Saturday, December 3, 2016

Benchwork Begins To Take Shape

Benchwork construction followed the same system I used on previous layouts. First, I located the wall studs using a stud finder. I then confirmed the center of each stud by drilling a series of very small holes at each stud location. I marked the center locations.

Having decided on the height on the benchwork I used a laser level to mark this height around the walls with a pencil line. On this line I proceeded to attach good quality 1 x 4 boards to the studs using long screws.

This continuous belt rail of 1 x 4 boards provided attachment points for prefabricated open-grid style benchwork boxes. The boxes were made with quality 1 x 4 boards screwed together with #6 wallboard screws. In my experience wallboard screws are stronger and cheaper than conventional screws of the same size.

Each hole was predrilled and countersunk. If you have two electric drills, one with a counter sink and one with a screw bit, this work goes very fast. Most of the time I used a three-way clamp to hold the lumber in place for drilling. I recommend countersinking the holes to avoid splitting the lumber.

In some areas I was able to use the open-grid style benchwork boxes from the previous layout either as originally built or with a little modification. And, at some point with this layout has to come down, the combination of the open-grid style benchwork boxes, belt rail and screws will make the work go fast once the layout's surface features have been removed.

It would be possible to salvage complete sections of the layout if one were to cut the tracks and cut through the surface layer where one benchwork box adjoins another.

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