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Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by taylor_up_bnsf, Mar 28, 2008.
Where do I get get this, and how thick sould I get it.
A lot of us use masonite, a thin brown wood material with a smooth surface on one side. I chose the 1/8 inch thickness so I cold bend it into curves. You'll find it at lumber stores and major home improvement stores. It comes in 4 X 8 foot sheets.
Just check it before you buy it. There are 2 types of masonite. 1 is very stiff and unbendable. Probably most of us have used a clip board made of masonite at one time or another. The other type, called tempered masonite I think, is very flexible. If the front of your layout is curved, you want the tempered type so it will bend around the curves. If your layout benchwork is straight with 90 degree corners and no curves in front, it won't matter which one you use.
It may also depend on the use you want to make of it. If you plan to mount switches on it and buttons to control turnouts, 1/8 hardboard will be good. If you're going to have electric outlets as well, it'll need bracing.
My wife put up a tartan coloured cloth on mine to conceal the woodwork.
I used 1/8 inch tempered masonite for mine. added blocking behind it for switchs and outlets
If you don't need a full 4'x 8', they (HD) also sell smaller pieces...
I just installed my "sky level" using 1/8 masonite. Stuff is great. The corners and screws eventually get patched and the front painted midnight black.
I didn't put curves into though. Benchwork really doesn't have the means to maintain the shape without interfering with where my lights are installed. But I don't mind the 90 degree corners.
The "Tempered" only means that the finished surface is slightly more resistant to scratching, but it bends just as easily as the regular variety. Use the regular stuff, as it is cheaper. If you buy it in a 4'x8' sheet, you can cut it with a plywood or panelling blade in a Skilsaw, but be sure to work from the back (rough) side, as the motion of the blade will cause some minor fraying along the cut. You can form this down to about an 8" radius.
It's also good for "coving" the corners of your backdrop, if you plan ahead when finishing the room. Simply use 1/2" drywall to cover the studs, except at the last spacing from both sides of the corners of the room. Here, use 3/8 drywall, then cut a suitable width of Masonite that can be curved, then "popped" into the corner. The edges of the 1/2" material will hold it in place, although it's still best to also drill and countersink the edges for drywall screws, and apply drywall tape as you would elsewhere.
It works for both inside:
...and outside corners:
On inside corners, the Masonite should be somewhat narrower than the total width of the two stud-spacings, while on outside corners, it should be considerably longer, but in both cases, cut and fit to suit.