Hi all, I'm planning to begin work on my first real layout once the yard and pool are closed and set for the season, which is coming up quickly. I've read a lot of articles on these forums and learned a lot. I'm curious to know if there are any particular books, sites, or magazine issues that you all would recommend? I've found a number on amazon and other sites, but would rather hear what you've all found to be most helpful. Thanks!!

Original Post

Linn Westcott's book is all you will need for benchwork. It describes L-Girder construction so that you can incorporate grades into your layout with minimum difficulty. It's still available on Amazon because it is a classic. My layout which is now 32 years old was built with 1/2 inch a-c plywood, 1x4's for the frame and legs, all secured with drywall screws. No glue, no homasote and no need for 3/4 inch plywood or 2x4's. Building the benchwork is one of the most fun parts of building the layout. While I'm shooting my mouth off I would strongly recommend Gargraves phantom rail track, Ross Custom switches, Midwest cork roadbed and Tortoise switch machines. 32 years later everything still works.

I found that book on Thrift Books. Type in the author's name on their web site. Their prices are reasonable. The biggest problem you are going to have is finding good lumber. I have started buying red oak from a saw mill.

One thing about trains, it doesn't matter where they are going, it's having the sense to get on.

Try and build ALL of your benchwork in manageable, movable sections if at all possible.  In case you ever have to move, of course.  Many a great model railroad in the past have had to be deep-six'd because they couldn't be disassembled into movable sections without the use of chainsaws, axes, hatchets, and sledge hammers.  Ouch. 

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high in either case.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

If the government knew how much fun O-gauge railroading was, they'd outlaw it!

Common sense is my second best trait.  Nonsense is my first, of course. 

turbgine posted:

Linn Westcott's book is all you will need for benchwork. It describes L-Girder construction so that you can incorporate grades into your layout with minimum difficulty. It's still available on Amazon because it is a classic. My layout which is now 32 years old was built with 1/2 inch a-c plywood, 1x4's for the frame and legs, all secured with drywall screws. No glue, no homasote and no need for 3/4 inch plywood or 2x4's. Building the benchwork is one of the most fun parts of building the layout. While I'm shooting my mouth off I would strongly recommend Gargraves phantom rail track, Ross Custom switches, Midwest cork roadbed and Tortoise switch machines. 32 years later everything still works.

I'm loaded up on Gargraves phantom track and have a handful of Ross switches and tortoise switch machines ready to go. I didn't want to buy more switches until I have more of a plan for the layout. I haven't tried any cord road bed, but I will definitely look into it. Thanks for the recommendation!

That's CORK roadbed and it's by Midwest Products Co. It not only looks great but quiets the track noise and because the 36" pieces are split in the middle it makes track laying much easier than with the track alone. Get a Dremel tool and safety glasses and fiberglass cut off wheels for cutting track. Get a Weller soldering gun for soldering 16 or 18 gauge stranded copper wire to the rails. Use flux before you solder. Make sure the Gargraves track is fairly new with no dried out ties. After each bend you make in the track be sure and reposition the wooden ties so they are spaced evenly apart. Pre-drill the ties before screwing them down with 3/4 inch #4 flat head screws. You do not have to screw down the Ross switches, only the track leading into and away from the switch.

One recommendation, be careful about the wood  you use, it may be worth the cost to use a hardwood for the legs and frame if you can afford it, the plain lumber at the big box stores is pretty dismal. To even find pieces that aren't warped is a miracle and takes more than a bit of effort. At the very least, treat yourself to hardwood for the legs, as someone on this board told me, might be easier for the girders using the cheaper lumber. 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

bigkid posted:

One recommendation, be careful about the wood  you use, it may be worth the cost to use a hardwood for the legs and frame if you can afford it, the plain lumber at the big box stores is pretty dismal. To even find pieces that aren't warped is a miracle and takes more than a bit of effort. At the very least, treat yourself to hardwood for the legs, as someone on this board told me, might be easier for the girders using the cheaper lumber. 

Exactly right. I bought some red oak lumber at a saw mill. Even lumber at lumber yards is junk. Seems like they all get their lumber from the same supplier. Even good plywood is hard to find.

One thing about trains, it doesn't matter where they are going, it's having the sense to get on.

rthomps posted:

At this point a simple search for “bencheork”  Will certainly give you many many ideas. At the end of the day you’ll do exactly one of the things that you’re worried about during your search. Good luck with your bench work, bench work is the foundation and everything is built up on that. Take your time, do it right, and some degree of confidence that’s what you want to put down before you turn the screw   Or glue the glue.  We want pictures of your project

Bryant

TCA 18-73717

The first thing is to figure out the track plan that you want that will fit your location for the layout and how you want to operate the layout (turn diameter, one train or multiple, operating system, Toy, Hi rail, scale, one or more elevations, platform or open girder, etc.)  You need to know this and have it all planned out before buying stuff.  It may take a few days if you know what you want to several months if you have no set ideas or wants or know what others have done.  Doing proper self examination as to what you like or want in train layout and proper planning will keep the regrets few in the future.

By the way, pine lumber should be fine as most houses are built from pine.  You can get straight lumber at HD or maybe Lowes if you go though the boards and be picky.  Most knots are not a problem.  It may take a few trips a few weeks apart to pick out enough good straight boards.  I have built 3, 8ft long shelves (and recently bought boards for a forth) for trains with 16 shelves of 1x4x 8ft pine and some 1x6 and 8x8ft for wide shelves and found straight boards.

I have written up in detail how I built my fifties era O27 operating and switching (27 of them) table layout with conventional control with 3 transformers, blocked to operate 5 trains at a time and homemade $10 turntable.  If interested in something like this or to see how I went about mostly building it in a year or so and adding to it for 39 years, check it out on OGR link below.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ra-027-layout?page=1

Train Overhead views 9-21-016 2016-09-21 010

Charlie

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