Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Junjie2

Advice Wanted: Building a Gaming Table

Recommended Posts

After a quick browse at Geek Chic, I decided I can probably make one for way cheaper. I haven't built a table before, but I have repair/transplanted table legs and I have enough tools in the shed to do it. 

 

I'm aiming to do a 4' x 4' felt-lined recessed play area at regular table height (that would leave a 6-inch border all the way around for standard 100-point x-wing dogfights). The bottom of the table will have be somewhere around 29-31" high with the top of the table being maybe a few inches higher. I don't need a very deep table, just enough to keep things from falling off the edge. Probably will need an edge all the way around to rest arms comfortably, so the table might be about 4.5' x 4.5'. 

 

I'm just not sure what materials to use, whether its solid wood, MDF or plywood. I'm also on the fence about whether to make an additional tabletop to cover the recessed play area when not in use to protect the felt and allow the table to be used as a regular table.

 

Any advice on size, design, materials or construction would be appreciated. I'm just bouncing ideas around at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With wood you have to worry about moisture warping and expanding the material over time. Multiply plywood is very stable and cost effective and resists moisture issues. Go with high number ply (13 layers or more).

 

I would make it a recess play area that you can cover and covert to a full flat table. Less dust/soiling of felt surface and you can "save" games for later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't go 4'x4', it makes it impossible to reach the other side. Rectangular tables work best for most board games (not just x-wing) in most cases. Mock that up first before you settle on the dimensions. Remember that after the first round, the edges of the map are rarely used.

 

For the table top, I'd go either a hardwood plywood or mdf if you're covering it in felt, 3/4" in both cases.

 

Depending on what kind of legs you want, a simple solution that is actually fairly cheap is finding some on etsy (search table legs).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

boardgamegeek.com has a great DIY section with plans, photos, etc.  I'd start there and see if something catches your fancy.

 

Thanks for the heads up, I will have to go check this out for inspiration.

 

 

With wood you have to worry about moisture warping and expanding the material over time. Multiply plywood is very stable and cost effective and resists moisture issues. Go with high number ply (13 layers or more).

 

I would make it a recess play area that you can cover and covert to a full flat table. Less dust/soiling of felt surface and you can "save" games for later.

 

I went to Lowe's to check out possible materials. Plywood feels incredibly sturdy. MDF wasn't a bad option, either. They are both around the same price. I'll probably have to seal all the edges with something that will block moisture; the table will be permanently in the basement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basements are known for being damp so some form of sealer/paint/lacquer will help. Besides, wood needs a finish to look its best.

 

I forgot about pre-fab table legs. They can save you time and be more intricate than anything a home shop could produce (depending on your home shop setup of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marine ply is a little more expensive but wont warp with moisture or more importantly when you paint it.

 

I've built  flat packable 'concrete bunkers' for paintball sites out of marine ply that have been painted and then left out in the elements for weeks on end....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basements are known for being damp so some form of sealer/paint/lacquer will help. Besides, wood needs a finish to look its best.

 

I forgot about pre-fab table legs. They can save you time and be more intricate than anything a home shop could produce (depending on your home shop setup of course).

 

I was planning on using some 4x4s stained and sealed as table legs. Going for a really plain, sturdy aesthetic. But pre-fab might be cheaper and easier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used rough cut 4x4 cedar as legs before, works pretty well. If you sand it down lightly with an orbital, you can get an easy 'distressed' look. I think the only 4x4's they sell though are the pressure treated ones for landscaping.... those tend to be pretty terrible in quality, always full of splits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used rough cut 4x4 cedar as legs before, works pretty well. If you sand it down lightly with an orbital, you can get an easy 'distressed' look. I think the only 4x4's they sell though are the pressure treated ones for landscaping.... those tend to be pretty terrible in quality, always full of splits.

 

That size of wood is usually taken from the centre of the tree so it is full of heartwood. That stuff checks like crazy when it dries but you shouldn't see most of it on the outside surface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider 18" drop leaves on both ends. Folded out they'll give you a 4' x 7' area for Epic.

You can add storage on either side by using drawer slides and fabbing or purchasing some drawers. It could also be used as a pullout for laying out pilot and upgrade cards. Fold the leaves down tuck in your pullouts and you have a 3' x 3' table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After a quick browse at Geek Chic, I decided I can probably make one for way cheaper. I haven't built a table before, but I have repair/transplanted table legs and I have enough tools in the shed to do it. 

 

I'm aiming to do a 4' x 4' felt-lined recessed play area at regular table height (that would leave a 6-inch border all the way around for standard 100-point x-wing dogfights). The bottom of the table will have be somewhere around 29-31" high with the top of the table being maybe a few inches higher. I don't need a very deep table, just enough to keep things from falling off the edge. Probably will need an edge all the way around to rest arms comfortably, so the table might be about 4.5' x 4.5'. 

 

I'm just not sure what materials to use, whether its solid wood, MDF or plywood. I'm also on the fence about whether to make an additional tabletop to cover the recessed play area when not in use to protect the felt and allow the table to be used as a regular table.

 

Any advice on size, design, materials or construction would be appreciated. I'm just bouncing ideas around at this point.

I've re-read your original post and have several suggestions.

1) 2 x 8' long 2x4s will make a square frame that you can set your top on.

2) Don't use felt. It will start to "pill" on you and will cause problems. Use either paint or check into a roll-on rubber like they use for truck bed liners.

3) You can recess the top into the sides by either notching the sides or using cleats to support the top.

4) Depending on how damp your basement is, it maybe wise to use a urethane varnish to completely seal all the wood. That should keep everything from warping.

5) 1/2" ply maybe thick enough not to sag but you might consider using a center brace to stiffen everything up.

I wouldn't worry about mitering the corners just butt join them.

I hope this helps. I had my carpenter over tonight to measure up a 7' x 3' table top overlay for use in epic matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2) Don't use felt. It will start to "pill" on you and will cause problems. Use either paint or check into a roll-on rubber like they use for truck bed liners.

 

 

I went to a fabric store the other day to take a look at the selection - felt is probably not what I was imagining. I was imagining pool table or poker table felt/cloth. Something that's smooth for card games and other board games. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought this table from Amazon, got Home Depot to cut me a 3'x4' piece of their cheapest wood that I then covered with vinyl from Jo-Ann's and boom, I have a lovely playing surface that folds away to nothing.  I actually ordered a second table to build out for Epic games but haven't had time to finish it yet.

 

I've considered doing this with an existing folding table I have in storage. I might do this as a temporary tabletop until I have time to spend on a more elaborate table. Does the tabletop slide around on the folding table at all? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I bought this table from Amazon, got Home Depot to cut me a 3'x4' piece of their cheapest wood that I then covered with vinyl from Jo-Ann's and boom, I have a lovely playing surface that folds away to nothing.  I actually ordered a second table to build out for Epic games but haven't had time to finish it yet.

 

I've considered doing this with an existing folding table I have in storage. I might do this as a temporary tabletop until I have time to spend on a more elaborate table. Does the tabletop slide around on the folding table at all? 

 

 

No, not at all, even when the dog was assaulting the play area.  If I hip-bang it (as I sometimes do), things go flying but that's true with any table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

check out Lowes or home depot they have smooth solid core or hollow core doors that are 36"x80"  makes an instant table top. google:

Lauan Interior Door

 

then if you want to get fancy get some of those prefab kitchen cabinets and use as legs or or stands for the table. 

Dang this is brilliant! I never would've considered a door. Actually a perfect size for epic. 3x6 playing surface and 4" on either side for cards!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

check out Lowes or home depot they have smooth solid core or hollow core doors that are 36"x80"  makes an instant table top. google:

Lauan Interior Door

 

then if you want to get fancy get some of those prefab kitchen cabinets and use as legs or or stands for the table. 

 

You sir, think outside of the box. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made "Hobby" desk out of a solid core door for building model aircraft. used two prefab kitchen cabinet/drawers for the "legs"  on each side of the chair space works great and i have storage space. One other good thing about using the kitchen cabinet units as legs is the table is slightly taller. also makes really solid and good looking unit. I am going to make a gaming table the same way but will finish it with a black Formica sheet. i am just not familiar with cutting Formica. Its also kind of pricey so i might just skip that since i have a ton of different mats.My problem is trying to figure out how to make the table configurable to a 4x3 4x5 and of course 3x80" for epic...  4x3 is the perfect size for normal game play... 4x5 would fit my 4x4 mat that we use occasionally for multi player "fur ball" games.and 3x80" is a good size for epic..  actually 4x80 would be better but i dont have infinite space.. so I was trying to figure out some kind of configuration where i could add a leaf or two to change the size. the 3x4 to 3x80" configuration would be pretty easy to do using a solid core door with a leaf in the center. Have even thought about using those under desk keybord holders for card storage. slide them out when needed..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...