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[FT] Gaming Table Construction

From: Sean Bayan Schoonmaker <s_schoon@p...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 17:15:26 -0800
Subject: [FT] Gaming Table Construction

This is more properly a "review" in progress...

The problem: I needed a game table to playtest some scenarios before 
I unleash them upon an unsuspecting world, some of which require a 6' 
by 8' space.

The problem 2: I don't have 6' by 8' to spare anywhere in my house, 
except in my wildest dreams.

Solution: Take a page from the 1 MU = 1 cm crowd.

I decided on a 74 cm by 98 cm "board." That gives me 72x96 MU with a 
1 cm border.

The materials: One 8' by 4' sheet of 1/8" tempered masonite - $8.00
Two 8' lengths of 1" by 1" stripping - $2.00
30 brass #8 by 1/2" wood screws - Turned out to be unnecessary!
1 bottle of wood glue - $2.00
1 can black enamel spray paint - $2.00
(All obtained at the local lumber store)
1 roll 1/16 inch red Formaline - $2.50
1 roll 1/8 inch red Formaline - $2.50
(Can be gotten from graphic supply or film stores)
Total Expense - $19.00

Construction: For those who are metric-challenged, 74 cm by 98 cm is 
approximately 29.1" by 38.6". In other words, my masonite was more 
than enough for two "boards," but I'm going to use the rest for 
"canvases" for airbrush art.

1) I first measured and cut out my 74 cm by 98 cm piece of masonite. 
As circular saws aren't really precision instruments, I was "over" by 
about .25 cm on one cut, but as I'm going to have a border anyway, I 
can use that to "absorb" to slight goof.
LESSON LEARNED - Borders are good things, making exact precision less 

2) I measured and cut my two "short end" strips of 1" by 1" backing 
by laying the uncut board under my cut masonite, aligning one end and 
marking the other side. This means that they fit perfectly. Then I 
glued them in place, using clamps, and letting them dry overnight.
LESSON LEARNED - Don't get hung up on measurements when there are 
better ways to get a good fit.

3) The two long ends were measured by laying the wood across the 
board, butting one end into place, and then drawing the line on the 
"underside" where it crossed the other strip. One of these came out 
perfect, and the other one needed a small piece (1/16) of balsa for 
filler. Any small bit of shim wood would have done the trick. I glued 
these in place, letting them dry for about 3+ hours.
LESSON LEARNED - Even slightly off bits can be made to fit "just right."

4) Because I'm a glutton for punishment (and I wanted to see if I 
could do it) I also put in a crosspiece for added stability and to 
prevent warping over time. THIS STEP IS NOT NECESSARY. To measure the 
crosspiece, I simply lay a piece of approximately the right length on 
the existing strips, lined up a ruler with the inside edges, draw, 
and cut. I made the piece go exactly corner to corner, though it's 
easier to offset slightly so you only have to cut once for a diagonal 
and not make a second cut for a true corner. I glued it in, clamping 
at the corners and putting heavy books on top of the center.
LESSON LEARNED - I have a twisted mind.

5) After letting the entire thing dry overnight again, I decided that 
screws would actually be completely unnecessary. The glue I used 
(Titebond) was rock solid!
LESSON LEARNED - How the *#*% am I going to get rid of 30 brass screws!

6) I put on about 6 coats of black spray enamel, did a light sand 
with very fine grain sand paper and then put on another two coats. I 
allowed about 20 minutes drying time between coats. This gives a very 
nice, smooth surface.
LESSON LEARNED - Take your time letting it dry!

7) I'll be putting the Formaline strips down, using the 1/8 inch one 
for the outer boarder of the playing area and the 1/16 inch one for 
dividing lines every 12 cm, as soon as it comes in (I had to special 
order it for colors other than yellow or white). I'm adding the 
dividing lines just to make it easy for me to identify "set-up" zones 
and quickly gauge distance for other playtest purposes.

That's it for now. I'm thinking about building a full sized 6 foot by 
8 foot sectional table for cons, store demos and such, but that'll be 
another tale.

Hope this helps somebody...

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