David Allen
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Hello, everyone. This conversion of an IKEA "Bjursta" dining table was directly inspired by Brian Cwikla's ("Iguano") thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1509176/gaming-table-easily...

However, I should note that the copious errors, kludges, cost overruns and rampant mission creep are all completely my fault.

I wanted the table to meet the following criteria:
--Inexpensive
--Relatively easy to assemble/disassemble. The table is in the guest apartment that we use for a variety of purposes (including hosting guests) and a standing game table is not an option.

Features:
3-4" Leaning ledge with:
--Drinkholders (because my gaming buddies are also my drinking buddies)
--Card-holding groove

Recessed gaming vault (For all the numerous reasons covered in every other thread on this site) with:
--LED lighting on aforesaid vault (The lighting in the guest apartment is left over from the previous owners and is not great, to say the least. Reading little cards and so on is difficult)
--stain resistant, slightly padded playing surface.

I started with a $40 IKEA Bjursta dining table acquired from Craigslist. This is the mid-size model that can seat from 6 people to 10 if you put in both additional leaves. I think they cost between $150-$250 new. The table comes in a dark wood stain or black paint, and this one was black. Unlike Iguano's original I decided to leave the table black and do my best to match the color in the new components. This was a project I would be working on whenever I could snatch an hour or two, and I did not want to spend the next year of my free time sanding and staining.

Here is the "apron" or table support frame, into which I would drop the vaulted floor.



I decided to use the existing support structure, rather than strip it out and build new side supports. And so, I was willing to use slightly thinner floor material than I would if I were building the table from scratch.
I ended up using 3/8" construction-grade (as opposed to finish grade) plywood. It's a bit wibbly-wobbly, but the bracing and so on I was planning would take care of that.

Here is the wood trimmed to fit the interior of the table apron, I tried to leave space around the edges for the fabric and padding:



I was perhaps excessively concerned that the rough surface of the plywood would affect the smoothness of the finished surface, so I spent way too much time filling in knotholes with wood fill. Someday, maybe, science will create a wood fill that does not behave like three-year-old peanut butter. But probably not in my lifetime.



The next step was to wrap the tabletop. First, the 1/4" batting for a little "give" on the playing surface.




Then, the red "diner booth" vinyl. I wanted this done quickly, and without having to order stuff online. So I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, where they INSIST on making you use a coupon, and bought 3 yards of vinyl, which would be soft enough and water-resistant enough for my purposes. Here it is being stretched out.



It keeps a handprint or other impression for maybe 30 seconds before it springs back into smoothness. At least so far...





The next step was the leaning ledge with built in cup holders and card-holding seam thingy. I went out and bought about 16 feet of 1x8 clear pine. Clear pine is ludicrously expensive, especially since I was planning in spray painting the whole thing matte black anyway.
However, about ten years ago I built a wall of bookshelves in our old house using 1x10 knotty pine and painted them white. Over the next decade the knotholes kept bleeding through, leaving weird tan "eyes" in the paint. I didn't want to mess with shellacking over every knothole, etc., so I threw money at the problem.

Using my cheap Ryobi table saw I ripped the 1x8s into 1x3.5s and 1x2.5s and 1x1s. The 1x3.5s were used for the ledge itself. The other lengths were used to act for secondary supports for the ledge.

I cut a 3/8" deep, 20-degree angled line into the ledge to act as a card holder.

Using a 3.25" holesaw, I cut 10 cupholders into the ledges. I don't think I'll ever have more than 8 people at this table (and that's a stretch) but everyone will have lots of cupholding options. I don't own a router so I screwed and glued 1/8" hardboard all along the underside of the ledge to act as a bottom for the cupholders. At the time, I thought I might cut in some dice/general purpose trays but I decided that having unbroken leaning surfaces was more important.

I used a Kreg corner jig, screws and woodglue to put the whole top thingie together. This image shows the top component before the hardboard went in.



Then I used a can of Rustoleum satin finish black to spray all the exterior surfaces after sanding down the sharp edges of the wood and so on.

Where things went south is when I was carrying the top ledge component up from my little work nook to where I had the table all set up. I stumbled and the thing broke at three corners. I managed to sort of glue it back together but I had to re-spray a number of places, sand down some splintery parts, and I used Gorilla Glue for the first time ever for some fixes, which led to some unexpected lumps and bumps. In case you were unaware (as I was) Gorilla glue is basically glooped (Tech term) onto the two surfaces that you want to to join together. Each surface needs to be slightly moistened with water before you do that. The Gorilla Glue foams up and forms some sort of quantum foam super-bond that defies the laws of time and space. And looks like spit.

Anyhoo, I finally got the damn thing put on top, and it looks like this:


And like this:


The red cupholders are extra vinyl spray-adhered onto the leftover wooden discs created by making the cupholder holes. They're just sitting in there and can be removed if necessary.

The only thing I felt compelled to order online were the LEDs for the interior. In the picture below they look pretty cool. They're the Klaren lights with the zillion-button remote control you can get on Amazon for about $15. Immediately after this picture was taken the adhesive holding them onto the inside of the table completely...er... unadhesed and as of this post they are lying like radioactive spaghetti all over the inside of the table. So, I gotta figure out a way to keep 'em on the inside wall. Maybe double-sided tape, maybe super glue, we'll see. I'll keep you posted.



The entire table is maybe not wide enough. I have thought of one way to add some exterior surface area. The lip of the ledge protrudes about 3/4" past the outside of the table, and I may get some lengths of T-track and affix them to the underside of that lip. Then I can make up some trays and other accessories and use hex-head bolts to affix them underneath.

I feel like I spent too much on this, and the results are crude but functional. There's still a fair bit of work to be done on it, but I will ultimately consider it a rough draft and plan for a better version in the future.
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Perry Fergin
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Quote:
It's a bit wibbly-wobbly,


Is it also timey-wimey?

But seriously: very cool table. I'd love to be able to do something like this!
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David Allen
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It MAY actually be timey-wimey, but polite people don't talk about such things.

Wibbly as a modifier of wobbly implies a wobbly motion that occurs at the same time as the primary wobble, usually in a perpendicular direction. Sometimes an actual "wibble wibble" sound may be produced. As always, your results may vary.
 
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Part of the Dr. Who theme tune is acurately rendered thus:

Wibbly-wib, wiblly wib, wiblly-wib, whaaa-hoooooo, da doo da dooo

where would we be without a wibble?
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Lawrence
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Nice job. This is pretty much how I'm planning to do mine (whenever I get a garage and working area).

How did you attach your leaning edge and playing surface to the frame?
 
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David Allen
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Speaking of mistakes...

The leaning edge: I reinforced the interior of the "vault" by lining it with more wood. The risky and foolish thing about that is that I did that by screwing the wood strips into the sides of the vault AFTER I put the playing surface down, effectively trapping the playing surface between the interior edges and the existing IKEA framework on the bottom. It seems to be sturdy enough at the moment, although down the road I may drive some short screws into the bottom for extra stability. The downside is that I won't be able to remove the playing "floor" without dismantling the entire thing.

Anyway.

Then the top ledge is screwed down into the fortified wood in about 8 places. The screws are countersunk and at some point I will cover them up with fill/paint but right now it's not that annoying.

Follow-up on the LEDs:
I ended up wrecking a set of these, manhandling them while trying to get them to stick to the inside. I bought another set, and, forewarned that they weren't going to adhere properly, bought a roll of that 3M double-sided foam mounting tape, and used that instead of relying on the crap adhesive. It seems to be pretty solid, and held up through a round of my 6-year-old son and his friends playing Crossbows and Catapults on it for about 4 hours this past weekend.

EDIT: I realized you may have been asking how I affixed the vinyl and batting to the plywood "floor." In a nutshell, lots of spray adhesive and 3/8" staples. In case that's what you were asking.
 
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Andrew Vogel
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Thanks for the detailed information. What are your thoughts about this project now that it's been completed for a while? Any changes you'd make or modifications?
 
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David Allen
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vogelap wrote:
Thanks for the detailed information. What are your thoughts about this project now that it's been completed for a while? Any changes you'd make or modifications?


You're welcome! I hope it's helpful in some way when you build your own.

I think if I could go back in time I would perhaps change the ORDER in which I did things. For example, I should have implemented my illumination solution BEFORE I attached the walls to the vault floor. In my efforts to firmly fix the LEDs to the interior walls I used some glue (that didn't work). The glue failed to stick the LEDs to the side but did manage to leave a permanent mark on the game surface--arrgh! It doesn't interfere with game play at all but it looks pretty shitty. If I had done that before I attached the vault it wouldn't have happened.

Another thing is that in the course of my everyday life I have to take it down and put it back up more often than I had anticipated. If I had been aware of how often that would be required I might have tried to find a better leg removal and attachment setup.

Finally, I guess the jury's out on the leaning rail's dimensions and the inclusion of cupholders. I might make a narrower rail and use external, rail-mounted cupholders (and other accessories, like trays, etc.) next time. But I didn't have a router (or much money) this time so it wasn't an option.
 
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Kevin Garber
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perrygf wrote:
Quote:
It's a bit wibbly-wobbly,


Is it also timey-wimey?

But seriously: very cool table. I'd love to be able to do something like this!


On a less Whovian note - Have you tried running a cross brace underneath the frame you made for the sunken table? Just run a couple of this boards in an X pattern under the undermount and bracket them to the table legs. That ought to help with it a good bit.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I think it looks cool! Of course I can't see whether it wobbles in the photos, but I find the result quite impressive.

I don't think I will ever buy a professional gaming table (unless I somehow end up with more disposable income than I am currently anticipating), simply because I can't justify the cost for me personally and already own a pretty good dining table. But these self-made ones seem quite good, too!
It's a bit of a pity that I have absolutely no experience with woodwork, so I'd likely make a mess of it.

How much was it in total in the end, if you're willing to say?
 
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David Allen
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Gswp wrote:
I think it looks cool! Of course I can't see whether it wobbles in the photos, but I find the result quite impressive.

How much was it in total in the end, if you're willing to say?


The table doesn't wobble at all, actually. The bottom of the vault will bend down a bit if you press hard on it, but so far there's been no reason to press down on it. In response to Kevin's question, I can't attach anything to the legs because they have to be removable, and honestly, the wibble and the wobble are negligible. Negligigibbl-gobble?

Thinking about costs, the table was $40 on Craigslist, that much I remember. Some of the things I bought for the table were consumables, like wood, vinyl for the table liner, sandpaper, LEDS, glue, etc. and I would say maybe $200-$250 for those total. I bought a few things like extra clamps and a hole saw attachment for my drill but I will use those for other things, so using some creative accounting means I don't have to include those things when I tally up the cost. As any amateur woodworker will tell you, if they're being honest, EVERY project is really just an excuse to buy more tools for the NEXT project.

If you don't have any tools then obviously the cost skyrockets, as you would need a tablesaw, a miter saw, a drill, etc. for which you could spend anywhere from $300 for a starter setup to, well, skijillions of dollars if you get REALLY into it.
 
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