There are many different ways to build the support structure of your railroad, but they all fall under the general heading of “benchwork.” Benchwork can be just about anything, from a shelf attached to a wall to an unused kitchen table.Typical benchwork starts with four legs, a horizontal support frame made from 1 x 3 pine boards, and a piece of plywood screwed to the top of the support frame. The end result looks much like a table, hence the term “train table.” Benchwork for larger layouts often requires more versatile designs to con-serve material and provide more latitude for scenery construction. While they may seem complicated at first glance, they are actually easy to build.Among the most popular of these designs is “L-girder” benchwork. This open-frame benchwork gets its name from the appearance of the cross-section of the strip-wood girders, which looks like an uppercase letter L. The other parts of L-girder benchwork are legs, joists, and ris-ers. Horizontal L-girders join sets of legs together, horizontal joists run perpendicu-lar to the girders and give the framework lateral strength, and risers support the track. By modifying the height of the risers you can create scenery effects that go far beyond the parameters of flat-topped tables.
Skills Needed/Development: Carpentry, math, planning, use of tools, dextarity
Tools: Saw, Screwdriver, crescent wrench/socket set, hammer
PPE: Safety glasses, gloves