Coffee Table / Chest / Play Table (1) Plan

I was at a high-end children’s toy store the other day with my son (1 yr old) and watched his eyes light up over a table full of Brio trains on a play table. As I watched how he used the table to play I noticed that the raised edge of the table kept the toys from falling to the floor as he played with them. It gave me an idea for a new addition to our living-room. We need places to store items like in a chest, but we need a table for my son to play at and …. well I need to build something.

So here are the plans I put together in Sketchup.

Play table sketch X-ray view of play table

My plan is to make it all out of pine. Since it is a kid table I didn’t want to get carried away with expensive hardwood. The base will be chest-like but the top will lift off more like a tray rather than on hinges … so if he has a Brio Train set on it, we don’t have to mess it up when we need to get a blanket out of the chest.

The joints will all be dovetail and the panels will be glued up with tongue and groove rather than biscuits. (reasoning: I have a pair of tongue and groove planes I like to use, and I don’t own a biscuit joiner)

Off to the store to get some whitewood (pine in this case)  I like the look of pine and even want some knots for character.  I like the shimmery catoyance  (french for cat eyes?) that pine gets, and I have found that the best catoyance is near the knots.  In choosing the wood, I am looking for it to be straight (not looking to re-mill it) and not have knots near the edges.  Those can be a bear to try to make a tongue from or a groove in.

While I head to the store, here is my Sketch-up plan if you want it.  (ignore the sizes, I tried to scale it a bit after I drew it and ended up messing up the sizes)

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