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Author Topic: Christmas Tree Layout  (Read 3312 times)

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« on: September 17, 2014, 03:22:14 PM »

Recently, I bought a White Christmas Express G scale set. I am new to this scale and have always had Z and N. Anyway, here's the problem:
The layout needs to be at least 4'3" across. A sheet of plywood is 4'. I want a very simple table (as it will never be seen) that will be appx. 4'6"x8' and 15" off the floor. What would be the easiest way to get the 4'6" width?

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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 03:58:05 PM »

OK, two alternatives - Go to your friendly home center or lumberyard.  Buy you 4 x 8 sheet of plywood.  Preferably exterior grade since it will tend to warp less over time.  See if they have any odd size sheets of plywood that they can cut a 6" wide strip, which you can then attach to the large piece using an 8' lengh of 1 x 4 underneath to screw the peieces together.  Second option - Many home centers or lumberyards also have availabe sheets of 5 x 9 plywood, which is often referred to as "ping-pong" table wood.  In that case, buy it and have them cut the sheet to 4' 6" x 8'. 

It is also advisable to consider putting some kind of framing under the plywood to help keep it from warping or sagging.  This is usually done by screwing 1 x 2's along the underside edges of the plywood and about every 2' across the width. 

Now, the third option is to consider using the extruded foam insulation boards that also come in 8' widths.  The dealers normally won't cut this in the store, but you can probably buy two sheets of foam for the price of one sheet of good plywood, so take both foam sheets home and cut the six inch width off the second sheet.  Use adhesive made for gluing the foam and use some short lengths of dowels to help hold the piece in place while the glue sets.  This option will give you a pretty rigid base that is still easier to move around than the plywood.

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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 04:28:47 PM »

Thank you so much! ! was considering the foam, but the tree also has to go on the platform. I had no idea about the "ping pong" board.

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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 07:38:04 PM »

Best of luck to you finding a 5 x 9 sheet of plywood in Home Depot or Lowes.  I have never seen one in either of those stores that I have walked into in the last few years.  A call to a lumber yard resulted in getting a quote of several hundred bucks to special order a sheet.  No thanks.  Let us know how you make out.

Keep Calm and Carry On

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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 12:50:30 AM »

Regardless of the materials you end up using I would cut the peices at 4'6" and then butt them side by side 4' to make the 4'6" by 8' you are trying aiming for.

I would buy length of piano hinge to join them underneath in the middle so it would simply fold in half for storage.

I know this is more costly but it leave you with a nice simple platform, the remaining plywood could then be cut into supports to lift the platform to the height you want.

Myself for the height I would just get 7, 5gallon plastic buckets and place one at each corner and then two at the edge in the middle and for stability one under where the tree is.



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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 03:58:27 AM »


Whether you use a ping pong table (best option if available), two 4'6'x4' pieces (second best option) or 4'x8' + 6"x8', put your framing around the perimeter at a right angle to the layout surface for greatest strength. You can also rip the surplus plywood into three-inch wide strips for your frame.

Good luck with your project and let us know how it comes out.
                                                                                              -- D

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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 09:33:17 AM »

Jeff's ideas are good ones.
The plastic buckets sure are the cheapest method to get your height.

And the hinge folding in the middle can also get you the extra width at the same time, just use a 6" (or wider) board in the middle and a hinge on both sides for the plywood panels.
This allows you to fold up the layout for storage AND have some space in between the panels for anything that might be on the underside (wiring, etc).   You will need short track sections to cross over the 6" mid piece but that is easy enough.

Dave Mason

D&G RR (Dunstead & Granford) in On30
 “In matters of style, swim with the current;
 in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”   Thos. Jefferson

The 2nd Amendment, America’s 1st Homeland Security

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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 12:01:44 PM »

You guys have all come up with great ideas. My mind's whirring now! I really like the idea of a smaller footprint while storing. Since it's going to be covered and decorated (the wife is in charge of that), the bucket idea is great. I've been drawing all options out on paper and thanks to everyone here, this is going to be a piece of cake. More to follow when I decide and of course pics when I get something finished.
Both my father and grandfather were master carpenters in the motion picture industry. In fact, when my dad first started, his job was "propmaker, miniature." Obviously, I went in a different direction for a career! I bet they're both rolling over in their graves...
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