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Gentlemen,Rail Roaders, and all HELLO
I have been a member since 2014 and 1st before all i would like to build a layout but i am not good at carpentry. I now have a carpenter who knows nothing about railroads. Please can i get info on how to build. Top height to build train table? room is abt 17'x20'
in HO with tip up walk thru.30" radius for helix 2 track. Thanks for all info. Bob
 

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Before doing anything, I'd start by making some drawings of what your layout might look like. A room that size lends itself to many possibilities.
 

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If you own an electric drill, hand saw, a jig saw, and a level, you can build your own bench work. It's not as diff as it might seem. I do recommend you consider a shelf layout, an open grid, or L girder bench, and forgo the flat 4x8 plywood type unless you get to understand what 'cookie cutter' is. I say this because a flat surface this size is immensely difficult to achieve a layout that's comfortable to work on..There are tons of 'how-tos' in this forum by using the search box, and tons more on YouTube and in tried and true books and mags. If you're lucky to have train store within a reasonable distance from home they'll have books with titles like 'bench work for model railroads'.
I do strongly suggest you consider DCC control, as opposed to the earlier analog DC..DCC is easier to wire up the RR than DC..I have and recommend an NCE PowerCab as your throttle..Digitrax and other makes are OK, too. With this if you've no engines yet It's better to start with one good one than 4-5 inferior models.. If they're labeled 'DCC', or 'DCC Ready' they have no sound nor speaker. Only ones labeled 'DCC /sound on board' have sound.. Keep your eye peeled for these titles when buying locos.
And yes, Stan, below is right... But I'll add, don't bite off more than you can chew...If you have a huge layout it can become a headache to maintain as well as run up a huge cost..Though you have lots of room, you might want to consider a not so huge MRR. You can always expand it later..Get to know the diff between a 'continual' and a 'point to point' type MRR..The 1:1 scale (other than trolley lines or belt lines) is 'point to point' with turning facilities at each end..This forces the modeler to operate more like the big guys..But if you only want to see trains rolling and care little for proto ops, go 'continual'...M
 

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I dream of space that big.

Benchwork is not hard if you can load a drill bit, change a saw blade and can work a square and use a pencil.

Don't let it intimidate you. There are far more difficult things in model railroading than building basic benchwork. Labor intensive, yes. Difficult, no.
 

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Gentlemen,Rail Roaders, and all HELLO
I have been a member since 2014 and 1st before all i would like to build a layout but i am not good at carpentry. I now have a carpenter who knows nothing about railroads. Please can i get info on how to build. Top height to build train table? room is abt 17'x20'
in HO with tip up walk thru.30" radius for helix 2 track. Thanks for all info. Bob
Bob;

The files attached below contain info on shapes of "train tables" (called benchwork) the height options and types of movable sections for entry/exit. I agree that you should plan the track layout first, and then build benchwork to fit the railroad, not build the railroad to fit on a certain size & shape table.

Good luck with whatever you choose;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment WHERE DO I START 3.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev-3.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf
 

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Bob -- you've gotten good advice so far. I'll throw in my $0.05.

A train table isn't fine cabinetry, or a load-bearing structure that has to hold nphundreds of pounds, nor as some of the others have suggested, do you even want a real table. As long as you can handle a saw and a drill / driver, you can build benchwork (as it's called). Even if you've never held a saw before, the basic skills will take you 15 minutes to learn. Get a book (Kalmbach Publishing has several good ones) or watch some videos.

The real problem here is that you've got the cart before the horse. You really shouldn't go into an empty room and say, "Now, let me build a table, then I will have a place for my track." Go into your space, figure out what you want your layout to look like, and then build benchwork to support it. That's one of the reasons you don't know how to proceed: you don't yet know what you need. Your carpenter friend doesn't just start cutting wood for a deck, gazebo, or chair; he has at least a bare bones sketch first laying out the details and measurements. That's where you need to start, too.
 

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Gentlemen,Rail Roaders, and all HELLO
I have been a member since 2014 and 1st before all i would like to build a layout but i am not good at carpentry. I now have a carpenter who knows nothing about railroads. Please can i get info on how to build. Top height to build train table? ...
I would make the main table height with TRACK as high as my beltline, so I could lean over a bit to reach inwards. Narrow section could be higher.
 

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I would make the main table height with TRACK as high as my beltline, so I could lean over a bit to reach inwards. Narrow section could be higher.
My son's train layout is that high (32"), mostly because when we made it, he wasn't the big 6'2" monster he is today.

I find that way too low to be comfortable working or operating. I always have to quit after an hour or so due to lower back strain.

Mine is 44" high. That works much better for me.
 

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There are a couple of places on the internet, that build model railroad benchwork, and ship it to you.
Personally, I like this guy: http://www.modelrailroadbenchwork.com
If you can afford the prefab stuff, both Sievers and Mianne are good sources. All you have to do is bolt them together; you get geomorphic shapes and assemble them into the structure you want.
 
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