How to build a poker table

Building your own poker table can be a rewarding and economical way to have a great table to play cards or other games on. With minimum woodworking skills and a few tools, even a novice can build a table to be proud of. There are essentially three types of home poker tables. A six-sided, eight-sided or a Texas Hold’em table.

For all of the tables, the most economical and easiest way to begin is with a decent folding table. Card tables work well for the smaller tables and the Texas Hold’em tables will need a six-foot folding table.

The rest of this article will be for a Texas Hold’em table that ten players can sit at. The smaller hexagon and octagon tables can be built the same way, with the obvious differences in shape and size. When cutting the plywood for a hexagon or octagon, measure all your cuts carefully to ensure they are all equal. When you’re done with that, and before you cut, measure them again.

One of the things that creates a quality table is the card-playing surface. It is important to find quality material. Game tables that you find in casinos use 100% wool felt material. It can be found or specially ordered from fabric stores. Don’t purchase cheap felt. It will pile with age and use. Keep in mind though, that this is your table. You can use any material that you want. Look in the fabric stores as well as upholstery stores. Any strong material that is nice to the touch, like faux leather, is usable. Your table is going to be 40X96, so ensure you purchase enough material and that it is wide enough with excess to roll under the table and staple. The standard bolt of cloth is 32, so you may need to special order it.

Next is the foam that is underneath your table cloth. There are two standards. 1/4 and 1/2 thick foam. While you’re at the fabric and upholstery stores, roll both of them out with some nice cloth over them. It’s your preference. There are also different types of foam. The best for your table will be “closed cell foam, which will last for many years of card playing. Again, you will need enough for a 40X96 table.

Along with the table, cloth and foam, there are a few other materials you will need. Below is a complete material list:

-1 six foot folding table

-1 4X8 3/4″ Plywood (preferably finish grade)

-The foam described above

-The table cloth described above

-1 1/2” wood or drywall screws

-1 Can spray adhesive

-1 Box of 1/2″ staples

-80 or 100 grit sandpaper

Tools required:

-Circular saw

-Jig saw

-Tape measure

-Staple gun

-Electric sander (optional)

Gathering the materials and purchasing them is probably the most demanding part of the project. Construction is relatively simple. The first step is to trim the 48X96” piece of plywood to 40X96” using your circular saw.

The next step is to round the ends of the table. Find the center of the width, in this case, 20, then measure 20 from the end. Put a screw in that spot. Tie a piece of string or similar item to the screw and a pencil to the other end. Draw an arc at the end of the table, creating two symmetrical curves that meet at the edge and center of one end. Repeat this process for the other end of the table. Remove the screws and make the cuts on the lines with your jigsaw. You should now have a table with two rounded ends, similar to an oval. Sand the cut rough edges with rough sandpaper.

Turn the finished side of the plywood down. Center the folding table upside down on top of your plywood and attach with wood screws. Pilot holes are recommended. If the screws come through the finished side of the wood, you can cut the tips of them off with wire cutters, grinders, or other similar tool. The foam is going to sit on top of them, but to improve the life of the foam and prevent them from popping through during a game one night, the screws should be trimmed.

Use the spray adhesive to attach the foam. Unroll the foam and begin at one end of the table. Spray a 2 or 3-foot section with the adhesive foam and let it set up (get tacky). Then slowly unroll the foam onto the glue. Spray another section and continue to unroll the foam. Continue this until you have all of the foam glued to the table. Allow the glue to dry before continuing. Do not trim any excess foam yet.

Now, take that cloth you picked out and spread it over your table. Try to smooth it out and align any pattern so that it is straight with the table. Get some help and carefully turn the table upside down again. Be aware of where you are setting the table. This is now your table cloth on the ground. A clean drop cloth is recommended.

Trim the excess foam. Leave 6of excess around the entire table. This will create a rounded foam edge. Using the 1/2″ staples, pull the cloth and foam snugly and staple the length of one side and the curves. Tilt the table onto the stapled edge carefully and inspect the cloth. Pull it snugly again, careful to pull out the wrinkles without adding any. You should also run your hand from the bottom (stapled) end toward the top to ensure uniform snugness across the table. Staple the rest of the cloth down.

Turn the table over and inspect the top. If you are satisfied with it, trim the excess cloth hanging down, and you’re done!

A folding Texas Hold’em table built with your own hands! Could you be more proud of anything when you bring your group of card-playing buddies over? Just remember to store your table in a dry clean place, and it will meet all your gaming needs for many years.

A folding Texas

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