Model Train Table Construction Ideas

Written by jamie wilson
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Model Train Table Construction Ideas
Your fantastic model train set-up deserves a perfect base. (lighted model caboose image by Tom Stewart from

Model train tables require some specialised considerations in their construction. They must be accessible via the centre as well as the sides. They must allow electrical wires to be threaded through to the bottom. They must also be strong and stable enough for hold scale models. Ideally, too, they should also be easily disassembled so the owner can display his model wherever he wishes. In most cases, to get a table like this, you must make it yourself.

The Sawhorse

The simplest solution to creating a model train table is a couple of sawhorses with wide boards or plywood laid across them to form a table, Make sure, too, there's an opening in the centre wide enough for the model train owner to move around in. If the boards are nailed down and other boards nailed across the ends to cover the sawhorses, you have a workable oval model train table.

This table is easy to model with papier-mache landscaping. However, it tends to be unstable and unsightly (unless you fashion table skirts). Know, too, that it's nearly impossible to disassemble for simple movement. It makes a great first table, if you're just learning how to build model train landscapes, but eventually you'll want something a bit nicer.

Old Indoor-sport Tables

If you don't have a huge set-up and want something really stable, an old pool, foosball or even a well-built dining room table will work. You can either lay boards across the old table architecture to create a fresh surface or model directly on the table.

These tables are inexpensive--assuming you are using discarded tables--and quick to work with. They are also much more stable than the sawhorse table. With most, however, you still have the problem with moving them around, and there is no realistic way you can leave an opening in the centre to reach that part of your landscape. You may also have some trouble running your electrical wiring through these tables, so it might be easier to conceal it in landscape features.

Wooden Pallets

A modification of the sawhorse table, wooden pallet tables make excellent and more-flexible model train tables. If you fasten a skirt to hide the ugly raw edges, a pallet makes a stable surface to model your landscape while leaving plenty of open space beneath to run electrical wiring. With careful planning, the model train owner can build a semicustom table easily disassembled for moving. Pallets can be mounted on sawhorses, discarded tables or custom legs.

Custom-Built Tables

The most involved and expensive model train tables are custom-built tables. These tables can be built of whatever material you choose, so you can have them as stable as you like. You can also plan them in such a way that they can be easily disassembled along your track break lines.

While custom tables can be great for large, showy model train sets, they are also expensive to build and difficult to stabilise. It's best to build one or two for smaller models before delving into the large model set-ups. For an experienced model train owner, however, the custom table is the only way to go.

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