Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

1/2" Plywood vs 3/4" Plywood?

1501 views
43 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 26,433 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 18, 2019 2:46 PM

 HD and Lowes in my area all have extruded foam. But no 4x8 sheets, it's all 2x8. Just use 2 of them for a 4x8 layout, or consider alternative shapes that give you more layout area in the same foootprint.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 606 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Sunday, August 18, 2019 9:31 AM

kenben
OK, my Home Depot does not carry the 2" 4ʻx8ʻ extruded blue/pink foamboard. Who else carries this? And one last question... Elmerʻs Yellow or White Wood Glue? For benchwork? For laying down cork roadbed?

 Sorry but your on your own asto where to find the foam. I use mostly scrapes, I find for free. I can tell you , you don't need 2in, its better but 1or even 3/4 works also. I resided the house 2 yrs ago, used 3/4 pink as added insulation,under the siding, I have enough odds and ends to last me till after the funeral.

 The yellow glue as said to be water proof,other then that its the same as white. I didn't use any glue on the bench work,and have no issue. I think any wood glue would work.

 AS for road bed and track. Any ole cheap laytex caulk. Just a thin smear is enuff. And its removeble if needed.

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 5,630 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, August 18, 2019 9:17 AM

kenben
OK, my Home Depot does not carry the 2" 4ʻx8ʻ extruded blue/pink foamboard. Who else carries this?

It's not available in the south east, south west, parts or maybe all of California.

In previous threads, one would have to special order, more than you can possibly use.  Local insulation firms may have it, but want a huge mark up, compared to what it is sold for in the North.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Sunday, August 18, 2019 9:06 AM

carl425

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Titebond.......

 

I, II or III?

 

Well, III of course.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    August, 2013
  • From: Richmond, VA
  • 1,725 posts
Posted by carl425 on Sunday, August 18, 2019 9:01 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Titebond.......

I, II or III?

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
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,615 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, August 18, 2019 1:14 AM

UNCLEBUTCH

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Easy, when I climb a short step ladder, put down a protective mat and lean on the layout, a large percentage of my 200lbs is now supported by the benchwork

Well OK, but I and I"M sure others have never needed to use the layout as scaffolding.....

Sheldon's not the only modeller climbing on his layout.  I spent some time lounging on the upper level at the far end of this aisle...

I needed to paint the normally unseen back side of the rails on a wide curve up there, just in case I one day decide to place a camera, facing the aisle, for a photo or two.
Construction is 5/8" plywood atop a grid of 1"x2" and 1"x4".  The layout there is 38" deep, and I weigh nowhere near 200lbs.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:01 PM

kenben

OK, my Home Depot does not carry the 2" 4ʻx8ʻ extruded blue/pink foamboard. Who else carries this?

And one last question... Elmerʻs Yellow or White Wood Glue? For benchwork? For laying down cork roadbed?

Thanks.

 

Titebond.......

And Homabed/Cascade Rail Supply not cork.

https://cascaderailsupply.com/

And nail it down with a brad nailer.....to the 3/4" plywood.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 5,303 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 17, 2019 9:29 PM

kenben
OK, my Home Depot does not carry the 2" 4ʻx8ʻ extruded blue/pink foamboard. Who else carries this?

.

Menard's in Indiana has it.

.

I brought back a whole truck full of two inch foam and Homasote to Florida last year.

.

-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.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 5,303 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 17, 2019 9:26 PM

jjdamnit
But "They" do make 1-inch plywood.

.

Drat! It is only available in-store, and not sold in South Florida.

.

-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.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • 4,087 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 17, 2019 9:12 PM

Always Elmer’s Carpenter’s glue for frame work!
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January, 2018
  • 70 posts
Posted by kenben on Saturday, August 17, 2019 7:35 PM

OK, my Home Depot does not carry the 2" 4ʻx8ʻ extruded blue/pink foamboard. Who else carries this?

And one last question... Elmerʻs Yellow or White Wood Glue? For benchwork? For laying down cork roadbed?

Thanks.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 5:37 PM

UNCLEBUTCH

 

 
kenben
reach is not an issue. There is a center open area that I "could" place a pop-out area for scenery in the future. But everythign is within a 2ʻ reach

 

 

Well OK, I do remember reading that early on. I would still use 3/4" plywood.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 606 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Saturday, August 17, 2019 4:57 PM

kenben
reach is not an issue. There is a center open area that I "could" place a pop-out area for scenery in the future. But everythign is within a 2ʻ reach

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 1,048 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, August 17, 2019 4:08 PM

Hello All,

I'll throw the proverbial "spanner in the works"...

Many of the responses have been focused on bench work.

You have not specified what method of support you are using. 

To really answer your question of thickness of plywood sub roadbed that information would be helpful.

kenben
...they will be cut up a bit for track elevations etc.

For your elevations are you planning on using the cookie cutter method or are you planning on adding risers on top of the sub roadbed?

Sharing these answers will help folks on this forum better address your specific issues.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    August, 2013
  • From: Richmond, VA
  • 1,725 posts
Posted by carl425 on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:55 PM

UNCLEBUTCH
What you plan on doing makes perfect sence,if he [the OP] voiced an interest in a layout such as you plan, he didn't.

Well actually, he kinda did.  He said his dimensions were 8ʻ x 6 1/2ʻ, which very well might result in a layout that gets climbed on top of. It'll at least get leaned on pretty firmly.

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
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:50 PM

UNCLEBUTCH

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I'm sure even a "newby" can figure out what his situation might require......

 

But thats my point,they don,t  there for they ask. I feel we should be stating the bare, minimal facts,and not over loading them with info they don't need,didn't ask for. What you plan on doing makes perfect sence,if he [the OP] voiced an interest in a layout such as you plan, he didn't.

 Kinda like telling me how to build a clock,and where to get the parts,because I asked for the time of day.  just MO.

 

But the OP says his layout plan is 8' x 6-1/2' ? Sounds like an island layout, with pretty deep reach in distances to me? Short of seeing a diagram to the contrary?

Did I miss something?

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 606 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:43 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I'm sure even a "newby" can figure out what his situation might require......

But thats my point,they don,t  there for they ask. I feel we should be stating the bare, minimal facts,and not over loading them with info they don't need,didn't ask for. What you plan on doing makes perfect sence,if he [the OP] voiced an interest in a layout such as you plan, he didn't.

 Kinda like telling me how to build a clock,and where to get the parts,because I asked for the time of day.  just MO.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 6,038 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:30 PM

Marc_Magnus
Yes heavy, but this is a permanent layout, but with two friends we have move all the modules quiet easily and put them in a container for my move in Canada.

Welcome Marc!

What part of the Great White North are you moving to? Train Guys are always welcome.Laugh If you end up on the West Coast and need help putting the layout back together let me know.Cowboy

Brent

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

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: belgium
  • 864 posts
Posted by Marc_Magnus on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:21 PM

 

I use 3/4 plywood for my N scale roadbed

The layout itself is open grid construction with 3/4 plywood bolted to an iron frame; the layout is divided in numerous modules each has his own iron frame.

This was done to move if necessary the layout.

Yes heavy, but this is a permanent layout, but with two friends we have move all the modules quiet easily and put them in a container for my move in Canada.

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 1,048 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, August 17, 2019 3:18 PM

Hello All,

Mark R.
I'll always remember a comment made by Tony Koester many years ago when asked why he used 3/4" plywood for his road bed. His response was that nobody made 1" plywood.

But "They" do make 1-inch plywood.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 2:51 PM

UNCLEBUTCH

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Easy, when I climb a short step ladder, put down a protective mat and lean on the layout, a large percentage of my 200lbs is now supported by the benchwork

 

 Well OK, but I and I"M sure others have never needed to use the layout as scaffolding.

Perhaps thouse who do should issue a disclamer stating such, I think that would help newbes not to over think, over build, and overspend,on benchwork thats not normally needed.

 

I guess that depends a lot on the layout design. If you are happy with 2' deep shelf layout concepts, then it is very likely you will not need benchwork as strong as mine.

But I like deep scenery, my new layout will be around the walls of my basement with two peninsulas out into the space. The benchwork along the walls will mostly be between 3 and 4 feet deep. The peninsulas will be 8' wide to accommodate the 40" radius and larger curves on the double track mainline.

There will be access hatches in places, but climbing/leaning on benchwork will be necessary from time to time.

Trackwork will mostly be within 24 to 30 inches from the layout front edge, but scenery construction will require that extra reach in places.

One section will have a 20' long, eight track freight yard, behind that the double track mainline, behind that a passenger terminal with 4 tracks - 14 tracks requires a minimum depth of 28", without even allowing for passenger platforms or other separating features. Behind the passenger tracks will be a city scene........the 48" depth barely works.........

I'm sure even a "newby" can figure out what his situation might require......

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 606 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Saturday, August 17, 2019 1:18 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Easy, when I climb a short step ladder, put down a protective mat and lean on the layout, a large percentage of my 200lbs is now supported by the benchwork

 Well OK, but I and I"M sure others have never needed to use the layout as scaffolding.

Perhaps thouse who do should issue a disclamer stating such, I think that would help newbes not to over think, over build, and overspend,on benchwork thats not normally needed.

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • From: Sparsely populated Nebraska
  • 651 posts
Posted by York1 on Saturday, August 17, 2019 12:29 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Easy to cut?, you mean messy to cut.

 

Not to prolong a point, but when I score one side of the extruded foam, then snap it, I end up with less mess than the sawdust involved in cutting plywood.

As you and others have said, what works for you ...

Saints Fan John

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 21,795 posts
Posted by selector on Saturday, August 17, 2019 11:53 AM

I use 1/2" G1S for both decking and sub-roadbed.  I don't see the necessity to pay for anything more substantial because I have no problems with my method of construction or with shifting materials subsequent to starting scenery (with all that water) and running trains.  In fact, I have used 3/8" finish-quality ply when, due to normal variance in construction, I need an extra bit of clearance overhead.  I just keep the supporting elements to within a span of about 12".  So far, so good.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:53 AM

UNCLEBUTCH

 

 
betamax
I actually did some rough testing of the deflection in a 5' by 2.5' frame built out of Baltic Birch. The boards were 3.5" wide. For the test I piled precision weights on the center of the frame, with a total of 73.8 lbs. in the center. Using a laser I marked a zero point, added the weight, and measured the difference. With the frame made of 12mm plywood, with five crosspieces of 12mm, the deflection at the center was 1/8". Same construction with 18m

 

  How is it even possible, to get 70lbs of MR stuff in a 5ft span ?

 

Easy, when I climb a short step ladder, put down a protective mat and lean on the layout, a large percentage of my 200lbs is now supported by the benchwork.

I like deep scenes, most of my new layout will be 3-4 feet deep, with most trackage in the front 30".

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 8,244 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:49 AM

York1

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Still don't understand the attraction of foam? But to each their own.

 

It's very lightweight, it's easy to cut, it's rigid and strong, and it can be shaped and glued into just about anything I want without using a lot of tools.

I also think some people have regular old styrofoam confused with the extruded foam we use.

 

I work in the construction trades, I am very familiar with the product, that is why I will not use it for model trains. In my business of restoring old houses we avoid it as well.

It will not support my weight, my benchwork must support me if necessary.

Easy to cut?, you mean messy to cut.

Lightweight is not a requirement or advantage for me.

Glad it works for you.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    February, 2018
  • From: Sparsely populated Nebraska
  • 651 posts
Posted by York1 on Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:30 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Still don't understand the attraction of foam? But to each their own.

It's very lightweight, it's easy to cut, it's rigid and strong, and it can be shaped and glued into just about anything I want without using a lot of tools.

I also think some people have regular old styrofoam confused with the extruded foam we use.

Saints Fan John

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 8,356 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, August 17, 2019 9:53 AM

Eh! Plywood? Watt is this plywood of which ewe speak.

 

LION used 1/2" Celotex (The OLD kind made before the advent of fire codes). Today's Celotex is a company making many things, but not the "old Celotex"

 

This material is lighter than Homasote, and much less dense. It is easier to cut, and seems to also be mor rigid than Homasote.

 

Lion use 16" centers for support. This is important since that is how much space is needed to get a drill between the supports.

I used up all ten sheets on my layout. I was over in the Gym the other day and saw several more sheets of the stuff. The seem to have torn out a ceiling someplace.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!