s Apothecary Style Coffee Table with Hidden LEGO and Train Play Areas - The Kim Six Fix
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Apothecary Style Coffee Table with Hidden LEGO and Train Play Areas

I am SO EXCITED to share today's project with you.  I have spent the last few weeks working on it, and have been giving sneak previews on Facebook and Instagram, but today is FINALLY the big reveal... SQUEEEEE!!!!! 

For visitors and guests to our home, it would look like nothing more than an apothecary style coffee table. 

And even if it was just that, it would be beautiful.  But the exciting part is when you remove the top and reveal..

... a train table and tons of extra storage.   (Even if you didn't have kids, it would be a great place to hide a blanket or your laptop or magazines or whatever else tends to clutter up the living room.)

And if that weren't enough, I took advantage of the fact that the removable inset had a large flat finished surface on both sides, and I also threw in a LEGO table in order to guild the lily. 

To see it in action I created this quick movie of how it works: 

Don't you just LOVE THAT?!??!!?

My kids have been pretty much inseparable from it. Worth the $70 or so dollars it cost me to make it.. that is for sure! 

Now I can't take credit for this design idea at all!  This is pretty much a straight up build of Ana White's "Mom's Train Table" with the addition of a little trim and hardware.   These are the original dimensions and blueprints.  
Image Source: Ana White
And this is my version before any modifications.  For the full tutorial please visit her post

I don't actually have any step by step instructions here, since hers are so complete.   I pretty much followed the basic build to the letter.  The only difference was the addition of 1x2s and cabinet pulls on the long sides, to give the illusions of apothecary style drawers
I used my drill and driver set for most of the assembly and I used a nail gun for the finish work.  I didn't add the bottom shelf because I wanted to vacuum under it more easily (knowing my kids would be playing around it all the time.)

I also didn't split the plywood down the center (because I wanted to use it a LEGO table) and I just drilled 1 inch holes in each end to make it easier to remove. (You would NEVER get it out without the holes..)
I actually purchased a new orbital sander from Dewalt specifically for this project (since the surface area was large) and I LOVE it.  I am not sure why I didn't buy one sooner.  I used it to round down all the edges and corners of the table since I knew the kids would be leaning and playing around it.   It worked like a charm:

My finished table looks a little different than Ana's because I did a combination of paint and stain. To finish it, I first filled in all the holes with Minwax stainable wood filler.

Then I caulked all the seams with my favorite color changing caulk (seriously, this stuff is awesome! It changes from pink to white when it is dry so you can tell where you freshly caulked and what areas are cured.  Plus it is low VOC, which isn't true of all paintable caulks on the market!) 

Stained the outer edge first (so I could cover any drips with paint) and then I primed the bottom with Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Primer.  (That stuff is AWESOME at covering up wood knots.) I used a foam roller and a Purdy angled brush to reduce brush strokes.  

The white color is "Popcorn" by Martha Stewart I had leftover from painting my laundry room cabinets. (This paint line no longer available, but Glidden now provides the same color in all of their paint lines.)  I added Floetrol paint conditioner to the paint to get the smoothest application.  

I stained the table top with some clearance American Chestnut polyshades I found on the oops shelf at Home Depot. I didn't really care what color the top was, as long as it looked like wood, and the $3 can of American Chestnut did the trick. Plus using the polyurethane/stain mix saved me a step.  I did use a wood conditioner on this plywood to get a more even stain. 

Lastly I divided the long sides into 6 equal sections and added a short 1x2 to give it that trendy "apothecary drawer" look. 

Then added inexpensive generic black cabinet knobs they had in stock at Home Depot.  They were the cheapest ones I could find ($1.35 each) although if I wasn't doing this on a budget I may have picked something fancier.  I do think they make the table look great, especially considering that all 12 knobs only set me back about $17! 

To attach the LEGO plates I did my research into different adhesives and I settled on Gorilla Glue Epoxy.  There is going to be a LOT of torque on the plates as the kids pull the blocks on and off and I needed something that was super strong.  
I know a lot of people used liquid nails in their tutorials, but that stuff is much thicker and the plates don't tend to lay very flat.  The epoxy bonds like crazy with only a thin layer.

Make sure when you are gluing the LEGO plates down that you line them up with actual LEGO blocks snapped in place.. they won't butt up against each other tightly.

At the end of the day I'm not sure which project I love more.  This or my X-leg storage crate bench (another Ana White template!).  

They both provide me with great storage and are a great addition to the house.  I could definitely get addicted to building my own furniture! 

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