Converting a dinner table for games

Piper at the Gates

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Hi, All,

I have a regular sized dinner table and a neoprene gaming surface that drapes over the edges. I use neoprene instead of speed cloth, and it works well. I like it. I can throw that over the table and roll it up at the end of the night. I don't like neoprene hanging over the edges of the table, like a regular table cloth. That's annoying.

I'd like to secure the neoprene sheet to the table without using clips for a cleaner look. There's no easy way to secure the neoprene to the underside of the table. The neoprene overhang is about three or four inches, the table has central supports with about six inches of clearance from the edges. I have to be able to attach and remove the sheet easily.

I have an idea, and I wonder if anyone could offer a critique. Maybe I shouldn't try it at all.

I'm thinking that I could attach four thin pieces of iron or four magnets to the underside of the four corners of the table. I could then use four bars with magnets at each end to clamp down the edges of the neoprene sheet under the table.

This is not mine, but it is roughly the result I'm going for. My table has central supports, so the legs are pulled in much further from the edges. Any ideas? Remember, I don't want to use clamps. I'd rather not just cut the neoprene to fit the table top surface, but if I did, it probably would not slide around. It grips pretty well. I want to be able to set up and break down the surface quickly.

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BGinGA

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Yeah, super-duty adhesive velcro strips on the underside of the table with corresponding strips sewn to the neoprene would work well.

Might also consider making a padded rail that fits over the table and letting gravity keep the playing surface in place. Also keeps cards and chips on the table.
 

Piper at the Gates

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Velcro! I had not thought of that. I'd like to keep the neoprene unaltered because then it is easier to roll up and store. But this is an interesting suggestion.

Ideally, I would build a padded rail that fits around the table. I'd like to have something that slides over the neoprene and the table edge and locks in place. But I'm not outfitted for a project like that, and contracting someone to do it might be expensive with no guarantee of a satisfactory result. Ideally, though, a rail. More ideally, a game room with a dedicated table, but my house doesn't have the space.
 

TexRex

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This isn't a direct answer, but it may help. I too can't use a dedicated table and must use a dining room and kitchen table. When I have a third table, it's a solid 8 ft conference table that I put on top of two bases and cover it with neoprene as well. That sits out in my garage for all but one or two times a year.

On each table, I use a neoprene pad that hangs over, and on top of the pad I use a neoprene table topper (35x70). Along one end of the pad I've glued a velcro strip (soft side of the velcro, though I don't think it really matters). I took a 1.5" diameter dow rod, 5 ft, and glued the hard side of the velcro strip on it going down one side. At the end of the night, I put the two pieces of velcro together and roll the pad around the dow rod, then store it in a closet standing up. It stays attached, so velcro along the bottom of the pad and the table should work.

You might be able to cut the neoprene exactly to your table, but because it stretches, that can be hard to do. If you could get it exactly, it would not require anything else. I originally had a pad cut to the length of both of my tables, and then I cut it myself. I found I lack the equipment and skills to cut it straight, and even though I didn't lose any in the cutting, both pads wound up about 2 inches shorter than the table, so they didn't quite go to the ends. I have a feeling when the factory cut it, since it came off a roll, it may have been slightly stretched when they measured it. I recently purchased a longer pad for my bigger table and moved that table pad to the shorter table, so all of my pads hang over the table.

Before that, the end with the velcro sat on the table about an inch from the end of the table. The end with the velcro had a very slight but hardly noticeable bump all across the table. I never had any player even comment on it. That might be an answer for rolling up the neoprene and storing it. I honestly have my doubts about doing that to attach to the table, though it might work.

I don't mind my pads hanging off the sides, so the only issue I have is rolling them up afterwards and storing them. What I do works great for that. But if you don't want it hanging, there are three challenges I see.

First, to attach it on all 4 sides, you will need velcro attached to the neoprene on all four sides. Even if you don't use a strip all the way along the edge, having it on more than one side is going to make it harder to roll or fold up because the velcro is going to make the neoprene thicker. The more velcro on it, the thicker than one part is going to be.

Second, eventually the velcro will become detached from the neoprene. I'm carefull to gently pull the velcro from the dow rod. If you just rip it quickly, it's not going to stick to the neoprene as long. I host about 14 times a year, and the velcro stayed attached to the neoprene about 4 years. To use similarly gentle care for neoprene attached underneath the table, you would have to get under the table to detach it. It's doable, but I think you would find that to be a big pain. The neoprene will stay attached to the hard surface (the table) much longer.

Third, the thickness of your neoprene pad is going to make a huge difference. I have 2mm and 3mm table pads. Those are pretty easy to roll on the dow rod with one strip of velcro. I also have three 2mm toppers. They are also easy to roll around a dow rod. My PCF table toppers are 6mm. They are great toppers to play on! However, I've not figured out how to get them to roll tightly around a dow rod because they are so thick. It is possible the same idea of a piece of velcro on the bottom, and perhaps with it being 6mm it won't be as noticeable, and it also might help that it sits on top of a neoprene pad would help also.

My playing surfaces are all 4-8mm thick. I think at least 4mm makes a better surfce, but at least up to 8mm (I've not tried more than that), works great as a playing surface; 3mm works but seems a little thin to me, and I think 2mm is too thin, thouhg it's a lot better than a hard surface.

I like the magnet idea, but it would take magnets strong enough to hold the neoprene. I'd think you would probably have to attach the magnets to the table somewhat permanently, which might affect things like silverware on top, I'm not sure. If you are looking for something that keeps your neoprene unaltered, I think that is the better idea of the two, though I'd be inclined to look at other ideas.

One other idea you might consider is a Poker Hoody. I also have one of those. I only use it when we set up a third table. It can be cinched so it doesn't hang. I never really figured out how to cinch it though. However, because I have it sitting on top of a rug pad that grips the table well, I've not needed to cinch it. For your purposes, a Poker Hoody and figuring out how to cinch it might work well.

I'd love to hear how you finally did this. Even a padded rail that sits on top unattached would work well I think. If you could do that without worrying about the neoprene hanging off the end, I think that would be a great solution!
 

T_Chan

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Add grommets to the edges of the neoprene, then use bungee cords underneath to keep it taught.
 

Piper at the Gates

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One other idea you might consider is a Poker Hoody. I also have one of those. I only use it when we set up a third table. It can be cinched so it doesn't hang. I never really figured out how to cinch it though. However, because I have it sitting on top of a rug pad that grips the table well, I've not needed to cinch it. For your purposes, a Poker Hoody and figuring out how to cinch it might work well.
Add grommets to the edges of the neoprene, then use bungee cords underneath to keep it taught.
These are promising ideas, if the solution can work without unevenly stressing the neoprene. Messing only with the edges would not interfere with rolling up, the tension would keep it in place given the good drip the rubber gets on my table. For anyone interested, I'm using 3mm neoprene. I like the stiffness, I think it has a good amount of give for a very level surface. But I've only ever tried 3mm, so I'm not speaking on the basis of complete experience.
 

TexRex

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The grommets might work, but I would get bungi cords that merely hold it tight and don't stretch it. I think stretching would create a strain on 3mm neoprene.
 
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