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How to Build a Rustic Checkerboard Table (page 3 of 3)

Designing and fabricating a wooden coffee and game table using old, reclaimed wood will create an instant conversation piece in your living room.

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Step 7: Design the Checkerboard

Choose one of the table surfaces on which to paint the checkerboard pattern. Using painter's tape and a tape measure, square the board in the center of the table (Image 1). The size of the individual checkerboard squares depends on the size of the table. Use graph paper to sketch out the checkerboard square design.

Cover the outside table surface of the checkerboard with paper. Continue to outline the checkerboard design with tape on the top of the old table surface (Image 2). When the taped squares for the board are complete, spray-paint or brush paint the uncovered squares (Image 3). Allow the surface to dry. Remove the tape to expose the checkerboard pattern on the rough table surface.

Step 8: Attach the Table Legs

Turn the lower surface upside down and attach four wooden blocks (2" x 4" x 4") near the four corners. These blocks can be regular 2" x 4" scrap wood or leftover true-cut 2" x 4" reclaimed wood. Screw them to the underside of the lower surface.

Using old 4" x 4" posts, cut four legs to length depending on the desired surface height of the tabletop. The legs must be of equal length and cut clean for a plumb and square fit.

Turn the checkerboard surface face-down and lay it on the work table. Place the four post legs in each of the four corners. Using the finish nailer, secure the legs through the side edge trim. Also, toenail the legs to the underside of the checkerboard, judging carefully how deep the finish nail will penetrate without going all the way through to the checkerboard surface. Take the bottom table surface and turn it face-down. Place it upside down on the four legs. The bottom table surface should be adjusted so the legs are aligned with the corners inside the edge trim. With the legs in place, finish nail through the bottom of the table to temporarily hold it in place. Insert four wood screws per leg through the bottom to permanently secure the legs in place.

Carefully turn the table right side up.

Finishing Options

The Blog Cabin 2011 game table was finished with a piece of bevel-edged tempered glass that was cut to fit the top surface. This protective glass allows wet drinks or feet to be rested on the table without staining or marring the tabletop.

To round out the project, locate an old set of wooden checkers or chess set. They may be found at antiques shops or on craigslist. No luck finding old checkers? Make your own. Pick up some 1" or 1-1/2" pine or oak dowels and cut (slice) the checker pieces to a chosen thickness. A miter saw will help with this finishing option. Spray-paint them black and red.

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