2005 - GriceLand Poker Table
After deciding that I needed a real poker table for my home game, and that I didn't want to shell out big bucks buying a new one,
I started looking around for ideas and plans on how to build one myself.
I wanted a circular or octagonal table instead of the casino oval shape, as I'd found that it was too hard to have a rotating dealer on an oval table (guys dealing from the end can't reach everything).
I also wanted to have plenty of room for eight people to sit around the table, which meant having a table of about 5' in width, as 4' is just too cramped.
On the web I stumbled across HomePokerTourney and it's many links to a variety of poker table plans, and it was an invaluable help for ideas and construction tips.
My final table design ended up as a combination of several different plans found there, and my friend Rob did the actual building of the table (thanks Rob!).
I liked the look of the wood racetrack and black felt insert of Junell's oval table,
so I combined that with some features from the octagonal table at MyPokerTable.org, added somes dashes from other sites, and ended up with the GriceLand table shown here.
Total Materials Cost: roughly $200 (in 2005)
- Perfect Padded Rail (18'): $57 (17' @ $3.35') - easy way to get a nice looking padded rail
- Baltic Birch Plywood 5'x5'x18mm (3/4"): $38 - This piece will be the base for the table. Try specialty lumber yards to find someone that carries 5'x5' plywood.
- Baltic Birch Plywood 5'x5'x12mm (3/8"): $25 - This piece will be used for the top racetrack and center circle.
- Jumbo Drink Holders (8): $24 (8 @ $2.89) - don't bother with the little ones, get the big 3 1/2" diameter ones, as they'll work for more than just beer bottles.
- Table Felt: $35 (55"x54") - I like the look of black next to the blond wood, but other colors are available.
- 1/4" Foam Padding: $14 (58"x54") - Goes under the felt.
- Folding Banquet Table Legs: $17 for a set of two at Home Depot. Allows for easy storage when not playing.
- 3/4" Foam Pipe Insulation (9'): $4 at Home Depot. Will be split in half and go behind the perfect rail as filler.
- Miscellaneous: $20 - varnish, sandpaper, screws, small piece of black vinyl, optional carry handles.
- Cut the Octagons: Clamp the two 5x5 pieces of plywood together and cut them into two identical octagons. To figure out where to make the cuts, I used this site and its ratio method of laying out octagons. For a LxL square starting piece, you can calculate the length of one side of an octagon by multiplying .2071 x L x 2. So for a 60"x60" square, the octagon side length is .2071 x 60" x 2, or 24.85". Subtracting that from L and dividing by 2, you'd then measure in 17.57" from each corner of the square for the cuts.
- Attach Legs: Mount your table legs to the bottom of the thick base piece of plywood. You may also need to hack saw the legs down so that the final table height is lower. A 29" total height seems about perfect. If you want, also add a couple of handles on the bottom for easier table carrying, as it will be heavy when finished.
- Cut Circle/Racetrack: You now want to cut a circle out of the center of the thin piece of plywood, and the outside piece remaining will be the exposed racetrack. I wanted the racetrack to be 6" wide at its narrowest point, so that meant a 48" diameter circle. Mark the exact center of the thin sheet of plwood, put a nail or screw there, and attach a wire or string to it. Tie a pencil to the other end of the string, and adjust until you have a length of 48" from center to vertical pencil, then draw your circle. Mark the edges of the circle in several places on what will be the back side, as it will have to be replaced in the same exact position after the felt is installed, otherwise it won't fit. Drill a couple of small holes on the circle line, just big enough fit your jigsaw blade through, and then carefully cut out the circle.
- Attach Racetrack: Glue the racetrack down to the table base. Add a few screws from the bottom to make sure it is secure, but not so long that they poke through the top of the racetrack.
- Cut Drink Holes: Find a hole saw blade to match the size of your drink holders (a 3 5/8" bit worked perfectly for mine) and cut eight holes, one near each corner of the octagon. Inset them about 1.5" from the middle circle so there is enough room for the rail to attach. I offset them about an inch from each corner so that it was more obvious which seat that drink holder belonged to.
- Finish RaceTrack: Sand and varnish the racetrack until lovely. We used a clear varnish to leave the natural birch color, but stain if you wish.
- Attach Foam: Use spray adhesive to attach the 1/4" foam to the top of the circle. After its attached, trim the excess so it fits exactly to the edge of the wood circle, otherwise the circle won't pop back into the racetrack.
- Attach Felt: Lay the felt on top of the foam, and fold back half of it. Spray adhesive on the felt and foam, and spread the felt over it smoothly. You don't need to stretch it if using good table felt, as it'll be smooth. Repeat for the other half. Flip it over, and cut little triangles in the felt excess so that it can be glued down flat on the backside. You don't want bunching of fabric, otherwise the insert will sit too high.
- Attach Felt Insert: Place the finished circle in the center of the table, and it should push snugly back into the spot it was cut from after getting your marks lined up (see Step 3). Screw a few screws from the bottom to secure it, but be careful not to go too far and poke into the foam and felt. If you ever need to replace the felt, just unscrew and remove.
- Attach Rail: Slip the rail onto the table edge until the top edge lays flat on the table surface (flip it over if it doesn't seem to work), then start stapling the bottom side of the rail to the bottom of the table. Work all the way around slowly, making sure it continues to lay flat, and trim the end so it butts up to the starting piece. Then split your length of foam pipe insulation in half, and slide each piece into the rail so the it rests between the edge of the table and the rail. This helps the rail lay flat on the top surface, and also gives you more edge thickness to run screws into for extra stability. Put two screws with screw covers into each rail edge, then snap the screw caps over to hide the screw heads.
- Finish Rail: To hide the rail seam, take a 5" wide piece of black vinyl, fold each side in to the center (I glued it so it would stay flat), and then staple it to the bottom and top of the table to hide the seam.
- Insert Drink Holders: If you cut the right size hole, these should just push snugly into place.
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