Floating Bench Work



Occam’s Law can be summed up with the adage K.I.S.S.  In other words, the best solution is typically the simplest.  Simple doesn’t mean easy to design.  Often the opposite is the case.  It takes a fair amount of thought to come up with the cleanest approach.  Whenever I find myself using the proverbial duct tape, baling wire, and a prayer to make a concept work, I know I’m on the wrong track.  Such was the case with the threaded rod idea for my floating bench work.  Pride of ownership can overcome all of us but I ultimately had to resign myself to the fact that the idea simply would not work.  Even with stiffening tubes the rods were too bouncy.  The Hillman anchors, while probably great for short levers such as towel racks, couldn’t handle the torque and were becoming slightly unseated from the wall.  Finally, extruded foam slabs have a slight warp to them.  Without some sort of frame to secure the slab to, there is no way to overcome the warping.  Simply setting the foam on the rods wouldn’t work.

Back to the drawing board.  The challenge of floating bench work for a model railroad is the deeper shelf depth which results in a longer lever.  To over come this you need: a light frame, a very strong anchor to the wall, and you need to eliminate as much weight as possible from the end of the outriggers (levers).  The design above solves all these problems and meets my goal of a clean look while at the same time being very solid.  For the plate against the wall I used poplar as it is harder.  I used lag bolts and large 1 1/4 washers to securely fasten it to the wall studs.  The outriggers are select pine attached to the poplar with relatively long, three inch drywall screws.  I used a Forstner bit to remove material from the end of the outrigger to lighten it up.  There is no facing frame on the end of the outriggers as that would have added too much weight.


The outriggers are on 32 inch centers.  After the frame was in place I inserted two inch thick extruded foam slabs between the outriggers.  I haven’t decided on a fascia material yet but need to find something relatively light.