Shed Life: The Table part 1

I've been building a gaming table for my girlfriend. It's so she can invite her friends all the way out here and LARP, or whatever the hell it is nerds do when they get together.

Credit: Jeager

I wouldn't know because I've always been naturally cool and popular.

Welcome to Cool town, population, ME!
Credit: Alan Levine

I'm by no means an experienced craftsman. The only other things I've built have been a single step and a litter box. I do, however, have access to YouTube and that's really all a cool guy like me needs.

Let's just say this is the essence of me to save time.
Credit: Guy Sie

The result of mixing online learning and real world experience has been teaching me a lot, no matter how much I try to fuck it all up. There are a lot of really great channels that go out of their way to help you out. I also can't express enough just how educational WGBH and Ask This Old House have been. If you have any doubts about whether or not public television deserves to be funded, just try to build something. You'll be singing the praises of tax and spend politics right up until the first time you slam your thumb with the hammer and walk your ass to Ikea instead of finishing.

You win this round, The Dutch!
Credit: Sam Greenhalgh

Anyway, that was an aside. The fact of the matter is that I've been sanding and staining this damn thing for the past seven years. That's a hell of an accomplishment when you realize that I just started on it a month ago.

Pictured: ALL of my free time.

This thing is massive. It's the biggest collection of wood I've ever been around since gym class.

50 LB Archer shown for scale.

It's finally starting to take shape and that's just awesome. I've learned a lot and have definitely figured out the right and wrong ways to do some things.

First of all, I would have gotten myself some higher quality wood than whatever Home Depot has going on. I just have no idea where to get it. If any of you guys have a handle on some nice, hard wood, don't keep it to yourself! I want to work it just as badly as you do.

That's a spicy double entendre!
Credit: Nan Fry

Second, I focused in way too hard on the details, but I made it worthwhile. The table is meant to live outside for its entire life. That means I had to put spaces in between the boards so the rain and melting snow has somewhere to go. That means these nerds can see the edges, which in turn means that they had to be sanded and stained so their overly sensitive eyes aren't assaulted by unfinished wood.


I spent a lot of time making sure each and every edge was finished, when I really could have just stuck the brush down there and saved a lot of work. I used it to my advantage, though, and worked out how to sand and stain. When you don't know what you're doing, it makes sense to learn from every stupid decision, however you can.

I also learned that stain is EXTREMELY forgiving. If you're building and not confident in your painting skills, stain that damn thing. It's definitely the best option for the beginner.

As opposed to using Staind, which is nowhere near as forgiving.
Credit: M Shaff

Finally, I'm learning just how fun and satisfying it is to work with my own wood every day. Yes, it's tiring, and yes, there's some soreness and chafing. I wouldn't trade it for anything, though. When it's all said and done, I'll have something of mine that visitors can play with for years to come and you just can't get that if you're using someone else's wood.

How many dick jokes are too many? This many!
Credit: Shankar S

Anyway, there you go. That's my table story. Take some time to comment and share if you liked it or just want to make fun of me. I'm easy and desperate for any kind of attention.

Plus, I almost have a table!