Building a 55" round table...looking for some opinions

bostonwinch

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Hey guys I picked up all the material for this project and plan on starting it this week. This is my first build so I have a couple more questions before I get started. For the rail, I am using 1" high density foam. If I leave 2" of foam on the outside edge, and 1" on the inside edge, how much bigger will my rail be from my original 5" width of plywood once I wrap it with the vinyl upholstery? I want my racetrack and rail to be the same width. Also, a lot of people weren't a fan of racetrack because of the height difference between the playing surface and the racetrack. Well what if I used 1/2" or 5/8" plywood for my playing surface and 3/4" for my racetrack? That way once I glue the 1/4" foam on the playing surface and put cloth on it, the height difference would be either flush or only 1/8" difference. Has anyone done this before?
 

Trihonda

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That's a full Trifecta for things I can't stand in a poker table:
  • wood racetrack (noisy, hard to pick up cards)
  • raised felt area (can't slide cards or chips easily from personal area to common area)
  • cupholders in racetrack (fixed holes in personal space are catch-alls for cards and chips, and your drink is where the designer wants it to be, not where you want it to be)
And all three result in more damage to cards and chips during play.

Ultimately, it's your table, but I would advise against using any of those 'features' (flaws) in a table design, based on my personal experience.
Please listen to BG. Many here have failed to listen to his advice and regretted it.

Also, a lot of people weren't a fan of racetrack because of the height difference between the playing surface and the racetrack. Well what if I used 1/2" or 5/8" plywood for my playing surface and 3/4" for my racetrack? That way once I glue the 1/4" foam on the playing surface and put cloth on it, the height difference would be either flush or only 1/8" difference. Has anyone done this before?
The height differences are only a small part of the problem. Racetracks PLAY sux. I’m all for things that look good, and I agree that racetracks can look sharp, but I’d rather have a real solid performer... racetracks are like owning a Ferrari in Antarctica... they might look pretty, but I’d rather have a 4x4...

But ultimately it’s your money. Spend it how you want.
 

Meddler2

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My first table build was also with a wooden racetrack. It looked great but it didn't take long to realize they're not very poker friendly, but I did like that it also served as the betting line. So my compromise was to remove the track, cover it with foam and different color fabric than the playing service and reinsert. This made everything flush and maintained the look of a racetrack but not the added headache of an actual wooden one.
 

Osciee

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Buy one instead. Too much work. I built an 8ft oval table. It took forever and it got expensive quick. Good luck though..
 

RagsPoker

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My first table build was also with a wooden racetrack. It looked great but it didn't take long to realize they're not very poker friendly, but I did like that it also served as the betting line. So my compromise was to remove the track, cover it with foam and different color fabric than the playing service and reinsert. This made everything flush and maintained the look of a racetrack but not the added headache of an actual wooden one.
Yup! That's what I did; track and playing surface are level....here is a picture of my table with a pic of chips I no longer have.

252528
 

bostonwinch

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I appreciate the advice guys but I love playing with a racetrack. My table needs cup holders, and I don't like the look of them in the rail, or the slide in ones. And I like stacking chips on the very hard surface rather then on foam. Just a preference. So im making a 5" width rail, I'm gonna add 1" foam extra on the inside, and 2" on the outside does this alter the finished size once it is all upholstered? Or will it still be 5" wide? The foam is 1" thick.
 

Trihonda

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Irish

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I appreciate the advice guys but I love playing with a racetrack. My table needs cup holders, and I don't like the look of them in the rail, or the slide in ones. And I like stacking chips on the very hard surface rather then on foam. Just a preference. So im making a 5" width rail, I'm gonna add 1" foam extra on the inside, and 2" on the outside does this alter the finished size once it is all upholstered? Or will it still be 5" wide? The foam is 1" thick.
Depends on how tight you stretch the vinyl and the quality/density of the foam, but in my experience the compressed foam adds about 1/4" to 1/2" on each side. So a rail where the wood is 5" will be 5 1/2" to 6" wide once upholstered (at the widest portion on the sides).
 

bostonwinch

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Depends on how tight you stretch the vinyl and the quality/density of the foam, but in my experience the compressed foam adds about 1/4" to 1/2" on each side. So a rail where the wood is 5" will be 5 1/2" to 6" wide once upholstered (at the widest portion on the sides).
Thank you
 

bostonwinch

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Hey guys I came across another possible issue. Is there going to be a gap between the playing surface and the racetrack due to the jigsaw/router cut once everything is finished?
 

jja412

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Hey guys I came across another possible issue. Is there going to be a gap between the playing surface and the racetrack due to the jigsaw/router cut once everything is finished?
Yes. A sizable gap especially if using a router. One solution is using 1/4" hardboard strips turned sideways and tacked on to the playing surface insert. Fills in the space, and prevents the foam from compressing where the cloth rolls over the corner. Then shim up your racetrack to make the two surfaces flush.
 
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Irish

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Hey guys I came across another possible issue. Is there going to be a gap between the playing surface and the racetrack due to the jigsaw/router cut once everything is finished?
Depends on how you're planning to build it. If the playing surface sheet will be the same thickness as the racetrack (say both 3/4"), such that the playing surface will be slightly elevated (the thickness of the foam padding), then you can get away with using a jigsaw to (carefully) make that cut and there shouldn't be much of a gap (somewhat filled with the playing surface material). Cutting that with a router will leave a 1/4" gap. If the playing surface piece is thinner (say 1/2") you can use a router to make the cut, then edge the playing surface with hardboard or white flexible plastic molding (if you can find the right size) to fill the gap. This will give you the nice flush playing surface:

253482
 

bostonwinch

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I already bought 1/4" sheet of underlayment that was cheap to compensate for the 1/4" foam so it will be level. Just needed to figure something out for the jigsaw gap. What if I used the extra 1/4" playing surface foam would that work? Or do I need something more sturdy?
 
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bostonwinch

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Hey guys...started on the table today. Looking great so far. What is a standard finished table height? Someone had mentioned 29" is that correct? With or without the rail/foam? Here are a couple of pictures. Tried to start out using a jigsaw but the blade kept bending. Plunge router was def the way to go. Also what do you guys recommend for securing the base to the playing surface/racetrack? I bought some 1/2" threaded inserts but I feel they are going to be a pain to install and line up correctly. But I also feel like wood screws is too cheap.
 

bsdunbar1

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Used 1/4 router bit. Filled the gap with 1/8 hardboard strips. Doubled it up and sanded it down for a snug fit
Yep, 1/8" hardboard and then roll the 1/4" playing surface foam around the outer edge. Then when you put the racetrack down over the playing surface it will crush that 1/4" foam and you will have a 100" tight fit.
I have previously built the same table you are building.

255048
 

bostonwinch

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Hey guys I'm onto the upholstery part of the build. Everything has turned out great so far. However, I am begging to struggle with the upholstery. I left 1" excess foam on the inner part of the rail, and 2" excess foam on the outside. I started stapling for the outside, but its already starting to bunch up. Any tips? I was planning on cutting the inner ring vinyl like a pizza leaving it 3" away from the rail (relief cuts). Will this help clean up the outside once I start on the inside? Any advice would be much appreciated. I stopped for now as I was getting frustrated lol.
 

MoscowRadio

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Just wondering about the threaded inserts??? Any opinions on what sizes to use?
For threaded inserts I usually 1/4”-20 threads and 1/2” length.

Hey guys I'm onto the upholstery part of the build. Everything has turned out great so far. However, I am begging to struggle with the upholstery. I left 1" excess foam on the inner part of the rail, and 2" excess foam on the outside. I started stapling for the outside, but its already starting to bunch up. Any tips? I was planning on cutting the inner ring vinyl like a pizza leaving it 3" away from the rail (relief cuts). Will this help clean up the outside once I start on the inside? Any advice would be much appreciated. I stopped for now as I was getting frustrated lol.
Upholstering a round rail can take some getting used to. Don’t be afraid to remove staples. I’d be interested to see photos of where it is now and possibly offer any advice that I can.
 

MoscowRadio

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One more thing I wanted to ask is if you were using the “split the difference” method when stapling the vinyl?
 

bostonwinch

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One more thing I wanted to ask is if you were using the “split the difference” method when stapling the vinyl?
I havnt heard the term of split the difference? I’ve been using a heat gun it’s been helping it stretch more and taking care of the creases. I’ll let you know how it goes
 

MoscowRadio

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I havnt heard the term of split the difference? I’ve been using a heat gun it’s been helping it stretch more and taking care of the creases. I’ll let you know how it goes
Firstly, you want to be careful about using a heat gun to stretch the vinyl because, once it cools, it may change the outcome.

Secondly, splitting the difference is a great way to get the vinyl evenly stretched. Essentially, put in one staple at the top of the rail (12 o’clock), move to the opposite end of the rail, stretch, and staple (6 o’clock). Then do the same thing again in the middle (3 o’clock) then stretch and staple it at the other end (9 o’clock). Then do the same thing in the 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30 positions. Keep repeating this process to get a uniform rail. You don’t want to start in one spot and just go around in a circle or else you’ll end up with a ton of bunched up vinyl, especially at the end. I hope that this makes sense.
 

bostonwinch

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Firstly, you want to be careful about using a heat gun to stretch the vinyl because, once it cools, it may change the outcome.

Secondly, splitting the difference is a great way to get the vinyl evenly stretched. Essentially, put in one staple at the top of the rail (12 o’clock), move to the opposite end of the rail, stretch, and staple (6 o’clock). Then do the same thing again in the middle (3 o’clock) then stretch and staple it at the other end (9 o’clock). Then do the same thing in the 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30 positions. Keep repeating this process to get a uniform rail. You don’t want to start in one spot and just go around in a circle or else you’ll end up with a ton of bunched up vinyl, especially at the end. I hope that this makes sense.
Oh yah I’ve been doing that. I’m back on track. Definitely taking a lot longer then I expected put you need to pull out and put in new staples quite often. I’ve also applied a bit of heat in some spots it’s helped a lot with stretching and hasn’t damaged the vinyl.
 

bostonwinch

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Yep, 1/8" hardboard and then roll the 1/4" playing surface foam around the outer edge. Then when you put the racetrack down over the playing surface it will crush that 1/4" foam and you will have a 100" tight fit.
I have previously built the same table you are building.

View attachment 255048
I have the same cloth but in black. I’m trying to get the suits and lines perfectly straight but I think it’s impossible? Once it’s stapled the lines are a bit wavy. Is there anyway to get it consistent or is it one of those things where you can’t do much? Yours doesn’t like 100% straight either so maybe it’s not just me.
 

bsdunbar1

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Glue the cloth to the foam, that way when you pull it tight it doesn't distort the lines.
The lines were 99.9% straight on the table in the pic, it surprises me that the image looks like on the right hand side the lines were wavy but that wan't the case.

 
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