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Subject: Building a simple gaming table rss

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I recently tried to play eclipse on the table in my game room. But since it was a regular office desk with dimensions of about 80x160 cm, anything more than a two-player wasnt feasible. (Dont get me wrong, in the past year this table has done very well to accommodate game nights of up to six people with all kinds of games, with maybe twice presenting a space related problem.) So i began planning a custom table. Nothing fancy with drawers or a hidden second play area recessed in the top, just a big surface to game on.

This weekend i started construction. I removed the old top from the metal frame underneath, which became the basis for my new table. then i cut down the sheet of particle board i had lying around from the model train days of my childhood. it was 190x150 cm, so a bit too big for my endeavor. i cut it down to 190x125 cm and put it on the metal frame, thinking i was almost done. Then i sat down to get a feel for my creation, and got a frankensteiny vibe. i had created a monster, too big for comfort. It almost seemed to swallow any game board i put on it. So i cut it down to 190x110 cm and finally got dimensions suitable for comfortable gaming.

I remembered a post from a while back where a geek described his fully custom built table in great detail. I stole the idea to use floor boards for the actual surface. After checking the local "Hagebau", a DIY store and getting sticker shock from the parquet prices i turned to laminate (i hope this translates) for my table. I found something suitable, altough i would have liked some darker faux wood more. After laying the laminate out on the table and marking it, i cut it with a table saw so it fit flush with the edge of the particle board. I glued it to the bard with double sided adhesive tape and sanded down the edges for a better look and feel. Now i am waiting for my next paycheck to get some molding for the edges for a more professional look. Currently i cant decide between wood or aluminium molding, so feel free to weigh in on this.

Pictures (regrettably there are no pictures of early states, i had already cut the first laminate board to size when i started making pictures, so its in every one.):





note: the table legs were flush with the old tabletop, so they are 80 cm apart. jsut so you get a better sense of scale.



Not that anyone asked, but fyi: i had to arrange the laminate boards in this fashion to get a decent pattern. The Print on the boards repeats every four or five boards.




Edit 07.11.2012

After having played quite a few games on the table i came to the following conclusions:

due to the smooth surface of the table dealing cards is a delight. They glide and glide and so on. Also, i will not be putting anything around the edges for now. i will however build some decent legs from wood, since the tabletop is too heavy and big on the current setup. this puts a damper on dexterity games like villa paletti. Maybe i can sink the tabletop into a wooden frame and thereby solve all my issues with the unappealing looking boarders.

Edit 09.11.2013

After one year of gaming at this table here is another quick impression: the boards, which were the cheapest i could find, warped a little. not very much, the difference is maybe a millimeter, and this may have been avoided if the laminate boards had been glued onto the particle board properly instead of the double sided adhesive tape i used. This slight warpage has not impeded play with any games so far, and the fact that you have enough space for games with a massive footprint has come in handy once or twice. But if i decide to make another one, i will make it modular so it doesnt "swallow" the smaller games. I would have never thought there was something like too much tablespace.
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Steve Duff
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Sweet.
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How is the texture? I would think the laminate would make the top slippery - is this the case?

[EDIT: Looks great by the way!]
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cant tell yet how the surface feels, havent used the table yet. currently i am experiencing some difficulty with the doublesided adhesive tape i used to glue the laminate onto the particle board. to prevent the laminate from unsticking i piled so much stuff onto the thing i cant see the surface. if anyone has tips on how to secure the laminate on the laminated particle board they would be very appreciated.
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Benjamin Maggi
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borgfather wrote:
then i cut down the sheet of particle board i had lying around from the model train days of my childhood.


Wait, you chopped up your Model Train layout? I am as big a board gamer as the next person, but model trains come first and foremost. I could never destroy a train layout... even for playing board games. :what:
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Scott
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borgfather wrote:
if anyone has tips on how to secure the laminate on the laminated particle board they would be very appreciated.


Something like Wilsonart Type II. It's a binary (two part) PVA adhesive but it may only be available in commercial quantities (20 kg pails). Any wood glue should do since it's a table and not a countertop swelling from contact with water shouldn't be an issue so water resistant glue isn't a high priority.

You will want to clamp the surface as it dries and you will want a second person to help align the laminate once the glue is applied. Apply the glue not too thickly of course so there are no gaps between laminate and base.
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Benjamin Maggi
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borgfather wrote:
cant tell yet how the surface feels, havent used the table yet. currently i am experiencing some difficulty with the doublesided adhesive tape i used to glue the laminate onto the particle board. to prevent the laminate from unsticking i piled so much stuff onto the thing i cant see the surface. if anyone has tips on how to secure the laminate on the laminated particle board they would be very appreciated.


Another approach would be to first seal the particle board of Kilz primer or similar should do) and then attach the wood to that. Particle board is especially prone to warping, and if you put too much glue (or any) then it may warp the particle board, taking the laminate with it. Once it cures your board will be permanently warped.

Or, if you glue the top to the laminate but the bottom is exposed to the elements (moisture and humidity) then it may warp differently because once side is sealed via the glue and the other isn't. They will expand at different rates.

Just my two cents based on my experience with particle board.
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Scott
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Benjamin Maggi wrote:
borgfather wrote:
then i cut down the sheet of particle board i had lying around from the model train days of my childhood.


Wait, you chopped up your Model Train layout? I am as big a board gamer as the next person, but model trains come first and foremost. I could never destroy a train layout... even for playing board games.


I took it to mean he had a sheet left over from his younger days, as in a plain sheet ready to be used for something but as yet unused, not a layout with track and scenery. Anything else is inconceivable.
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Brian
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'Construction adhesive' would seem to be in the theme/level of this project. Cheap, easy to use. Would seem to solve either of the two problems you are likely having with the tape: some kind of gap, or not sticking to a certain material. Comes in a tube, put it in a caulking gun, make as few as a couple 1/4" beads, put some small amount of weight on top for a day.

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Benjamin Maggi wrote:
borgfather wrote:
then i cut down the sheet of particle board i had lying around from the model train days of my childhood.


Wait, you chopped up your Model Train layout? I am as big a board gamer as the next person, but model trains come first and foremost. I could never destroy a train layout... even for playing board games.


i never got into model trains. i had two starter sets which i combined on the board, but i never built terrain or anything around it. and once the second control unit broke i lost interest. just watching the train go round and round never held much appeal. the most intersting thing was laying track, and lego was better for building all kinds of stuff.

ironically now i work for a company which produces accessories for model trains and dioramas... thats how the cookie crumbles.


Edit 07.11.2012

After having played quite a few games on the table i came to the following conclusions:

due to the smooth surface of the table dealing cards is a delight. They glide and glide and so on. Also, i will not be putting anything around the edges for now. i will however build some decent legs from wood, since the tabletop is too heavy and big on the current setup. this puts a damper on dexterity games like villa paletti. Maybe i can sink the tabletop into a wodden frame and thereby solve all my issues with the unappealing looking boarders.
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