Benchwork is GO.

It’s fun to finally be able to share a first view of the benchwork for my new layout after having been posting so many plans and thoughts on it’s design. I still haven’t settled on so many elements but there are many more that are fixed no matter what scale, theme or time period I finally settle on. I’m pushing forward on the givens and I’ll work out the “druthers” along the way.
New layout benchwork
I’m building this as a cart. It will have wheels at one end so it can easily be rolled away to work on or operate in a room other than the living room or even to a show if ever invited. I’m using plywood throughout. The base will be decked over and there’s a shelf about mid-way up. I will put a full top on it and the layout will be fixed over the top. To help visualise the design think of a bookcase on wheels. I’m quite pleased with everything so far and it’s a stunning tribute to glue, wood screws and a tribute to the “heck, if I can…” mentality.



    1. I’ve designed it so that the track will be 45″ from the floor.

      Tonight’s work will be to get the bottom deck in place and the shelf. I may try to get a top on it as well so I could try and get a finish applied before the weekend.

  1. Good ideas for storage, Chris. I’ve attempted to maximize my under-layout storage, and mine isn’t portable.

    My layout is at 48″ track height from floor. I think that is just as much an ideal height for me as it was convenient reuse of 8-foot 2×2’s from the downsized layout cut in half as uprights!


    1. I had intended to push higher and still can given that the frame built so far is largely designed to support the actual layout. I chickened out when it came to radical heights and compromised at 45″. I had this crazy theory that the tracks should be about elbow height so there I stood in my backyard (without a workshop, that’s where I’m working on projects like this one, at home) trying to measure these heights.

      What I’d really like to do is add a pair of drawer slides just under the top for somewhere to store stock or the controller. If I was closer to an IKEA I’d pick up some of their shallow drawers to use instead. The shelf and base will be handy to store Krista’s knitting stuff which, like my trains, doesn’t really have a proper home.

      1. Multi-purpose! I have five desk drawers from Karen’s former craft desk. I’ll probably use them in the garage. For my rolling stock, I built some simple plywood shelves that each fit two ‘pop skids’ (what I call the 24-can cardboard that pop used to come in before the switch to 12-packs. Each skid stores 8-12 cars.

        Elbow height seems wise. I definitely enjoy the raised height. My previous layout was built so our kids could pull up a chair and work on their ‘projects’ with Dad!


      2. That’s a neat idea about the pop racks for storing cars.

        One other detail I think I’m going to include is to mount a power bar under the top so there’s only one plug to power the cart but a couple of options to power things on the cart.

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