Train table questions

Hello all,
Before I begin building a table for my O-gauge Lionel, I have a
few questions and thought I would ask "those in the know":
1. Is 1/4" plywood thick enough for my 4'x8' table? Or should I
go with 1/2"? I'm going to use 2"x4" as leg supports with
wing-nuts so I can dismantle it.
2. What is the optimal height for the table? I was thinking
about having it at 3'.
3. What is the best thing to put between the track and the table
top so it sits up a bit (and appear more life-like). I want
something that I can screw the track into because I may have to
take the track back up if I add another table in the future.
Thanks.
Reply to
Scall5
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1/4 in ply is too thin for O gauge. If you build a good frame under 1/2 in it should be adiquit. 2x2 are enough for legs. Homasote (sp) works for under the track.
Scall5 wrote:
Reply to
Chuck Kimbrough
Hello all, Before I begin building a table for my O-gauge Lionel, I have a few questions and thought I would ask "those in the know": 1. Is 1/4" plywood thick enough for my 4'x8' table? Or should I go with 1/2"? I'm going to use 2"x4" as leg supports with wing-nuts so I can dismantle it. 2. What is the optimal height for the table? I was thinking about having it at 3'. 3. What is the best thing to put between the track and the table top so it sits up a bit (and appear more life-like). I want something that I can screw the track into because I may have to take the track back up if I add another table in the future. -----------------------------------------------------
A good book is "How to Build Model Railroad Benchwork," by Linn Westcott:
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NMRA's "Let's Build Benchwork" article should help:
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Here's the method I use to build my train tables. I've used this method for N scale, HO, and Lionel layouts:
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Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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's Books and Toy Trains:
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to 1,000 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
That depends on what kind of intermediate framing you have. If you've broken it up into a 2 x 2 grid underneath, it should be OK. Make the framing of 1 x 2 L girders. The 2 x 4 legs are HUGELY oversized - 2 x 2 will do fine. I use 1 x 2 for N scale legs.
Too low. Unless you're "vertically challenged" you should be _at_least_ 40"... 45-50" is even better. You'll be breaking your back working on a layout at 36".
I'd cut 1/2" blue foam to match the track pieces and paint them with gray acrylic or latex paint.
Reply to
Joe Ellis
I built my 4x8' table using these instructions. I've never had a project I've tried building out of wood go well. After following these steps, I've got the sturdiest table I've ever seen, and everyone who's seen it has been impressed. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but a skirt around the legs and scenery on the surface will fix that.
Interesting. I didn't try mine without cross braces, as I was worried enough about it falling over so I went for as much stability as I could work in to it. I still have some storage, but it has to be small enough to fit between the pieces.
To answer an original question, having the table at 3' might be a little low, unless you have kids looking at it who you want to be able to see it easily. They say a height of 42" or so is better as it's closer to eye level and thus looks bigger. I also agree that 1/2" plywood should be used, particularly for an O-scale layout that's heavier than an HO.
Tim
Reply to
Tim Meushaw
No. Use at least 1/2".
Such heavy legs are not needed. Make legs of 2x2, or two 2x3 fastened together to make an angle, and use diagonal bracing. Cheaper, and much lighter. I wouldn't use bolts and wingnuts, though. Screws driven with a power driver are just as easy to install and uninstall, and less likely to loosen.
Between your waist and chest height when standing. If you want to sit while operating, build it lower. You should be able to reach about 2 feet into without risk of bumping into stuff with your arm. BTW, keep the maximum reach around 2 to 2-1/2ft. That's a shelf that wide if built along a wall, or a table no wider than 4 to 5ft if accessible from both sides. If you make it much larger than that, you will need access from inside the table.
If you have the room to build a fair-sized table with access all round, you will be able to make an even more intersting layout by building along the walls instead.
Use a layer of wallboard such as Homasote (TM) or wood-fibre (_not_ mineral fibre) ceiling tile -- if you can still get it, that is. Or cork - you can buy cork ballast strip for O scale, it will fit Lionel O gauge perfectly.
Better yet, don't build a table, build an open framework, and support the track on roadbed supported on risers (vertical psost fastened to the framework.) Accessories may be similarly supported. Buy or borrow How To Build Model Railroad Benchwork (Linn Westcott, Kalmbach Books) for further information.
You won't need screws if you use ballast strip between the track and the roadbed/table top. Suitable sized small nails tapped into the underlay will do nicely (don't squash those metal ties, though!) They only need to prevent the track from shifting sideways.
You're welcome, but this reply doesn't tell you nearly enough. I strongly suggest that you purchase a couple of beginner's books. Even books about scale railroads will help you. A model railroad is one that's operated like the real thing, and tinplate will do just as well as exact scale to achieve this end. Exact scale fidelity is just icing on the cake. :-)
Have fun!
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
Layout table height. My HO layout table is 45 inches high. I'm 5 foot 9 inches high and if I reach over this table with a loose short-sleeved shirt on, the sleeves can catch vehicles and pull them over. Three inches off this height would have been better. With 0 gauge, the extra height of the vehicles should be considered. When you're reaching over the layout to grab a vehicle at extreme reach, you're not thinking of where your sleeve is with regard to what you're reaching over, and so a minor disaster could occur. Perhaps try out some heights with a piece of track on a board that you can set up at various heights, put a car on this track and reach over it. Regards, Bill.
Reply to
William Pearce
Looks like everyone here has agreed that: 1. 1/2" thick is the way to go and I can use smaller width legs (I'll do that and try to avoid using any cross supports). 2. I need to make it higher than 3'. So I'll make it 4' high. (I'll try to keep it away from the wall so I can access it from both sides.)
Final note: I'll probably buy cock ballast strip and glue it down. Hopefully it won't be too much of a mess if I ever expand on one end of the table.
Thanks to everyone for the help!
Reply to
Scall5
Consider cork ballast strip instead. It's much neater. :)
Rob
Reply to
trainfan1
I bet you're one of those whimps who doesn't nail his cock down!?!
Reply to
Gregory Procter
LOL! It took me a few seconds to realize what you were typing about. Freudian slip I guess? :)
Reply to
Scall5
Cork won't be a mess as it is easily cut with a sharp knife. It will also do an excellent job of sound deadening if you don't use nails all the way through to the plywood when you hold the track down. A small dollop of something like Liquid Nails would be better for holding the track in place.
-- Why isn't there an Ozone Hole at the NORTH Pole?
Reply to
Bob May
Bob=A0May replied: Cork won't be a mess as it is easily cut with a sharp knife. It will also do an excellent job of sound deadening if you don't use nails all the way through to the plywood when you hold the track down. A small dollop of something like Liquid Nails would be better for holding the track in place. -------------------------------------------------- If you do use cork and later decide to change your track plan when you expand your layout, nails might be a better choice. If you decide to glue the cork, you could use Elmer's (or another brand of white glue). Elmer's glue can be released with warm water.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
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History of N Scale:
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Railroad Bookstore:
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's Books and Toy Trains:
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to 1,000 sites:
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Reply to
Bill
I still reckon that 4 foot is too high. With 0 gauge stock, and 4 foot height, you're going to knock vehicles over if you make a long reach across them, unless of course you're 7 foot tall. 3 foot 6 inches would be safer. Regards, Bill.
Reply to
William Pearce
Put your baseboard level an inch or so below elbow height standing - you'll still knock lots of scenery, buildings and rolling stock off, but at least you will know it is entirely your fault!
Regards, Greg.P.
Reply to
Gregory Procter

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