continuing onto the long edge

Building a Gaming Table, Part 1

For the longest time, I’ve wanted my own full-size gaming table for playing games of Warhammer 40K, or any of the other games I’ve taken an interest in – Warmachine, Kings of War, Deadzone, Dropzone Commander, etc… but I’ve either a) never had the space, b) never had the time, or c) never quite had that “nudge” from inaction to action. Not having my own car/van to transport the necessary materials was also a big factor!

The release of the new 7th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 (more on this later) finally gave me that nudge, and having my own place has given me the space. This weekend I was feeling super-productive, so time-be-damned I was building my gaming table! My Ex was kind enough to drive me to the local B&Q, and transport my materials back in her large MPV. This is what I picked up initially:

  • 6’x4′ 12mm-thick MDF sheet (comes as 8×4, but the store cut for free. I kept the cut-off)
  • 2x folding saw horses
  • 4x 1800x44x34mm planed-finish wood
  • 2x quick-release clamps (in hindsight, 4 would have made the job a lot easier)

I already had a big box of high-quality wood screws (5x40mm), drill/driver and bits, so didn’t need any of those.

Construction was a blast, and surprisingly quick. Check the gallery below for some in-progress snaps. In all, it took me roughly 2 hours from unloading the materials to having this stage of the board constructed. The basic process was:

  1. Test-fit the supporting frame on the top of the board, and make some rough cuts to make things easier to handle.
  2. Mark out which piece went where. I numbered each piece, and marked which piece it butt up against.
  3. Clamp my first piece (short end) to the underside of the MDF, lining it flush against the edges.
  4. Drill a series of 3mm pilot holes along the length of the side, roughly 14mm in from the edge, and 200mm apart
  5. Countersink the holes. Not entirely necessary, but you want to make sure the screws are driven slightly below the surface, and this helps. My woodworking teacher would be proud.
  6. Screw the MDF surface to the wood frame
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 for the long edge. I found it useful to drill/sink/screw a couple of holes near the starting corner before continuing with the rest of the holes. This let me move the clamps along and keep the longer piece more stable as I worked.
  8. Repeat for the remaining 2 sides.
  9. Trim off any excess. I used an oscillating tool with a general wood blade.
  10. Done! For now.

So what’s next?

Well, I need to do a couple more things to the frame – mainly, I need to add at least 2 crossbeams for more stability. I noticed when moving the board to where it will be stored, that it’s a little flexible off of the saw horses. This shouldn’t be a problem during a game, but I don’t want the stresses of being moved to damage my board. Then I want to add a couple more batons running 90 degrees to each short edge. The saw horses I’m using each have two 40mm wide slots for wood to sit in, so I’m going to utilise these so the frame sits on the saw horse, not the underside of the MDF. Then I’m toying with the idea of adding some planed wood to the outer edges, to both “finish” the board by covering the join between MDF and frame, and give it a raised edge all the way around – hopefully no lost dice!

Finally, I need to fill the screw holes and paint it! Then build the scenery. Then paint the scenery…

More posts to come as the project continues!

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About Chris

Dad. Techy. Professional Blasphemer. Part-time Wargamer. Full-time Geek. I work in the Oil & Gas sector for an IT services company

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