Advice on benchwork for 4x8' layout

Hi, I'd like to get some feedback on the best way to do benchwork for the simple 4x8' layout shown below:
http://home.columbus.rr.com/spowell/Layout4x8.jpg
The constraints I'm working with are:
1) The layout needs to be free standing - so I can't connect any of it to walls
2) Across the back of the 4x8 is a 3" gate that will carry a single line of HO track. I'm going to install hinges at point "A" on the diagram that will allow the gate to swing outwards so I can get into the layout.
What's the best way to set up something functional yet pretty easy to build? RIght now, I'm thinking of creating two "rectangles" of support using 1" by 3" wood for the frame, with 2" by 2" for the legs. Something like this:
http://home.columbus.rr.com/spowell/Layout4x8_2.jpg
Do I need anything more sophisticated than this?
Thanks in advance! Scott
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Scott spake thus:

[...]
Not really.
My tendency is to build stuff like this to be easily knock-downable. What I'd do is this:
o Make that 1x3 frame (I'd use 1x4 instead) really strong. I do this by joining the corners using lap joints and dowels; however, as this takes some woodworking skills and equipment, you can do about as well using corner braces (2 per corner). (But you need to put them on the *outside*, so as not to get in the way of the legs.)
o Attach the legs to the frame with 1/4" carriage bolts and nuts (you can use wingnuts if you want to make setting up & knocking down use fewer tools). Use 2 bolts per leg, one through each side of the frame. (You might need a hammer to tap them in, but that's about it.)
o To make the whole thing less wobbly, brace pairs of legs to each other, using a 1x2 screwed diagonally across the legs. Doesn't take much to brace things fairly solid.
o You can also add small diagonal braces screwed to the leg and to the frame just under the frame; use short pieces of 2x2 (about 6-8" or so), and fairly stout wood screws.
--
Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
of use of the word "fuck" is incapable of writing a good summary
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Scott wrote:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You should be ok with that, Scott. Here's how I've done mine several times with good results:
http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-ballasting.html#table
I'd probably add a 1x3 at the back of the "horseshoe" running the long way of the table connected to the two frame supports that are the short way.
Good Luck with your layout!
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Model Railroad Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,100 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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Scott wrote: [...]

You need one more support under the wider part of the layout on the "north" side of the operating well. There are enough legs. Be sure to brace the legs with 1x2 diagonals.
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First off, you'll find that the layout size doesn't need to have an access in the middle like you've shown. Without that access hole, things become a lot easier. My basic technique is to build a box with 1/4" or 1/8" plywood on the top and 1/8" on the bottom. and 1x4 for the sides of the box plus one or two internal braces. This produces a very light but bery rigid base for the layout. Legs can either be 2x2 attached at the corners through a cutout in the bottom panel or plywood end pieces braced to the sides on the outside of the frame. Don't forget that the use of T-nuts or other captive nuts make assembly nice and easy without haveing to get inside the box. All of the track is built upon short risers from that base and any undertrack stuff installed on the top of the box. Buildings provide a nice access holes for gaining access to the underground works. The alternative is to put the underground works on the bottomside of the top surface and cut holes in the bottom plywood for access. This is the basic stressed skin box design and makes for very rigid frames for a small layout which allows for them to be moced about without any problems.
-- Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
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Advice on a 4 x 8?
Don't use a 4 x 8 is the best possible advice.
A 4 x 8 takes up a minimum of 8 x 12 feet, allowing a minimum of two feet access around all four sides. Put a 4 x 8 foot into the corner of a room and you can't access most of it for either construction nor maintenance. In an 8 x 12 foot room, you could run the railway around the walls and have a 4 x 8 foot access "hole" in the centre. As most rooms are gigger than 8 x 12, more like 10 by 12, putting the railway around the edge of the room and say at about 50 inches above the floor, leaves the room available for other uses.
This will give you more room to run the trains, be easier to scenic and can be built in 2 x 4 foot sections making much more transportable if you move. Putting a 4 x 8 into a room pretty much leaves it good for nothing else. Try moving a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood with building's and scenery attached. It's as awkward as a mattress, not as flexible and far less forgiving if you hit anything with it.
-- Cheers
Roger T.
Home of the Great Eastern Railway http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra /
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Everyone, thanks for the great feedback - looks like I'm on the right track. I'll take pictures as construction goes along.
Just to be clear, the layout WILL be along walls on the back and left sides. With the pit, I anticipate not needing any space "around" the layout.
One thing I had not thought through was how to do construction in the far left corner if the layout is backed against walls on those sides. I'm guessing I should be able to assemble it away from the walls, and then back it in (carefully of course) when its complete.
Thanks again for the great ideas!
Scott
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in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com, Scott at snipped-for-privacy@columbus.rr.com wrote on 6/14/06 6:35 PM:

You might consider putting the legs on lockable ball casters which move easily over hard or carpeted surfaces. Or, glides which have leveling adjustments. I have 2" teflon plastic guides under a fully loaded (8 guitars) guitar case which I can move on carpet, so they do work.
--
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Edward - great idea, thanks! Scott
On Thu, 15 Jun 2006 01:53:47 GMT, "Edward A. Oates"

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Edward A. Oates wrote:

[...]
I did this for a 5'x6' layout about 40 years ago. It had to be moved to provide access to the washer and dryer. Worked very well.
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right
and left

"around" the

in the

sides.
walls, and

Scott,
You might want to consider investing $7.95 in Kalmbach's "Tables for Your Trains" book. It has plans for several table types, including for an 'around the wall' type layout.
Several folks I know have built the 4' x 8' table in this book, and when built according to the plan it's rock solid.
Len
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the
construction
those
"Tables
Don't normally follow up my own posts, but I forget to mention you can get this book through Walthers if your local hobby shop doesn't have it. Their item number is: 400-12401.
Len
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