A model railway dining table – Part 5.

July 3rd, 2014

Today I got the table standing up! First I ditched the idea of using dowels in the legs when a test proved I couldn’t drill a hole straight enough in the end of the cross pieces and I’d never be able to get them to line up. I plugged the holes in the legs with short lengths of dowel glued in place. Just getting them in was tricky enough!

Next I made a board to use make sure the sides were square when I glued them in. The board was measured and made square then a corner cut out to clear the leg. I measured from the floor to the rails and used cardboard under the leg ends to ensure everything was level. Then I glued the first corner. I was able to line the sides up with the sides of the board and clamp them in place. The board also ensured the sides were both on the same plane.

IMG_2161_1 IMG_2162_1

I epoxied one corner first and let that dry. While it did I sanded the horrible varnish off one of the side boards. The varnish was very plasticy. When I refinish the table I want something less modern as a final treatment.

With the first corner dry I then did the diagonally opposite corner. I figured that with those two corners done I could then glue the others and they’d have to be square. I was gluing the third corner then suddenly realised that I had to do BOTH the remaining corners at the same time. If I glued just one of them then the last corner would be stuck in place since it would be impossible to remove the leg with the sides rigid. So I had to quickly mix up some more glue and do the other corner too.


While that was drying I sanded the other long side board. Then after an hour I was able to flip it up the right way.


Hooray! Only something went wrong. You can just see in the picture but the left front most leg isn’t quite straight. I only noticed when I went to trim the side board and found the top of the leg was further out than the bottom so a square cut board wouldn’t slide down into the slots! The other sides all went in without too much trouble although I did find one board was a little fat so I planed the back of it slightly till it would slide down into place.

Luckily I was able to use a large rubber mallet and break the joint on the long side and reglue it. As I suspected you can’t remove it completely with three sides glued but I was able to prise it apart just enough to get more epoxy around and behind the joint. I then braced it while the glue dried. I have the side pieces just pushed into position now but not glued. That also helped make sure everything was straight.


After that dried I measured it all and found side to side it’s the same but across the long side one side is about 5mm longer than the other. It doesn’t really matter though as everything is made to fit and the top overhangs the table so can be made square. That’s actually more accurate than my Austin 7 and that’s going to be driven around race tracks at high speeds. Presumably the table won’t be so I think that’s good enough.

I cut a scrap piece of ply to show how the base will fit in.

IMG_2171_1 IMG_2172_1 IMG_2176_1

That will be screwed to the side rails. The rimu sides will be glued in place and I can also add triangular bracing  the top of the side rail and the rimu sides if I want to. The inner corners are still square but I might plane those down diagonally. For extra strength I could then fit steel straps across the corners drilled into the side rails and the leg but I don’t think that’s really needed (but I might do it anyway). Railway engineering this!

I still need to make the frame around the top of the table. That’s attached to this part and will increase the height and also provide the rectangular hole the same size as the railway. The sides of the railway will extend up to meet this frame. So all the internal side detail you see here will be hidden. That will provide the space the speed controller electronics can fit into. I think I will cut a hole in one of the short sides so I can fit a control panel. It would be nice to somehow make this hidden.

Finally there will be another frame that will be the top of the table. This will hold the glass and be hinged to the inner frame so it can be lifted up. I’ll need some kind of stay too to hold the lid open as it will be fairly heavy with all the glass.

I stacked some offcuts on top of the table to simulate the inner frame and the lid and then got one of the chairs to test the height.

IMG_2175_1 IMG_2177_1

The cushion on the chair is to make up for the sagging seat! The table is taller than usual but you can comfortably rest your elbows on it. I still need to sand the whole thing and get a base board and find some more rimu for the top frame and real top. There is a demolition yard in New Lynn that has some old rimu floors board that might work.





Comments are closed.