Lego Table #5: Prepping for paint...

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Blog entry by RaggedKerf posted 11-22-2015 07:46 PM 1130 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Assembling the base Part 5 of Lego Table series Part 6: Hybrid woodworking »

Today I cut up the main play area surface (MDF). I knew I wanted to prime the base, so figured I’d cut the MDF first and get the fine dust mostly out of the air before priming.

I had to use the same layout methods (and again told myself I need a table saw) and spent precious time marking and clamping before making a few cuts, but in the end, got a perfectly cut plank of MDF that will fill almost all the space inside the upper box. On the left and right, I also cut out 4” wide “wings” that will be removable to reveal some bins so the kids can just scoop Legos straight off the table at clean up time. Drop the “wings” back in place and you’re ready to start over. More clamping, measuring and doubling checking and dreaming about a table saw, and I had two wings cut.

After I dusted my outer layer of MDF off, I cleaned up the shop with the vacuum and then set to priming. I had brushed on the primer with the last two big projects (Kylie’s castle bookcase and Keaton’s rocket bookcase) but this time I wanted—scratch that, needed to—move quicker. It’s November in Wisconsin and my shop is relegated to a wall along the garage. The unheated garage. That means I can expect temps to plummet soon and the paint/primer won’t be able to cure before Christmas (which kind of defeats the purpose of this project).

The solution? Spray primer and spray paint! It’s been years since I’ve used spray paint (I’m thinking the last time was when I renovated my old
Tasco telescope (here's a thread about that project on Cloudy Nights, an astronomy forum I frequent) back in 2008, almost 8 years ago!

Anyway, times have certainly changed—I had no idea there was such a vast array of colors and types of spray paint. I picked a Rustoleum product that has primer and paint in one can, then also picked up their primer, and some clear coat for a final gloss.

$60 and a few bags of spray paint later I was ready to tag some trains…I mean, prime a Lego table. The little pistol-grip adapter thing I bought helped out a lot with getting a nice even coat of primer on the base:

I went to prime the legs and realized that even though they were smooth, there were numerous gaps where my glue job wasn’t a perfect, seamless operation. I had picked up some wood putty to fill in the pocket holes for the top and decided why not make the legs as smooth as possible?

Well, as you can see in the above picture, I started getting carried away and filled in everything. Then I looked at the base again and noticed all kinds of small voids in the plywood edging. More putty! About 15 minutes later I was sanding again, but man what a difference! I touched up the primer and the base was ready for paint.

Unfortunately, all that priming and puttying and sanding ate up all my time so I ran out before I could prime the legs. But I did rig up a piece of insulation to serve as as priming station for the legs—I put finish nails in the insulation, point down (it was the only way to get it to work) so I could lay the legs on that, then flip when the other side was ready to prime without leaving marks on the legs.

Next time, I’ll hit the legs with primer and paint the base! You may have noticed that I haven’t worked on the top lately—that’s because I’m still puzzling out how to attach the drawers…

-- Steve

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