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Wow,  a 5 x 10 layout with the transformer cart just arrived today.  Three large boxes.  I’m going to start putting it together next week.  I plan on using either sanded or birch 1/2 inch plywood.  Using Ross track would indoor/outdoor carpet as an underlayment reduce the noise or should I still use Homosote to lower the sound level.

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Having used 1/2 plywood myself, I would recommend using 3/4", I think that alone would help deaden the sound.  If you do use 1/2", get extra hold-down brackets to hold it down to the Mianne framework, I had some warpage in my plywood and needed a dozen or so extra brackets.

I'm using 3/8" anti-fatigue rubber matting as roadbed but still get some sound, and I don't use ballast (I did spray some of that textured stone paint on it though which gives the allusion of ballast).

You'll enjoy the build!!!

Having used 1/2 plywood myself, I would recommend using 3/4", I think that alone would help deaden the sound.  If you do use 1/2", get extra hold-down brackets to hold it down to the Mianne framework, I had some warpage in my plywood and needed a dozen or so extra brackets.

I used 1/2" Baltic Birch, and there is zero warping in mine.  I didn't use any of the hold-down brackets, we shot power staples into every support at 6" spacing.  There's no vibration against the the benchwork, and zero warping with Baltic Birch.  FWIW, at the time, Baltic Birch was not much more than regular sanded plywood, but it's a much better product.

GRJ is correct as always.   The only thing better than Baltic birch is appleply. ( both stay flat )  If you listen to a person who builds violins and guitars they will tell you that sound travels with the grain and therefore the thinner and higher count ply helps reduce sound travel because of the way the plies are cross laminated.  The sound difference between 3/4” and 1/2” is negligible.  If you really want a quiet layout place convoluted acoustic foam underneath the layout.  If you don’t know what that is, look it up.

Last edited by Keith k

I was setting cabinets in a recording studio and they were installing two types of sound barrier, one that looked like straw panels and the other was a roll of foam. The installers said to think of it as a roll of paper towels and a spill, it absorbs sound the same way. They gave a roll to me and I took it home and used push pins to hold it up under the layout. It took about 30 minutes. When I need to access something I just pull the pins and roll it back. I regularly remove parts to wire buildings.  My layout consists of 3/8” birch 8 ply, 1/2 inch homasote on the table and homasote roadbed.  I already had carpet squares under the layout and theater style drapes so I didn’t expect a huge change, but the foam made a noticeable difference. Train noise doesn’t bother me, but it is nice being able to hear the television when the trains are running. During the Holidays I like to watch old Christmas movies while playing with the trains and I don’t have to turn the volume up really loud to hear it.

@Keith k posted:

The installers said to think of it as a roll of paper towels and a spill, it absorbs sound the same way. They gave a roll to me and I took it home and used push pins to hold it up under the layout. It took about 30 minutes. When I need to access something I just pull the pins and roll it back.

Sounds like a good solution.

During the Holidays I like to watch old Christmas movies while playing with the trains and I don’t have to turn the volume up really loud to hear it.

I am with you on this one.  Christmas Movies or Music while playing with trains.  Brings back many wonderful memories.  It just doesn't get much better than that.      

Just finished building the benchwork.  I did use 1/2 inch birch veneer plywood attached using the provided clips and screws. I plan to use 1/2 inch homosote on top along with indoor/outdoor carpet.

One issue I have is the height of the benchwork.  I went with the standard 40 inch legs and used casters, locking and unlocking, to make it easier to move the layout away from the train room wall so you could walk around it.

Along with the 1/2 inch plywood and homosote the the overall height of the platform is 43 1/2 inches.

This seems too tall.  What height does anyone have that has used Mianne for their benchwork.

BTYW: I think it is a very good, well thought out product,  that did go together with very little difficulty primarily due to the instructional video on their website.

One more thing:  To reduce the sound level use black wire ties to adhere the track to the benchwork.  Using screws allows the sound to be transmitted through the plywood.

Last edited by WaynePa

Our top of table is at 39 1/2".  Just finished painting the homasote and now will be spending more and more time under the table.  From a purely access standpoint, we would have made it 42 inches, but after some testing out, we didn't like how high it was so we settled on the minimum height we could get the table and still allow me to sit upright underneath without bumping my head on too much stuff.

If access beneath was no issue, I would have liked it to be closer to 36 inches, but there's just no way.

I try and plan the top of my train tables to be right about 40" or so.  That always seems to be a good, all-around height for a layout.  Taller than that may be okay for 24" wide modules or shelf layouts, but for a 4' or 5' or wider train table, I think much over 40" or 41" will start being a pain in the posterior for working on it.

I've gone in and sawed down legs in order to add casters and keep a train table at a 40" height.

I built my layout with Mianne along a brick wall and two short peninsulas into the room using the 40" legs.  The other two walls are a simple cantilever attached to the wall studs which after adding plywood and Homasote has a table top height of 43".  Therefore, I put wooden blocks under the Mianne legs.  I like the height because it allows me to easily roll around on a stool underneath and at 5' 11" I can reach the back.  I have grades leading to an overpass; twice around arrangement.  The level part at the highest point is 50" high.  There is one spot that is a bit of a reach, but not bad.  It works for me, but I acknowledge everyone is different.

@hokie71 posted:

Just curious, how long from your first inquiry to delivery? And is this one of their standard units?

The lead time was about six weeks.  I was not in a hurry.  As far as I know this is one of their standard kits.  It took about six hours to build it with myself and a friend helping me.  It could have been built in less time but we made a couple of mistakes.  The directions that came with the kit were OK but the video on their site made the difference.

I’m glad I went the Mianne route considering all the trouble I had getting the plywood and homosote at Home Depot.  We spent three hours going to two different HD’s to get the two items and then they would only cut the plywood not the homosote which was a pain.

After much thought I’m going to disassemble the layout and have the legs cut down 3 inches.  

When reconstructed the total height will be 40 inches with the casters.  This will still allow a clearance of 36 inches to work under the layout.  With only two loops the wiring will be rather simple and the Lemax amusements simply plug into a  transformer.

Don't forget any uneven floor issues.  My floor has a variance of almost two inches.  At the highest point on the floor, the legs are at floor level with the levelers totally collapsed.  At the other extreme, the bottom of the leg is two inches off the floor.  The overall layout was leveled to less then 1/4" end to end.

Fortunately for me my floor is level so that’s not an issue.  If I take 3 1/2 inches off the legs the total height of the platform will be 40 1/2 inches including the casters.

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