Ever since I first saw the Geek Chic products at C2E2 a few years back, I've been slightly obsessed with having my own convertible game table. The only problem is that they are expensive as hell. Convincing Dani that we needed to invest in one just wasn't going to work.
So then I thought, I'm pretty good at making things... maybe I could make my own table. Oh poor naive Tori, this was going to be a serious project. First things first, I started to research! I scoured the web for resources. It turns out more than a few other people had this same idea. So like the good crafty person that I am, I started a Pinterest board! In the end, I decided to take the general approach in the nicely laid out plans here: Game Table Project with Step By Step.
With my first attempt at a table, I started with a modified size. I felt like the original size was too large. This first frame was largely an exercise in how things could not go the way I wanted. It was also a good lesson in how inaccurate pre-dressed lumber and hand power tools can be.
I was pretty unhappy with the way the first frame came together. the sides were bowed in and in general it just wasn't how I wanted it. So I took it apart and started over. This time following the plan dimensions a bit more closely. Since I don't have a table saw, planer, or various other shop tools I had to make a few substitutions.
- My arm rails are an inch wider.
- I used pre-made table legs chopped down for height in lieu of the tapered legs.
- I used pre-made crown molding under the arm rests
Messing up the Top Insert
The insert is, and has been one of the toughest part of this build. Which is why my table currently sits without one. A couple problems came into play building this piece. The pre-dressed wood from Home Depot (as previously mentioned) is not precisely cut, and is often slightly bowed. So getting the top measured and cut correctly to fit the opening, which is also ever so slightly off from square, turned out to be a large issue.
I would up with an insert that fit super tight. There was not enough clearance to allow for the wood to swell in the summer correctly. In attempting to remedy this I managed to really fuck up the insert by cutting it too short on one end. I then had the bright idea of cutting it in half and doing adding a piece down the center perpendicular to the other boards. But again, I ran into issues making this happen with imprecise tools and uneven boards. So currently that part is on hold. I think I may eventually try to build leafs instead of one large piece.
Finishing it Up
Please excuse the pun, I couldn't help myself. This was also my first attempt at applying finish to a piece of furniture. And it taught me a few very valuable lessons. The first being always try to do your sanding before final assembly. The second lesson was in how messy staining is. I choose a dark stain to match our other furniture. I then followed that up with a couple coats of a hybrid oil/water based polyurethane for the arm rests and the inside vault walls. You can see the finished project below. Well, I'll say it's finished until I get a table saw and can build the insert leaves.
Always looking to break out some dice. Let me know if you want to come over and play some games!