Getting Started: Materials
What follows is a list of the materials I purchased in order to build the table. Many of the items can be substituted with others, but this is what I used:
One Sheet (4’x8’) 3/4” Thick Birch Finish-Grade Plywood: For around $40, you can pick up a sheet of this plywood at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s.
One 8’ long 1”x2”: This was like three bucks at my local Lowe’s.
One 30”x60” Folding Table: I already had this, but they can be had for about $35 at OfficeMax or OfficeDepot.
High-density 1/4” or 3/8” Foam Padding: I purchased two sheets of this padding from CasinoSupply.com. In hindsight, I believe the stuff that Patrick got from casinocom.com is of higher quality and easier to work with, since one sheet is large enough to cover the table (you’ll need three yards if you go this route).
Poker Cloth: There are a number of options here, from regular Billiard felt to commercial casino cloth. I went with the red velveteen from pokernstuff.com. Patrick chose casinocom.com’s very nice green material with a card suit pattern on it. CasinoSupply.com has a number of nice options at varying prices.
Perfect Padding Railing: While there are ways to build your own rail, CasinoSupply.com’s Perfect Padding Railing seemed to be the simplest way to go. For the dimensions of my table, I needed 21 feet of it. The railing is optional, and can be added at a later date if you want to cut costs on the initial table.
Getting Started: Tools and Hardware
I picked up the following from the hardware store:
Staples for your staple gun
Ten two inch wood screws
A box of 100 one inch #8 wood screws
A box of 100 #8 countersunk finish washers
A box of 100 3/8 flat washers
Duro or 3M Spray Adhesive
Medium Grit Sandpaper
We also needed the following tools:
A box of 100 one inch #8 wood screws
Staple Gun (should shoot at least 7/16” staples)
You should probably also have:
Lots of saved-up insults to toss at the friends that are helping you
Decide what dimensions you’d like your table to be. I decided on 96”L X 42”W. This seems to be big enough to seat 11 people rather comfortably. A few common sizes are:
96”L x 42”W: A good size for home games. Seats 11, maybe 12.
84”L x 44”W: Another good home game size. Seats nine, maybe 10.
102”L x 44”W: This is the standard size for a “casino-style” table, complete with a spot for a dealer. Seats 11 plus dealer. Note that a regular sheet of plywood is not long enough for this size table.
Break Out the Manly Power Tools
Using the circular saw, rip the plywood to the appripriate width and length. For me, this meant chopping 6” off one side and leaving the length as is.
To create the proper oval shape, you’ll need to do a bit of math. Take the width of the table and divide by two. Mark that distance from each end of the table, in the very center lenthwise. These marks will be the center radius for the arc on each end.
Get some string and a pencil. Sink a nail or screw part way into the marks you’ve just made. Tie a string around the nail or screw, and attach a pencil to the other end such that the pencil is taunt at the end of the plywood. Use this contraption as a large compass to draw a semicircle on each end.
Then, cut along your arcs with a jigsaw. You should end up with a “rounded rectangle” piece of plywood, as seen above.
Attach the Wood to the Folding Table
The 8’ 1”x2” you purchased will be attached to the bottom of the folding table to give a bit more width for us to screw the plywood into. In essence, we’ll be sandwiching the folding table top between the plywood and the 1x2 so we can use a longer screw and not rely on the particleboard folding table to hold the plywood top on. Thus, you need to chop the 1”x2” into a few pieces that can be placed on the bottom of your folding table. Make sure the legs will fold up properly when the pieces are attached. We used five pieces, each about 16” long.
Lay the plywood on the ground, top down, and center the folding table on top of it. Lay in your freshly chopped 1”x2” pieces and attach them using one of the #8 wood screws (one inch long). Then, drill pilot holes for the screws you will use to attach the top to the folding table. We put two holes in each of our five 1”x2” pieces, for a total of 10 holes that go through the 1”x2”, through the folding table, and through the plywood.
The photo below is of the final product, but you can clearly see the construction involved in this step. Note the placement of the 1”x2” pieces.
Flip everying right side up and attach the top to the folding table with the two-inch long screws. Make sure you counter sink the screws a bit so the heads don’t stick up above the table surface.
Upholster the mother
Sand the edges of the table to round them off slightly. You may need to sand down the top of the table a bit, too, particularly where you put screws into it.
Spray a two foot section of the table top with the adhesive spray. Then, unroll a section of the foam padding on this. Read the directions for your spray adhesive. Ours recommended that we spray both surfaces and let it sit a minute or two to get tacky before applying the foam to the table.
Continue applying foam in two foot sections until you have the table covered.
Trim the foam such that you have only a few inches ing over the edges.
You may need to iron your felt/cloth. If so, refer to any instructions that came with it. Also, do not let your friends take pictures of you doing this. Even more importantly, do not let your/wife girlfriend see these pictures.
Put your felt/casino cloth on the ground, face down, and flip the table over on top of it. From here, you simply want to pull the cloth as taunt as possible and start stapling it to the underneath of the plywood. This is most certainly a two person job. It’s important to get the cloth as tight as possible. We found that it was easier, at certain points, to flip the table right-side-up and staple from below.
You may wish to spray the final product with some Scotchguard.
Attach the rail
The CasinoSupply.com pre-fab rail is pretty simple. It wraps around the table and your only job is to permanently attach it. CasinoSupply suggests using heavy-duty 3/4” staples for this job, but we didn’t have a staple gun that could handle staples that big. Therefore, we decided to use #8 screws, each with a #8 finish washer and 3/8 flat washer attached, to attach the rail. We used quite a lot of these. I’m not sure if this method is better than the staples or not, but it seemed to work pretty well.
Perhaps the trickiest part of the rail is the joint where the two ends connect. I used rubber-specific cement to glue them together. There may be a better solution here, but we couldn’t think of it.
To learn how to build this table download our instructional video @ http://www.pokertabledvd.com