Josh Clark

How to Build Sturdy Benchwork

Josh Clark
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Duration:   8  mins

In this video, modeler Josh Clark demonstrates how to lay HO-scale track, specifically benchwork. Building sturdy benchwork is a very important aspect of an HO-scale train track. Josh shares model railroad track-laying tips and techniques and demonstrates the creation of cost-effective, long-lasting benchwork that will not collapse or bend over time. To begin building the benchwork for the HO-scale track, Josh has the basic frame laid out with a piece of plywood over the top.

The first step is to cut out the one-by-fours for the inside and cross-bracing of the frame. First he preps the board by scoring the edges in order to make sure the layout is even and symmetrical. Josh has created a jig, so when boards are slid in to be cut, they will be cut to the same length as all the rest. Pre-drilling holes for wiring is also helpful before assembling the benchwork. Building benchwork on a solid, flat surface will ensure the benchwork is level.

After installing the cross-bracing, Josh sands off the corners to remove any burrs. The one-by-four frame allows the benchwork to be light, but strong. Using half-inch plywood over the top makes it sturdy enough to stand on and prevents any warping.

After the frame is built, it is time to cut the plywood for the top of the frame. Josh is using two-inch drywall screws, which are nice and skinny to avoid splitting. The screwhead is also flat, which will create a nice smooth surface for the top of the table. He goes on to screw it all together with the pre-drilled holes, and eventually attaches the table legs for the HO-scale track. If you missed Josh’s last video on benchwork or are looking for other benchwork-related videos, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.

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