Hi-Contrast Gaming Table




About: I am happily married with one son, two dogs, a ball python, Russian tortoise, and many fish. I like to fossil hunt, all things Jeep, Walt Disney World, camp, hunt & fish, and garden. Anything new appeals...

This Instructable was based on RoguePirin's Instructable found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Gami... I fully copied his design but tweaked it because this was a gift to my brother-in-law for Christmas and he is color blind. He can best see the color Yellow and prefers it so I found yellow neoprene on eBay and went from there.

I chose to use the Japanese technique of Shou-Sugi-Ban (wood burning) to finish the table as I read that the hi-contract is also a benefit for color blind individuals and I think it best complimented the yellow.

My brother-in-law has plenty of storage for his games so I dropped that from my design but added in cup holders (Snapple Sized) and placed a sheet of Reflectix 100-sq ft Reflective Roll Insulation (48-in W x 25-ft L) under the Yellow neoprene to add more "bounce" to the dice.

Thanks for looking

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Here is a list of the materials and tools I used



Step 2: Frame Assembly

I used 2x4s for all the frame components and just doubled them up to give more structure. 4x4s would work well but are much more expensive.

I built up each end by first securing the 2x4s together (to make an almost 4x4) and then cut them at 30 degree angles for effect only. I did 4 this way to cover the bottom "feet" and the "arms" that will hold the top in place and support it.

Next, I cut the four uprights and secured them to the feet and arms with 3 inch wood screws.

Last step of this phase was to connect the two leg sections together with longer cross members. These were measured to fit the table top. I was making a 4 foot by 6 foot table top so I cut these cross members to 5 feet so that I had about a 6 inch overhand on each end.

I also added a table top mounting to the center of the cross members on the top directly between the two arms so that the table could be properly supported on the end and in the middle - i am sorry but I did not get a picture that clearly shows this.

This is where the fun begins, get the blow torch out and start burning...

Step 3: Shou-Sugi-Ban - Wood Finishing

I am by no means an expert in any stretch of the imagination on this traditional technique. I just really like the results and it is quite fun and simple.

If you have not used this technique before, try it out on some scrap wood to see what you like best. Here is what I do but you should also research online more from people that know what they are doing... Some of the techniques give amazing results.

I just use the blow torch to burn the wood to the degree I want, in this case I was looking for a high contrast so I did not burn the wood too much. The longer you hold the flame to the boards, the darker it will get. The knots and grain of the wood are what give the cool patterns when burned so it is not necessary to find perfect wood, sometimes the cheaper boards have the most character once burned.

Once everything is burned to your liking, wet the wood down and use 0000 Steel Wool to scrub the boards, this has two benefits, first it removes all the loose soot from the burned wood and it also helps to "sand" the wood and provide a very nice finish.

Step 4: Building Up the Top of the Table

I made the table top in two separate parts for two reasons, one I had to transport this table from NJ to NH on an open trailer and then deliver it to my brother-in-laws basement and, secondly, I wanted to be able to take it apart if I ever needed to replace the neoprene with a different color or just because it got dirty (am not sure how "clean" yellow neoprene will look after some time and use).

I cut the 4x8 plywood sheet down to 4x6 with my circular saw. I screwed this down to the three supports (two arms and the third middle section I added for support).

Next I cut the Reflectix roll (also to 4x6) and spray glued this down to the 4x6 plywood sheet with the 3M Adhesive. I also missed taking a picture of this step as it was very cold outside and I was trying to work fast.

Once I had these two steps done and the adhesive had time to set, I test fit the neoprene fabric.

The second part of the top is the frame that you see on top of the plywood sheet. I built it this way so that I had open spaces under the frame for the cup holders to fit into. I basically built a 1x6 frame large enough to slide over the endges of the plywood sheet, Reflectix, and the neoprene together. I used the 1x4s on the inside of the two short sides and these sit on top of the table base and hold up the rest of the frame. I used a mix of 1x4s and 1x6s on the top face of the frame as you can see in the pictures and making sure I used the 1x6s on the end so I had enough board to drill outfor the cup holders to slip into.

Step 5: Finishing It All Up

I drilled out all 4 cup holders using a hole saw in my drill appropriate to the size of the cup holder inserts. This was really the last step before I finished burning the table.

Once completely burned and sanded with the 0000 steel wool, the final step will be sealing the finish. I am not a fan of glossy finishes and I do not like harsh chemicals so I went with a beeswax finish. It has a slight orange scent to it and I have used it for a few projects in the past. I am very happy with how it turns out.

This is the one I use but any finish would work... Howard Beeswax Finish

At this point, you are ready to play! Enjoy and if you found this helpful, please consider voting for me in the Remix Contest





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    16 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I can't believe I missed your instructable! I saw your remix of my table, but I guess I just had a brain lapse.

    Again, this looks stunning. The blow-torched/bee's wax sides compliment the yellow top beautifully.

    Thanks for sharing your build; glad that I was some inspiration to you.


    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    No problem. Thanks again for the inspiration and the vote. :)


    2 years ago

    wonderful job. the idea of burning the wood sounds great. awesome gift

    thanks for sharing.


    2 years ago

    It's gorgeous Dan! So good of you to take in J's colorblindness (Is that a word?).

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    This table is awesome! Best gift ever- wow!


    2 years ago

    Hey man...can I be your brother n law too? Jk ;) nice work and very kind of you. Peace

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    that is really nice. I will have to build this. I think I will go with a different color besides yellow, but it looks good. great job

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you, there were a ton of color choices so you should have no trouble finding one that appeals to you.


    2 years ago

    I like the way this turned out. Very good instructable too!

    Good luck in the contests! :)

    1 reply