For Christmas 2018, I built my daughters a rolling activity table sized specifically to hold a set of four Lego Duplo boards.
After posting the table to Instagram, my cousin asked if I could build a similar table for her sons. They already have quite a collection of standard Legos and a bit more room in their play area than us, so she opted for a square table with room for nine standard square Lego base plates.
Here’s the design I came up with (click to activate rotation):
The only thing I modified from my original design was the proportions. I use 1/8″ luan for the surfaces (with supports underneath, as you’ll see later), and since I had no desire to track down, transport, and break down a full 4′ x 8′ sheet of the stuff (If they even sell it. I’ve never seen it.), I had to use two pieces cut from 2′ x 4′ sheets to make each square surface, thus the visible seams.
Breaking down the 2x4s was fairly straightforward. The only wrinkle was ripping four of the cut pieces in half length-wise to sandwich on either side of the top play surface. With a standard 1/8″-kerf saw blade and a 3.5″-wide 2×4, I set my rip fence 1 11/16″ from my blade to get two equally-sized pieces.
If you are going to try this or a similar cut, I recommend setting up your rip fence and doing a test cut with a piece of scrap before running any of your actual boards through to make sure that the resulting pieces are actually the same height. It’s easy to get off slightly and end up with pieces that you either have to further modify or replace entirely.
Use a featherboard and push sticks to keep your fingers in the clear while making this type of cut. Make sure to have your riving knife/splitter installed to minimize the risk of kickback, and position yourself at your saw so that you aren’t directly behind your board just in case kickback does occur
Before beginning assembly, I drilled all of the necessary pocket holes with my Kreg jig and cut grooves at the bottom of each of the pieces that would support the bottom shelf platform. I set my fence 1″ from the blade and set the blade height to 1/2″ and made a pass.
The luan that will ride in the groove is 1/4″ thick, so it theoretically requires two passes with a 1/8″-kerf blade to make the required cut. In reality, you’ll want some overlap from one cut to the next to avoid leaving anything behind, so plan on three cuts per board.
As with the earlier rip cuts, it’s best to do a test cut with a piece of scrap. After a successful test cut, I recommend resetting for the first pass and then running all of your boards through before adjusting for the second pass to ensure that all of your grooves line up nicely during assembly.
After all the grooves were cut, I sanded all of the 2×4 pieces to 120 grit using my random orbital. When I have a large number of pieces to sand like this, I typically clamp the sander in a bench vise and run the pieces over it to save some time and effort.
After cutting the luan to size (forgot to take pics – oops), the first step of assembly was getting the legs and base together. I first attached the legs to the shorter side rails, using scraps of luan to make sure the grooves were properly aligned.
Then I attached the two sets of legs together with a longer side rail, again using a scrap of luan to make sure the grooves were aligned.
With three sides of the base together, I slid the two pieces of luan for the bottom shelf into place and then attached the final side
To keep the luan from rattling too much in the grooves and to stiffen the seam between them, I attached a piece of 2×4 to the bottom of the table, first running it through the planer to take off about 1/2″ of thickness:
And then attaching it to the bottom of the table with glue and pocket hole screws:
With the base built, I assembled the top, first making the top rim (no pic) and then attaching the luan to it with a liberal amount of glue. While I had cut the luan for the bottom shelf to the exact size required, I cut this top surface with an extra 1/4″ along each dimension to give me some play when aligning this glue up. After final assembly, a pass with an 80-grit pad on the random orbital made quick work of the excess.
When I assembled the top rim, I counterbored the holes to hide the hardware, and I took the time at this point to plug the holes with a poplar dowel
To add strength to the play surface (because sooner or later, someone will climb up on top of it), I added three 2×4 crosspieces across the bottom of it.
I left the whole thing to dry overnight before assembling further to make sure the play surface was as secure as possible
The final step of assembly was attaching the top play surface to the base. The picture below is just a dry fit. I left the two pieces separate for finishing so that I could apply the stain and top coat more easily.
After a good bit more sanding (I took it to 220 by hand), the assembly was complete, and it was time to apply a finish.
The Minwax Classic Grey stain that I used on the table for my daughters happens to match the basement decor of my cousin, so I used it for the new table as well. I applied a single coat, brushing on a liberal amount and then wiping away the excess with a rag after several minutes.
After the stain dried, I brushed on three coats of water-based Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane, satin finish. The last step was attaching a set of casters to the corners, and that was it. Another Lego table finished!
If you’d like a rolling Lego table for your playroom, contact me! This simple design can be adapted to any size and can be modified in any number of ways to fit your needs.