

With the expense of just the materials I think I would go with building my own benchwork. 

Here's my reasoning based on not having any woodworking tools. 

The cost of a Miter Saw, Table Saw, Circular Saw, Jig Saw, Drill, Belt Sander, Hand sander and Framing Square which are the major tools needed would cost about $800.00.  That's a lot less than the cost of the benchwork.  Having these tools on hand also allows for you to do other projects.  When you're ready to add on the the existing benchwork you will already have the tools. 

The cost of wood to build the benchwork would be about 1/4 of the cost.  The remaining money saved can be used for the materials you're going to need when you start laying the sub-roadbed. 

It may take longer than a weekend to build the benchwork but at least you can say that you built it from scratch.  The upside to building your own benchwork is that you are not prohibited by the pramerter's that you'll be if purchasing prefab benchwork.

Just my 2 cents, but then I enjoy building things and take pride in knowing I built it myself!

Bill

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Posted by jackn2mpu on Thursday, March 27, 2008 2:57 PM
 wrconstruction wrote:
tom, i own a general contracting company, and we use steel studs more than ever these days. what a wonderfull product with uses that wood could only dream of. i intend on using them not only to finish my basement, but for bench work as well. as you stated, they are very easy to work with and i intend to post photos on here some day when the bench work construction starts.

Are these studs coated with anything to keep them from rusting?

de N2MPU Jack

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God, guns, and rock and roll!

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Posted by Bill54 on Friday, March 28, 2008 8:15 AM

 jackn2mpu wrote:
 wrconstruction wrote:
tom, i own a general contracting company, and we use steel studs more than ever these days. what a wonderfull product with uses that wood could only dream of. i intend on using them not only to finish my basement, but for bench work as well. as you stated, they are very easy to work with and i intend to post photos on here some day when the bench work construction starts.

Are these studs coated with anything to keep them from rusting?
I believe the steel studs are galvanized.

Bill

As my Mom always says...Where there's a will there's a way!
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Posted by tomikawaTT on Saturday, March 29, 2008 12:00 AM

 jackn2mpu wrote:
 wrconstruction wrote:
tom, i own a general contracting company, and we use steel studs more than ever these days. what a wonderfull product with uses that wood could only dream of. i intend on using them not only to finish my basement, but for bench work as well. as you stated, they are very easy to work with and i intend to post photos on here some day when the bench work construction starts.

Are these studs coated with anything to keep them from rusting?

The steel studs I'm using are galvanized - zinc plated.  I believe this is standard practice.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - on steel stud benchwork)

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Posted by chatanuga on Saturday, March 29, 2008 11:17 AM

Forgot to mention in my previous response that another thing that I like about the Sievers benchwork over other companies that I'd seen at the time was that they offered different lengths for the legs.  Since I have three locations where I have to duck under the layout, I wanted to get the layout up high enough so it wouldn't be so bad to go under.

Kevin

http://chatanuga.org/WLMR.html

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Posted by ezmike on Monday, April 07, 2008 8:05 AM

FYI, Mianne offers differnt leg lengths as well.

Mike

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