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Old 5th November 2005, 16:27   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,299
Default Starting Benchwork

Getting started in Model Railroading with the benchwork

Over the past 40 years, on the building of a model railroads either for myself or for other people, I have learnt many aspects of model making. One aspect is, you never stop learning. I can also make a flat assertion in that one never stops the learning process.
When I first started into the realms of Railroad Modelling, the knowledge I gained from watching other people work gave me much pleasure. The questions I asked, of these people I watched, must have run into the thousands. All were very helpful in putting up with this very young teenager who wanted a railroad for himself.
What I have learnt over these last 40 years has given me much more pleasure than you could imagine. Now, I would like to share that knowledge with you the readers. I have written many articles on various subjects, from laying track to photographing the finished product.
This is going to be an in depth study into how to improve your skill level by either laying track for bullet proof running or making a scratch built structure - Tree making - Track ballasting - Lighting the layout - (for that theatrical approach) and to photographing the layout, when all is ready. What ever the subject, I'll try and deal with it in as much detail as possible. Okay, lets make a start.
Chapter One
The Woodwork for open grid baseboards
All wood used in the making of a baseboard has got to last for years, so get the best wood possible. Seasoned wood is the best, as it will not warp. The size of the wood is also important, I, like most other enthusiasts, use 3" or 4" by 1" for all main frames. 2" by 2" I use for the legs . The meaning of open grid baseboards means just that. If your baseboard size is an 8' by 4' your open framing will be every foot. This allows you to build below as well as above the baseboards for scenic details. More on this aspect a little later. See fig 1 for a drawing of the open grid baseboards.
Fig 1

Represents one 8' by 4' layout.
The size of your layout might not be an 8' by 4', it might be smaller or larger. What ever size you make it, just make sure that the open grid baseboards are spaced at one foot intervals.
The RED squares in the corners and around the edges represent the 2" by 2" square legs.
Once the baseboards have been made, you must now make a decision on what material you are going to use for the track bed. I personally use 1/2" chipboard with 1/2"
insulation board on the top. One reason is for strength (The chipboard) and the other (Insulation) for easy pinning of track pins when laying the track.
Once the chipboard and insulation is in place, now is a good time to paint the insulation board an earth colour. Apart from anything else, the insulation board will be sealed and easier to cut and it looks nice also.
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