DIY Poker Table Build - Advice Needed

KingJames12

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Good day ladies and gents.

I'm in the midst of building a home table and (yet again) I'm indecisive... Initial issues were deciding what speed cloth colour, stains, lighting, and vinly I wanted. That's set in stone now haha.

Current issue - I can't figure out if I should build a secondary rail-raiser and double up the rail thickness before finishing.

Specs:
- 5" rail built with 1/2" wood
- 3.5" rise build with 1/2" wood
- 12" stained raceway c/w cup holders built out of 3/4" G1S pine.
- playing surface will be on 3/4" G1S pine c/w 1/4" volara foam.

Option 1 (pic one):
- 1/2" thick x 3-1/2" wide rised riser
- 1/2" thick x 5" wide rail (wood dims without foam).
- LED strips fastened to the inside face of the riser.
IMG_20200607_124656.jpg


Option 2 (pic 2):
- 1/2" thick x 3-1/2" wide riser
- 1/2" thick x 3-1/2" wide riser
- 1/2" thick x 5" wide rail (wood dims)
- 1/2" thick x 5" wide rail (wood dims)
- LED strips fastened to the inside face of the risers.
IMG_20200607_132632.jpg


Both setups are comfortable on a folding chair.

If I go with option 2 I will need to use spacers (ignore those in the photos just for ideas) so will need to buy more wood, and ensure both risers are smooth and finished. but I want to do this once and the right way!

Thoughts?
 

KingJames12

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Since posting this I've played around with the measurements and combinations, I'm going to pickup two more 1/2" sheets and build the double rail and double riser, only way to give it the true rigidity and depth I'm after!

Stay tuned for a build log.

Strongly advise against a wood racetrack. Looks great, plays like crap.

How so?

Even if it's a narrow decorative racetrack? I'm actually shrinking it more to indent the cupholders into the playing field cloth.
 
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BGinGA

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Lots of threads on here detailing the downsides of wood racktracks. Same for in-surface cupholders -- advise against those, too.
 

DeeVee8

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+1 on no racetrack. Built one in my first table and will never do it again. Much work for no gain imho. Also a no cupholder guy, either rail or playing surface. I don't want cupholders dictating where people sit around the table. Sets my OCD off big time. A set of table trays around the outside have always worked for me.

Either of your riser setups should be good, just a matter of how "risey" you want to be. If you really want the feel of a raised rail, I would suggest option 2.
 

KingJames12

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+1 on no racetrack. Built one in my first table and will never do it again. Much work for no gain imho. Also a no cupholder guy, either rail or playing surface. I don't want cupholders dictating where people sit around the table. Sets my OCD off big time. A set of table trays around the outside have always worked for me.

Either of your riser setups should be good, just a matter of how "risey" you want to be. If you really want the feel of a raised rail, I would suggest option 2.
Thank you for the reply! I played around with some spacers and additional lumber plus the trusty tape measure and will be going with Option 2 doubling up the thickness of the top rail wood + riser, this should add rigidity overall. Plus I'll be routing the edges for nice smooth transitions when I wrap with the foam and vinyl.

As for the back and forth on racetrack, I get it, lots (all?) are against them, I like the look, I've played them before and didnt mind the 1/4" drop off, plus the host utilized the racetrack as the "personal area" no cards, just beers, phones, chips, etc. Cards and bets in play were relegated to the playing surface. I am modifying the design further to shrink the overall raceway to approx 4" exposed from the edge of the rail, just enough room for the cupholder and chip stacks, the playing surface will have designated notches at each players spot. Hard to explain but will look and function perfectly.

I should mention this is strictly for casual neighbor / drinking buddies play, with the return of the NHL and social lockdowns happening we miss our bar nights. A $20 buy in, booze, plus sports, what more could you want (maybe a dancer or two...) :)
 

DoubleEagle

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Just say no to wood racetracks, especially with cupholders. About 10 years ago I built one for myself. We played on it one time and I tore it down and converted it to full felt. Like @BGinGA said, they look nice but are horrible to play on.
 

KingJames12

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Just say no to wood racetracks, especially with cupholders. About 10 years ago I built one for myself. We played on it one time and I tore it down and converted it to full felt. Like @BGinGA said, they look nice but are horrible to play on.
Haha thanks. Isn't the purpose of the racetrack to house the cupholder? When searching around I saw a few dudes throw the cup holders right into the cloth, not a fan.

Still. I may decide to RAISE the racetrack above the playing surface, kind of like a secondary riser but finished, it's still in the constructability stage (nothing drilled / supports cut *except one riser*) so modifications can be made to achieve the look and function.
 

TheWhat

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Interesting about cup holders, still debating myself about in rail. Not worried about the force seating too much, just don't really have space for side tables, but concerned a little that the movable cup holders would break down the rail quicker?
 

sheikh617

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Since posting this I've played around with the measurements and combinations, I'm going to pickup two more 1/2" sheets and build the double rail and double riser, only way to give it the true rigidity and depth I'm after!

Stay tuned for a build log.



How so?

Even if it's a narrow decorative racetrack? I'm actually shrinking it more to indent the cupholders into the playing field cloth.
My biggest regret about my table is the racetrack. They look fantastic but they eat up valuable space. You cant put yours cards on it because you won't be able to lift the cards off the wood. Its also just more wood that people can damage between alcohol and other stuff. Someone got hand sanitizer on the wood and it left a fat hazy circle in the polyurethane lol. They look fantastic but it'll be a better playing experience if you leave it out.
 

KingJames12

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Interesting about cup holders, still debating myself about in rail. Not worried about the force seating too much, just don't really have space for side tables, but concerned a little that the movable cup holders would break down the rail quicker?
I would think the moveable cup holders would strain the rail materials and anchors, sure. But not much, moreso the material the slide under is made of.

I'll do a hybrid style, the actual cupholders will be on the racetrack but 1/2" dia away from the playing surface either 3/4" above the playing surface (thickness of material) or sunken 1/4" beneath the playing surface. I can see the cons about a racetrack due to the speed of a card flying across the polyester but the limited size of the track will reduce that concern in my opinion.

My biggest regret about my table is the racetrack. They look fantastic but they eat up valuable space. You cant put yours cards on it because you won't be able to lift the cards off the wood. Its also just more wood that people can damage between alcohol and other stuff. Someone got hand sanitizer on the wood and it left a fat hazy circle in the polyurethane lol. They look fantastic but it'll be a better playing experience if you leave it out.
I agree with the eating up valuable space definitely! Hand sanitizer is a few chemical mixes away from Acetone haha, not a good time :p I will likely end up doing 7-8 layers of Urethane on the wood and then cutting/polishing the final layer for the shine.

Lots of work/math but worth having something unique.
 

KingJames12

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You guys really picked apart the racetrack. Except only one of you answered my question.

Regardless I decided to do option 2 and added a second riser and second rail to beef them up. Gave it a quick perimeter sanding have more sanding and need to router the edges today.

IMG_20200608_195950.jpg
IMG_20200608_180919.jpg
 

BGinGA

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A raised racetrack is prone to damaging cards, and makes it impossible to push chips into or out of a pot.

A flush racetrack is noisy, prone to damaging chips, and makes it near-impossible to lift cards for viewing.

Fixed cupholders in the playing surface are magnets for collecting chips, are prone to damaging cards, take up valuable real estate, do not allow for flexible seating, and force players to have their drinks oriented the way that you want, rather than their preference

Fixed cupholders in the rail does not allow for flexible seating, and forces players to place drinks in what may be awkward positions for them (increasing the likelihood of spills).

Slideunder cupholders, side tables, and swing-out cupholders mounted to chairs are the least troublesome and least offensive options.

A racetrack is fine if a) perfectly flush, and b) does not have a hard material finish (like wood, plastic, or metal). Incorporating a 'racetrack look' using printed gaming cloth or a separate contrasting padded and flush surface can provide the benefits of a racetrack (cosmetic appearance and betting line functionality) without also incorporating all of the many drawbacks associated with a wooden version.

All of this has been discussed previously here in depth, and is easily found by searching on 'racetrack'.
 

TheWhat

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See you are from the Peg! Just down the road in Brandon.

I do like the look of inserted cup holders myself, can always place a cap over them later if issues arrive.
 

KingJames12

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See you are from the Peg! Just down the road in Brandon.

I do like the look of inserted cup holders myself, can always place a cap over them later if issues arrive.
From 'Peg City, moved East of Winnipeg.

I agree, if it doesn't work out then I can always make a cover on the lathe...
 

timinater

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@KingJames12 OP - Option 2 looks a bit more dramatic to the eye, but I prefer the way Option 1 feels while playing. Option 2 I kind of have to hang my hands over the edge a bit more to get chips, cards etc. than on Option 1 which feels much more natural. (My personal table is similar to option 1, and my friends is similar to option 2)

That said, you do you, and build the table that puts the biggest smile on your face.

There are caveats to a racetrack, and I too don't prefer them. I think the advice about cupholders is the most salient here. They are a pain when mounted directly in the table/rail.

These cupholders are fantastic, though as you mention that may damage the finish on your racetrack. Compromises amirite?
 

KingJames12

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@KingJames12 OP - Option 2 looks a bit more dramatic to the eye, but I prefer the way Option 1 feels while playing. Option 2 I kind of have to hang my hands over the edge a bit more to get chips, cards etc. than on Option 1 which feels much more natural. (My personal table is similar to option 1, and my friends is similar to option 2)

That said, you do you, and build the table that puts the biggest smile on your face.

There are caveats to a racetrack, and I too don't prefer them. I think the advice about cupholders is the most salient here. They are a pain when mounted directly in the table/rail.

These cupholders are fantastic, though as you mention that may damage the finish on your racetrack. Compromises amirite?
Haha awesome link bud! I actually ordered all my supplies from that group in Toronto. Before I built Option 2 (which does in fact look very dynamic, good choice of wording and good call), me and a buddy test fit both options (using spare wood I had lying around), along with the folding chairs that will likely be used, it felt way more comfortable in Option 2 setup with more of a draped hands over the edge effect.

IF for whatever reason when its all put together we aren't happy with the heights there is plenty of room to cut the legs down an inch or so.

I spent a few hours rough sanding, routering, and gluing / screwing all the components of the raised rails together yesterday, won't cut the playing surface until all the parts arrive (should be today). It really is starting to come together. Today's plan is to final sand the rails in anticipating of vinyl wrapping (which arrived separately of the boxes - strange), and then prep the base. Before vinyl or staining I plan on painting the base and any exposed wood surfaces black to hide it and the table legs better.
 
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