The bench work construction has started!

My normal process when faced with a large project is mentally “build” the project, looking for problems that I could run to, possible better ways to do it and so forth. A model railroad is a undertaking that will take years ( unless it’s a project layout with a deadline, like a model publication project ).  Realizing this, I had to override my natural inclinations and press forward.

Wow, I’m glad I did.

The method I’m using is one of my own design, at least I haven’t seen it used any where else. I “developed” it on my last layout- some good did come out of it. I am building a mini stud wall with horizontal braces on the front and back of the vertical “studs”. For the horizontals against the wall I’m using 1×4’s cut from 3/4″ plywood. The studs are 2×2’s and the outer horizontals are 1×4’s cut from 1/2″ plywood.

 

1. The horizontal braces in place. Top and Bottom are spacers, the bottom edge of the middle two set the deck heights.
1. The horizontal braces in place. Top and Bottom are spacers, the bottom edge of the middle two set the deck heights.

The first step was the horizontal rails. The top and bottom rails are mounting point/ spacers for the studs. The bottom edge of the middle two set the height for the layout deck. I took great care in keeping these as perfectly level as possible, using both a 4 foot level and a laser level. They are screwed to the actual stud wall.

2. making sure the first 2x2 is perfectly vertical as this affects the rest.
2. making sure the first 2×2 is perfectly vertical as this affects the rest.

Then I added the first stud, again making sure that it was as perfectly vertical as I could get it because it’s alignment affects the rest of the studs. After it was screwed in place I used a pair of spacers made out of plywood and cut to the same length to mount the next. Once I got a rhythm down this went very fast.

4. Jig in place with the next 2x2 in place.
4. Jig in place with the next 2×2 in place.
5. Work moves pretty quickly not having to measure individual uprights.
5. Work moves pretty quickly not having to measure individual uprights.
6. First wall done.
6. First wall done.

 

With the studs in place I moved on to the outside rails. again top and bottom are spacers. The middle  two are mounted 3 1/2″ below the bottom of the inside rails, with the idea that the bench work deck pieces will slide in place. The outer edge of the bottom deck will be supported by base cabinets. For the top deck I added a 3/4″ piece to the rail to give added support and add a screw surface.

7. Outside horizontals going in place, again the top and bottom are spacers, while the top edge of the middle two support the bottom edge of the bench work.
7. Outside horizontals going in place, again the top and bottom are spacers, while the top edge of the middle two support the bottom edge of the bench work.

The last picture shows the bench work pieces set in place. Once actually mounted they will be screwed to the stud and the top ones screwed to the rail, while the lower to the cabinets. Out of curiosity I didn’t fully hang on one, but did give it a large tug to test it’s strength. I was thrilled when there was virtually no vertical movement even though it was not screwed in place.

The next step is to build the base cabinets. This shouldn’t take to long and then on to actually building the bench work decks.

8. Test fitting the bench work.
8. Test fitting the bench work.

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