Thursday, January 7, 2016

Adventures in Woodworking - Part 1

I ran across this YouTube video describing how to build a gaming table.  I watched it and thought “That’s kind of cool….I wonder if I can build that?”  I dismissed it for a while and during the end of year slowdown I decided I would give it a try.  I talked with my wife and as usual, even with crazy ideas, she was supportive.  My first stop was Lowes to get materials.  I was able to find everything we needed there including a new DeWalt drill. My original trusty drill now smokes when it runs so I figured it was time for a new one.  It lasted over 18 years and survived many projects so I got our money’s worth out of it. I also bought an orbital sander as I only owned piles of sandpaper and a belt sander.  At the checkout, one of the things that stood out was that the video mentioned he built his table for $150 but even removing new tools we were over $450.  Wood must be cheaper where he lives.   Considering similar gaming tables are for sale online for ~$1500-2000, this still is cheaper. Amazingly it all fit in our Honda Odyssey with the entire family in it, too!

January 2nd I woke up ready to get started and began collecting tools, setting up the saw horses and prepping the garage. Considering it is January in Ohio, I am happy for an El Nino winter and the warmer temps. Fast forward two hours and I am not able to find my circular saw. I have zero idea where it is and have looked in all of the logically possible places and some not logical. My Dad’s advice from when I was growing up was echoing in my head “Always put your tools back in the same place so you know where they are when you need them.” Finally gave up and resigned myself to getting a new saw. Now the plan calls for a miter saw and I didn’t have one and figured I’d give it a go without one. With this recent turn it seemed a miter saw was in my near future! (Total tally is now 3 new tools for this project – drill, sander and miter saw).

Another trip to Lowes and now a proud owner of a Hitachi miter saw.  Now I can get to work! The base build wasn’t too hard and in short time I have the legs, base, and table surface together. This is EASY.  Famous last words as you’ll soon see if you read on.  Our oldest son joined me to help out.  He’s been fighting a cold so I didn’t want to ask him to hang in the cold garage unless he really wanted to.  We got the edge support added and called it a day.  It was getting cold and we had places to go.

The next morning saw us adding the top to the mix. A few 45 degree cuts and we should be golden, right?  Wrong. Apparently everything isn’t exactly square and I follow the measure twice, cut twice, maybe three times approach.  We fought with the angles and alignment of the boards until we got it presentable. This truly is our “customized” table and nobody will want us to make one for them. The outside vertical edge proves to be just as much of a pain as the tops but we slog through it all. Finally we are at a point we can cut the top boards and after some creative cutting and sanding, they all fit.  I can only imagine what those of you who possess good woodworking skills are thinking.  Creative cutting and sanding?!  WTH is this guy doing?  More or less whatever your shop teacher told you not to do; we did.  It all fits nice and snug so I’m happy with it.  We move it to the basement for finishing which will be the next post. The table is in the process of being stained right now so our house reeks of the stuff.  Fun, fun, fun!


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