Table Hockey Westerly RI
West Kingston, RI
It's fast, it's wild--go for the goal!
by Randy Johnson
Looking for a great holiday gift project? This table hockey game is a blast to play, even for adults, and it’s so simple, you can make it even if your gift-building time is running short. It’s made from easy-to-get materials, and the finish is all water-based, so it goes on quickly.
It’s basically a shallow box, made from 3/4-in. hardwood (we used oak) with a playing surface of 1/2-in. birch plywood. Add some small pieces of mesh fabric (available from a fabric store) for the goals, a couple of strategically placed goalie blocks, a pair of sticks and a puck, and you’re ready to play. Have fun!
How To Build It
1. Mill the end and side boards (B, C) to final size and cut the grooves for the bottom panel (A, Fig. A, below).
2. Cut the rabbets in the end boards (Photo 1). Use an auxiliary wood fence so you can run your dado blade right next to it. This setup also allows the auxiliary fence to serve as a guide when you cut the rabbets.
3. Cut out the opening for the goals using a jigsaw or scrollsaw (Photo 2).
4. Glue and clamp together two layers of 3/4-in. lumber for the corner blocks (D). Wipe off any glue that squeezes out. When the glue is dry, rip the board to 3 in. wide for the corner blocks. Make the goalie blocks (E) the same way.
5. Cut the corner blocks and goalie blocks to final size (Photo 3) using your miter saw or tablesaw. You’ll notice that the glued-up lumber stock is much longer than actually needed. This extra length gives you more to hold for safer mitering and crosscutting. Cut the net boards (F).
6. Use your bandsaw or scrollsaw to saw the sticks (G) and pucks (H) from either oak lumber or birch plywood. Make a couple extra pucks, so you won’t have to take a time-out if a puck flies off the table and rolls under the couch.
7. Sand and finish all the parts. We used water-based stain, paint and finish (see Sources, below). Water-based finishes tend to raise the grain after they are applied, which makes a rough finish. To prevent this, raise the grain first with a moist sponge. After the wood dries, do your final sanding. Then apply the stain to all the parts. When the blue stain on the bottom panel is dry, tape off and paint the zone lines and center circle (Photo 4). Finally, brush on the clear topcoat finish.
8. Assemble the hockey table with screws and finish washers (Photo 5). Drill shank and pilot holes in the sides to prevent splitting the wood or stripping the screw heads.
9. Attach the netting (J) over the goal openings with the net boards (F). The bottom net board goes inside the net and the top net board goes outside the net (Photo 6). Hold the netting in place with a bit of double-sided tape during assembly. You can substitute almost any kind of fabric for the netting, if you wish.