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On what do you build your sets?

Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
edited February 2014 in Building and Techniques
After reading about all the missing parts, only to have some of them reappear somewhere else, I got to thinking...

What do you use to build your sets on?

I am new to Lego building myself, and I have been using an Island bench with a back wall to build my smaller sets, but it means standing while doing it. I was thinking I might get my husband to build me a flat MDF board with a 1/4 turn dowel around the edges to stop pieces rolling off, like those pesky 1x1 studs that roll everywhere. He built me a similar board for my large 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. I love it and I have never had a piece go missing.

I don't think I could build any of the bigger sets on just a flat table top, some of the pieces roll and they are always landing on the floor.

So what do you use?


  • FollowsCloselyFollowsClosely Member Posts: 1,194
    edited February 2014
    If it is a family build, the formal dining room table. As that is where the Sea Cow is right now. For smaller sets I have a 12"x12" oak board that the kids lay on the floor and build, similar to what you describe. But no edge as the pieces usually are on the carpet and the build is on the board.
  • llanowarsoldierllanowarsoldier Ohio USAMember Posts: 357
    I myself use the dining room table as its pretty large. It'll be get ALOT of use here in next few weeks as one of the cats knocked over a bookshelf that had quite a few sets on it including Shuttle Adventure and the 1st 2 Winter Village sets.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,245
    Caffeine and baseplates.
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,306
    Whatever is available :)

    (^ And caffeine is good too!)
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 298
    Usually my desk, my bedroom floor or the kitchen table.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,147
    I build most large sets on the floor in guest room right now where I keep all my LEGO. It's not always easy on the back so I find myself twisting and turning a lot but it helps to have a wide open flat surface to build on.

    As for the back issue nothing a few brews can't handle!
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    I always build on the floor. But I'm a floor person, doing pretty much everything there...(c:
  • flowerpotgirlflowerpotgirl BordersMember Posts: 190
    I have a workbench in my lego room. I can sit or stand at it, depending on what I am working on. I use clear plastic food tubs to put my parts in, but some always end up getting dropped on the wooden floor, where they tend to bounce. The can go a long way and get into the awkwardest places...
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,156
    Build on the wooden floors which are everywhere but the stairs in our house - it's rough on the knees though.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,228
    I have a white Ikea desk which I use. It also has adjustable legs, so it's completely level and no pieces roll off onto the floor :)
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    @Yellowcastle I thought you built your sets on this thing ;o)

  • Lego91Lego91 GermanyMember Posts: 86
    I soon have a special table for building (well, I have the table but until recently it was my desk), just need to get some additional things from IKEA. But I also build in our kitchen, we have a huge kitchen with dinning area included and sometimes it is fun to not be alone when building.

    I plan on using the STÖDJA series for the bricks to sort them out and on the table is a layer of this thing you put into drawers to protect them (VARIERA "Schubladenmatte").

    Can't wait to have my special LEGO place. :)
  • GothamConstructionCoGothamConstructionCo Colchester UKMember Posts: 792
    I still sit and build on the floor with my legs crossed and the set in front of me just as I did when I was a lad.
    With the larger sets I tend to build at the dinning table but between meal times and fleeting cat attacks scattering bricks in every direction, i inevitably end up building on the kitchen work top or again sitting on the floor in a cold sweat while my wife hoovers around me and my pile of bricks.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 687
    prof1515 said:


    You know, now that I think about it, it might be cool to try building in a space station or zero gravity environment:
    1. You can arrange the pieces (and instruction manuals) all around you, not just on a table in front of you
    2. If you drop a piece it doesn't go anywhere
    3. No stepping on misplaced pieces

    Downsides would include the constant motion of pieces flying around the room if you accidentally hit/kick them (and you will, because you won't always see those pieces "parked" in proximity to your legs/feet as you're moving around to find them), and you'll have to pay special attention to the colors of the walls so that you can see all those pieces.

    I can't remember, but I thought some astronauts built some LEGO on the space station once; it might be interesting to read their reports!

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    They did and it had to be built in a special bag to prevent pieces from drifting all over the station if I recall correctly.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    2 major options for me:

    1) standing at a table/walking around to get needed parts in my room

    2) sitting at a folding tray with rolling cart and couple plastic boxes next to me and sometimes a plastic bacon cooking tray(unused of course) I got from Dollar tree to hold parts on in the living room.

    I really don't want to continue option #2 after the 'emmet vs canine' incident but the problem is that the way the stuff is in my room, I have to stand and walk in my room but I am not always in the mood to do so. Sometimes I want to sit and build plus we have a dvr, but not Room to room, and I sometimes want to build and catch up on my shows and/or watch tv after it's been paused a little while(I don't like commercials).

    So at the moment, my only option for #2 is to be extra careful building stuff.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    A thin piece of plywood. That way I can move it around from room to room, and out of the hands of little elves who come to destroy my progress.
  • UnixpaceUnixpace Member Posts: 12
    Me and my son use to build on a low table (about 40cm/16in high), sitting on a carpet. As @akunthita, I'm a floor person. Even pieces fall down, they don't get far on the carpet.

    When we can't spend much time building (that is 5-15 minutes of random building) we just sit on the carpet, take the brick boxes, and build there.
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    Unfortunately I can no longer sit on the floor, so sitting at a table for the bigger sets is my only option, or standing at the Island bench for the smaller sets.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    A card table with a piece of hardboard on top of it.
  • AquapolisAquapolis Member Posts: 32
    On a beer pong table. Don't ask how I got it.
  • CalvCalv Central EnglandMember Posts: 902
    On a lap tray in front of the TV is one alternative for me. This one is for new sets. The other alternative is standing in the area where I store my spare bricks and Bricklink stock. There is currently a half-built Café Corner in this area awaiting a further input of time and bricks.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,476
    Small sets generally just from the bags on my lap, bigger builds I might clear the coffee table.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,980
    I use either the floor or the glass-top table in the living room. If it's a larger set, I usually keep the parts on a tray of some kind so they don't roll away (ideally, two trays: one for smaller parts and one for larger ones, so digging through them is easier). When I'm traveling, a folding card table is nice, if one is available. For a simpler set like a small or medium Hero Factory set, it's easiest to do it right on the floor, or even in my lap in the car or on my tray table on a train. But you have to exercise more caution in a moving vehicle, obviously.

    Some people might not like building on a carpeted surface — the building instructions nowadays definitely discourage it. I'm fine with it provided it's not thick carpeting or heavily patterned carpeting that makes dropped parts difficult to find. In fact, sometimes a carpeted surface can be nice since parts might not roll as far and it's easy enough to brush the carpet with your hand to find anything you dropped. As long as you have a tray of some kind so that you aren't pouring your parts right on the carpet, everything should go fine regardless of any textured surface.

    Places I wouldn't build include rooms with a lot of low-to-the-ground furniture that a part might roll under, rooms with vents that parts might roll into, or rooms where the floor is particularly cluttered. It's easy to find parts you've dropped if they're the only things lying loose on the floor. Not so easy if there are a lot of things they might be either on top of or underneath. Building on beds is generally a no-no, since the parts could get lost under the bed or between the sheets.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Whatever I do end up building on has to have 3/4 of the area barricaded. Usually I'll have a table with thin strips of wood to prevent any roll-aways. If I'm working on a set, I'll position bigger pieces (long bricks, plates) to help corral smaller pieces as the build progresses.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,245
    ^ LOL. Me too!
  • FrictionPinFrictionPin Member Posts: 144
    edited March 2014

    I built a few of these with some modifications. The most important of which was the side rails, they work great and the modular form makes them wonderful to grow your building (or displaying) space as needed. Here is a pic of the one I built for my son's play area.
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 311
    edited March 2014
    We build on the floor that has a thin throw rug on top. What we have found super helpful, is to flip over a large Aqua Doodle mat. This was an old toddler toy with a smooth white contrast backing. The backing provides a nice space to spread out parts, and they slide just enough for quick sorting without rolling away. For the little bag parts, we use a small round quart lid with an edge. For large builds or things without numbered bags, we did purchase 6 sorting LEGO trays which are helpful, though they could be improved!
  • KirstyL21KirstyL21 South AfricaMember Posts: 27
    I do all my building on the Dining table. I started my LEGO collection with Creator sets and I usually build one model at a time. I store my bricks in the original box with custom made partitions for the bricks and plates and small plastic containers with lids for the small 1x1's, tiles etc. This helps when searching for pieces, I can remain seated and dig around for the needed pieces. I do have to stand up quite often to search for the bigger pieces in the boxes as some boxes are quite large, so often gather lots of common pieces onto the table cloth to minimise the standing up as that just eats into building time! So far (touch wood) I have only lost one piece. That was just the other day, I was packing up my Mixels and dismantling a connector peg from a 1x2 technic brick with the post on my orange brick separator and the peg shot out and flew somewhere. I have no idea where, and despite much searching on the table and the floor it has been declared missing in action. When I build my Winter Village collection, however I build all the models one after the other and all the bricks are sorted by colour and piece type and housed across all the boxes and so I have to have all the boxes around me on the table. Bit of a tidy up at meal times, just closing the boxes and stacking them, but thankfully the table is large so we can use a corner to eat and the rest can remain a construction site.
  • KiwiLegoMeisterKiwiLegoMeister New ZealandMember Posts: 212
    I build on ....
    - the dining table;
    - 2 more dining tables;
    - my big oak desk;
    - 4 trestle tables (2 x 2, forms a huge build space);
    - 2 coffee tables;
    - a fold out trolley table;
    - a 2.8M workbench;
    - My lap;
    ALL AT THE SAME TIME - ie they're all covered!

    And when the daughter gets going,
    - the lounge floor;
    - The playroom floor;

    I could go on ....
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    I prefer the floor on the nice comfortable carpet right in front of the tv. Just as I did over 25 years ago when it all started.
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320

    I prefer the floor on the nice comfortable carpet right in front of the tv. Just as I did over 25 years ago when it all started.

    My body will let me get on the floor, but refuses to allow me to get up again without help. So floors are out for me now. A table an chair is about all I can manage at my age and health.
  • philiptoysphiliptoys Member Posts: 31
    In my LEGO Room (previously guest room) on my LEGO (Ikea) desk
  • theLEGOmantheLEGOman UKMember Posts: 1,525
    On the bed usually, I have a small area downstairs that has recently been created so I have a bit more space to start on the Palace Cinema.

    That's one of the downsides of the modular building boxes against the large technic boxes that stop all the bits going everywhere.
  • LaGriffeLaGriffe Member Posts: 9
    Coffee table. Or the top of the stairs. Or on top of my laptop. Or on the windowsill... oh, anywhere really :)
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    I have a desk in my corner of the attic where I build and on that I have an old large mouse mat that is non slip and soft which I put pieces on to save losing them.
    Depending on the size I will often use trays per bag and build on the mat.
  • DrLegOBrickDrLegOBrick UKMember Posts: 68
    I have an old biscuit tin that I tip the appropriate numbered bag into when it's a new set.

    Otherwise, for MOCs/MODs, I find a generally flat surface (table, chairs, my lap, floor, worktop, stairs, pool table, it depends where my cat is) and start building what I want, either that, or I build inside my hands if I find something interesting among the thousands of unsorted bricks I have.
  • pastelnerdpastelnerd Member Posts: 34
    Usually the floor but I've been having some back problems recently so I think I'll have to pick another place. Maybe I'll use a lap tray like @Calv.
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 298
    edited May 2014
    When I'm MOCing in the basement:

    The old oven with a left-over piece of countertop on top.

    The freezer.

    The air hockey table

    A 50 year old card table that's been painted a dozen different times.
  • DeyorewDeyorew Member Posts: 8
    edited May 2014
    If its a smaller set to be completed in an hour or less, I use a thick block type cutting board about 12"x18" It has one of those "drip" troughs around the edge which is great for rolling pieces not falling off. I am usually on the floor with this setup and put the pieces all around me like the good old days.

    For the bigger sets, I have a 8' pool table with a leather cover. Perfect for lots of piles, good lighting, etc. It gets used for LEGO more than playing pool. I usually build standing up and my little boy often climbs up and sits and helps.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,534
    I will build vehicles on the carpeted floor with no concerns. I worry about building on my floor with baseplates, and have a costco 4x8 table in my apt. It is not exactly even but well enough to be able to stick stuff to the plate and not have any possible warping bending to the plate. I also sometimes use a flattened TV Dinner table and lay it on the floor, a bit long on the floor but solid wood (too lazy to go get a piece of plywood from a hardware store)
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