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All posts for the month October, 2012

I’ve dreamed about this moment for a while now. Gaming from the comforts of my home. I’m one step closer now. Over the past months I have been planning on building a gaming table for my home. Fortunately I have some space to put a table specifically for this. Below is a brief tutorial and plans for how I built this thing. First off I must warn anyone that wants to build this thing, it wasn’t cheap and although I planned for it, I still ran into problems along the way. I’m not making excuses but I was kind of under a time crunch. Having only a few hours here and there proves to be a key ingredient for errors.

Step 1: Planning

Probably the most important stage. I thought I planned enough but once I started I just followed though and for the most part didn’t make any changes to my original design. I did hit a few stumbling blocks which caused me to make minor alterations. Here is a list of the tools and materials used as well as a PDF of my plans. Please feel free to download or print. The plans were created in Illustrator CS4 so feel free to open and edit to suit:

Tools used:
• drill
• phillips bit
• circular or chop saw
• 3/8″ socket/crescent wrench
• 2 saw horses
• #8 countersink drill bit
• 1 1/8″ speedbor bit
• Finishing nail gun
• Compressor and hose
• Palm sander

Materials used:
• #8 – 2 1/2″ Wood Screws, qty: 32
• 3/8″ – nuts and 6″ bolts, qty: 16
• 3/8″ – washers, qty: 32
• 4x4x8 railroad ties (non-treated), qty: 2
• 2x4x8, qty: 8
• 1x8x8, qty: 3
• 2′X4′x.5″ MDF, qty: 3

Some specifics on the materials and tools used.

Step 2: Building the Frames

After I took several trips to Home Depot and Lowes (where I purchased my supplies) I started building the table by cutting 2x4s for the upper table frame, as well as the 2x4s that sit in the middle of the frame and act as a bridge for the gaming surface. It’s important that these bridge pieces are centered to ensure that whatever you use for a surface is evenly supported. In this case I plan to use 3 2′x4′ insulation boards (but I’ll get into that in a future post).

Top table frame with close up of the counter sink holes used to connect the frame.

The top frame was created by 2x4s and if you look close, the screws I actually used were a star bit for the head. This is because I wasn’t paying attention to the screws. These are not necessary, what is most important is that you use wood screws. In fact, using wood screws can even allow you to skip using the counter sink bit. After the 3rd hole the drilled bit broke so I just screwed them in with the screw gun. Worked just as well. Also note how the centered 2x4s are laying, flat and flush to the top of the frame. This is ultimately where the surface will sit.

Side of frame, bridge assembly. Note that the frame as it appears on the left is actually upside down in the photo.

After the top frame is completed, I built the bottom frame, Which will also act as a shelf for storage. First, I use 2x4s like the top frame but after building them and screwing up the measurement I had to rebuild them. This was ultimately the best thing as I realized that using 2x4s for this part was a bit of an over kill, so I went with 1 1/2″ x 3/4″. This would allow for more clearance between the lower level and the floor. It’s also cheaper.

Step 3: Legs and Height of Table and Assembly

Once the upper and lower table are created, next is to cut the legs from the 4×4 ties. The size of the legs is completely up to you however a standard table (from floor to surface) is around 32″ and I went with that. When I created the legs I ended up screwing that up too. Not cutting them but drilling the holes. At this point I was fed up with making things perfect so I just took some left over 2x4s and screwing them together to make a 3.5×3 block (note that 2×4 is not the actual measurement as a stud is typically short by a half inch). So the legs are complete. Next, I drilled a 3/8″ hole into the top of the leg through to the side of the top frame and counter sinked the head of the bolt and washer. This is extremely important when it comes to adding facia to the top frame.

I used 3/8″ nuts,washers and bolts to attach the legs to the top frame. Now that my pieces are complete (top frame, bottom frame, and legs), I brought them to the basement where I would do the final assembly. Of course you could build it all in one place but in my situation, I would not be able to get it in the basement completed. After I disassemble then reassemble the legs for transportation, I measure my desired hight the lower level sits off the floor and attach it using the #8 wood screws. If all your measurements are correct and your house is pretty level, this should be level too. Just to be safe, I used my level.

Assembled table with close up of counter sunk bolt in leg and upper frame.

Step 4: Finish Work

So the bottom frame is on and everything is secure and level. Now for the finish work.  All finish work was secured with a finish nail gun however, you can always just use screws. In order to make the surface of the bottom level I used 3 2′x4′ MDF sheets, ideally I would have used one sheet and and made 2 cuts but I don’t have the room in my SUV for an 4×8 sheet, nor did I have the time to schedule a friend to help me out. It’s best to go with one sheet as there will be less cuts and it’s less expensive. I had to cut all three sheets to fit, stopping each one on the center point of each stud.

To finish out the frame where the gaming surface sits, I used the 1x8s, measured, and cut the sides to a 45 degree angle. So this next part all depends on how high your surface will be. Because I want a 3/4″ reveal (or a dice stopper), and my surface (insulation board) is 2″ in depth I measured from the to of the board down 2 3/4″, made a mark, and lined up the mark on the 1x8s to the top of the upper frame. Do that on each end of the board and this ensures that your reveal is consistent all around. See why you need to counter sink?

Fully complete table with finished frame for gaming surface and lower shelf for storage.

Final Thoughts:

That’s it.  Nothing else to add other than, if you rush, you screw up. Take your time and think about what you want to do, get your materials and tools and remember… if you do screw up, there is always a way to fix it.

Now I know my writing sucks and there might be some unclear parts to this tutorial (hence the visuals), so if there are any questions, please comment below and I will respond.