I'm building some benchwork for a model railroad and want to
build in in modular sections so it can easily be moved.
Probably each section will be about 27" by 66" with several
interior cross members.
I got the bright idea of planing smooth some cedar fence boards
and using them. Certainly lightweight enough. Should be about
1/2" thick if I only smooth one side, and a little less if I
Any reasons this wouldn't work?
The fence boards I see used seem to have been trees about 36 hours before
they are delivered to be built into fences. Still dripping, most of the
time. Lots of drying and associated challenges to consider....
We felled and sawed a red cedar in a friend's yard in December, for a Boy
Scout project. We MIGHT be able to consider woodworking with it this
month, if we allow for moisture issues (outdoor benches).
Consider something more like the construction of a typical, cheap hollow
core interior door slab. Lightweight skin. Paper honeycomb filling glued
to it. Cheap. Lightweight. Available. Probably available as seconds at
your favorite large builder's yard. Pre-primed. And about the right size.
Have fun with this!
I'll second the door idea. I've still got 14-15 doors (knob hole
drilled too high) in my garage, cost something like $5 for the lot
about 20 years ago at an auction. I've used some (even for doors) but
never used them for my original purpose.
If water content is a problem, then just let them dry for 2 weeks or
so; rough sawn cedar fencing will dry very quickly. You might be
surprised at how beautiful the boards are when planed. In any case,
finish both sides for stability. If you are worried about strength,
don't worry they will a lot of weight between 24" centers, but you
probably won't need a support more than at the ends and in the middle.
Agreed, but I need them a bit closer than that for the risers
that support the roadbed.
And for those who suggested the door approach - I'm not
modelling Kansas :-). Do a Google on "model railroad benchwork"
to see some of the widely used techniques.
They will work great. I used some planed cedar fencing to replace the
seats in the swingset at my mother-in-law's house. It's been about 1.5
years, and they have silvered up, weathering just fine. They are
unfinished. The seats are plenty strong enough to support me at ~190
lbs., at about 18" across.
These boards had been spares leaning against a fence section outdoors
for a few months. No drying was needed since they were staying
One thing you might consider: I only planed the buisiness face so that
I wouldn't lose too much material. Nobody ever touches the rough side,
so it's fine, and a little stronger than if I'd have planed both
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