Monday, September 30, 2013

Building a Game Table

Building a Game Table, or at least how I did it.

Suijin typing:

Going to go through my experiences doing some things for 40K (table top,. In most instances this will just be some things to keep in mind if you are doing something similar either for ideas or just what not to do.

Completed this project end of August but wanted to wait for my impressions after the fact to get a more accurate durability estimate. I didn't follow anyone's guide for my building, but just started with base materials or general ideas (although A Sent One did comment that he had made a felt topped table in the far past and the felt didn't last).

Base table-top I used an oak plywood for Home Depot that they cut to 4x6'. Fairly cheap and shouldn't warp over time, along with being stiff and durable. I did have to sand the edges quite well to get rid of the splinters though. I could have probably went just a bit cheaper here since I ended up covering everything up, but I wasn't necessarily planning on that to start with. The felt I got from Joanne Fabrics, type premium, it said for pool tables and such.

4x6' Oak veneer plywood
Premium felt for things like card playing pool ect.
Board with construction paper under edges to protect floor from overspray

The spray adhesive
 The spray adhesive is not the cheapest thing around, and I ended up using 2 cans of it for the total project. I probably could have used less of it, but I wanted to try to make sure things would not come apart later.

Sprayed it on one direction, and then not showed 90° direction

Felt on the board
I would definitely recommend having larger felt to wrap over the back more. It also means you don't have to be as exact on placing the felt on. Have an extra person for putting the felt on. It seemed like it worked best to start on one end and tack that down first. Then proceed to smooth the felt onto the rest of the board.

This is the first fold of the felt wrapping it around the back

This seemed like to build up the least layers of felt, or at least the best I could figure out. I used the spray adhesive for this also, if it didn't hold up or stay stuck down I was going to use staples but it seems to be stuck on there forever.

Final look of the folded felt.
The mat for the back I used a couple yoga mats from target. The cheapest mat of this type was either the yoga mats (24x68.5") for about $9 each or later I saw some toolbox liner at Harbor Freight that might have been slightly cheaper, but those were about the best options I saw looking around. I wanted to put this table top on a new table I got, so wanted to protect that table and prevent the tabletop from sliding off if bumped and dumping models and terrain all broken to the floor, so that's why I went for a rubberized type surface on the back.

Another option that I have looked into more recently after this was done (maybe for another table some time in the future) is Rustoleum has a deck/concrete paint for restoring decks and there is also a spray  for anti-slip that may work well for the back.

The final position of the yoga mat glued on the back. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry due to the spray adhesive having a limit on time before tacking the surfaces together and one mat shifted slightly as I was tacking it down. It is not possible to do anything about it afterwards, it is stuck down for good as soon as you put it down. I tried to just do half of each yoga mat along the long edge by folding it over, spraying both surfaces and then tacking that down. It worked well for one mat, but the other got just a bit shifted and being in a hurry I started to tack it down, and there was nothing to do after that so I just finished it. That is why there is a space in the center. I also ended up having to cut off the extra yoga mat along the long edges with a xacto blade.

Glue overspray on edge with right side cleaned up.
From probably the spraying to put on the yoga mat there ended up some glue on the edge (left side of image). I cleaned it off there with just some masking tape folded into a circle to kind of lint roll it off there (right side of the image), so that's not bad to clean up overall but it might not be as easy if you use something other than felt.

My new project table
The project table is a bit taller than most tables which I thought would work well for playing on also, as you don't have to bend down as far to get the model's LOS, etc. I got the project table from Costco pretty cheap, and I liked it so that's where some of this started.

Some of the final looks with the felt tabletop on the project table. The felt is smooth on the top, and it seems like it should be good for quite a while, time will tell I guess. Some of the terrain pictured are works in progress, stay tuned for further posts.


  1. so are the yoga matts enough to prevent slippage and the table moving?

    in the past I ended up using some velcro tape to attack the floating game board to the table surface, or ended up using some inexpensive baseboard or quarter round plywood to form 4 "lips" on the bottom of the gaming mat that kept it snug against the edges of the base (if that makes sense) so it wouldn't move when pushed on or rested against.

    1. Yeah you can slide or tip the table over before the yoga mat moves at all. It does have the quarter round effect you are talking about because the weight of the table compresses the yoga mat some effectively making a lip below the table edge.

  2. You've done afar better job than I. Mine was only covered on one side and wasn't enough to fully cover it. Had to buy another piece of felt to cover the rest. Yours will last along time.

    1. Other than getting some fuzzies (mostly on the edges where I removed the extra spray glue with masking tape), The rest does look very nice still.

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