New Monthly Content July 2016: Benchwork and Shelfwork: A Beginners How-To

New Monthly Content July 2016: Benchwork and Shelfwork: A Beginners How-To

Having talked about maximizing space and multi-level layouts, this month, it’s all about building your benchwork or shelfwork. Benchwork and Shelfwork: A Beginners How-To provides basic information on how to get started building your bench, table, or shelf. This report is not meant to be a comprehensive, step-by-step guide, but rather a starting point of basic information you can put to use.

The decision on whether to build a shelf or a bench is ultimately entirely up to you. Factors that will weigh into your decision include the type of layout you are building, the amount of space you have, and the simple aesthetics you are going for with the completed project.

Benchwork is a lot easier to build than you might think. It was a lot easier than I ever expected, and outside of the basics, I did not know a lot about carpentry before I ever worked with my first small layout.  You do need to determine what type of bench you’re going to build – and this is often a personal preference or choice. Are you going to build an open grid bench that pieces of plywood and/or foamboard can be laid on top of to form the base or are you building a table with an attached piece of plywood for a base?

Building a table for a small layout is similar to building an open grid bench. You will probably want to stick with 1x4s though, for stability and strength. Start similar to the open grid by laying out your rectangle, square or whatever shape your layout will take. You won’t be adding crossbracing to form a grid, however, so go ahead and attach your pieces to form the rectangle base.

Building a shelf for a large or small layout shares many of the same characteristics as building benchwork. Open grid is best, but for a small, thin shelf, a tabletop can be constructed without crossbracing. The primary difference is in what supports the shelf, as instead of legs holding it up like a table, it will be attached to a wall, like a shelf.

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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model trains for beginners


model trains for beginners