I have 2 sons, one is 3 1/2 and the other is 1 1/2 and the 3 year old is totally out of his mind crazy for Thomas the Tank Engine. He lives, eats and sleeps Thomas and his friends. During one of his many perusals of the Toys R Us catalogs, he stumbled onto the Thomas Train table and it's all he has been talking about. This is for sure something he wants for Christmas, but the table alone is $299.00. Add in the many sets (anywhere from $39 - $129) and trains (anywhere from $9.99 - $29.99) you can easily spend close to $1,000. Well that isn't an option, but building one is.
Step 1: Material and Tools Needed
5 - 1x4 8' long - $3.98 each
1 - 3/4 sanded pine plywood - $25
1 - Gorilla Glue wood glue
nails for nail gun
120 grit sand paper - $3.98
220 grit sand paper - $3.98
pint of polyurethane - - $7.00
Compound Miter Saw (optional)
Air Compressor and nail gun (optional)
Step 2: Prep
I had the chap at Home Depot cut my sheet of plywood into two 3' x 4' sections. This will be the table top. Be sure to choose a high grade sanded sheet of plywood.
I could have had him make my 1x4 cuts too, but I figured he did enough cutting the plywood.
Step 3: Cutting the 1x4s for the Legs
The first step is too make you cuts to the 1x4s. I made all the cuts for the legs first. A compound miter saw makes this task easy as cake. The blade is 1/8th of an inch so so all of my legs are even I cut them at 1/8th of an inch shorter than 24". Cut 8 pieces for this tasks.
When you're done cutting all 8 pieces run a bead of the wood glue down the edge of one piece and place it on another piece to form the first leg. Use a clamp to hold it together and nail it into place.
Repeat this step another 3 times for all 4 legs and set them aside while we frame up the table top edge.
Step 4: Cutting the 1x4s for the Table Edge
Since out table top is 3' x 4' we're going to need to make a frame for the plywood to sit down into. The two long pieces are going to be 1" longer than the long sides of the table so cut them at 49" each. Do the same for the two short sides. When you're done, you should have:
2 - 49"
2 - 37"
Place the first two pieces together and glue them and drive two nails into them. The next piece should overlap end to side the opposite way the first two pieces are stuck together. The third piece should be should overlap the same way the opposite corner is overlapped. It should be obvious how the final piece fits. Glue and nail all of the edges together.
Step 5: Attaching the Legs to the Frame
Place two pieces of scrap wood in the corner and place a leg in the corner. Glue the leg and nail it into place. Repeat this step three more times
Step 6: Attaching the Table Top
Flip the frame and legs over and hopefully, if you made all of your cuts correct, the tops should fit snugly into place. Be sure to put a bead of glue in all of the areas that wood will touch wood. Add a few nails with the nail gun into the corners and you should be done with the hard part. Next is same easy sanding a adding the polyurethane..
Step 7: Sanding and Finishing
Sand every part with the 120 grit paper and apply a coat of the polyurethane. When that dries sand it again with the 120 grit paper. Then apply another coat.
Step 8: Add Tracks and Trains As Needed
Enjoy your new train table.
Step 9: Added a Shelf Over the Weekend.
I cut another piece of plywood 2 inches less than the top on each side to create this shelf. Stay tuned this is an on going process.
Step 10: Primed and Painted Over the Weekend
I primed and painted the table over the weekend.