Friday, August 15, 2008

DIY: Build a Peninsula Support

This do-it-yourself article shows, in a detailed step-by-step fashion, the process that I used to build the peninsula supports for the CSX Dixie Line benchwork. I have found information such as this very helpful to me along the way, and I hope that by passing along my procedures, others will benefit from this information as well. As always, please feel free to post any comments/feedback via the links at the bottom of the article.

For a similar HOWTO article on building the wall brackets you can click here.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Picture 1 Unlike the wall brackets, which were entirely constructed from 1x3" boards, the peninsula supports are built from both 1x2" as well as 1x3" boards. The primary structural member in the supports is the 2x2" post. This post is made by laminating two identical 1x2" boards together using both screws and glue. Both of these 1x2" boards have been cut to 68 1/4" in length. Remember, the top deck of the layout is at 69", but we use 68 1/4" since the post will be resting on a 1x2" footer which is 3/4" in height, so this footer will raise the top of the post to the correct 69". Here is the post already laminated together--I used 1 1/4" coarse thread drywall screws about every 12" and a liberal bead of glue:

Picture 2 Here are all of the components required to build one support. In the middle is the 2x2x68 1/4" post we built in the previous step. To the left is the 1x2x27 3/4" angle bracket, the 1x2x22" footer, and to the right are the three 1x3x20 1/2" joists:

Picture 3 The next step is to install the footer board to the bottom of the post. The shelves along the peninsula are 11" on each side, so a peninsula support will be 22" wide (one 11" shelf on each side, or 11" * 2 = 22"). Appropriately, the footer is 22" wide. I placed the laminated 2x2 post and the 1x2 footer together using a known square corner (in this case the factory cut corner of a sheet of plywood) so that the two pieces will go together at a 90 degree angle. I placed the cut edges of the post facing up simply because I thought this would yield better lateral stability to the peninsula; in fact it may not matter. Here are the two pieces positioned ready for assembly. Note that the footer has been marked at its midpoint and aligned with the center of the laminated post:

Picture 4 To assemble the footer to the post, I drilled a pair of countersunk holes through the bottom of the footer into the post, applied glue, and then secured the footer using two 1 1/4" coarse thread drywall screws. After wiping away excess glue, I slid the assembly away to show how the two pieces look after being joined together:

Picture 5 Next I secured the 1x2 angle bracket to the footer/post sub-assembly. The angle bracket provides additional stability to the support by assuring the footer and post remain at a 90 degree angle. Note that one end of the angle bracket has been cut at a 15 degree angle so that it will not interfere with the support sitting flush on the floor of the layout room. To attach the angle bracket, I slid the post/footer sub-assembly back against the sheet of plywood and applied pressure to both the post and footer with my feet to keep them snug against the sides of the sheet of plywood. I then attached the angle bracket to the footer two inches in from the end of the footer using a single screw, then swung the angle bracket over the post and secured it with two screws. Here is the completed post/footer/angle bracket sub assembly still positioned snugly against the sheet of plywood used to keep the whole sub-assembly square:

Picture 6 Now it is time to attach the three 1x3x20 1/2" joists to the support. Note that the joists have been cut to a width of 20 1/2", even though the double 11" shelves suggest a width of 22". However, each of the two shelves will have a 3/4" thick front board attached to the joists, so to accommodate one of these front boards on each side, the actual joist length has been reduced to 20 1/2". The first step is to mark the positions of the tops of the three joists on the laminated pole, at 42", 57" and 69" above the floor level. You will not need to mark the top since the support is 69" tall and the top joist will just be flush with the top of the post. Begin assembly by marking the locations of the three screw locations on the joist, but only drill a countersunk hole for one screw at this time. Then apply glue to the area where the joist will be mounted to the pole. I have also marked the location of the bottom of the joist on the pole so I know how far down to apply the beads of glue:

Picture 7 Next attach the joist to the pole using a single 1 1/4" coarse thread drywall screw. After wiping away excess glue, use a square to make sure the joist is on the pole at a 90 degree angle. By using just a single screw, the joist can be pivoted to the correct 90 degree angle position. Finally, drill the other two countersunk holes on the marked locations...

Picture 8 ... and attach the final two screws:

Picture 9 Repeat the process for the remaining two joists:

Picture 10 Here is the completed peninsula support ready to be installed on the layout (or you could add some insulators and wires and have some nifty 1:4 scale model railroad telephone/telegraph poles!):