Enhancing the Play Space

There are two rules to any "Man Project," 1) it will involve at least three trips to the Hardware store and 2) you will have to buy at least one new tool or piece of equipment to complete the project.

I have a blank 4' by 8' tabletop that when I don't want to go all the way to the FLGS, I can game with anything in my garage. I just lay it on a standard 6' folding table. This is how it looks set up:

Table TRP

The problem is storage. When put up so I can do regular "garage stuff" (Like actually park my car in the garage) it looks like this:

Table Present Storage

It sticks out of the doorway, preventing the closing of the office door. Yes, my garage has an office. And an upstairs as well. My garage is awesome. I had the vision of storing it "on the ceiling" by having some way to put it up there and keep it up there. Here is where I was planning on storing it. I used the C-clamps to remind myself which joists I wanted to use.

Table Future Storage 1

I was going to just mount a pair of hooks that I could hang one side on, then lift the opposite side into place and "latch it." The bad news is nothing like that exists, and I didn't want to take the time to invent it. So, I saw this and settled on a pair of these:

Table Hardware

So, looking at the mounts for the pulleys, I wasn't going to have a lot of mounting power, with only two of six spots that I could use to fasten the mounts to the joists. So, I cut some short sections of 2x4's and I will mount those to the joists with big screws and washers in order to make sure it doesn't go anywhere. Now, the last time I fastened a block to a joist to provide additional mounting surface for a bracket, ended up with this:Table My Finger

That is a picture of the outside of my left pinkie finger. It is very hard to see in this picture, but there is a "+" shaped scar near the tip on the outside. That was from me not drilling a pilot hole through the block and into the joist. I was using a Makita 9.6v drill with a phillips bit when the bit jumped out of the screw head and ground itself into that portion of my finger. But that's another story for another time. So, I drilled pilot holes in the blocks.

Table Mounting Blocks

Then I realized that the holes to mount the mounts to the joists were arranged wrong, and I had to redrill them. Oops #1. Just as an aside, during my SECOND trip to Lowe's (the first was to buy the hardware) to purchase the mounting hardware, I had to make a "hot dog" complaint, as in "Why do packs of hot dogs come in 10, but hot dog buns come in packs of 8?"

Table Quantity Control

I was able to purchase 8 #12x3" screws (the number I needed), but I had to buy 10 washers, to make sure the weight was distributed.

Then, I mounted the "prototype" mount: Table 1st Mount

So, "oopses" #'s 2, 3 and 4. I didn't have a pilot hole drilled into the joist, the pilot hole thru the 2x4 wasn't big enough and I wasn't using a #3 phillips head bit. Result: One stripped screw that I wasn't going to take the time and back out with a pair of vice grips then try again. It's in there enough that with the other screw in place, it is overengineered enough to do what I need done.

Now comes the "aw sh*t" moment. While taking a rest break (having a dead foot on a ladder and heart problems will slow you down), I noticed the hooks were not going to point the right way.


Table Hooks


I needed them to point 90 degrees to the side, not in line with the pulley so I could hook them under the table frame. The hooks have to be rotated 90 degrees. I know if I tried to turn the mount on the pulley I would break it off. So, I have to twist the hooks. Here is my first attempt:

Table Initial Vice Attempt

Nope. Not by a long shot. Guess what? THIRD trip to the hardware store AND I have to buy a new tool! Woo Hoo!

Table New Vice

I come back from We Sell Tools moderately poorer (THEY SELL BEER!!!!!!) with a 6" bench vise and a long faced vice grip. After the FOURTH trip to the hardware store (mounting hardware did not come with the bench vise) I am ready to start twisting metal. I have to be careful not to damage the eyelet at the top of the hook. I attach the vice grip, exert force... and the rubber coating on the hook isn't helping. Crap, again. I have to cut and remove the rubber protective coating on all of the hooks. I get the rubber coating off the shaft of the hook, mount it in the bench vise, exert force on it... Table Vice In Place

And it twists in the vise. Crap on a crap cracker. Okay, so I bite the bullet, put the eyelet of a pulley in the vice, and exerting force very carefully... it works! With four pulleys, I bend two each way and managed not to break anything.

Table Pullies Before and After

From here on out, it's a breeze. I mount the other sides hardware, thread the rope, and what I envisioned, works! Just one more "oops." I was running the last big screw into the block a little too quick, and when it reached the stopping point before I thought it would, it snapped the tip of my Phillips #3 bit right off: Table Broke PH3

It's not very graceful with one person doing all of the work getting it up and down, but it is doable. Just to show everybody, I shot and uploaded a video.


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