Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

It is snowing.  A lot.   We had planned to start construction on the new tables this week but every chance we've had to go get the lumber-- every chance-- it has snowed.  Or rained.  The upside is that we've had a lot of time to work on the final plans and I think we've come up with some good ones.  Want to see?  Read on for some construction plans that involve wood instead of plastic.  Oh-- that red smudge?  It's blood... I caught a nasty splinter while lumber shopping!
It's been about 8 months since we packed up Legotown.  It sure went into boxes and bins a lot faster than it is going to come out.  Taking the old table apart also gave us a chance to rethink how it was put together.  The biggest problem was that it couldn't fit through any doorway without being completely disassembled!  The old table was about 4 1/2 feet square on the top level.  In fact, before I go on with the plans-- here's where you can find a couple entries regarding the old table:

"Top Shelf" details and has pictures from the construction of the original table.

"End of Era" was written as the table was dismantled and the Lego stowed for our move.

The original table is still available for sale, possibly, if someone would like to make a generous offer.
The new tables -- yes, TWO tables-- will be longer but narrower than the original table.  They will both be on  wheels and will hold 21 plates on each level, an upper and lower level for each table.  The plates will fit exactly 7 across and 3 deep and will be placed so that the tables can be spun around and swap sides and the roads will still connect from one table to the other.  
As you can see in this picture, the general design will be that of an "apron" shelf supporting system.  Each of the 4 corner supports will be notched so that an apron of 1x3" boards can be attached.  Those aprons will each have 2 more cross braces to help keep the levels from drooping or sagging.  All the fasteners will be hidden inside the notches of behind the apron.
Each Lego road plate, standard size, is 10x10".  The main part of each level will be exactly 30" across so that the tables can be placed in different configurations and there will be no gap between the road plates.  The lower levels will be 70" from leg-to-leg so we can fit 7 road plates on both levels.  The middle plates of every level will be a road that can connect to the middle plate of the other table.  Because the upper level doesn't have to accommodate the legs, it will end up being closer to 73" long.  If pushed end to end, only the upper levels will be able to directly connect between tables.
The biggest discussion we had was what thickness of plywood to use.  We're planning to use cabinet grade veneers and wood so that the tables will be more finely stained and finished than the original table.  They should look much more like "real" furniture!  In the end, once the edge trim pieces were factored in, the difference between 1/2" plywood and 3/4" plywood worked out to be about $23.   
With the dimensions of the tables' levels being about 30x70", there is no way to get more than one level per sheet of plywood.  That means we'll be buying 4 sheets of it to get 4 levels.  The "waste" from the tables will be quite significant-- however, we are planning to roll at least 2 bookshelves out of the extra wood (with a few more boards to finish those off).  In the end, the need to use this "waste" plywood as bookshelves made opting for the thicker 3/4" plywood a worthwhile expense.

When everything is all said and done, we should have 2 nice furniture grade Lego tables and 2 large bookcases.  Total expenses for all 4 pieces of furniture will be about $300.  So...  if you'd like to help out, you can support Bricksburgh by watching our videos, reading our blog, and-- most importantly--  check out and click on some of the advertisements!  

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