train table

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Project by KS_Sparky posted 01-02-2014 03:27 PM 680 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
train table
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I guess its about time I posted a project. I don’t see myself as a woodworker yet, but I aspire to be. So far, my projects have all been designed and built to fill a need, but hopefully the inspiration I get here will help push me to do more. I guess the size of my wallet plays a part in that too, though!

For my first project post, I suppose I should start with my first real project. A few years ago I built a train table for my son, Eli. Like many young boys, he took an interest in trains (Thomas, especially), cars, and trucks. At the time, we were renting a converted barn that featured much of the exposed timber framing and reclaimed siding as the finished wall surface, but was strangely carpeted throughout (except the tiny bathroom and kitchen areas). He needed a hard surface to play with his toys…a table, just his size.

I didn’t have any real plans for this, and I’ll admit that I kind of winged it. As such, I don’t have the exact measurements, but I think it was approximately 3’x4’x21”. The table sits 1” below the outer rim to keep the toys on the table. The top and sides are 1/2” MDF and the top sits on corner blocks and supports cut from a 2×4 I had. The top is not fastened down, with the intention that both sides could be painted and that it would be reversible. In reality it was too heavy, too tight (I didn’t consider multiple layers of paint and poly), and always too cluttered for this to be practical.

There’s no fancy joinery here. I just glued and screwed simple butt joints. It was painted so that the corners looked mitered, though. I countersunk the screw heads and filled the holes and board ends with drywall spackle. The piece was then sanded and primed. This is where Mrs. Sparky took over and painted. She did a lot of it free hand. The trains, tracks, and buildings where stickers, though. I think she finished with six or seven coats of poly, for durability.

After purchasing a small starter home and adding a second young one, we finally ran out of room for the table. It is now at my parent’s house, though, where my nephews play with it often. I can’t wait to see Owen play on it, just like his brother did. It didn’t turn out perfect (slightly out of square), it wasn’t made of any special materials, and it didn’t require fancy techniques. It was a simple project, but it was my first. I am proud because I learned a lot and because my boys have and will enjoy it!

-- apprentice Electrician, IBEW L.U. 226

3 comments so far

View Brett's profile


926 posts in 2179 days

#1 posted 01-04-2014 05:23 AM

Great job you woodworker you! You saw a need, built a piece to fill that need out of WOOD. So, what if it wasn’t an exotic species.

Great job to the Mrs. too on the paint job!

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 1595 days

#2 posted 01-06-2014 05:07 PM

It looks great, like the attractive colors and design. I’m sure the kids have lots of fun playing with it. Great job to you and your wife. You should be proud.

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2286 days

#3 posted 01-06-2014 05:11 PM

That’s a great project for the kids and I bet that they loved it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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