A High Quality Gaming Table

Post long term projects you have devised for your Tau or other hobby projects.
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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#1 » Jul 23 2010 09:23

Hello ATT people,

I have begun the final stages of a project I have been working on for a little over a year. Has it really been that long? Well, I guess I haven't been working non stop.

Many of you are probably in a situation like me. I wish to have a table to accommodate my gaming hobbies. I don't just play Warhammer 40,000 although it is one of the primary considerations for this table design. Most of the time when you read up on someone building a gaming "table" what they have build is more a surface and terrain set that they plonk down on their dining table or on beer kegs in their garage. Now, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with that - certainly not with the beer kegs :D. What I am saying is that it isn't really a table. It is a surface. I want a table with, k'now, legs and stuff?

Well, I'll give you some eye candy at this point:

Image
This is a shot from Google Sketchup which I used to lay out the design in 3d.

As you can see it is quite complicated. That is mostly due to it having to be flexible. If I am going to bother building a custom table and taking up a large section of house permanently then I'm going to make it work for everything. With that in mind here is a quick run down of the features of this deign:

    * Sunken gaming surface to prevent dice rolling off the edge
    * Interchangeable gaming surface for different battlefields and/or games (at a sensible cost)
    * Full size for Warhammer 40,000 (also, it turns out, Apocalypse although I haven't ever played it)
    * Able to separate in two tables for twice the simultaneous gaming
    * Places to store waiting armies and casualties (probably Imperials)
    * Drawers with storage for pens, drinks and the like for RPGs
    * Seating for 8 players for RPGs.

That is quite a list of requirements. I think this will meet them.

I can hear you now "Wow! That is great! I want one!". Well, fear not. I fully intend to have a set of comprehensive plans to build such a beast for free download shortly after I complete the table. How comprehensive? Here is our next slide:

Image
All the pieces will be detailed like this. Also note that I will only use two power tools and they are both optional but do you really want to drill by hand? I didn't think so.

The build starts in two days. I have finalised my alpha plans and bought almost everything that I need. I am about to take my last trip to a hardware store. This time I just need to buy wood screws. I get a final delivery of some other things on Monday but I can start without them. I have to say I am, personally, quite exited about this.

Image
Final shot for today. Here is the pile of timber that will become this table.

I'm hoping to post day by day in the evening from Monday (+10 GMT) with updates as to how it is all going.

Once it is all complete anyone who happens to be in Sydney Australia at some time is most welcome to have a tour of the table (and a game!). I'll let you know ;)

-Strobe

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Null
Fio
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#2 » Jul 23 2010 09:39

NOW THAT'S A PROJECT! :biggrin:

Seriously Strobe, 'props' to you as it seems incredibly well though out. This is something I'm going to be keeping a good eye on (your not the only one who is excited).

Eagerly anticipating your updates!

Oops Edit: Quick question, what lumber are you using (quartersawn/flatsawn), and how is the table going to be fastened together?

- null

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Unusualsuspect
Kroot'Ui
Posts: 596

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#3 » Jul 24 2010 12:05

What size is the table you're planning - from the sound of it, the gaming surface will be 8 x 4, yes?

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Sa'cea Mont'yr
Shas'El
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#4 » Jul 24 2010 12:58

Moved to Project Logs and bookmarked. I'm really looking forward to your progress on this table, and I really hope you are able to complete it. I'm not going to have access to regular Internet for about another week, but I assure you, this will be something I keep a keen eye on with an intent to follow in your footsteps. Good luck, and take pictures!
Shas'el Sa'cea Cal'Ka Mon'tyr

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#5 » Jul 24 2010 01:21

Unusualsuspect wrote:What size is the table you're planning - from the sound of it, the gaming surface will be 8 x 4, yes?


Correct*

*Actually, due to living in a metric country it will be 1200mmx2400mm which is 7.87401575' x 3.93700787'. Also considering I am making the top from a single piece that will be cut into two 1200x1200 bits you loose a bit to the saw blade. Probably end up 1200x2396 but who is counting :)

-Strobe

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Lord Mayhem
Shas'Ui
Posts: 264

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#6 » Jul 24 2010 10:43

I've been looking at something similar though not quite as ambitious. One thing to keep in mind is the width of most doors, if you need to move it around the house- in the US most doors are 2 1/2 ft wide (about 75 cm) and doors in most countries I've visited (18 on 4 continents and counting) are similar sized. Are you planning to make the legs fold, or be removable? Or are you not planning on moving it? (I'm looking at collapsable legs, so I can adjust the table height, and then put it on its side for doors- the tricky bit will be mounting wheels on the side :? )

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Strobe
Shas
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#7 » Jul 24 2010 11:41

Lord Mayhem wrote:I've been looking at something similar though not quite as ambitious. One thing to keep in mind is the width of most doors, if you need to move it around the house- in the US most doors are 2 1/2 ft wide (about 75 cm) and doors in most countries I've visited (18 on 4 continents and counting) are similar sized. Are you planning to make the legs fold, or be removable? Or are you not planning on moving it? (I'm looking at collapsable legs, so I can adjust the table height, and then put it on its side for doors- the tricky bit will be mounting wheels on the side :? )


It certainly is a worry for many people. My solution is to attach the legs in my living room where the table will live. When I need to move it I can remove them. It may well fit around doors (not through, but walking it around the frame) depending on where it has to fit. The legs will be attached with screws.

I am lucky that I can leave a table of this size permanently installed. It only has to move when I move house.

-Strobe

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Spyder
Shas
Posts: 78

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#8 » Jul 25 2010 01:56

As for the legs and being able to move the table without taking it apart, you could find some sturdy hinges and make it so the legs fold in like a traditional card table. Just some food for thought :)
Each must find their own way...
-Commander Farsight

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#9 » Jul 26 2010 04:58

Spyder wrote:As for the legs and being able to move the table without taking it apart, you could find some sturdy hinges and make it so the legs fold in like a traditional card table. Just some food for thought :)


I certainly gave this option some thought. When we get to the legs part in the build log you'll see why I haven't gone this way.

-Strobe

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Strobe
Shas
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#10 » Jul 26 2010 06:19

Sorry for the late post. I was halfway through writing it last night when my router locked up. Turning it off and on didn't help (curse you IT Crowd!) so I just left it 'till this morning. Now a quick reset has fixed it up.

So yesterday went well. I got everything done that I intended to.

Image
It started out with some sawing. It isn't much to look at. I guess it will be more interesting later.

All the rough sawing has now been complete. All the beams have been marked for detailed cuts and sorted into their appropriate piles together with the plan sheets. You can see that here:
Image

I am about to head out to the workshop today. I hope to get most of the detailed bits done along with the finishing for the ends of the beams you won't see. Since I used a rough saw at first the need a quick bit of sanding to fit flush with each other.

Expect to hear from me tonight. Keep up with the questions if you have any. I am happy to answer them.

-Strobe

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#11 » Jul 26 2010 06:26

Null wrote:NOW THAT'S A PROJECT! :biggrin:
Oops Edit: Quick question, what lumber are you using (quartersawn/flatsawn), and how is the table going to be fastened together?


Sorry Null, only just noticed your edit.

The timber is Radiata* Pine and is already dressed. I don't really have the facilities to finish rough sawn. My carpentry is rudimentary and as you are in Canada there may be some terms that are different. We call finished timber like I bought DAR for Dressed All Round. I have used 19*90, 42*90 and 70*70 beams.

Fastening will be done with timber screws and wood glue. Mostly butted ends with mitred ends for the outside (mostly to be decorative). The structure is somewhat self supporting so it might hold together without fastening but it is by no means engineered to do so.

-Strobe

*According to Wikipedia, this is also called Monterey Pine or Insignis Pine in the UK and US/Canada regions.

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Null
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#12 » Jul 26 2010 07:27

Bah' .... no worries man, I can see your busy :) .

Strobe wrote:Fastening will be done with timber screws and wood glue.
Might I suggest a 'Polyurethane Glue'. Sometimes 40k games (and for tht matter RPG's) can become somewhat *physical* :P , Polyurethane glue hold up much better that normal wood glue.

Strobe wrote:Called Monterey Pine or Insignis Pine in the UK and US/Canada regions.

Nice, not too hard to work with. I only asked about the lumber grading because it would be shame to spend all this time working on the table and have the wood warp and bend on you (quartersawn is vastly superior to plainsawn/flatsawn lumber).

- null

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Strobe
Shas
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Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#13 » Jul 27 2010 02:06

Null wrote:Might I suggest a 'Polyurethane Glue'. Sometimes 40k games (and for tht matter RPG's) can become somewhat *physical* :P , Polyurethane glue hold up much better that normal wood glue.

Well, I haven't bought the glue yet so I'll keep an eye out when I go shopping :)
Thanks for the tip!

Null wrote:Nice, not too hard to work with. I only asked about the lumber grading because it would be shame to spend all this time working on the table and have the wood warp and bend on you (quartersawn is vastly superior to plainsawn/flatsawn lumber).

I'm lucky in this regard that the place I bought the timber from has a fairly well sealed warehouse and the timber has been sitting there for a while. It should be fairly stable.

I was going to go with Tasmanian Oak for the outside of the table. Then I worked out how much it would cost. Then I remembered how careful my gaming buddies are. Then I decided to stay a little cheaper. The pine is very cheap.

-Strobe

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#14 » Jul 27 2010 02:24

Much more on time today. My (internet) router seems to have calmed down.

At the end of Tuesday when I look at the pile of timber I almost can't tell the difference. I know I did lots of work. This is what most of today was:

Image
This is a close shot of the fine sawing, rasping and then filing to shape all the detailed parts so it will all assemble well.

This takes a surprising amount of time. Good thing I allocated two days. I actually completed more today that I was hoping for. I'm sure I'll eat up all the time later doing something that takes way longer than I thought it would.

Here is the shot from my first break:

Image
More piles of completed timber. It look really similar to the piles of timber on Monday but there are differences.

For example:

Image
Here is a close up shot of the tops of the table legs. For those who don't know putting fasteners into the top of table legs is a big no no. Think about what sort of stress the wood goes under when you drag the table around (and you know you will). If you screw straight in the top you will get split wood and a ruined game. The details you see here is about having the frame sit on the legs cut out bit whilst still being able to put screws into the side of the timber. There are two piles as you need a set of mirrored legs. You can't just rotate. When you get the design you'll see.

Also today a number of mitre cuts were done to the boards that will become the edge of the table. These need to look nice and, thankfully, they do! I was very impressed at how well it went. Did I mention I got a new saw? That might have helped :). You can see the edge of some in the second shot.

So, to finish up today there were some long rips (cut down a board with the grain) to do. Ripping is a pain without a table saw. Oh well, at least it is started:

Image
After the first rip I decided that was enough for today. I had already allocated all of tomorrow to doing this anyway. I'll finish the other three boards in the morning.

Looking forward to the dry fit tomorrow. Then lots of fastening, routing some edges and finishing. Maybe get a game in next weekend…

-Strobe

PS: Sorry about the last shot being a bit out of focus. There are limits to my phone camera. I'll bother to set up a tripod and take good shots when I have something more interesting to show.

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Carrot
Shas
Posts: 78

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#15 » Jul 27 2010 07:38

I very much look forward to seeing this completed; it looks like a very robust gaming table.

Out of curiosity, how high will the raised sides be? If you routed a step into them, and put some sort of grid or pegs (the better option?) at the same height as the step, you could have terrain go below it's surroundings (e.g. river beds, craters, etc.) without simply carving every elevation out of a tall block of foam.

Edit: limiting motion with diagonal braces along the bottom of the table should help significantly with warping, especially of the table surface.
Mobility is a priceless tactical advantage.

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#16 » Jul 27 2010 07:49

Carrot wrote:Out of curiosity, how high will the raised sides be? If you routed a step into them, and put some sort of grid or pegs (the better option?) at the same height as the step, you could have terrain go below it's surroundings (e.g. river beds, craters, etc.) without simply carving every elevation out of a tall block of foam.


The sides are raised about 30mm. This is to stop dice rolling off the edge. Dice rolling off is quite significant when you aren't rolling the six sided variety. The more round dice (I'm thinking D20s here) seem to roll for ever.

When you see how the table is supported under the surface (which it is) you'll understand that it isn't really an option to have terrain "below" the surface. Nothing it stopping me having the regular foam carved type but I will lose the benefit of the raised sides for that.

Just remember, when you build your table you can have it just the way you want it. I honestly play more RPGs than wargames (D&D is every other week, wargames unfortunabely more infrequent) so it is more important that the table is suited for RPG gaming.

When I put the plans together I intend to have an optional parts section where I lay down many of the ideas I have had and either not included or substituted with other design and why. I hope this encourages others to make their table custom to their needs.

-Strobe

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#17 » Jul 28 2010 05:07

Wednesday: Successful

It all started off with finishing up the rip cuts on the last three beams. All sawing is now complete - time for a quick look at the end:

Image
This is one table (it is a two parter) sitting together. Not at all fastened, just a check to see how it is going.

After working out everything for the first table putting it together was fairly quick. I say fairly as there was lots of clamping, drilling pilot holes, countersinking and then finally screwing the beams together.

Here you can see some clamp action:

Image
I got a set of four framing clamps (the device pictured above is a single clamp) and they have proved very useful. Highly recommended.

The second table took about the same amount of time as the first. It was all set out well so has gone together smoothly. Only a single beam was slightly out of place due to some warping in the original piece of wood. It was only out by 1mm so with some clamping and screws it is well held into place.

At the end of today I have been left with a pleasing sight. Behold:

Image

Two assembled frames. These now need the outer frame to be attached to create the recessed gaming area and to have a nicer edge to lean your arms on. It is going to be smoother over by my router with a roundover bit.

Also left to do it to install the legs and work out how the drawer supports fit in. I had to wait until the main frame was together to measure up what is actually is before buying the drawer material.

So, progressing well. I hope to be completed on time at the end of the week. I might not be able to do the finishing stain or whatever due to very rainy days here in Sydney at the moment.

-Strobe

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Strobe
Shas
Posts: 42

Re: A High Quality Gaming Table

Post#18 » Jul 29 2010 06:32

After a successful day routing and assembling I am left with a pleasing sight.

Today saw finishing of various sections. Rounding off the legs and lip sections with the router. Attaching of the legs. You can see that part here:

Image
Details of the leg attachment process.

It almost looks like a gaming table now. I hope to have everything except the drawers and table surface finished tomorrow

Here are the two tables side by side:

Image
This is the normal configuration for play. It will leave an approximately 8'x4' gaming surface with individual drawers for 8 players for RPGs. It really is designed for 7 as the GM/DM gets a double spot (they always have more to keep track of).

For regular sized games of 40k I intend to have a 2'x4' section on one side as a mustering area so the drawers don't need to be used. It will be felt lined and be able to hold reserves, spare dice and counters and the like.

Sorry the post is a bit short tonight. I am tired for the build. It was someone taxing with all the routing today. The router seemed light when I got it but after a few hours slaving over the wood it seemed quite heavy :(

I should be ready to go after a good nights rest. For the greater good.

-Strobe

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