Our kids are playing with Playmobil. Lots of small pieces tend to get lost everywhere... and end up into the vacuum cleaner !
I was looking for a Lego table or such, but could not find any. After googling a bit, I found this nice project there on Flickr and decided to build one. Credits: Louis Pilon for his great idea (and other cool projects).
The photo below shows our result.
Step 1: Needed Tools
If you cannot get plywood cut to size at the wood shop, you will need a table saw or similar.
You will need a dowel kit, and a drill.
Also useful (but not shown below):
- plastic hammer,
- sand paper and sanding block,
- paint brushes.
Step 2: Determine the Right Size and Make a Sketch
This project is so simple that a hand-drawn sketch is okay (I did my one by hand in the first place, and used Google SketchUp for this instructable; picture 2 below).
- The groves are 8 cm large and 4 cm deep. That's big enough.
- The overall size is 90 cm,
- and the upper board is 70 cm large. It's quite OK but I wouldn't do it smaller.
Step 3: Get Needed Materials, Cut to Size
- plywood, 1 cm thick, 90x90 cm
- hard wood strips, 2 cm x 4 cm thick: two of 90 cm long, two of 86 cm long
- plywood, 5 mm thick, 70x70 cm
- soft wood strips, 2 cm x 3.5 cm thick: two of 70 cm long, two of 66 cm long
Upper board support:
- soft wood strips, 2 cm x 3.5 cm thick: 4 or 6 of approx 30 cm long
- 4 wood screws 3 x 40 mm
- wood paint for ground layer
- paint for next layers, color of your choice
- wood filler paste (except if you are a miter expert)
Cut everything to size:
- If you can buy the plywood to size, that's fine; otherwise use a table saw (at very worst, a jigsaw).
- Cut the strips to size using a power jigsaw (or a miter box and joinery saw), at 90 degree angles. We are not going to build miters, actually.
Step 4: Build the Bottom and Top Boards
- Position the strips on the boards' edges.
- Install dowels; the plastic hammer may help.
- Apply wood glue and clamp them until dry.
Photo 2 below (in front: top board upside down):
- Position and glue the side strips. Clamp them.
- Position and glue the supporting strips under the top board, forming a 4 or 6 branches star. They are difficult to clamp, so just put some loads on.
Photo 3 below (corner of the top board):
- Tighten the corners with iron L's.
- Fill whatever spaces needing it, with wood filler.
Drawing 4 below:
- With the brad point drill bit, make short thick holes at the corners of the TOP board, just deep enough for the dowel center -- NOT DEEPER, so approx 10 mm. The dowel center will be useful in the next step, to mark where holes will be drilled on the bottom board.
- Inside these hole, drill thinner but deeper holes (2.5 mm diameter). Drill 30 mm deep, and do not traverse the plywood.
Photo 5 below:
- With sand paper, soften a bit the top outer edges,
- and especially the outer top corners
Step 5: Paint
Apply one ground layer.
Apply at least one layer of the final color of your choice.
Let each layer dry completely, then sand the boards and borders slightly.
Step 6: Adjust and Assemble the Boards Together
- [A] Put all four dowel centers in each hole of the top board's corners.
- Lay four small wood pieces (as spacers) on the bottom board.
- Carefully land the top board on the spacers. The top board must sit on the spacers, not on the dowel centers. The dowel centers must float just a few millimeters above the bottom board.
- Adjust the position of the top board so to be well centered on the bottom board (same distance to the external borders).
- [B] Press each corner of the top board to let dowel centers mark the bottom board.
- With a pencil, write a slight and small mark on one of the corners, on either boards. It will help you find the right corner again later.
- Move the top board away.
Drill holes in the bottom board:
- [C] locate the dowel centers marks, and drill the four holes with a 3 mm drill bit.
Mount the boards together:
- Find the pencil marks to see which corners belong together.
- From under the bottom board, engage a 3 x 40 mm screw in each hole.
- [D]�Tighten the screws so that their heads sink very slightly: you don't want the screws to damage your rooms !
Step 7: Finish: Sand It, and Apply a Last Paint Layer
Apply a last layer of paint.
Step 8: Use It !
- Now it's up to the kids to work !
- Transform a messy floor into a well-ordered play field.
- Extend the order to the rest of the room.
- The table could be raised by approx 20 cm. Use big plastic or wooden boxes.
- I plan to build a base under the table, allowing some more storage.