The Making Of - A Gaming Table - Part II  

Posted by Hal'jin in , , ,

Another day brightens outside and another day of work begins, but first a recap of yesterdays progress!

The first thing was to sculpt some terrain into the board itself, not too much but to make it appear a bit better than just empty flat surface. The styrofoam isn't that easy to carve in and sculpt, though the extruded one has it way better than the regular one. In the comments under the last post David warned me about carving into it, thanks! Too bad I read that comment after I actually started to do it.. In the end however nothing wrong happened, aside from me getting my finger cut which is annoying me as I type now, groan , and the crevasses (how do you spell that..) look good. The most important thing to remember is that you have a really sharp knife. The alternative is to have a very hot knife. Both of these things make styrofoam cutting really easy. Here's a shot of the table as it looked after the sculpting.

And the projects continues

Here are some closeup shots of the terrain.

Once that was done it was time for next step - sanding. Things needed at this stage are as follows:

Woodworking glue, I prefer it to PVA glue when gluing sand, simply because it's easier to apply and much thinner. It's also way easier to clean off. The other things include a brush. That piece of cardboard was there to act as a brush as well, since the brush was actually dirty with glue, but it ended up working fine, so the cardboard wasn't used at all.
Price: 13 zł = £2,68 (for the glue)

Obviously to apply sand to the table you will need sand itself! My estimations say about 4 medium-sized jars of sand should be enough for the entire surface.

There was a problem with the sand however. It isn't modelling sand, it's construction sand and as such its mixed with a lot of small rocks and similar and too large grains. A riddle was neccessary but there was none about (other than a kitchen one and that was out of question). But I found a way around it with a jar, a screw and a hammer!

Once the tools were prepped the work could begin. Sand is applied to the table just as it is to bases of the minis. Drop the glue onto the surface and then brush it around making an even coa that covers the area completely. It was actually quite hard not to leave brush marks but I am unsure wether its a fault of the brush or the glue being too thick. Woodworking glue can be thinned down by water, you may try that, but don't add too much of it and it takes a lot of mixing as well. On the other hand those brush marks might work as terrain,a fter all land isn't totally flat, right? Here's the surface covered with glue:

Then I applied the sand. Using the jar was just like shaking a huge salt cellar. It was actually quite fun. It also allowed to dose the sand somewhat and minimised the losses, not a bad thing.

Remember you don' want to cover the entire table with glue at once. Before you're done and start applying sand the starting area might dry out a little, especially if you're doing that outdoors in warm weather. As such it is better to work gradually, apply the glue, the sand, then brush the glue onto next area and so on.
Here a table quarter with the sanding completed:

I managed to sand one more quarter and then the glue bottle ran out. Thing to remember, the 4'x6' area needs to big glue bottles to cover it entirely. As such, before I start working today again, I'll need to go pick up more glue. Once I get it though, I should be able to finish sanding today and maybe even start painting!

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at Thursday, July 30, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Hi there,

how many layers of Styrofoam are you going to use? I would strongly recommend you to use more then 1 (!!), for Mortheim where you really need all 3 dimensions and a lot of depth one uses about 4. Or maybe if you just wont a little bit mor depth then normal flat gaming boards i would recommend you to glue these foamparts on some MDF boards. The strength of the MDF depends on how stable your under-construction (in my case the kitchen table) is, I used a strength of 16mm, advantage is that it is absolutely stable and did not deform because of the glue and paint on it, disadvantage the board is kind of heavy. Even though it is in German you could take a look at they always have nice homemade boards.

30 July 2009 at 12:36

I think the difference was I was carving a whole river into one of my 2*4 boards, rather than just some crevasses.

And I would also recommend basing the foam on either MDF or some plywood. I used 1/4" plywood.

You can see pictures of my board construction here:

30 July 2009 at 14:18

As mentioned in the previous part they're glued on a plywood board, so it's not a problem. There's going to be more underconstruction later too.
And this one layer is 3 cm thick, should be enough. I only want a flat board and extra dimensions will be added through terrain pieces. I don't want a set table that's always the same, but rather a flat table with terrain pieces that can be put anywhere.
As for deforming, it might have actually done that a little... But I'll look into it as I will have to add some parts that will allow to link the 4 quarters, rather then them just being put next to each other.

30 July 2009 at 14:20

HAHA! Third pic down looks like a Chaos symbol. You're doomed! Doomed I say. ;)

30 July 2009 at 15:54

Hah! You're right, I actually even noticed it yesterday and wanted to point it out in the article but simply forgot.

Wait a minute. I cut myself and spilled some blood on the table. A table with Khorne's symbol on it.
You're right! I AM doomed!

30 July 2009 at 16:07

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