Sometimes you’re a (table)top…

This is a quick one – I didn’t document a single thing, and this casual snap Helen took of Sam and I under the tabletop is the only proof.

Sam is getting serious about tabletop wargaming, so a proper sized table was in order! Of course Sam and Helen already have a table that we’ve spent many happy hours at. So what we really needed was a table top that would sit atop the exiting table…er…top. And since a 4′ x 6′ tabletop is a bit of an intrusion on their cosy apartment it also needed to come apart and tuck away unobtrusively somewhere.

Originally we were thinking about a lengthwise split with some recessed hinges, but I couldn’t figure out how to make recessed hinges fold flat, and it would be damned heavy. Eventually Sam came up with a better plan – use dowel pegs to join two foot sections into a continuous surface, and support it with rails underneath. By attaching the hardwood rails and dowels to the outer sections, the tabletop can be made with any two, or all three sections without any obtrusive bits sticking out. It also meant that the dowels are shielded by the rails when the tabletop is stowed, and that the whole thing stows fairly neatly behind their couch. Once we had it all figured, we splurged on a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3/4″ finished plywood and got cutting. There were some added complications as we were working in a windstorm. But the end result is a great Phase One TableTop.

Tabletop Instructions:

  1. Use a skillsaw with a track or guide just a simple long-straight guide board clamped in place to cut your wood.
  2. Since it is already finished wood it’s worth your time to use painters tape to prevent tear out or chipping on your cut line.
  3. Line up the dowel placement carefully.
  4. Use more painter’s tape to mark half of the dowel length on the appropriate drill bit.
  5. Leave the dowel holes on the outside pieces a little tight, and loosen up the holes on the inner piece a fair bit – the table needs to come apart easily, but the dowels need to stay in place.
  6. Test the alignment of the tabletop, dowels, and holes before glueing the dowels into the tighter outside holes.
  7. Once the tabletop is complete line it up on the table it will top, and then screw in the hardwood rails.

Side benefit: As soon as it was all put together Helen and I were able to use the huge surface for a sewing party! I started work on my Negroni, and Helen was working on her very successful Alder (seriously, it’s lovely).

I so enjoyed working on the larger surface that the next day I built myself a new, larger tabletop out of a similar sheet of 3/4 inch finished plywood, though mine is a single piece, and my table-tucking space wouldn’t bear the large dimensions of Sam’s WarGaming TableTop. With a little luck I might eventually beat him at a game of Malifaux!

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