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Hello everyone, I have been buying stuff for my layout now is the last hurdle. I need a 9x5 1/2 sheet of wood so I can run O60 track on the outside of my layout. Does anybody know we’re I can find this size. I tried calling Home Depot and Lowe’s. I tried a few cabinet makers as well but no help there. I really would like it to be one piece instead of cutting 4x8 sheets of plywood. If anybody knows we’re I can get custom sizes I would appreciate it. I live in Jersey. Thanks, Mark

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Forget about one sheet 9' X 5'6".

Consider getting two 5' X 5' X 1/2"sheets of Birch multiply.

Slice 6" off one edge of each 5 X 5.

Remove one 6" X 6" end from each 5' X 6" cutoff.

Attach one  4' 6" X 6"  remaining cut off to the new 4' 6" edge of each sheet.

You now have a pair of 4' 6" X 5' 6"  halves which can efficiently make your 5' 6" X 9' panel.

The two 6" X 6" cutoffs, slice them up in   1 1/2" X 6" strips and mount then alternately on the two joining 5' 6" mill  edges for joining fingers.

Earlier assembly shown below.

Adjust  #s for blade thickness.

Last edited by Tom Tee

Plywood...especially of the quality you'd prefer for a layout surface...has risen in price drastically in the past year or so.  To add to that, the price a single sheet of the size you're seeking will be another amazing premium cost...I'm sure any custom millwork claiming the ability to do so will have waste further adding to the cost.

You might find a custom millwork to fabricate a  tongue-and-groove preassembled sheet...again, premium costs.

Save the $$ for all these premiums for other items you'll value more in the long run,  IMHO.  The table top will eventually be totally covered by track, scenery, structures, etc.,etc..    In fact, some layout builders will put another sheet down...Homasote...on top of the plywood to dampen sound.   You'll be even harder pressed to find a single 9X5-1/2' sheet of that!

Undeterred?   

Good luck.

KD

Merlin,

Home Depot and Lowe's are both a joke when it comes to anything to do with lumber.  Their "lumber managers" don't even know what the black APA stamp with specs on the bottom side of their plywood sheets mean.  They also don't know that the sheets with green stripes on the end are exterior grade, and that those with the black stripes are indoor only.   (The difference is the glue used in the manufacturing process).

Sturdi-Floor use to make Sturdi-Floor tongue and groove plywood, for use in building subfloors.  Extremely popular. The plywood is very strong, and the tongue and groove fit together very tightly.

I would assume that this Sturdi- Floor plywood is being sold, and if not, then somebody is making a substitute.

In a way though, based on what Choo-Choo has said, I think that it may be easier for you to buy a cheap  used ping-pong table, and then use construction adhesive to glue down two plywood sections on top of it, pushing the edges together to make a tight seem.  (Make sure those two edges are the factory edges, not a saw cut by you or the store.)  First, however, you will need to lay your plywood out on a flat, dry floor, with each end totally weighted down along its entire width, to let the plywood dry out and acclimate to your room, before you cut and glue it.   Don't lay the two sheets on top of each other during this process.  When you lay the sheets on the glue-top of the table, quickly  screw down each end into the table, using bugle head screws, so that the edges won't curl when they absorb the wet glue.  You can remove the  screws later if they stick out under the table.

PL-7 (available at Lowes and HD) is a good adhesive, because it is thin and won't clump, but it creates a permanent "hold" in about 30 seconds, and you won't be able to shift the wood after that.  Open all windows and turn on the fans, or else you will pass out.

Hope this helps.

Mannyrock

I'm all in for the Baltic Birch 5x5 sheets, that is great stuff!  I build my 24x12 benchwork with it, and it was a joy to work with.  I have zero concern that I'm going to see any warping of the 11 ply top, and the Homasote will stay flat as well.

You'll have to find a real lumber house to buy the Baltic Birch sheets.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
@DoubleDAZ posted:

They mention custom sizing, but I think that’s special order and probably expensive for small orders. Based on the prices I was quoted for 5x5, I suspect cutting 4x8 sheets will be the cheapest even with the waste.

I concur.

Since you're probably going to have to do a fair bit of carpentry I don't understand this being an issue. It's a problem everyone who's built a layout larger than a sheet of plywood has ever faced and we've all pretty much done it the same way:

ply

Plus you have some extra left over for  building mountains and tunnels.

And has been mentioned before, even if you find a sheet of plywood the size you want, you're not going to find a sheet of Homasote or foam that size. You need to stop over analyzing this and just start building the thing. If something doesn't work out you'll be in good company in here, everyone of us has had setbacks of some kind when building and everyone of us had had that Eureka moment or as most of us call it the "Holy crap, that actually worked! " moment when an idea actually worked the way we had hoped it would.



Jerry

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I concur.

Since you're probably going to have to do a fair bit of carpentry I don't understand this being an issue. It's a problem everyone who's built a layout larger than a sheet of plywood has ever faced and we've all pretty much done it the same way:

ply

Plus you have some extra left over for  building mountains and tunnels.

And has been mentioned before, even if you find a sheet of plywood the size you want, you're not going to find a sheet of Homasote or foam that size. You need to stop over analyzing this and just start building the thing. If something doesn't work out you'll be in good company in here, everyone of us has had setbacks of some kind when building and everyone of us had had that Eureka moment or as most of us call it the "Holy crap, that actually worked! " moment when an idea actually worked the way we had hoped it would.



Jerry

As the founding member of the 48 club, how do you know how to make a larger platform?  I smell a rat...

Last edited by Mallard4468
@Mallard4468 posted:

As the founding member of the 48 club, how do you know how to make a larger platform?  I smell a rat...

It has been mentioned in 48 Club posts that I used to have a larger layout that was dismantled several years ago with the plan to build a new one that unfortunately never happened. I am currently limited to building small 4x8s around Christmas and even when I do resume building a new layout I plan to keep a smaller one around based on my grandfathers old Christmas gardens.



Jerry

I would use Jerry's layout for the plywood. The big box stores will even do the rips for you.

Here's how I would frame it. Let's assume you are using 2 x 4 s. Cut 2 @ 9' and 8 @ 63" (use 10' and 12' lengths). Frame the outside and then put the first cross support so it is 12" to center from one end so both sheets share it. Space the rest out at 16" intervals..

Now there are several ways to support the long seam. You can use John and Tom's method which is elegant, but they were using Mianne benchwork and you are not. What I like to do is put a 1 x 3 flat on its 2 1/2" width so it is centered 12" away from the long side and is under both long sheets.  I then notch the 2 x 4 s- 3/4" deep by 2 1/2" wide so this will be flush with the top of them. You then have support the entire 8' length.

@Merlin posted:

Hello everyone, I have been buying stuff for my layout now is the last hurdle. I need a 9x5 1/2 sheet of wood so I can run O60 track on the outside of my layout. Does anybody know we’re I can find this size. I tried calling Home Depot and Lowe’s. I tried a few cabinet makers as well but no help there. I really would like it to be one piece instead of cutting 4x8 sheets of plywood. If anybody knows we’re I can get custom sizes I would appreciate it. I live in Jersey. Thanks, Mark

It has been mentioned in 48 Club posts that I used to have a larger layout that was dismantled several years ago with the plan to build a new one that unfortunately never happened. I am currently limited to building small 4x8s around Christmas and even when I do resume building a new layout I plan to keep a smaller one around based on my grandfathers old Christmas gardens.



Jerry

That's OK - we've all done things in the past that we're not proud of... 

Not sure why the Mianne benchwork has anything to do with joining the plywood, the technique works for any underlying benchwork.

Agree, it doesn't, but I figured you didn't want to screw a support piece under the seam, and into the Mianne. You could have. Tom's method, while undeniably sexy, isn't really any stronger- less so actually, than just running a support the length of the seam, and more work.

Last edited by Will

I second what Greg said above - why not use foam?  I used 1.5" thick foam for my 'temporary' layout (my spouse keeps asking when does temporary end and permanent begin).  Its waaaay easier to use, especially if you are assembling a table in an existing room - maneuvering in a tight space is easier and you don't risk poking a hole in a wall, dinging the woodwork, etc.  I didn't glue it down (it was supposed to be temporary), but I'm sure that can be done.  Its easy to cut and easy to poke holes in to run wires, etc.  I'm sure you won't find it in 9 ft x 5.5 ft, but again it would be easy to piece together on top of a wood base -- any left-overs could be used to build a mountain...  Because my table is actually tight to three walls in the room, it has never moved (and again, I'm not worried that the table top would damage the drywall).

In bench work construction there is no "only one way" to bring it about.

In the extreme, I have even used steel stud framed bench work with 2" foam decking in a building which had no HVAC or insulation.

Just a few thoughts that have guided my work follow...

The important thing is to choose your material and design work carefully.  For me that means  to avoid pine plywood, dimensional lumber and inadequately supported foam and thin plywood.  Your mileage may vary.

Every aspect of the bench work fabrication builds on the other.

Adjustable feet under every leg helps to provide the ability to establish a flat and level datum point from which all vertical measurements can be accurately taken.

Quality straight legs maintain consistent decking planes.

Proper selection and spacing of cross members provide consistent support.

Correct fasteners reliability hold it all together.

The list goes on... to me a phrase I never want to allow in my mind during construction is "That will do" or "That's good enough".  A guiding comment my father taught me from ancient wisdom literature is "What so ever you do, do it with all your might".

@Greg Houser posted:

You're obviously never going to stand on the layout so why not use 2" thick foam and cut the 4'x8' sheets to size?

-Greg

I don't know dude, I've spent plenty of time walking, kneeling and standing on a 4x8 in the past for a number of reasons so I'd want it to be able to hold me even if I don't plan on getting on it, things have a way of not working out like you'd hope when it comes to trains. Plus, a bit of a beefier construction never hurts.



Jerry

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