Train Play Table

Things I've made and what making them taught me

Train Play Table

For Christmas of 2007, I gave my nephew a train play table.  I had looked at some of the commercial products, and I wasn’t pleased with how sturdy they were for their $300 price tags.  I suppose I have to concede that they were designed for flat packing but they just didn’t hold up well in the stores.

So it needed to be colourful, have some drawers for storage, and it needed to be sturdy.  I built the thing out of 3/4″ and 5/8″ MDF with baltic birch for the drawers.  I have to say it:  I hate MDF.  The dust was horrific.  But it took the paint great and the weight of it is kinda beneficial because the kids climb up and dance around on the thing on a regular basis – a lighter piece might have gone sliding around the floor under them.

The legs are 2 layers of MDF glued together for a total thickness of 1 1/2″ The edges are all rounded over with a quarter round bit.  The finish is 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Collections latex paint – I believe that’s their middle grade consumer product, with 3 top coats of satin Varathane Diamond waterborne polyurethane.  I sprayed both the paint and the poly through my turbine HVLP gun and it came out pretty good.  It still looks like latex paint, but particularly well applied latex paint.  ;)

The Varathane top coat added a lot of protection.  The finish is still holding up after all the abuse that 2 toddlers could throw at it, and it didn’t modify the colour noticeably.  There are just a couple of MDF blisters in the top where they drove wooden train bits through the topcoat and then got it wet.  There’s no way the latex would look as good as it does today on its own.  I’m definitely going to do that again on my next kid project.