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Subject: Table making tools? rss

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Daniel C
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Hello all,

So in my collection of tools, I only own a drill, wrenches and screw drivers. I've been contemplating on making a gaming table of my own, just looking at the prices for custom tables seem to be in the thousands and that's something way out of my budget.

That being said, I was wondering what tools would someone need to make their own table. I also plan on making my own shelving unit one day as well. And a very heavy duty craft table for leather working. I'm not an expert at making things, but back in the 80's I did make some drawers and other stuff in woodshop and I do remember some of the techniques, so I'm some what handy.

Thanks.
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Ahmed Hadzi
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Excellent topic! Subscribing.

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Aaron Brogdon
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When I built mine, the tools I used in addition to those you lister were: miter saw, table saw, router, sander, chalk line and measuring tape. Don't forget after building to apply pre-stain, stain and polyeurothane.

Get a second set of hands for building and the whole thing goes a lot easier than you would expect. Remember that if a process is new to you: YouTube is your friend.
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Emperors Grace
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ZeWildStar wrote:
Hello all,

So in my collection of tools, I only own a drill, wrenches and screw drivers. I've been contemplating on making a gaming table of my own, just looking at the prices for custom tables seem to be in the thousands and that's something way out of my budget.

That being said, I was wondering what tools would someone need to make their own table. I also plan on making my own shelving unit one day as well. And a very heavy duty craft table for leather working. I'm not an expert at making things, but back in the 80's I did make some drawers and other stuff in woodshop and I do remember some of the techniques, so I'm some what handy.

Thanks.


I'd suggest picking up a basic hammer, saw, measuring tape, and maybe pliers to do some handyman stuff, let alone build anything.

It matters what your budget is and what your trying to achieve.

You can make almost anything with hand tools but power equipment can help shave a lot of time here and there (and help some with accuracy).

To give you an idea:

The kitchen shelving/cabinets I built a while back used a circular saw, a table saw, a sliding miter saw, a small sander with detail point, a hammer, drill/driver, wood glue, clamps, and a router.

Now, the router could be skipped if you used premade moulding and/or like square edges. The sliding miter saw could be skipped if you have a small back saw and a miter box. The table saw might be skipped if you used a guidebar for the circular saw and go carefully. Etc...

ninja'd by brog
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Vince Leamons
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ZeWildStar wrote:
Hello all,

So in my collection of tools, I only own a drill, wrenches and screw drivers. I've been contemplating on making a gaming table of my own, just looking at the prices for custom tables seem to be in the thousands and that's something way out of my budget.

That being said, I was wondering what tools would someone need to make their own table. I also plan on making my own shelving unit one day as well. And a very heavy duty craft table for leather working. I'm not an expert at making things, but back in the 80's I did make some drawers and other stuff in woodshop and I do remember some of the techniques, so I'm some what handy.

Thanks.


Hate to burst your bubble, but to get a really good result from scratch you're going to need a lot more tools, particularly a table saw. I suggest that if all you have are hand tools, you'll get a better result by making just a top for an existing table - all you'll need are plywood, some wood glue, and a hand saw. There are numerous videos on Youtube for making just a top, assuming you have a serviceable kitchen table to set it on.
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Vince Leamons
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Emperors Grace wrote:
ZeWildStar wrote:
Hello all,

So in my collection of tools, I only own a drill, wrenches and screw drivers. I've been contemplating on making a gaming table of my own, just looking at the prices for custom tables seem to be in the thousands and that's something way out of my budget.

That being said, I was wondering what tools would someone need to make their own table. I also plan on making my own shelving unit one day as well. And a very heavy duty craft table for leather working. I'm not an expert at making things, but back in the 80's I did make some drawers and other stuff in woodshop and I do remember some of the techniques, so I'm some what handy.

Thanks.


I'd suggest picking up a basic hammer, saw, measuring tape, and maybe pliers to do some handyman stuff, let alone build anything.

It matters what your budget is and what your trying to achieve.

You can make almost anything with hand tools but power equipment can help shave a lot of time here and there (and help some with accuracy).

To give you an idea:

The kitchen shelving/cabinets I built a while back used a circular saw, a table saw, a sliding miter saw, a small sander with detail point, a hammer, drill/driver, wood glue, clamps, and a router.

Now, the router could be skipped if you used premade moulding. The sliding miter saw could be skipped if you have a small back saw and a miter box. The table saw might be skipped if you used a guidebar for the circular saw and go carefully. Etc...

ninja'd by brog


I think the table saw is pretty much required unless you want a table that's exactly 4'x8' and you're willing to make everything else out of 2x4s and 4x4s - and even then, you really need the circular saw. The result will also be far from polished.
 
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Vince Leamons
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One other thing not to skip: clamps. I cannot emphasize enough how important clamps are to basically all woodworking.
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Daniel C
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SJAirshark wrote:
ZeWildStar wrote:
Hello all,

So in my collection of tools, I only own a drill, wrenches and screw drivers. I've been contemplating on making a gaming table of my own, just looking at the prices for custom tables seem to be in the thousands and that's something way out of my budget.

That being said, I was wondering what tools would someone need to make their own table. I also plan on making my own shelving unit one day as well. And a very heavy duty craft table for leather working. I'm not an expert at making things, but back in the 80's I did make some drawers and other stuff in woodshop and I do remember some of the techniques, so I'm some what handy.

Thanks.


Hate to burst your bubble, but to get a really good result from scratch you're going to need a lot more tools, particularly a table saw. I suggest that if all you have are hand tools, you'll get a better result by making just a top for an existing table - all you'll need are plywood, some wood glue, and a hand saw. There are numerous videos on Youtube for making just a top, assuming you have a serviceable kitchen table to set it on.


That's the question I'm asking, what kind of tools are needed? Miter saw, drill press, etc? I do plan on making some furniture, so this is going to be an investment. I'm just looking for guidance on what tools I'd need to make a gaming table from scratch, and brand recommendation, though I do plan on buying some cheapo stuff from harbor freight, like an electric sander.
 
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Tim Mangan
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I've made some end tables, and could probably make a game table if I set my mind to it. If you take an existing table (like buy an old dining room table on Craigslist or at an auction), you can probably get by a lot easier.
1. Drill (you've got that, so it's a good start)
2. Circular saw
3. Level -- probably at least 2-3 feet long.
4. Carpenter's square -- I have one that I can adjust. It's invaluable.
5. Power sander

From those, you could probably retrofit an existing table into a gaming table. If you want it a little fancier . . .
6. Router

If you are going to make the table completely from scratch, then it gets a lot more involved.
7. Table saw
8. Jointer/Planer -- if you plan on gluing several boards together to make the tabletop.

Whatever you decide, you will want clamps in various sizes and lots of wood glue. And don't skimp on the sanding. It takes a long time, but if you do a poor job sanding, you'll live with the poor results forever.
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Emperors Grace
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SJAirshark wrote:

I think the table saw is pretty much required unless you want a table that's exactly 4'x8' and you're willing to make everything else out of 2x4s and 4x4s - and even then, you really need the circular saw. The result will also be far from polished.


I know many woodworkers and centuries of history that would disagree with power tools being needed to create "polished" furniture. Don't get me wrong, they will help with speed and make up for some lack of skill but I don't think the lack of a table saw should deter anyone. Especially in the age of HD doing rough cuts of sheet goods in store.

If you're careful, skillful, and don't mind sanding and planing, you can make accurate and polished results with no power tools at all.

Also, unless a planer/jointer is in play, many people will only take on projects that use pre-dimensioned lumber. Nothing wrong with that, just removes some flexibility.

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Tim Mangan
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Emperors Grace wrote:

If you're careful, skillful, and don't mind sanding and planing, you can make accurate and polished results with no power tools at all.


I've been wood working for years, and still can't plane very skillfully. And sanding is just boring.
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Emperors Grace
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tmangan2 wrote:
Emperors Grace wrote:

If you're careful, skillful, and don't mind sanding and planing, you can make accurate and polished results with no power tools at all.


I've been wood working for years, and still can't plane very skillfully. And sanding is just boring.


I will agree wholeheartedly on sanding. Worst part of the job.
 
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ZeWildStar wrote:


That's the question I'm asking, what kind of tools are needed? Miter saw, drill press, etc? I do plan on making some furniture, so this is going to be an investment. I'm just looking for guidance on what tools I'd need to make a gaming table from scratch, and brand recommendation, though I do plan on buying some cheapo stuff from harbor freight, like an electric sander.


It depends on the level of fancy you want to some extent.

Beaded/Rounded edge legs really need a router.
Chamfered legs might need a table saw or a VERY steady hand.
Turned legs require a lathe.
Etc...

Personally, if I wanted to make a very basic table right now, I'd want my:

Table saw (with plywood blade and crosscut blade)
Drill/Driver (and bits and counter sink)
Router (with roundover bit and plywood bits)
Sander
Miter saw
Mallet (basically a heavy rubber hammer to help knock things into place without denting)
Hammer
Utility Knife
Clamps
Sandpaper
Wood Glue
Carpenter's square
Pocket square
Measuring tape
Levels (48" and Torpedo)
Pencil/Sketchpad
Various wood and hardware

I've had OK experience with Skil and Ryobi at the "weekender" end of the tool spectrum.
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Emperors Grace wrote:
SJAirshark wrote:

I think the table saw is pretty much required unless you want a table that's exactly 4'x8' and you're willing to make everything else out of 2x4s and 4x4s - and even then, you really need the circular saw. The result will also be far from polished.


I know many woodworkers and centuries of history that would disagree with power tools being needed to create "polished" furniture. Don't get me wrong, they will help with speed and make up for some lack of skill but I don't think the lack of a table saw should deter anyone. Especially in the age of HD doing rough cuts of sheet goods in store.

If you're careful, skillful, and don't mind sanding and planing, you can make accurate and polished results with no power tools at all.

Also, unless a planer/jointer is in play, many people will only take on projects that use pre-dimensioned lumber. Nothing wrong with that, just removes some flexibility.



Yep, the only thing the OP actually needs beyond what he has is a decent handsaw. Everything else is a convenience. If I were to add to that I probably start with the sander and then the miter saw. Something to check angles with is also pretty useful. After that would be a circular saw (with some clamps) or a table saw. Then, if doing drawers at all, bar clamps
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This is a matter of time you'd like to spend vs. cost you'd like to spend vs. quality you'd like to achieve. If you want to spend more time for better quality at a lower cost, get a hand rip saw, hand crosscut saw, joining plane, maybe a spokeshave, chisels, and a hammer and you'll be set (you'll need to build a bench and get good at planing rough wood though). You'll still need layout tools, sandpaper/scrapers, punches, clamps, and etc.

If you want good quality for less time, you'll need to shell out a couple thousand on power tools to get the job done - a tablesaw alone that is worth considering for cutting down sheet goods will run you $300 at minimum. Power planers and joiners for use with rough wood (and IMO, a higher-quality end product than one made purely from plywood) will also start at $300-400 and go up quickly. I'd prefer to use a cabinet saw for such work and they usually aren't available below $1,000. You'll probably still need all the sanding and layout tools you'd need above that are too numerous and varied to just list.

If you're ok settling on quality and/or time, a circular saw and some guides are all you *need* to get the job done. You'll want the same sanding and layout stuff as before.

The cheapest setup I can envision using myself from what you've described would run you several hundred (and up, there's not really an upper limit to spending on any one tool here) and include a circular saw, a circular saw guide-clamp (ideally also a rip attachment, but you can build a rip guide for ~$20 from sheet good offcuts), a couple of GOOD BLADES for said saw (plan on $50, IIRC Diablo is a good-enough brand and you need a fine cross-cut and a ripping blade), orbital sander, try-square, framing square, tape measure, japanese-style pull saw (Lowes sells a good inexpensive one for $20), chisels & mallet, glue, and possibly a compressor and 18 ga. nailer. Some of that I'd be fine getting at harbor freight (compressor, nailer, saw guide), most I'd try to get a better brand for though.
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Emperors Grace wrote:
SJAirshark wrote:

I think the table saw is pretty much required unless you want a table that's exactly 4'x8' and you're willing to make everything else out of 2x4s and 4x4s - and even then, you really need the circular saw. The result will also be far from polished.


I know many woodworkers and centuries of history that would disagree with power tools being needed to create "polished" furniture. Don't get me wrong, they will help with speed and make up for some lack of skill but I don't think the lack of a table saw should deter anyone. Especially in the age of HD doing rough cuts of sheet goods in store.

If you're careful, skillful, and don't mind sanding and planing, you can make accurate and polished results with no power tools at all.

Also, unless a planer/jointer is in play, many people will only take on projects that use pre-dimensioned lumber. Nothing wrong with that, just removes some flexibility.



I'm assuming from his statement that the OP is not Ethan Allen.

All is possible with unlimited time and/or willingness to accept rougher quality.
 
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Emperors Grace wrote:
ZeWildStar wrote:


That's the question I'm asking, what kind of tools are needed? Miter saw, drill press, etc? I do plan on making some furniture, so this is going to be an investment. I'm just looking for guidance on what tools I'd need to make a gaming table from scratch, and brand recommendation, though I do plan on buying some cheapo stuff from harbor freight, like an electric sander.


It depends on the level of fancy you want to some extent.

Beaded/Rounded edge legs really need a router.
Chamfered legs might need a table saw or a VERY steady hand.
Turned legs require a lathe.
Etc...

Personally, if I wanted to make a very basic table right now, I'd want my:

Table saw (with plywood blade and crosscut blade)
Drill/Driver (and bits and counter sink)
Router (with roundover bit and plywood bits)
Sander
Miter saw
Mallet (basically a heavy rubber hammer to help knock things into place without denting)
Hammer
Utility Knife
Clamps
Sandpaper
Wood Glue
Carpenter's square
Pocket square
Measuring tape
Levels (48" and Torpedo)
Pencil/Sketchpad
Various wood and hardware

I've had OK experience with Skil and Ryobi at the "weekender" end of the tool spectrum.


I'm just going basic, straight edges, some drawers, cup holder, removable felt surface.
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To really answer your question would depend both on your knowledge and skill in woodworking and the table you want to build.

You could build a basic functional table with a drill/driver, bit set, circular saw and a straight edge you can clamp to your wood. Probably add a hand saw, miter box, tape measure and sharp pencil to extend beyond the basic butt joints.

Making it look better and be more functional will usually require more complicated joinery and therefore more tools. Screws, bolts and glue will hold your table together.

Access to a table saw and a good set of plans would make things a lot faster and easier. The table saws purpose is to make straight boards by cutting with the grain and across the grain. Adding a set of dado blades to your table saw increases your possibilities, cutting different width grooves and rabbets in your wood and allowing for more complicated joinery.

A router, especially a plunge router, can also aid making a beyond the basics table and your further funiture endeavors.

A drill press is also useful later on when needing dead on straight holes, but careful use of a hand drill will do fine in the beginning.

I feel I could make many fine tables with table saw, router and table, and a drill/driver and bits. It can certainly be done with circular saw, straight edge, and drill.

Sanding and finishing I will leave for the experts with the proviso, the better the sanding and surface preparation, the better the finish will look and feel.

One final piece of advice, plywood can make your project cheaper to build, if you figure out how to cut it without shattering the veneer and a method to hide the layered edges. This doesn't mean ratty construction grade plywood but hardwood plywood you might have to look for in a specialty store.

Sharp tools and a good work bench along with eye protection and hearing protection if you use machinery, will make your efforts safer!

Good Luck!
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Clamps. Lots of clamps.
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brianvball wrote:
To really answer your question would depend both on your knowledge and skill in woodworking and the table you want to build.


This.

Woodworking is a wide, wonderful hobby that lets you do so much and express yourself in so many ways. But a from-scratch game table isn't the best project with which to learn foundational furniture-making skills, tool safety, project design, or budget management.

Nothing kills a hobby faster than trying to do too much too soon. I really, really encourage modifying an existing kitchen or dining table into a gaming table. You will cover a whole boatload of new skills while keeping the project manageable, and you will get ideas on how to do your next table.

I'd also recommend joining a maker group or woodworking coop. Many of them will have the tools you need for your project, there are plenty of folks to help brainstorm or teach techniques, and it's always nice to have more hands during a glue-up (don't ask me how I know).
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Emperors Grace wrote:
I've had OK experience with Skil and Ryobi at the "weekender" end of the tool spectrum.


The advice that's always been given to me (and has worked out well so far) is to start with the weekender brands and upgrade later. You will learn what you like and don't like on cheaper tools and will be able to make a more educated choice when they burn out and you do want something on the higher side of the spectrum. Also helps from a risk mitigation point of view: what if you spend a fortune on tools and learn after making your gaming table that you hate it?
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SailinDude wrote:
brianvball wrote:
To really answer your question would depend both on your knowledge and skill in woodworking and the table you want to build.


This.

Woodworking is a wide, wonderful hobby that lets you do so much and express yourself in so many ways. But a from-scratch game table isn't the best project with which to learn foundational furniture-making skills, tool safety, project design, or budget management.

Nothing kills a hobby faster than trying to do too much too soon. I really, really encourage modifying an existing kitchen or dining table into a gaming table. You will cover a whole boatload of new skills while keeping the project manageable, and you will get ideas on how to do your next table.

I'd also recommend joining a maker group or woodworking coop. Many of them will have the tools you need for your project, there are plenty of folks to help brainstorm or teach techniques, and it's always nice to have more hands during a glue-up (don't ask me how I know).


Yup, too much too soon will kill your interest. There are lots of "Build this in a weeekend" plans out there, start with those.

One thing not mentioned here, that I use all the time is a KREG Jig. Pocket hole joinery is great for beginners. Even after 5 years of woodworking I still use it for projects because it is quick and effective.
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Speed Adict wrote:
Clamps. Lots of clamps.


I can relate to that statement. It's such unsung hero in leather crafting
 
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Just my personal opinion...though I have built a few gaming tables and other furniture now.

Assuming you have the room for it.. a table saw (with a decent fence) would be the first shop purchase I'd make.

I would then take that table saw and build a miter sled which will give you a perfect crosscut if you calibrate it well.

A jointer would be next but you can always use hand planes to joint and plane.. just takes some more elbow grease. And then you have to get into sharpening them which is a whole other rabbit hole...

If you don't have the room then the new generation of track saws like the one from Triton can do some amazing things as long as your careful to support your work properly and think those setups through.

Once you've got the ability to get wood to the desired dimensions you then have to think about joinery.

Beginners usually go with pocket holes using a jig from Kregg (but I happen to prefer the porter cable system)

Eventually you get to mortise and tenon work ... and before you know it.. you've spent more on your tools than you have on your board game collection...

They are all slippery slopes but you've hit onto my particular Diamondback combo (woodworking/boardgames) so if you have any questions feel free to shoot them at me.

Oh one more thing.. I'm a big fan of the Wood Whisperer and he has plans for .. and a very detailed video on building a gaming table..









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