Hey folks. Just wanted to touch base concerning the upcoming Gaming Dining Table project which begins on Sept. 18th. As usual, we’ll have a video every Friday until the project is complete. I usually like to start my projects on the first Friday of the month but because of our Woodworkers Fighting Cancer event, I am forced to push it back a little.

gaming-table-earlyI know many of you are anxious to get your hands on the plans and I’ll make them available as soon as I possibly can. To the left you’ll see a sneak peak. I don’t have a cut list or materials estimate yet but the legs are made from 8/4 stock, the aprons and trim are from 4/4 stock, and the top and recessed surfaces are made from plywood. The table has some fairly complicated challenges with regard to the use of soft playing surface materials and we’re trying to resolve those before we present the final version of the plans. In fact, one of our solutions is to go with a single-piece top instead of the segmented style you see in the picture. Ultimately, you’ll have several options and we’ll try to make those options clear in the plans and the video, though I can only build one version of the table myself. So this is one of those projects where your personal tastes and desires make take you down a slightly different path than the one I’m on, and that’s ALL GOOD! In fact, that’s something I encourage.

So enjoy the rest of your Summer and I’ll see you again in September!


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satanhead September 16, 2015 3:08 pm

Looks like your thinking on the segmented top has changed a bit – in the guild meeting it would appear the sketch up plans show the top segments as ship lapped. Looking at the direct download from the guild site, the trim around the table segments would now appear to have no lapping, but rather, perhaps make use of some type of free-floating spline to mate them. Is that the case? Are the downloadable plans out of sync, or have they changed? And what is your thinking behind how the segmented tops mate?

    Marc Spagnuolo September 16, 2015 7:26 pm

    We are still working out the details and we’ll have a lot more info on Friday. And most likely a new Sketchup file tomorrow. Bottom line is you have choices. I’m going to have to pick one of those choices based on my needs/desires. But we’ll present several options so you can choose what’s best for you.

bpalt1 August 28, 2015 6:36 am

A few years ago I looked into making one of these for a client. He directed me to a certain company’s website. I contacted company inquiring about purchasing a plan from them, thereby making me feel better about stealing their concept. They didn’t seem to appreciate my attempt at giving credit financially.

    Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 6:40 am

    haha not too surprised. To be honest, my only experience with that company is seeing their products at a Phoenix Comic Con a few years ago. When I decided to do this table, I made a point to deliberately NOT go to their website. I’m not a very “original” designer and I have trouble separating my ideas from those that live in my subconscious. And I really don’t want to get a letter from their lawyers. So the design you’ll get here is purpose-built from the brains of Spagnuolo, Marshall, and Seganti.

Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 6:28 am

Keep bringing the ideas guys. In fact, I started a thread in the forum since we can easily share images, sketchup drawings, product links, etc to convey our ideas. http://www.woodtalkonline.com/topic/19647-gaming-dining-table-ideas/

jdcook72 August 27, 2015 8:37 pm

I don’t know if this would work, is a good idea or even practical but for consideration with a segmented top and dealing with spills maybe hollow from the inside overlapping faces of the laps? If something spilled and made it’s way to the cracks, the liquid would have a place to collect instead of going directly through. Given the length of each seem, the recess wouldn’t need to be very deep to accommodate a little seepage while wiping off the table.

    Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 6:14 am

    Spills are a big concern no matter what you do. Which is part of the reason I favored going for a single piece top. But if you do a segmented top, I’d recommend reducing the segments to three, creating half as many places for the liquid to go in the first place. What you probably can’t see in the photo is that those segments are ship-lapped. So each connection creates a place for the liquid to pool. It could still make its way to the storage area but you’ll have some time to clean up before that happens. Waterproof speed cloth in the storage area would be ideal.

Wade August 27, 2015 8:09 pm

I am also looking forward to this project. I would be interested in seeing how members here add their twist to the final published design. I have actually picked out a spot in our living room for the game table and hope to tweak the design to produce a square table. My goal will be to make the table for 4 chairs. Anyone else have ideas of changing dimensions to fit a specific spot in your house?

    Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 6:16 am

    Changing dimensions of a table like this is pretty easy. Just take the length away from the rails as needed and adjust the size of the top to fit. At a certain point you might want to thin out the legs too, since they might look funny on a smaller format table. But it’s all doable.

    ross52 August 28, 2015 10:26 am

    How does it work going the other way? We have a square dining room that is annoyingly the largest room in the house. Our current dining room kit looks like a kids play set.

    I’m thinking of going with a square table by increasing the width to match the length. How do you know how much you can add to the size before you have to think about increasing the support? I try to avoid thought thinking.

    In terms of ideas, I’m not sure if there are plans to utilize the underside of the segmented top. My idea is to allow them to be flipped over and install t-track (or a similar less industrial looking system) that will allow additional custom elements for even more modularity

    Used in conjunction with the inner table playing surface for 2.5d tabletop gaming
    Sifferent DnD tile sets that can be attached to a board and slid in
    A DM or player blinder, ie scrable tiles, player card hands
    Another place for a tablet holder?
    Custom catan/zombicide border boundries. (they move. all the time… sometimes we drink)

    Even something like a lazy suzy could be slid in for a game like dominon with all the different card piles set in recesses that can be spun around to teh purchasing player.

    Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 2:10 pm

    Well to be honest, that’s a hard thing to estimate. Even at the size we have here, I plan to add some cleats on the underside to help stiffen the bottom and provide additional support. It could be overkill but it makes me feel better about the structure. At what point does it become a real problem? Hard to say. Fortunately, material availability sometimes forces our hand a bit. For instance, if you wanted to increase the width to match the length, you would actually exceed the capacity of a single sheet of plywood. That means your table bottom would have to come from two panels glued together. It can be done, but that’s something I like to try to avoid when possible. So if you’re going for a square, keep in mind that anything over that 4’x4′ is going to land you into multi-sheet territory. If you’re OK with that, I’d still say at minimum you’ll want supportive cleats on the underside. But determining at what point you’ll need to step up to more substantial reinforcement is something of an unknown for me.

    ross52 August 30, 2015 12:58 pm

    Understood. I’m not set on square, but unfortuantely we really need extra width past 4′. We are a large people that won’t stop eating.

    Your reply has me thinking of a 4×6 sheet of plywood with a 3 1/2″ hardwood edge border type thing to bump out the dimension to the required ogre size. With additional supportive cleats you mentioned I think we’ll be good, though I’ll have to see more about how the bottom is attached.

    Really looking forward to this build, thank you!

mattdb August 27, 2015 7:46 pm

I’m also a bit concerned, from what I can see it looks like there will be a 3/4″ “arm rest” edge which seems uncomfortable to me. I’d like to see an “arm rest” all the way around the perimeter, which could also conceal the legs. The removable top and play area would both be 6-ish inches smaller in each direction given the same size outer table dimensions, and would require more material, but these seem like better tradeoffs to me.

    Marc Spagnuolo August 28, 2015 6:18 am

    I considered that but personally didn’t like the look. Makes the table look like a giant picture frame to me. But everything is open for discussion and if you want to take things in a different direction, I’ll do what I can to help you get there. Other Guild members are also pretty good about bouncing ideas around and offering suggestions. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Cameron August 27, 2015 5:54 pm

Like Bob, this project was the singular reason why I decided to sign up for a guild membership. Also, like Bob (if his namesake is correct) – I am in South Texas! My eyes have been on a certain popular gaming table, but I just could not justify the cost of purchasing one. I would rather spend the tools and time, and learn more about wood working in the process.

There is obviously a few ways to tackle the top design, such as Marc’s suggestion of a singular top. One “gotcha” with attaching the playing surface to the top is that depending on how it is adhered, replacing the playing surface once it becomes worn out, may be a challenge if it is bound to the underside of the table leaves. An alternative would be a felt/speedcloth 1/4″ insert for the bottom of the table. If the cloth insert gets ruined, you can always replace it easily (and inexpensively) without affecting the rest of the table.

If I am understanding what Bob said, you could also create arm rest extensions (“bread board”) to effectively cover the over legs. You could make them removable, as they are effectively just a long “L” shaped piece, should you need more room. Not sure aesthetics-wise if that would compromise the symmetry of the table top though, or if that is the most efficient way.

Lots of options, and looking forward to it!

satanhead August 27, 2015 2:29 pm

Oh man. This is perfect. I have this massive 8-butt dining table built from reclaimed wood, and this is the perfect application I’ve been looking for to retrofit this table into something more useful. Gnashing of teeth in anticipation.

Socheat August 27, 2015 2:09 pm

I first started getting into woodworking a couple years ago in large part because I wanted a gaming table but couldn’t afford one from the well-known company that makes them. My plan was to work on little projects that would help me learn various skills and techniques with the dream of making a similar gaming table, which led me to the Wood Whisperer site and it was all downhill from there. While I think I still have a lot more learning and practice to do, I think it’s fitting that this is my first guild project and the kick in the butt I need to challenge myself. All that to say, I’m REALLY looking forward to this project. Thanks Marc!

bobinaustin August 27, 2015 12:04 pm

This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to do this for so long and this project is what made me join. I think the legs showing inside the play area (your storage area) bother me too much. I’m going to look at either notching out the legs there so the surface is rectangular or bring the inside edge in (making the sides seem thicker).

    Marc Spagnuolo August 27, 2015 12:07 pm

    I am most likely going to bevel the inside corner to lessen the visual impact. Those details have not been added to the plans yet. Be cautious when moving your rails around. This one is a little more complicated than usual and we went through numerous iterations just to get to this point. Almost every design we come up with has a “gotcha.”

    bobinaustin August 27, 2015 12:37 pm

    My initial idea wasn’t to move the rails inward but to add a new one inside to become the interior boundary of the surface. Then a “top” connecting the new inner rail and the existing inside edge of the table. Another way of looking at is the the tops would rest on a 3″ shelf.