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How to support a 4x8 sheet of plywood as a top of a board game/dining table.

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Forum topic by WhyWoodYouDoThat posted 11-29-2020 01:40 PM 628 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WhyWoodYouDoThat

14 posts in 921 days


11-29-2020 01:40 PM

We are tired of always having to push aside board games and puzzles to have dinner, so I would like to build a board game/dining table. The idea is to have a removable table top, with a space inside that’s a few inches deep where uncompleted puzzles and board games in progress can live.
I have enough space for a 4×8 table, so I figured a 4×8 sheet of plywood would make an ideal base. However, I am wondering how to prevent it from sagging. Here’s a rough sketch that I have so far, but my gut tells me that the long side of the table isn’t going to strong enough to support everything. The green piece is the plywood.

I’d appreciate some advice.


13 replies so far

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ChefHDAN

1792 posts in 3818 days


#1 posted 11-29-2020 02:06 PM

It is “DO-Able” but my first thought is where in the hell are you going to put a 4×8 top while playing? Perhaps 2 4×4 pieces, and build them in a torsion box style. I think you could 1×3/4 strips to build the torsion boxes, a 3/4 glued up top panel and a 1/4” to 3/8” ply bottom skin. Add a support inside the apron to support the torsion box with enough clearance for your games puzzles etc.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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bondogaposis

5928 posts in 3319 days


#2 posted 11-29-2020 02:29 PM

My first thought is, do you really need 4×8? That is a huge size table, I wouldn’t design a table based on the size of a sheet of plywood. Start out by figuring out the space you need for your puzzles and games. Design your table around that.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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ChefHDAN

1792 posts in 3818 days


#3 posted 11-29-2020 03:07 PM



My first thought is, do you really need 4×8? That is a huge size table, I wouldn t design a table based on the size of a sheet of plywood. Start out by figuring out the space you need for your puzzles and games. Design your table around that.

- bondogaposis

Agree with Bondo on the size issue too, tough for youngsters to reach the middle of the table…

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6729 posts in 3461 days


#4 posted 11-29-2020 05:25 PM

What about a different design, like a double pedestal base?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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LesB

2789 posts in 4411 days


#5 posted 11-29-2020 06:24 PM

I like the idea but from the drawing there seems to be several problems. How is the plywood being fastened and supported on the skirts? I think the skirt needs to be at least 1 1/2”+ thick and the plywood could go into a dado about 1/2” up from the bottom edge and 1/2” deep. The lateral stability of the legs without stretchers could be a problem. The top that size is going to be heavy and need two people to move. Would it work if it had hinges on one side that allowed it to just lift up to a 90 degree position (with a brace to lock it up for safety)? Will the center of the top sag (over time) without support because adding support on the underside might interfere with what ever game or puzzle is left on the plywood level?

-- Les B, Oregon

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cracknpop

488 posts in 3317 days


#6 posted 11-29-2020 07:50 PM

My family are big time game players and puzzle workers. Have been working on a table design myself. Like mentioned above, I am not planning anything near as big as 4×8. Planning the design to handle the largest puzzle they tend to work.
I really like this design Walnut Game Table which is modeled after those made by Geek Chic.
Instead of the top being made of a single piece, it is made of several individual boards that mate together with tongue and groove. These top boards were 7/8” and run across the table instead of length. This would help with sag and certainly help with storing top pieces instead of trying to handle one large sheet.

Here are a couple other manufacturers with couple different top options.
Carolina Game tables
Rathskellers

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View CWWoodworking's profile (online now)

CWWoodworking

1302 posts in 1147 days


#7 posted 11-29-2020 09:56 PM

Make the table as you regularly would, except with a slightly larger skirt. Say 4.25”ish

Add cross members somewhere in the 1-1.5” x .75”. Laid upright, aligned with bottom of skirt. Spaced 12” apart Add a 1/4” plywood skin on top.

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MrRon

5975 posts in 4212 days


#8 posted 11-29-2020 10:01 PM

Do you really need 4×8 for a top? I would think 36”x96” would be big enough. 48” would be a stretch for people sitting at the table and doing a puzzle or playing cards.

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CWWoodworking

1302 posts in 1147 days


#9 posted 11-29-2020 10:14 PM

48” isn’t too big If you have the room. Sold dining tables for a long time. Average dining tables for true dining rooms was 40-44”. In the early 2000s best seller was a 48” wide that extended to 120”

Think about it in halves. A kitchen counter is 25” depth at 36” ht. Reaching the back is not hard at all.

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WhyWoodYouDoThat

14 posts in 921 days


#10 posted 11-29-2020 10:20 PM

@ChefHDAN, while the idea of a torsion box is great, it wouldn’t leave much room inside. I am looking to make it friendly for miniatures. And you are totally right about having a single 4×8 piece top. I will make it 2 pieces.

@bondogaposis, @ChefHDAN, this is the size of my current dining table already. I am looking for something multi purpose.

@Fred Hargis, thanks for pointing me in a different direction. Now that I know the term, I’ll look around.

@LesB, all good questions. My initial thought was pocket holes and glue for a lot of things. And yes, I would split the top into at least two pieces. The sag is exactly the concren that I have with the current sketch.

@cracknpop, you just gave me some more food for thought. Thanks

@CWWoodworking, all good tips. Thanks!

@MrRon, my current dining table is a little smaller than a 4×8, which is why I am going with that size.

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Walker

436 posts in 1440 days


#11 posted 11-30-2020 01:40 AM

What about a 5th leg in the center?

-- ~Walker

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WhyWoodYouDoThat

14 posts in 921 days


#12 posted 11-30-2020 01:45 AM

@Walker, I’ve considered this as well, but it would look kind of ugly. I am wondering about two center legs, connected to the corner legs somehow, with a triangle.

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CWWoodworking

1302 posts in 1147 days


#13 posted 11-30-2020 01:49 AM



@Walker, I ve considered this as well, but it would look kind of ugly. I am wondering about two center legs, connected to the corner legs somehow, with a triangle.

- WhyWoodYouDoThat

It simply isn’t needed and I agree, ugly.

The dimensions you are purposing aren’t that crazy.

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