Train Table

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Project by Snoop posted 01-25-2009 12:35 AM 2320 views 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is actually my first woodworking project – and also what got me really excited to do more. Compared to the work that I have seen on this site it really doesn’t compare but I figured I would share this and get your feedback so that I can improve as I complete more and more projects. Criticism is welcome – it will only help me grow.

So, this train table was built for my son. He was playing a lot with his wooden Thomas the Trains but really didn’t have a place to play with them other than the floor, which is not exactly an ideal spot. I looked into a bunch of other train tables that are commercially available but many of the comments mentioned that they were flimsy and get destroyed easily. Therefore, I decided to give the table a go. My requirements for the table were that I wanted it to be sturdy so that it would last a long time, I wanted the legs to attach and detach easily so that we could transport, and if possible i wanted it to look halfway decent. The only tools that I had at the time this was built were a miter saw and a crappy drill. As I mentioned this project started a fire inside me so I have since acquired some others.

I used 2 layers of Birch ply (36”x48”), 2×4’s for the structure, 4×4’s for the legs, and pine for the trim. I wanted to make sure the trains and tracks didn’t fall off the top so I added a rail out of 1×2 as well. I then put a couple of coats of danish oil on the whole thing followed by a few coats of clear poly. The legs and the top actually ended up changing color quite a bit after the danish oil was put on, and I kind of like the variation.
I think I have accomplished my first two goals but not sure about the last one. This thing is so solid I could stand up on it and jump up and down. I guess that means my little 40 pounder should be pretty safe too. What made me the most happy though was the smile on his face when I finally gave it to him.
I have attached a few pics showing the table with and without the train set in use. I welcome your comments.

-- "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right."

7 comments so far

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5186 days

#1 posted 01-25-2009 12:39 AM

Oh, Dad, you’re a hero…and a good father…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5680 days

#2 posted 01-25-2009 02:52 AM

My daughter asked me to make one for her and I told my wife so she bought one.

Such is the life of a woodworker.

Great looking table.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Joe Anderson's profile

Joe Anderson

28 posts in 5219 days

#3 posted 01-25-2009 04:17 AM

looks great, im getting ready to make the same type of table for my 2 year old son. Great job. Looks awesome.

-- JAnderson: Columbus, OH

View DetDad's profile


8 posts in 4813 days

#4 posted 10-24-2009 06:46 PM

I like the look of your train table. I need to build one for a Christmas present for three boys. I am wondering if after it has been in use and time tested by your son there are any changes you would make or do differently. Thanks

-- Detective Dad, Madison, WI

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4838 days

#5 posted 10-24-2009 06:51 PM

My step-son wants me to build one for our grandson for Christmas. He wants it longer than wider so I’m guessing about 6 foot X 3 foot. Does that sound about right?

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View a1Jim's profile


118296 posts in 4857 days

#6 posted 10-24-2009 07:32 PM

View Snoop's profile


19 posts in 4690 days

#7 posted 10-26-2009 03:54 AM

DetDad and Cabinetmaster,
The table I built is 3’ x 4’. If I had more space it would be nice to have it a little bigger. Structurally, the table is solid as a rock after heavy use. I think it would take a small army of little ones to do any damage to this thing which gives me piece of mind when he has friends over. I like the simple, clean lines of the table so I wouldn’t change anything there but one thing I thought about when building it was whether to include storage below the table so it may be something to think about for yours. If I were to build another one I may use different wood species and M&T joinery for the frame since my skills have improved since this project. Hope this helps and good luck with your tables. I am sure your boys will love them!

-- "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right."

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