The $40 Gaming Table

Over the weekend I built my gaming table. I have been involved in building two such tables in the past so I felt I was up to the challenge. I originally intended to build this table the same way as the ones in the past - huge, heavy, and sturdy - but I ended up with something quite a bit different.

When I made my list it was quite a tall order for lumber - somewhere on the order of thirty boards. When I got the store and started loading up my cart I was pleased at all I had found. For the legs I was going to use a 4x4x8' post and cut it in half for a 4' tall table. My first problem (and the one that ultimately led to the current table) was that Lowes couldn't cut the board for me. Since I do not have a skill saw I also could not cut it. This led to me reworking the table design.

I ended up deciding to try something quite a bit different than the previous tables I had built. I decided I would build the top and lay it over a pair of saw horses until I could get a skill saw to cut some proper legs for it.

In the first picture below you can see the top of the table. It is built out of 1x4s and the tow boards in the middle are 2x4s (you will see why here in a bit).

As I was looking in the saw horse section I came across these bad boys. They are a do-it-yourself sawhorse kit and they cost $4 for a pair of them. This was way cheaper than a pair of plastic crappy saw horses (about $25 - $35). You just supply your own 2x4 and you are ready to go.

When I saw these I was inspired and knew what I had to do.

Here is the saw horse set up after I cut some 2x4s down to size.

Here is the table frame set up with the saw horse legs attached to the 2x4s in the table frame. I originally had planned to let the legs come off but it was not stable enough this way.

Here is another shot of the table frame showing the cross supports. It is quite rigid.

Here is my current favorite building material - a sheet of hardboard. This stuff is just pegboard without the holes and it costs about $6 a sheet. That is crazy cheap compared to about $15 - $25 for a similar sheet of plywood.

Here is the completed table. Compared to the tables that I have been involved with in the past this one stacks up pretty well. It is not quite as sturdy. It has just a bit of horizontal wiggle to it. Nothing too bad though. The side to side wiggle is pretty much non-existent. Where this table trumps the ones in the past is cost and weight. This guy came in right at $40 for all materials. It also ways a crap ton less than the old tables we used to have.
Here is another shot of the finished table. It is quite high but that is just the way we like it.
All in all I am going to call this table a success. It took about 3 or 4 hours to build and was a blast the whole time. So far I have played one game on it and am planning on playing another this week. I will let you know how it goes.