Building the Tabletops

テーブルトップの加工

This post is all about woodworking. この投稿はすべて木工について。

Finished products

Tasha’s tables were designed to fit MFG cooking units in a central recess. The design makes for an awkward gaming surface. I decided to take the opportunity to build custom table tops, purpose built for board gaming.

ターシャのテーブルは真ん中にMFGコンロが入れるように作られた。ゲームには少し使いにくいデザインだった。それをきっかけにしてカスタムゲーム専用のテーブルトップを作ることにした。

The table tops have three main features: felt for picking up cards and sliding pieces around, raised walls to keep dice and pieces from falling on the floor, and third they are built from cedar making them lightweight and easy to remove and store. The last was a bit of serendipity. I chose to build them out of cedar to prevent problems with seasonal wood movement. I hadn’t thought about the weight difference, but was very grateful for it once they were completed.

テーブルトップは機能が3つある。カードを取ったり、駒を動かしたりするためのフェルトが一つ目。サイコロや駒が床に落ちないようの壁が二つ目。三つ目は軽い杉で出来ているため持ち上げて、しまいやすい。

I’m an amateur woodworker, and am very much still learning, but I decided to take on the project myself after discussing the details with a sashimono woodworker who lives in the village. I don’t have many power tools, only a drill and a circular saw in fact, and when I started I didn’t even have a workbench or a toolbox. So there were a lot of steps to reach six completed gaming table tops.

木工しろうとなので、うまく出来る自信がないのに。。。村に住んでいる指物屋さんと相談した後、一人で挑戦することに決めた。丸鋸とドリル以外電動工具は持っていない、むしろ始めたとき道具箱も作業台もなかった。なので完成までかなり多くのステップがあった。

Getting help from the little one

First I made the design and measured the existing tables to the millimeter. Then I bought the lumber, and built the bottom frames that would fit the existing tables precisely.

まず一ミリまで現存しているテーブルを量り、デザインした。そして、木材を買い、テーブルにピッタリはまる下の枠を作った。

Fence for circular saw to make long straight cuts on plywood

After I cut all of the plywood boards I realized I could have saved myself a lot of energy in making insets for them had I cut them to a larger size and just stacked the pieces like a sandwich. But the cuts were made, so I was committed. In this step I had to build a circular saw fence to make straight long cuts with the circular saw.

合板を全部切った後気づいたこと、もっと大きいサイズで切れば後でやることが簡単だったのにな。でも、切った後だから、戻ることはない。このステップで丸鋸のガイドフェンスを作ることが必要だった。

Then began the real challenge. Table frame-sized miter joints. Many gaming table-tops I’ve seen avoid this by making square corner pieces. I am however a woodworking masochist. I do almost everything the hardest possible way. I was considering taking them to someone with a miter saw to cut them for me. And I probably should have. But I didn’t. Instead I bought a miter box and built a shooting board and cut them as best as I could with a handsaw and did what I could with the shooting board. Shooting 4×7 cm end grain is not easy though, and the results were no-where close to machined miters. Before reaching the end of this step I also made a toolbox, a workbench, a bench hook, and another shooting board.

次からが本当の難点だった。テーブルの枠のサイズのマイター仕口。よく見たのはマイターを避けて四角い角の部品を作ること。しかし私は木工ではすべて一番手間のかかる方法だやるやつだ。電動マイター鋸を持っている人に頼めばよかったかもしれないけどそうせず、マイターボックスを買い、専用削り台を作ってみた。でもやはり素人が手道具でやった結果は機械が出来るほどの仕上げにならず。このステップにあたり、道具箱、作業台、作業台にかかる当て木、削り台を作る必要があった。

To make up for the imperfect miters and also to add necessary structural integrity to the joints, I chose to make butterfly keys. So I built a jig for cutting the keys and built a test joint. It split when I put it together. But it looked cool enough to make me try again, taking what I learned from the initial failure. I used the split joint as an opportunity to test an interesting mistake correction technique I learned when I was back in the USA last year. Filling the split gap with saw-dust and superglue. It worked beautifully, giving me the confidence to move forward with making 24 of these highly difficult joints. That process took the most time, but it was very rewarding when the upper frames came together in the end. For this step I also had to build a special miter holding jig to keep the pieces perfectly aligned while I laid out the cut lines for the butterfly keys.

完璧でない仕口のためとマイター仕口の自然な弱さを補強するために蝶々の形のキーを作ることに決めた。そのためのジグを作り試作品を作ってみた。組み立てたら割れた。これをきっかけにして、アメリカだ学んだ木粉と瞬間接着剤を使った修正方法を試した。美しくできたから、この仕口を24個も作る自信になった。このステップが断然一番時間がかかったけれど、完成したものを見たら達成感もとても大きかった。このステップにマイター仕口の合わせるいたを固定するジグをつくる必要があった。

After that I cut insets into the lower frames, fit and glued the plywood into place, then measured overhang and laid out the placement of the top frames. I did not glue these together, because I wanted to be able to remove the top frame for re-applying felt if or rather when it became dirty or picked. So I used six screws. I could have achieved it with some complex joinery, but by this point screws seemed like a welcome short cut.

その後、下の枠に合板のための切り込みを掘って、合板をボンドで入れた。そして覆いかぶせる寸法を測った。上と下の枠をボンドで接着せず、ねじ6本でくっ付けた。なぜなら、フェルト貼りや貼り直ししたければ外す必要があるからだ。ねじを使わず何か複雑な仕口で出来たかもしれないけど、この段階でねじは簡単で魅力的だった。

Next I painted the bottom frames and varnished the top frames, then I cut felt to size and glued it on with a spray adhesive made for applying fabrics to wood or plastic. After a little bit of adjustment for one table that didn’t fit as perfectly as it should have, they were done. It took me about five months from December to the end of April.

次に下の枠をペンキで塗り、上の枠をニースで塗り、フェルトを量って切り、スプレーボンドで貼った。一台が少しはめにくかったためそれを鑿で削り直して、全部が完成。12月から4月まで5ヶ月ぐらいかかった。

Author: Mark

English teacher and board game cafe owner living in rural Japan.