Update: The Petrolia & Erie.

Folks:
The wheels of progress grind slow but fine, pushing construction ever forward, or some florid Victorian remark or other. I am now
proud owner of a legless table, built of 1 x 4 L-girder grids, and topped with 1/2" CDX plywood.
The table is in four sections, two of them 2x4, one 2x3, and one 2x5, in order to push one joint out from under a planned area with lots of switchwork. Sections are fastened together with carriage bolts, with washers.
Good points so far:
-The grids are very rigid, with glue-laminated L-girders, corner blocks at some locations, Liquid Nails and screws at butt joints (I used Elmer's glue one one grid), and of course that plywood.
-The grid assembly is even fairly rigid and mostly in alignment. I placed the bolts in staggered pairs, spaced 1" crosswise, 3" lengthwise, because previous attempts at sectional bench- work with a single row of bolts were pretty floppy. I have to wonder how Linn Westcott and others solved this problem in sectional layout plans held together with carriage bolts.
-For once I managed to get the table mostly square. We are trying for some quality control this time, and "measuring", and "working by the square rule", and "not drilling holes to fit".
Bad points so far:
-I have possibly the heaviest semi-portable model railroad in modern times. This may not be entirely disadvantageous. Light and strong is good, but what happens when somebody bumps into it? Besides, I may want to make a sand table out of the layout some day, or store bagged cement on top. In all seriousness, though, it's a bit much. Perhaps I should have used plain 1 x 3. At any rate, I can still handle the sections easily by myself, and I plan to use cookie-cutter methods later on, which should cut down weight. I think, though, that I might want to avoid making mountains from cement and hardware cloth on this one.
-My girder sides were less straight and square than they should have been, especially on the section I made first. Whoops. I had to add washers here and there, which kept the assembly nice and square. I also had to add 1/4" washer stacks between the ends of two units, so now I have the San Andreas Fault. I'm not sure how that happened. I may disassemble the table, plane down some of the winding boards, and add a strip of something to fill the fault line.
-The sections are not in perfect alignment, and are only held by friction, since the bolts have a lot of play. I may drill for some dowel pins, after I get everything lined up right.
So that is where the project is now. I'm going to get the table up on its feet before straightening out the misaligned sections, I think. I have the legs built already. I'm sure there are those who would throw up their hands in horror at the massive construction I am calling a portable layout, but I'll plug away. There are few educations better than the carrying out of a bad idea to its logical conclusion, right?
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a legless table.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

big snip

One thing I must compliment you on Gerard.
Having the correct 'attitude'. ;-)
Chuck D.
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On Sep 20, 2:06 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
<< I have to wonder how Linn Westcott and others solved this problem in sectional layout plans held together with carriage bolts. >>
I always drill the holes through two sections after the legs have been added and everything is square and level... then put the carriage bolts in the holes.
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 Bill's Store--Books, Trains, and Toys: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore Resources--Links to 1,200 sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links
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On Thu, 20 Sep 2007 18:06:24 -0700, Bill wrote:

Amen! That's how I hung my driveway gate: bolted the hinges to the gate sections; shimmed and clamped them in position; THEN drilled the holes through the hinges into the posts.
The doofus contractor who knocked over one of the posts several years later replaced the post and then hung the gate cockeyed.
--
Steve

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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote in

*snip*
*snip*
Remember: One spins, two stays. It's probably the same way with rows of bolts: One flops, two stays.

One of my favorite shop tools is the corner clamp. Don't waste your money on the $2 they have at Menards, get a couple good ones. They really help get and keep things "square enough."

One of the advantages to the L-girder construction method is that you can use smaller wood. I think 1x2s and 1x3s were pretty much standard, but you'll have to look it up to find out for sure.

I'm not a huge fan of friction joints. They seem to be the first thing to fail. I use dowel pins myself to keep the layout aligned.

Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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