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Old 07-24-2013, 07:34 AM
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Default Game Table

As this project has not yet entered the fabrication stage, now is a good time to describe the design process and present the resulting preliminary design. This table is being produced for my daughter and son-in-law who are ardent board gamers in addition to having two young children (newborn and 2-1/2 yrs). There is a demand by the gaming community for specially designed furniture and gear to enrich the gaming experience and prevent mundane things (e.g. eating, sleeping, entertaining, wild children, jumping cats) from disrupting the most important activity in a gamer's life, THE GAME. The table was originally requested a year and a half ago, but due to cramped quarters, they weren't able to accept delivery, so the design process was stalled in the Discovery Stage.

The Discovery Stage is when the required features and functions are identified and alternative implementations are explored. This stage in the design process ended recently when it was determined that ample quarters for the family were on the horizon (The horizon is actually September).

It was first necessary to see how others were implementing this type of table. Game tables were being marketed at gaming conventions and game playing blog sites were featuring them:

Geek Chic: Furniture For Geeks
Geek and Sundry | Your Daily Dose of Geekiness & etc.
Geek and Sundry | TableTop


Since the commercial tables offered were so pricey, a large number of gamers with woodworking skills were creating their own designs and implementing them, often on a shoestring budget. All of this information was digested while waiting for ample quarters to be secured.

Here is a summary of the 'customer' requirements for the table:

1. Seat six; outside table dimensions 6' by 4'
2. Use standard dining chairs (17"-18" seat height)
3. Have removable table leaves and comfortable table height for dining
4. Provide 'Game Vault' at least 2-1/8" deep to allow game in progress to remain untouched below the dining surface.
5. Prevent spilled fluids from reaching items in the 'Game Vault'
6. Provide a means to easily attach accessory items to the table around its perimeter
7. Allow quick placement of a child/cat shield over a game in progress instead of putting the leaves on

The designer/fabricator/installer added a few more requirements:

8. Transport in the family vehicle (Outback)
9. Be easily assembled at destination
10. Be easily modified at destination to add additional capabilities

Of the requirements listed above, numbers 1 and 8 are responsible for guiding the most basic design decisions. Requirement 8 specifies the maximum dimensions for the largest pre-assembled table component that is to be transported. A four foot by six foot table frame will definitely not fit inside an Outback. Six foot long boards will fit, but just barely. The table must be designed so that most of the components can be assembled at the destination. This way it will be easily transported, and can also be easily 'upgraded' to suit new gaming requirements. Some of the game tables showcased at gaming conventions have exotic displays and other interfaces built into them. A modular design for the table will allow the future incorporation of features and functions that aren't available today.

Now that September is getting nearer, the design sketches have been transformed into components in Sketchup, and assembled in Sketchup into a representation of the table. In this form it is possible to compare side by side different choices for leg sizes, shapes and placements. It is also easy to visualize the assembly and disassembly procedure with Sketchup.

Here are some images generated by Flickr illustrating the table assembly:

Poplar Frame fits into Outback


Outside Rails containing accessory mounting channel are installed


Inside Perimeter Trim Installed


Legs Installed


Upper Perimeter Boards Installed


Game Vault Support Components Inserted


Game Vault Bottom Inserted


Optional Spill Protector Inserted


Table Leaves Inserted



After the table design is finalized, the corresponding Sketchup file will be made available. Build photos will be referenced in this thread as they become available, and the Flickr set will be updated.

The link to the Flickr set is: Game Table Assembly


Charles
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Last edited by CharlesWilson; 07-25-2013 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

The link to the Sketchup file is:
https://app.box.com/s/z272u9t778blka9ptb8b

Using Sketchup's Layers and Organizer windows will help you get a better understanding of the table design. There are two tables shown in the file, each with slightly different leg dimensions (2.75" and 2.625"). This was done to help identify the most pleasing proportions. I am leaning towards the 2.75" legs.

The actual shape of the accessory mounting channel which is routed into the Outside Rails is not yet finalized, and the locations for fastening hardware have not yet been included.

Leg attachment to the frame is expected to be with two 4" hanger bolts on each leg (a bit of overkill). Corner plugs in the game vault will hide the leg connection hardware and will provide an easy means to lift the corners of the Spill Protector for removal. The only fastening hardware that will be visible to those seated at the table will be used for attaching the Inside Perimeter Trim.

There will be three leaf aligners between each pair of adjacent leaves. At present, the table leaves will sit on top of the Perimeter Boards with no provision for locking them down yet being considered. The leaves are restricted from horizontal movement by retainers attached underneath that sit inside the opening provided by the Perimeter Boards.

Updates to the Sketchup file will be announced in this thread.

Charles
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:12 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

This is interesting. I'd never heard of a gamers table until now
The last games I remember playing were hungry hippos and connect four of course I was just a nipper
I'll be watching this build with interest, thanks Charles
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Game Table

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesWilson View Post
The link to the Sketchup file is:
https://app.box.com/s/z272u9t778blka9ptb8b


The actual shape of the accessory mounting channel which is routed into the Outside Rails is not yet finalized, and the locations for fastening hardware have not yet been included.





Charles
Cool project. I was checking out one of the tables on the links provided and saw this cool looking table:

Minimalist Gaming Table | A Modern Antique

I particularly find the legs interesting.

I was wondering about how the accessories slide into the channel and hold without falling out. A loose sliding dovetail would work but it looks like the accessories can be taken on and off and both ends of the channel are closed. How will yours work?
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Game Table

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
Cool project. I was checking out one of the tables on the links provided and saw this cool looking table:

Minimalist Gaming Table | A Modern Antique

I particularly find the legs interesting.

I was wondering about how the accessories slide into the channel and hold without falling out. A loose sliding dovetail would work but it looks like the accessories can be taken on and off and both ends of the channel are closed. How will yours work?
The link you refer to illustrates very well the accessory channel as it is used within the geekchic line of tables. From what I could gather looking at the photographs on their website, their channel is a little more complicated than just a dovetail.

The attached image indicates the tentative shape of the accessory channel as it exists in the Sketchup file. The accessory would make contact with the channel on the top with an upper dovetail surface, with its bottom being rounded to allow insertion and removal of the accessory. The accessory would make contact on the bottom with the face of the rail and the bottom of the channel at the face of the rail.
Attached Thumbnails
game-table-image.jpg  
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

Really, really interesting. Thanks for sharing your entire process with us. Pretty enlightening.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Game Table

The Sketchup file now has a new version and link. Hole positions have been added and dimensional layouts of the various pieces have been added to the model so that it is easier to see the details. The Sketchup file is located at:

Game Table with Dimensions

A set has been created in Flickr which currently illustrates the building of the frame (out of Poplar). Comments have been added to many of the photos in the set.

The link is Game Table

Oh, I hadn't yet mentioned that I will be making two of these tables. That is why there are so many frame components in the photos.

Here is the photo of the first glued up frame
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Last edited by CharlesWilson; 09-01-2013 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

I have been busy dimensioning the lumber. The poplar parts have all been created. A few holes still need to be added to the frames. (The poplar will not be visible, except to small animals or children crawling underneath.)

All of the 'show wood' is south american mahogany. All pieces have been dimensioned except for the table leaves. The legs have just been dimensioned today, and I am very glad I chose to make them no larger than 2.75". I have officially joined the '75-club', that exclusive group of people who have used the TS75 at its maximum depth setting to cut cleanly through pieces of wood that required just that setting.




There wasn't much blade below the bottom of the piece, but enough for a clean cut.


I ended up taking two passes, as the motor was bogging down. I am sure I could have just done it in one pass, but I hate it when my machines complain to me.


I also looked further into accessory channel design and usage, and discovered that 'geekchic' offers accessories that slip in/out, and accessories that lock into the channel. One of the reports indicated that the non-locking variety can be accidentally dislodged much too easily. I will be doing a little experimenting with channel design and locking mechanisms before cutting the channel into the table sides.

Charles
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

I'm looking forward to seeing more progress, Charles! Any thoughts as to the finish to be applied?
I'm in the "75" club and my 75 also bogs down in solid wood. Multiple passes was my only option.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Game Table

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okami View Post
I'm looking forward to seeing more progress, Charles! Any thoughts as to the finish to be applied?
I'm in the "75" club and my 75 also bogs down in solid wood. Multiple passes was my only option.
I have been thinking about the finish for a while. I am very happy with the Pure Tung Oil that I have been using elsewhere, and haven't yet decided whether I will try to fill the grain before applying it or perform some slurry sanding to fill the pores during third and fourth coats of oil. I plan on covering it with a couple of wiped on coats of a varnish/tung oil mixture followed by rubbing out and wax.

Except for the hanger bolts, leaf aligners and custom mounting hardware for the tops of the vault trim, all fastening of the major table components will be performed with 1-1/4" fine thread pocket hole screws. The Kreg pocket hole bit has been heavily used in this build.

I came up with a list the other night of over twenty steps to perform before starting the finishing stage. So I should have enough time to test out the finishing process beforehand.

I'll be putting up more photos when there are interesting techniques to describe.

Charles
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