Chess Table Build

Rennie Heuer

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I hope that I do a better job of chronicling this build than I usually do. :rolleyes: (Maybe Glenn can prod me occasionally if my updates are not as frequent as should be.)

I'll start on this late this week. It is a custom designed game table for a return customer. He wanted to have it be in the same family as the Limbert table I did for him a little while ago.
IMG_1800.jpg

In addition, he has already purchased a pair of antique chairs that will be used at this table so some detail from them needed to be carried over to the tables design as well. I chose the upside down hearts seeing as they were both prominent and rather unique. (Just visible on the front stretcher of the chair on the right)
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This is truly a custom piece as I have scanned hundreds of game tables on line and there is nothing like it available. This is definitely the most challenging build I have attempted to date. I usually shy away from curves. There are also some engineering challenges, mostly in the swing out compartments and the lazy susan top. Incorporating these requires a very specific order of assembly. Everything has to be done in turn.

The drawings are a bit rough, but they get the point across. I'm going to go with bent lamination for the apron. 1/8" veneers cold bent around an MDF form. No steam. My research, and some quick testing here in the shop, indicates the QSWO can handle the bend without breaking. I'll use polyurethane glue as, it is my understanding, it will not 'creep' when released from the forms. That means I don't have to compensate for spring back. I hope. :crossed: The chess board will be 1/8" veneers laminated to a 1" MDF substrate (two 1/2" sheets laminated).Here's the overview
6-13 a.jpg6-13 b.jpg6-13 c.jpg


The swing out compartments are meant to be 'hidden'. So no visible hardware and the gaps need to be as small as possible. I've not figured out what type of 'catch' to use yet, but I did find a few ideas on the web for hinging the compartment. This drawing shows the basic idea, though I will likely be moving the hinge point in a little to minimize the 'cutout' that allows the end of the drawer face to swing in.
Closed Close up.jpgOpen Close up.jpg

Finally, the lazy susan. I want the motion to be smooth and there should be no 'rocking' of the table top. If someone leans on the edge of the table I don't want the other side to lift. So, I'm thinking of going with a commercial grade 24" ball bearing mechanism that will support the top almost at its perimeter - the top is 27". This presents two more challenges. Since the mechanism is about 9/16" deep I will have to provide a groove in the underside of the table about 1/2" deep for the susan to sit in which will keep the gap between the top and apron to about 1/16". This then intrudes into the space for the chessboard. This is why I will use two 1/2" pieces of MDF for my substrate as I can cut off the corners of the lower piece to clear the susan.
Bearing 2.jpgBearing 1.jpgBoard.jpg

I'm aiming for about 6 to 8 weeks start to finish. I'm hoping for less, but I know that there are challenges lurking in the shadows just wating to jump up and bite me in the rear. :peek:
 
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glenn bradley

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You gotta love those returning customers that know your work and want more. My new shop was outfitted primarily by three families over the years. Your large lazy susan solves a lot of problems construction-wise; good support for the table and leaning players. The drawers will be especially interesting to watch. I just keep a camera and / or my phone in the shop and try to snap a few pics before and between stages. I generally toss about half the pics I end up with and only post a few of those that make the cut. Have fun and thanks for taking us along.
 

Leo Voisine

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When I had my Mr. Handyman franchise they taught the owners to always be mindful of return customers. They are the ones that are most important to your business.

I absolutely LOVE those chairs. The backs are awesome.

The Chessboard Table is soooo cool.
 

glenn bradley

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Both Garrett's version and Tom M's version use a curved drawer coming out of a flat face. This covers some of the challenges Rennie has but does not address the face to carcass interface at the left of the pivot point.

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This is where Rennie is going to show us his Geometry-Fu. This will be a fun challenge and in the end I am sure Rennie will triumph! Moving the pivot point to the right will lessen the arc of the left edge but then you have a different arc for the right side of the drawer box. These are the things that invade my mind while I am idle :D

P.s. The drawer does not have to be a complete pie wedge shape. Knocking the point off would give you some room for swing with an alternate pivot point . . . sorry, mind won't shut off o_O
 
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Rennie Heuer

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Both Garrett's version and Tom M's version use a curved drawer coming out of a flat face. This covers some of the challenges Rennie has but does not address the face to carcass interface at the left of the pivot point.

This is where Rennie is going to show us his Geometry-Fu. This will be a fun challenge and in the end I am sure Rennie will triumph! Moving the pivot point to the right will lessen the arc of the left edge but then you have a different arc for the right side of the drawer box. These are the things that invade my mind while I am idle :D
My geometry teacher from HS must be rolling over in his grave with laughter about now. I was horrible - both in practice and as a student. Surely he must be seeing this as some form of karma/revenge. :rofl:
 
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Ryan Mooney

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I keep thinking about how to do this with a drop leaf joint.. but the geometry is basically backwards.. I think.. I mean yes it would work but the joint would be always exposed. I guess you could bury it in trim... Hmm...

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Rennie Heuer

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Getting started on the table I decided to start with the hard part, and, since every other dimension comes from its relation to the curved apron, it also seemed the most logical. Step one was to build the bending form. I found this video from Popular Woodworking that had, what I thought, was the best constructed form so I pretty much duplicated what they had. I thought the guides on the bottom and the restraints on the top were really good improvements over most forms. They used a melamine base but I went with a 3/4" UV plywood because that's what I had on hand. I'll cover the faces with packing tape and give most of the other surfaces a few coats of paste wax. Then give it a test run.

Dual arcs are laid out for the inside and outside of the finished (3/4") apron. I glued up the entire block and then cut them out on the bad saw. A little time on the oscillating spindle and belt sanders refined the cuts and kept everything square. Often, when making a form like this, you would cut the arcs in one piece, then, after perfecting the cut line, stack the next piece and use a flush trim bit to duplicate the first. Stack, cut, stack, cut, etc.. Having to cut perfectly aligned dados for those lower guides BEFORE the first arcs are cut made that method impractical.


IMG_1921.JPEGIMG_1922.JPEGIMG_1923.JPEG
 

glenn bradley

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Great execution on that lamination press (?). Is the larger concave part attached to the base? I know I seem like a shellac fanatic but a coat or two of shellac (or glue size for that matter) on the business faces of that rig will help it last. I figured this out after pulling chunks out of an MDF form with packing tape that had been lef tin place too long . . . my bad.
 

Rennie Heuer

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Great execution on that lamination press (?). Is the larger concave part attached to the base? I know I seem like a shellac fanatic but a coat or two of shellac (or glue size for that matter) on the business faces of that rig will help it last. I figured this out after pulling chunks out of an MDF form with packing tape that had been lef tin place too long . . . my bad.
Yes, the larger bit is attached to the base. The MDF got a soaking coat of dewaxed shellac on the mating faces prior to the packing tape. All other areas that might see glue also got shellac prior to waxing.
 

Jim DeLaney

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Dry run worked well. The pieces were a little thick so I added a sled to the planer and milled them down to an honest 1/8”. Then the bending got a bit easier but I think I will wet them before bending anyway.
Try wetting them, then bending - without glue - and letting them dry. Then, doing the glue-up. Easier than wrestling with the wet wood and the glue at the same time.
 
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