How to Build a Base Table for Your Layout

Written by larry simmons
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How to Build a Base Table for Your Layout
Create a table suitable for your model railroad or wargaming layouts. (toy train image by pearlguy from

Building a base table for your model train or wargaming layout is an inexpensive way to provide a flat, sturdy surface that you can transport easily. Using plywood and planks pre-cut at a hardware or home improvement store, you can assemble a base table quickly. Once completed, this 4-by-6-foot base table is immediately ready for use, whether you're building scenery for wargaming miniatures or laying track and scenery for a model railroad. Little in the way of carpentry skill is necessary for this base table build, only the ability to use an electric drill and screwdriver.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4-by-6-foot, 3/8-inch thick plywood
  • Two 6-foot long, 1-by-3-inch planks
  • Four 46 1/2-inch long, 1-by-3-inch planks
  • Electric drill
  • 7/64 drill bit
  • 1 ½-inch drywall screws
  • Electric screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Place the 3/8-inch plywood flat on a work surface.

  2. 2

    Place the 6-foot long planks on the two long edges of the 3/8-inch plywood, connected with the 1-inch wide sides and flush with the edge of the plywood board.

  3. 3

    Set the 46 ½-inch long 1-by-3-inch planks between the 6-foot planks. Place two at each short edge of the plywood, flush with the edge of the plywood and the 6-foot long planks, and then place the other two planks at regular intervals along the width of the plywood, centred between the 6-foot planks. The smaller planks provide bracing for the plywood board to prevent warping and to provide extra support for your layout.

  4. 4

    Drill pilot holes through the 1-by-3-inch planks where the planks meet. Use two holes per joint to provide holes for securing the planks with two screws per joint.

  5. 5

    Screw the 1 ½-inch drywall screws through the 1-by-3-inch planks to create the support form for the tabletop. Use the pilot holes as guides for the screws, securing each joint of the framework with two screws each.

  6. 6

    Flip the frame and plywood board so that the board rests atop the joined framework. Make sure the edges of the plywood are flush with the edges of the frame.

  7. 7

    Drill pilot holes through the plywood into the framework around the edges of the board. Place one hole every 6 inches.

  8. 8

    Secure the plywood board to the framework by placing screws through the pilot holes in the plywood. Make sure the screws are flush to the surface of the board. With the board in place on the frame, you can add your layout elements.

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