Detailed Table Build - Raised rail, LED strip, custom cloth

chkyrslf

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Hi PCFers!

So what started as an idea to buy a budget poker table off the internet, has turned into an all out table build, and of course seeing all the amazing creations on this forum has led me to add more inclusions into my own design.

I really should add where the idea started - I was going to buy a fold-up like this:

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Yes yes, cupholders in the playing surface :eek: I figured it beat playing on a dining table with a cloth over it. But looking at these, the materials are generally quite thin too, and I just thought about people leaning on it (as they should) and the MDF board starting to sag.

So I figured for the same cost (which has since blown out since to PCF and its 'ideas'), I could build something much sturdier and decided that it would be mounted to the current pedestals for the dining table (ie. remove the dining table top on poker night, and mount the table top to the base) - that way it could be stored away easily and brought out when there's a game to be played. I also thought that making it myself, I wanted it somewhat modular, in that it would weigh more and be sturdier due to having several sheets of plywood, but I wanted them to be able to be removed separately for carrying/storage etc. and then bolted together in place when set up.


Here's me pulling the dining table off to check out the pedestal mounting options - I will be making a new center support so that I can bring the pedestals closer together. The dining table is 2400mm long (95"), and I can't store a poker table that long, so it will be shorter.

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Ordered some playing surface foam and rail foam (somewhat prematurely before I've even finished the design). If anyone in Australia needs a supplier, hit me up - this came overnight!

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Kind of moved the chairs around the area to get a feel for how the space might work. With a chandelier above and the mirror behind, hoping a classy design will go well in this room :cool
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chkyrslf

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Mocked up a bit of a design in Visio to get an idea of the size against the existing dining table (green line) and also wanted to see how much I could shorten the table with the pedestals in their normal position - however, this was before I realised I could bring them closer together.

This initial design was 2100mm x 1200mm (~83" x 47").

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And did a rough mock up of the structure of the rail, with cupholders...I'm still not 100% locked in with my design here. Have realised I need more space between the LEDs and acrylic strip to avoid having a dot effect, but i'm also restricted by the cup holders (ie. the LED strip has to pass in front of the cupholders and maintain the same distance from the acrylic all the way around for a consistent lighting effect. Looking at 5.5" rail.

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Bought 3x sheets of 19mm (3/4") plywood and 1x sheet of 12mm (1/2") to use as a bit of a test piece (and the 12mm was cheap lower grade stuff).

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Cut the test piece to see how it looked in the room as I still wasn't locked in on the size and was considering making it more narrow based on reading here on PCF. I drew the arcs and cut about 2mm away from the line with a jigsaw, then made up a bit of a jig with scrap plywood for the router to cut the arcs more cleanly (the router isn't super powerful so figured removing the bulk with the jigsaw and just using the router for the last few mm would be better).

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and the 12mm (1/2") test piece in location. Had a sit at it and flicked some cards, scooped some chips etc. Once taking the 5.5" rail on each side into account, it seems decent, and I wanted to go a wider ratio than the standard 2:1 (8'x 4') due to the shorter length. It stills feels like I might need to shave a little off though. This is 47" wide, so considering going to 44" based on a few comments here on other threads.

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chkyrslf

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Cut the first 19mm (3/4") piece, and managed to balance the phone for a bit of a time lapse video!



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Hadn't made the call on the width here (this is still 1200mm/47" wide), so took my time pondering and made the decision to reduce the width to 1120mm (44"). So after cutting all the pieces, I had to go back and not only take the width off, but also re-measure and cut the new arcs :cautious:

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and tested back in location at the new width, I think it will be more manageable (easier for me to pick up too!)

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You can see that 3 inches taken off the width (half each side) against the original cut here:

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chkyrslf

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Update time, and starting to have a poker table take shape!

So after resizing down to 44" width, I finally got all 3x boards down to the exact same size/shape and finished them off with a LOT of hand sanding to get them nice and flush (the edges mostly get covered but...I'd know :sneaky:).

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Because I had done the straight cuts with a circular saw, I was a little conservative on judging the cut line and had left about 3mm (1/8") along the sides...the first side I sanded this back by hand...that was the last time I will do that for any more than a surface smoothing. So on the other side I set up a guide to run the router along and take that 1/8" lip off, and then the remaining sanding to tidy it up only took a few mins.

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All pretty and thoroughly sanded :rolleyes:
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Marked up and cut the arcs of the rail (140mm / 5.5"), and the set up guide pieces to run the straight cut - this was really slow with many passes, as taking a 6mm router bit down through 19mm while cutting on both sides put the router under a lot of strain.

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And finally a racetrack piece ready to pull out.

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Also took the router with roundover bit to smooth the rail edges (first one a test piece to gauge the bit size)
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chkyrslf

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Okay update time! Been a slow couple of weeks, but nudging closer to the finish line.

Next up was doing the cupholders. I had seen the idea on here for the double stage and while I've seen some of those marine ones you guys buy in the US, I just ordered a set of jumbo and a set of mini cupholders, with the plan of punching a hole in the jumbo and brazing a mini to the bottom of it.

Luckily a mate offered to use his lathe which made the job so much easier and precise.

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The minis actually fit so snugly into the jumbos that brazing wasn't needed, so I went with some epoxy glue instead - plus brazing would've likely left scorch marks so this will do the job and the lip of the mini cupholder will take the weight anyway. I set up a little jig to hold them while the epoxy set, and also put some weights in them to make sure the minis were pulled down into the jumbo while the glue set.

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Then it was time to cut out the playing surface - this is because I'll be wrapping the cloth around this piece rather than all the way to the edge of the table. So back to the router jig!

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chkyrslf

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Okay so this bit was really difficult (for me, with no woodworking experience before this). I wanted to put a 4mm groove on the underside of the rail so that my 3mm diffuser could slot up into it (not all the way, so there's no force on it, just a retaining guide for shape).

Before working out how I was going to do this, I flipped over the rail and the outer ring of the playing surface to mark where the diffuser would go. It will be mounted to the edge of the playing surface outer, so needs to align with the rail above it. I marked this out with a pen just to help when setting up the router later.

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Maybe if I had planned it all out from the start it would have been easier, but seeing as I had already cut out the rail, I had also cut out my pivot point for the router! This did my head in for a while, but i ended up 'reconstructing' the piece by setting up the rail and the piece I cut out from the middle and bought some 6mm hardwood to use strips as spacers to fill the original router cut between them. Did lots of measurements and made sure it was spot on, and was able to use the original pivot point to cut a new groove! Whew.

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Managed to pull it off! :wow:

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chkyrslf

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It doesn't look it, but cutting these strips took me an entire day. I'm sure you guys with the right tools and table saws etc. would knock it over in minutes, but I only really had a router (also have jigsaw but too rough), so I had to measure them up, clamp them with a timber guide and carefully run the router along the get nice straight cuts .

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So after buying the LED lights, I ran into a bit of a conundrum. I went with LED 'Neon Flex' over a standard LED strip, as it is set in a silicon tube and essentially 'pre-diffused'. As I have very little clearance behind my diffuser (by design, to also incorporate cupholders - could have gone one or the other, went both), I thought the silicon tube also set behind a diffuser panel would give the desired effect. The only problem is this tubing only emits the light from it's top, and has a solid white material down it's middle, which when set behind a diffuser shows up as a dark strip, rather than a nice even glow.

The neon flex looks like this, you can see the dark strip that I had to contend with...
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I took a few measurements and worked out that if I recessed it into a 10mm deep groove, I would hide all of the dark strip and only the illuminated top area would be protruding above the playing surface. I did up a bit of a test piece to see what the effect would look like:

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This is the standard colour I expect to use - I think it'll work with the green felt and chocolate brown rail. Light looks nice and smooth, no hotspots or dark strips

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Plenty of colour options for fun still.
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I was happy with the lighting effect - and that's with only 3mm of the tube showing above the playing surface! So now I took to cutting the 10mm groove around the outer ring of the playing surface. Due to my space restrictions, this would sit only 5mm behind the diffuser! This didn't seem feasible to me at first as recommendations on this site are for 25mm (1") of distance to help diffuse the light, but that's why I did a mock-up test piece first and was really happy with the result - being 'double diffused' removed the need for distance.

Knowing that I could only leave a 5mm (a smidge over 3/16") rim between the diffuser and the LED groove was nerve racking - that's not a lot of material, so I wanted to get it right. Think I nailed it :cool

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Laid out the LED strip on it's own (no diffuser panel) just to test the width of the groove etc. and have a bit of play. Will still need to trim the LED rope and hide the excess.

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Here's a look at the groove for the LED rope all the way around:

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chkyrslf

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Alrighty, and tonight with all these grooves and panels/strips cut, I wanted to give it a bit of a test fit with a couple of diffuser panels in place. I haven't glued down any of the riser pieces yet, that will come next, just wanted to see how everything fit together before I went too far and couldn't change riser positions etc.

The piece you see in front of the diffuser came from a suggestion in my other rail design thread, but that piece extends essentially the height of the surface foam that will be applied to the playing surface, so that when the cloth is wrapped around, it gives it a nice edge, rather than compressing the edge of the foam and making a round edge into the diffuser panel - that's the plan anyway!

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How's that for minimum diffusing distance!?! :eek:

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Only got 2x diffuser panels in place, but can see it gives a nice even glow (that dark patch is just where the LED rope excess is currently, will sort that later on).

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Can see only the top of the neon flex tube extends above the playing surface, hiding the dark strip exactly as measured...whew.

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and that's it for today. More to follow in the coming days. Really looking forward to getting into the upholstery stage and seeing this thing really come to life!
 
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