poker table top
The second decision you will have to make is how you want the ends of
your table to look. Do you want each end to be a continuous arc, or do
you want to just have rounded-off corners. One factor to consider for
this decision is the sharper the corner, the more difficult it will be
when adding the padded railing. I typically build mine to have gentle,
rounded off corners instead of a continuous arc. In my preferred design,
the end of the table has a gentle curve, and then goes to flat, then to
another gentle curve (see the image to the right below).
Note: If you decide to go with a continuous rounded
arc, it is an easy modification, which I’ll cover later on.
The tabletop… here's where you'll make your money!
If you’re planning to have this table for a while, be sure to use
a nice solid wood for the tabletop. If you buy pine or pressboard, it
will come back to haunt you. The first time you have your 250-pound weightlifting
buddy put his guns up on the padded railing and really lean on it, you've
just wasted your time and money because pressboard isn't durable. Given
enough time and use, it will eventually fail. Ever seen what liquid does
to pressboard? Enough said.
I strongly recommend you buy birch or oak plywood. It costs around $40
per 8'x4'x ¾" sheet and is solid as a rock. It won’t
warp a fraction of what pine or pressboard will. Have the lumber representative
where you buy your plywood cut your sheet to 42" wide, the standard
size for gaming tables. This is important as casino table hardware and
materials are typically designed to fit a 42" wide table.
Next, and this is important if you don't
want to make another run to the store, have the lumber
representative rip the remaining 6" wide strip of plywood in half
length wise (into two 8'x3"x¾" strips) while you’re
still in the store, as we will use this wood underneath the table top
for support, strength, and also to bracket around the Lifetime table.
Make sure you leave the lumber store with one 8'x42"x¾"
sheet + two 8'x3"x¾" strips.
Note: If you decide to go with a 7' table, be sure
to have the two strips cut first before cutting length off the end, as
you will still want the two 8'x3"x¾" strips of plywood.
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