Saturday, September 12, 2015

Side Project: Toy Train Table

Since starting my basement layout, I've been in a building mood and decided to make a toy train table for my son who will be two later this year. So far he has been fascinated with trains and he loves playing with the pre-built table that my parents have for him at their house. I didn't want anything too complicated, just a simple table for him to play on with some of his Brio trains. I had a ton of these things as a kid and think its really neat to pass it onto him. 

Using 1x4's for the perimeter frame and legs, I put together a simple structure that was about 3' long and 2' wide. It stands about 13" tall and has a nice lip around the edge to keep things from rolling off the table top. The cross members are 1x3's and the two end supports are pieces of leftovers from another project. The idea is for the table top to be removable. Here are some pictures of the progress so far.

A look at the framework for the table.
Adding the MDF table top.
Test fitting some of the track I had laying around.
I still need to do some touch up work and then paint everything, but its coming along nicely. I am really looking forward to getting this done so we can have another way to enjoy some trains together. He also has me motivated to get my basement layout to the point where trains are running just so he can watch.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Basement Layout: Benchwork Update

Being on vacation from work this week has allowed me to spend some extra time on this project and I've made some pretty decent progress on the benchwork now. I have all of the OSB in place and just need to add some additional supports underneath then the legs and I should be all set. Here are some progress pictures.

Finished attaching the 1x3 cross members.
Adding the first of six pieces of OSB. I went with 7/16 thick since it was the cheap.
Finished adding the six OSB sheets.
A look at the underside of the table.
A look at where I plan to attach the four legs to the underside.
I am hoping this setup for the legs will be enough to support the weight of the table. It is actually fairly heavy now that its assembled. I may end up having to add a third set of legs in the center just in case. I'd rather over engineer it at this point than deal with sag issues down the road.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Basement Layout: Benchwork Has Begun

Yesterday I made the first of many trips to Home Depot for this project. I picked up all of the 1x3'x and 1x4's I needed for the frame of the benchwork. While that particular experience at the store wasn't the best I've had, I was able to get everything I needed to get started. It was also interesting trying to squeeze the 12 foot long 1x4's into my Ford Focus. Definitely not the most comfortable drive, but it was only for a mile or so, so not too bad. 

So, in the space that I had taped off I started putting together the 1x4 frame and have all of the main cross supports in place now. The next step will be measuring and cutting the 1x3's to run between the 1x4's for added structure and support. After that I'll need to get a few sheets of OSB and fasten them to the top. Then it will just be adding legs with some connecting supports and I'll be off to a great start. 

Here are some pictures of the progress I've made so far.

Starting to assemble the 1x4 benchwork frame.
Done with the main section of the benchwork.
I'm hoping to get some more done tomorrow having the day off work for the holiday. Then I'm on vacation the rest of the week so my goal is to get all of the wood put together and ready for a layer of foam board before the end of the week. As long as I have the table top ready, I'll be happy since I'll be able to start playing with the track I have.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Basement Layout: Getting Started

After slightly losing interest in this project for a couple of weeks, the other day I decided I'm tired of waiting around and need to get started soon or I never will. I've got the long weekend for labor day coming up plus the rest of the week off for vacation, so I'm hoping to at least get the benchwork put together so I can start fiddling around with the sectional track I already have. 

The other night I got a bit of a head start and cleared out the space in my basement where the layout is going to be. I have the entire open area of the basement to myself, but I didn't want to go overboard with my first layout, so this one does not take up a ton of space relative to the whole basement. The taped off area is exactly the size of the benchwork plans, so you can get an idea of how it will fill the center of that side of the basement.

Taping off the area where the layout will be.
I chose to put it in the orientation its in so I can have the control panel at the end closest to the camera. Also, this way when you walk up to the layout you'll be able to see both sides of the divider. Not sure if that's the best thing or not yet, but it seems like a good idea for now.

I've also been slowly buying packs of Atlas code 83 track from the local hobby shop. I know I will need at least a few packs to get me going and its nice to spread out the purchases so I'm not dropping over $100 on track all at once. I will likely need to buy a couple more packs as well as some flex track. 

Some of the packs of track I've been buying lately.
Now I just need to make the first of a few trips to Home Depot to pick up the lumber i need for the benchwork. I'm going with 1x4's for the perimeter and primary stringers. The smaller secondary stringers will be 1x3's. The legs are going to be L-shaped and formed with two 1x4's for each leg. Beyond that, I just need to figure out what type and thickness of plywood to go with as well as what thickness foam to put on top.