Advice on benchwork

Hi, I'd like to get some advice on how you would set up benchwork for a 4x8 layout. Typically this would be very easy, but please see the
layout picture I've posted at:
http://home.columbus.rr.com/spowell/benchwork.jpg
First, note the opening that will have a small liftout and/or bridge to allow simple access to the center area. This makes it so that I can't really string any benchwork across the length of the layout on the "south" edge.
Also, once the "cockpit" hole is taken out of the center, it doesn't leave a lot of room for legs under the left side (maybe a single set, one top left one bottom left, but probably not much room to make a full 4 leg support under that side)?
Given the unusual geometry, does anyone have ideas for benchwork that is fast and easy to build yet sturdy (I have a 3 year old who will be using this a lot...)
Thanks in advance! Scott
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Scott, Powell wrote:

I guess you're going to make it two 4'x4' baseboards. I would perimeter frame it with 3"x1" (pine) and ditto along the center-line, glued and screwed. The frames at the cut-out would follow the longest straight lines, plus ends where the two boards meet, and further straight framing back along the short front edges. Top it with 1/2" MDF/ply/chipboard glued and screwed and then 1/2" sort board on top for roadbed/scenery etc. Three legs on left board, four legs on right board. Bolt the two tables together with 1/4" coachbolts, washers and wingnuts. Backscene of 5mm hardboad.
No need for anything fancy, just good solid construction! a 4'x4' baseboard will be light enough to manhandle if you need to move it and a reasonable weight and solid/rigid legs will keep it stable and resistant to small children using it to stabilize themselves as they get up or down from stools, boxes etc.
Regards, Greg.P.
(Of course I'd do it in metric measurements because that's what we buy here)
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harlot, thou are false in all. Thou daughter. Thou cream-fac'd loon. Ye denunciated:

I always found that shunting 240v across both tracks kept the kids away.
--
alt.usenet.kooks
"We are arrant knaves all, believe none of us."
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For three year old (or older) children, the great fun of playing with trains is setting up the track, and then changing the track layout. Pushing the cars along by hand also has excellent play value. I must have been 7 or 8 years old before running the electric trains by electricity was more fun than running them by hand. I'd think there would be more play value in a plain 4*8 train table than in the hollow center design you show. Plus, the cutout makes a big gap in the normal side rails, weakening the structure of thing. Was it me, I'd start with a 4*8 sheet of Homasote (a grey paper based wall board material). Homosote is soft enough to take track nails well, and it deadens the sound of the moving trains. Back up the homasote with a sheet of 1/4" plywood to carry the weight and prevent the homasote from sagging. Run 4" boards at right angles to the playwood around all four edges. If you have access to a table saw, put a 1/4" dado into the edge boards to accept the plywood. Otherwise make 1" square battens. With some glue in the dado and a few brads driven in, you get a very stiff 4*8 panel. Put the dado inch and a half down from the top, letting the edge board form a little fence around the edge of the table to keep derailed trains from plunging to the floor. Then beef up the plywood with some 1 1/2" deep ribs on the under side. Screw and glue these to the plywood. Trim the Homasote to fit and glue it down to the plywood. To get the train table up off the floor you can do legs, or just set it on a pair of saw horses, or a pair of short 2 drawer file cabinets. For legs, 2*4 is plenty strong, but they will need diagonal braces to prevent wobble or total collapse should they get kicked by accident. A leg in each corner is probably enough, but I might go for 6 legs (corners and a pair half way down the length of it). Attach the legs with carriage bolts and you can take them off and store the train table on edge out in the garage during the off season.
David Starr
Scott Powell wrote:

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Scott wrote:

Well, if you really want the cockpit I'd suggest something like this:
http://www.geocities.com/joetubesock/frame1.htm
The long frame members would go through the 'neck' area and avoid any trouble you might have with less-than-rigid joints there.
What sort of trains are going on this board?
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some grids.
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On Mar 28, 12:10?am, Scott Powell wrote:

Hmmm, a few boards maybe? Not like you are framing a house for chrisake.......
Wikipedia. The McDonald's of the Information Age.
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