Monday, July 20, 2015

Building My Desert Tabletop: Part 1

In support of my North Africa WW2 and modern Iraq projects I need a 4x4 foot and 4x6 foot option for a desert/middle eastern table top.  I therefore set off to build three 2 foot by 4 foot sections that interlock using bolts.

This is part 1 that covers the basic construction of the table.  Part 2 will complete the project with the sanding and painting of the tabletop.

The basic plan for the table is below.

Basic table plan.
Three sections that interlock using bolts.

For the frame I used "1 by 2" and for the actual table top I used 1/2" particle board.  The interlocking holes are 1/4" holes.  The "long side" frame I cut at 48" whereas the "short side" frame I cut at 22 9/16ths to account for the width of the 1 by 2's on the long side.


  • 8 x 1x2x8 boards for framing.
  • 3 x pre-cut 2 foot by 4 foot 1/2 inch thick particle board.
  • Wood screws for framing (1 1/2").
  • Wood screws for table top (1").
  • 1/4" bolts, washers and nuts for interlocking sections.

  • Power mitre saw.
  • 18v drill.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pencil.
  • Squaring ruler.

Pictures below of the construction with descriptions in the captions.

Cutting the framing sections.

Getting all the framing cut
for the "outside" frame of
each section.

Assembly complete for the
outside frame for all three sections.

Center support in for all three
sections (running the length
of the table top).

Two cross supports for each
half of each section complete.  This
finished the frame assembly.

I used scrap sections of the framing wood to build a
template for drilling the 1/4" interconnection holes.

Table top attached using screws "counter sunk" into wood.

All three sections built and ready for sanding.

Now it is on to sanding the table top and painting.  As I already have my 6 foot by 8 foot table (with legs) setup, this will just sit on top of that existing table.  Also, this will travel well for conventions and such.  This part took about 3 hours to complete with the right tools and experience - if you are newer to wood working projects you should budget a little more time.


  1. Looks great...practise loads to get the right colour for took me five or six attempts before I was happy...

    1. Agree, I've been experimenting on small sections :-)

    2. The trick is not to make it too brown or too yellow

      I found that using a GW Steel Legion Drab type colour for the base works well. Got a big tin of emulsion mixed up...

      The dry brush with yellow ochre followed by another dry brush of titantium buff (creamy white) delivered the best results.

      My latest blog post on Egyptian ruins illustrate these stages...

      Good luck

    3. Thanks, I've been following that project ... you sir are a machine! :-)

  2. A great start. Best of luck with further progress.

    How about the weight, are they heavy to carry? I guess by having them each 2x4 you make the transportation and storage mutch easier.

    1. Thanks! They are on the lighter side ... I didn't use pine like I normally do for the frame, I used a lighter and highly quality wood (don't recall the specific type off the top of my head) that really made it light. That being said, the sand and glue will add some weight to it ... but I don't think it will be difficult to manage at all even after that.