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Table WIP


Marlfox
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Well, I guess it's not much of a WIP, but I figured I'd post it here for those who would like to build their own gaming table.

 

For the design I wanted something very portable and lightweight. My house is pretty small and cramped, so this was a must.

 

Materials

2' x 4' sections of 1/4" plywood or similar substitute

3/4" x 3/4" OR 1" x 1" lengths of wood (pine or another softer wood would be best)

3/4" nails or screws

 

TableWIP1.jpg

 

I got all my material from Home Depot. I don't remember what the 2' by 4' material I bought is called, but it's similar to masonry board. I used 3/4" x 3/4" lengths, sold in 8' sections. I ended up buying 9 of them. When I got home I cut the lengths into the following pieces.

 

(6) 47 1/4" sections

(6) 23 1/4" sections

(3) 46 1/2" sections

 

I laid the pieces on the 2' x 4' pieces like this:

 

TableWIP2.jpg

 

I used glue on each piece and held everything together with clamps while I pre-drilled holes and ran 3/4" screws every 6" or so. By the time I got done, the whole thing was pretty sturdy.

 

TableWIP3.jpg

 

Lessons learned:

1. Go with soft wood. The 3/4" x 3/4" lengths I bought were a mix of various hardwoods. Some weren't bad, but other pieces were like drilling through concrete.

 

2. Screws are better than nails. The only nails I could find that were 3/4" long were #18 and were too skinny. They just kept pulling out of the board. I ended up getting #4 3/4" wood screws and they worked much better.

 

3. Keep it simple. I tried a fancy peg-type "tab A into slot B" thing, but I totally messed it up. Unless you're a skilled carpenter, I'd forgo that option.

 

I decided not to finish the surface, but a go-getter could easily base the whole thing really nice. I'm going to stick with my good ol' chunk of felt. The table in the picture is one of the small "Sam's Club" tables (about 18" x 36") and seems to hold two sections pretty well. Obviously you'd need a bigger table for all three.

 

TableWIP4.jpg

 

Game on!

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One hard thing about masonite is that it is hard to drill or nail through and is a bit more apt to warp up.

 

Also, I would be cautious setting up games with lots of scenery or even lots of heavy figures with so much of the table's surface area extending beyond the legs. It could easily tip or worse yet tip over if some forgetful player accidentally leans on the table.

 

Otherwise you seem to have a good idea going on. Are the sections meant to be easily taken apart, and if so, how are they held together? I have seen similar projects held together with wingnuts or C-clamps. Wingnuts are cool but a bit pricy...but on the bright side they require no tools to unfasten if you countersink the bolt-heads.

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The table in the picture is just the table I used to as a work surface. I've got a big enough table to hold two sections easily, just not sure about a third.

 

I love the wingnut idea. I totally screwed up the peg and socket idea, but that might actually work. I'll look into it.

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For ideas on joining temporary modules, look to the Model Railroaders - they're masters at this sort of thing.

 

I know that the N-Trak set of standards actually has several methods for joining their Ntrak modules together. I know that the info is somewhere online.

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I've been toying around with an idea for a portable table lately (can you say hotel gaming at RCON?) and an idea I had about the surface was to put velcro at the corners on the side. Then take some pieces of felt cut to size so that they fold over the side just far enough to attach to the velcro. That way I could switch out green, tan, black, purple, or any other color felt to represent different climates.

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I've been toying around with an idea for a portable table lately (can you say hotel gaming at RCON?) and an idea I had about the surface was to put velcro at the corners on the side. Then take some pieces of felt cut to size so that they fold over the side just far enough to attach to the velcro. That way I could switch out green, tan, black, purple, or any other color felt to represent different climates.

That would certainly work. Also, if you use a wood with a rough enough surface, such as a lower grade MDF, the wood will tend to "grab" the felt and keep it from shifting easily anyway. Not as good as velcro, but enough to stop the casual accidental shifts of scenery - at least that was my experience with a friends game table.

 

But rather than build a table to haul along to the hotel, have you considered seeing if the hotel has some you could borrow? Any hotel that has at least one small conference room is likely to have a some extra tables. If they don't need them for something else, their banquet manager just might let you borrow 1 or 2. If I were you, I'd give the hotel a call and see what they could do (and more importantly, what they'd charge). I know that at either of the hotels my ex-wife worked for, she would have lent a table or two for free or a small security deposit if she could spare them (and she usually could).

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