Thursday, January 19, 2012

My table - stowage and substructure

I won't describe the way I made the table and will only refer to this tutorial. Although it's in German, I believe the pictures speak for themselves. Simply made of styrofoam with wooden bands at the edges - light weight and robust. In this post I only deal with technical problems around the table.

One of the main resources a wargamer needs is simple and at the same time often difficult to get: space! When I started the tabletop hobby 8 years ago (damn it, thats nearly a decade...) on the age of 16. I lived in a village in Brandenburg (for all wargamers out there, that is former Prussia ;) ). There was not much (especially no jobs) but one thing in Brandenburg: space. I lived in a house which was built for five people, but we only were three. So I had plenty space for my hobby - I even had an own cellar for crafting. So I never worried about how to store my table, which was in fact a massive board of plywood, 48x72 inch or 120x180cm in size. But, as you all know, things in life change and so I went out for studying. I came to a big town (even if many people would argue that Kiel is small - for someone from a village it's still big), which ironically meant that my space became less. So, my space decreased dramatically, not just for the table and scenery, but for my crafting stuff as well. I of course continued my hobby and when I realized that I don't like wargaming clubs I knew I had to built a new table, as the old one was too heavy and big for my new home.

I tackled the problem and had some special objectives which I wanted to reach. First of all, my new table should be stored in my flat itself, not in the basement or the attic. Second, it had to be kept safe and clean. Third, it should be stored in a way that nobody can see it in daily life. The last aspect is very important as I live together with my girlfriend and don't want to annoy her (even more) with my stuff. Another problem was (and still is), that there is no place for a real dining table, so I had to built a substructure as well, which also had to be stored. And thats how I solved my problem:

Substructure fits under the bed (IKEA made).

A normal couch...? (also IKEA :D)

The rest of the table plus some scenery directly under the couch. The boxes in the left are full of scenery, the grey paper in front keeps the table segments free from dust.
The exposed table segments.
Some words on the whole system. My table segments had to lie horizontal, so they don't buckle. I therefore installed wooden bars in three levels. As a result the segments rests on the bars. They also don't touch each other, which means that there is no abrasion of static gras or, even worse, colour or sand.

The storage system based on bars.
Detail of the table storage bars.

Now I'll show the substructure. First, again, some thoughts why I made it the way I did. Instead of buying cheap wooden bents I took the metal ones. They cost about 12€ and are therefore four times more expensive than the cheap ones. But they offer an important advantage: they are robust and will serve me a long time. I then drilled a hole into them. This hole holds a pin, which connects the bents with the bar the table will rest upon. I did that, so, when the table is fully installed, it won't slip away. I noticed that players often come into contact with the table while playing, sometimes even a bit harder. This could lead to the table sliding away and falling down (I actually did this once myself). Now it can't happen anymore.
One bent with a small hole.
The connection between bar and bent.

The bars themselves are very simple. Just bars with a lenght of 180cm or 72 inch. I added a hinge, so I can use the bars on 120cm/48 inch or the full length. They are also easier to store and to transport. I mentioned the holding pin above.
The bars.
Bars at full length.
The bars retracted.

The last thing concerns the table segments themselves. I added wooden "tracks", which work in combination with the bars where the segment rests on. So they can't be moved and the whole table is an entity. You may know the problem of parts of the table gliding away, because someone hit them and the whole board slides - this can't happen to me anymore.
Track system in "action".
The complete table with two of the three segments.


  1. Damn good idea but a lot of work but worth it to us wargamers....

  2. Table looks great, good job man!

    +1 follower!

  3. A brilliant solution to a difficult problem. I looked at those Panzers you have on a previous post. Very nice work. Stellar