A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mark and Cim's Game Table Adventure

Game Table 025
Originally uploaded by Mark M.
Cim and I had been talking about buying a new, bigger table for gaming for some time. We looked at quite a few options, but most were more suited to Poker than boardgames. Since Cim had some folding metal table legs left over from a previous project, we decided that we would build a table.

The entire photo stream is here.

We started the project at Home Depot, where we looked at various grades of plywood. Since the table was going to be covered, we were able to get a cheaper grade, and we had them cut it in store to 4' by 6' from 4' by 8'. They have a great machine there that can do this kind of thing in minutes, and you get a really nice, straight cut.

We also picked up some 2" by 3"s to build a frame under the table top to keep it from bending, as the plywood will not support itself without it. The 2" by 3"s are more than sufficient if you stand them on their edges. We also needed nuts, bolts and washers, and we bought some extras in case of accident or loss.

When we got out to the car, we reallized that the table top would not fit, so we had to tie it to the roof of the Focus, using some pipe insulating foam that Cim had picked up as a pad and lots of Home Depot packing twine to secure the top to the roof. Lucky for us, we didn't have to take the highway to get home, and we made it without incident.

Once we started the actual construction, things went pretty smoothly. We started by building the support frame, measuring the pieces so that they would sit 6" in from the edge of the table. We cut the ends to 45 degrees so that we could make a nice-looking frame, and we secured the pieces with wood screws driven into pilot holes.

If you are building a frame like we did, make sure to use a very flat area for construction, as it makes getting the frame true much easier. We also wrapped some straps around the frame as we assembled it to provide some tension.

Once we got the frame assembled, we centered it in the table top and screwed it down. We drove four carefully measured screws up into the table top, then we turned the joined frame and top over so that we could snap some chalk lines on the top showing us the centre line of the frame. Then we secured the frame with a number of wood screws through the top.

Once this was done, we mounted the legs to the table top using bolts and washers. Once the legs were secure, we opened them, set the table up and sanded the edges and the top with a power sander.

Once the table was sanded, it was time to cover the table. We bought some 1/4 " carpet pad at a carpet store and some faux suede to use as a cover. We started by gluing the pad to the table top, then we trimmed the edges. Once this was done, the two of us stretched the material taut and stapled it underneath the table top.

We were able to playtest the table that weekend, and it provided us the room that we had been looking for. The padded surface makes it easy to pick up cards, the suede looks very nice and also helps holds tiles in games like Settlers of Catan, and rolling dice on this table makes you feel like you are at a Casino.

The only downsides are that the table is fairly heavy, and so not really portable, and that the metal table legs are not quite as secure as they would be if we had used actual table legs mounted in the corners of the frame.

But, as you can see from the photo of us covering the table, we are very pleased with our project and look forward to many games days from now on.


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