LEGO Table | Popular Woodworking Magazine
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Add artistic accents to a game table.
Project n. 1914 • Skill Level: Beginner • Time: 1 day • Cost: $ 150
The last Christmas my wife and I introduced our kids to LEGO. This was a good reminder that there is something truly special about spending time with your kids with the toys you grew up with. It was amazing to see how quickly they went from wanting me to build things for them to destroy, to my older building kits with minimal assistance.
As our collection grew and my kids became more and more interested in LEGO, I decided they needed a suitable home. I wanted to build something that would bring inspiration when you saw it. A table that would appeal to my kids when they get home from school rather than settling down with their electronics.
Construction of tables
I came up with the idea of a simple plywood table with a shelf for containers, all pretty standard, but I didn’t stop there. I added some sort of LEGO inlay. I used LEGO panels, located behind some creative cutouts in the base of the table so that it looked like the table was plastered on LEGO that had been worn. To make the concept more convincing and to challenge myself, some of the inlays have been placed in the corners.
The construction of the table is very simple. The entire table comes from less than a 4’x8 ‘sheet 3/4“Plywood. Everything is in your pocket to keep things simple and they’re more than strong enough for a table like this. The corners of the top are rounded for safety and the exposed edges of the plywood are bandaged for a cleaner look.”
The first step is to build the LEGO panels that will fill in the cutouts. To hold the panel together, I used a small amount of CA glue between the pieces. It is important to be cautious and skip the activator. If some of the glue comes out, it will discolor the bricks.
With the panel built in, it’s easy to experiment to find where the inlay will look good. Once the place was decided, I drew the outline of the layout on the inside face of the plywood. This marks the location of the pocket where the insert will fit and provides the boundaries for drawing the shape of the reveal that will be on the other side.
When drawing the revelation, it is important to leave space between the boundary line and the revelation so that there is some material on which to glue the inlay. I chose to draw my revelation in a very jagged, angular shape that had a diagonal direction. My inspiration was how the joints crack on an old brick building.
Mounting the insert into the plywood consists of four simple steps. The first is to cut off the revelation. The easiest way to do this is with a jigsaw. Just drill a few holes to insert the blade to get started and then cut following the sketch.
The second is to pull out the pocket in which the insert will be located. A down-cut spiral tip set to insert depth will minimize tearing, and a trimming router makes control easier. This is where making the inlay a straight shape makes things easy because it should primarily follow straight lines with very few angles to tackle. If following a freehand line isn’t your thing, simply block an edge guide to follow. The inside corners can be squared off with a chisel.
The third is to blunt the revelation. This really opens it up and makes the inlays look much better. The fastest way is to use a cutting router. A support tip makes it very easy to follow the pattern but prevents the tip from really entering corners. So, I used a v-bit and just edited the freehand shape. This could also be done with files and rasps.
The last is to secure the insert in place. I made the pockets stick together so the inserts would fit in the friction, but added some CA glue for insurance and to make sure my kids can’t push them out.
While LEGO wood inlay may seem intimidating, I hope you realize it’s just a few simple steps using techniques and tools you probably know.
Caleb is the creator of YouCanMakeThisToo, a source of trust, knowledge and inspiration for anyone who wants to make the ordinary a little bit extraordinary. His work can be found on ycmt2.com.
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