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How to Build a Train Table for Free

By Charong Chow ; Updated April 18, 2017
Build a train table for free with found furniture.

In 1856, the George W. Brown & Co. sold the first toy metal clockwork train set, which used spring-wound motors to run, in the United States. By the late 1800s, electric train sets were growing popular. Today, train sets are for children of all ages. Big brands like Thomas the Tank Engine produce character trains running on batteries, and older children play with detailed model electric train sets that are replicas of real historical trains. You can build a train table by modifying a regular table with a little creativity and patience.

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Scour classifieds, like Craig's List, for anyone giving away a wooden table. Train tables are typically 18 inches tall and 49 inches by 37 inches, in length and width. You want to find a table with approximately the same size on top, and then you can shorten the legs. Also, ask friends and family for any unwanted tables.

Go to garage sales and yard sales at the end of the day. Usually the best deals are found at the end of the day when sellers just want to unload all their items. Ask if they are willing to give you a table for free for your child. Another way to find a used table for free is driving around the neighborhood on garbage day. Often, people leave old furniture at the curb that they don't want anymore.

Saw the legs of your free found table to about 18 inches tall for each leg. Finding a coffee table that is already about 18 inches is ideal, but sawing is an easy task. If you don't have a saw, ask a neighbor if you can borrow one.

Sandpaper the cut edges till they are smooth. Glue a piece of felt, the same size as the bottom of the leg, onto the bottom of each leg to prevent scratching your floors.

Things You Will Need

  • Found table
  • Saw
  • Scrap felt
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors


This train table will not be exactly like the kind sold in stores, but it will be free. If you have more scrap wood, you can nail or glue a lip surrounding the top to keep the trains on the table.

Finding scrap wood is another option for building your own train table.

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About the Author

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

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