"Joe River" Build Thread

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
I've started work on a table build for a good friend of mine. This is one of the first times I've remembered to take some pictures at every step of the way so I thought I would share the build progress here. You can never have too many build threads!

This table is going to be an 8-player 84x42". Custom felt, Gorilla legs, exposed base sheet with decorative nails, and jumbo cupholders in the rail (this is the way).

3 sheets of 3/4" ply will be used.
Sheet 1: Rail
Sheet 2: Rail lip and Playing Surface
Sheet 3: Exposed base sheet

All three sheets will first be cut into 84x42" ovals. I start by marking out the centre points of each of the arcs.
full


It's important to mark the point where the arcs will meet the straight edges. That way you know where to stop the router when cutting the arc.
full


Each centre point gets a 1/8" hole drilled which will fit the pin for my Jasper circle jig.
full


I use the Jasper Model 300 circle jig and I can't recommend it enough. A circle jig is easy enough to DIY, but this thing isn't that expensive and makes things very repeatable and accurate.
full


I do all my cuts in 3 passes, keeps it easier on the router and bit. Here's the first arc after the second pass.
full


For the straight edges I used the factory edge of the plywood and run the router along it. In the future I would like to get a proper straight edge jig.
full


With all 3 sheets cut to the overall outer dimension, it's time to make the inner cut of the rail. This will be a 6" rail.
full


Here's both of the inner arcs cut. You can see that I stop the cut when the centre of the bit is at the centre line of the arc.
full


On a typical basic build, the centre piece of wood remaining after the rail is cut is added to the bottom of the table as extra support. Since this build is going to have a full sized exposed base sheet, it's not required. Here's the rail completely cut.
full


Sheet 2 is the same process, but instead of a 6" rail, its a 1" lip.
full


full


It then gets glued to the underside of the rail.
full


Whats left in the centre of sheet 2 after the rail lip is removed will be the playing surface.

Now it's time to assemble the 3 sheets together. Make sure everything is lined up and square, then throw a few clamps on to hold it in place. I'm using 4 insert flanges in the playing area to hold it down to the base sheet. Drill the holes for them, screw in the insert flanges and install the bolts from under the base sheet to keep the playing surface in place.
full


It's time now to mark out the locations of the cupholders. I didn't get a picture of this, but I use a flexible tape measure wrapped around the outside of the rail, and some strips of tape to hold it in place. Divide this circumference measurement by 8 to get the distance between cupholders. I put a little mark at the outside of the rail at the desired measurement, then use a straight edge placed from that mark to the centre point of the arcs, then draw a line all the way across the rail. Once I've determined the location of all the cupholders, I drill a hole between each cupholder for more insert flanges. The bolts will come up through the base sheet, through the playing surface, and into the insert flanges in the top of the rail, holding the entire table together.
full


Back to the cupholders now. Measure in 3 inches from the outside of the rail to find the centre point, then drill a hole for the circle jig centre peg. Make sure the hole goes down through the playing surface sheet as well. You can see in this picture as well the rounded edges on the rail. I roundover the inside and outside of the top of the rail, and the outside of the bottom of the rail lip.
full


For these smaller holes I use the Jasper Model 400 circle jig.
full


Same process as the larger one. Insert the centre peg into the hole, and put the jig on at the right diameter marking.
full


Once all 8 holes are cut in the rail, repeat the process in the playing surface.
full


I'm a huge fan of cupholder rings. I think a table looks so much better when the cupholders sit flush with the top of the rail instead of sinking down into them. I screw down some of the off-cut scraps and use the same jig. Make sure you always cut the outer diameter first, or else you won't have a way to use your circle jig to cut the inside.
full


Finished ring.
full


Then glue and clamp the rings onto the rail. I do this with cupholders inserted to keep them centred.
full


Once the glue is dry the rail is complete.
full


It's starting to look like a poker table!
full


Now onto edge banding the base sheet. I like to have the edge banding roughly in place and tape it on there to keep it square.
full


Once I have that roughed into place all the way around, then I start with the heat gun and veneer roller.
full


It's hard to get any pictures of this process when I'm by myself, but here's the completed edge banding.
full


That's where I'm at so far. The rail foam should be arriving this week, then I can go ahead and wrap the rail. I'll also get started on staining and finishing the base sheet soon as well. I'm waiting on the artwork for the felt, which I'll be ordering from Chan along with the Gorilla Legs, so those will be the last 2 steps.
 
Last edited:

campo

High Hand
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
65
Reaction score
34
Location
Houston, TX
It's looking pretty good. I look forward to seeing how it ends up and I may try to build one myself for my home games!
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2020
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
4,279
Location
Cologne, Germany
Looking awesome! I'm pretty much at the same point with my table build. Gotta wait 2 weeks to finish it though, since I'm building it with my father as a joined project and he's on holidays atm. ;)
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
For the playing surface foam I'm using Neoprene. This is the first table I've used this on but I love it. I'll be using it for any future tables, as long as the 80x48" sheet is large enough. First I cut it to rough size, a bit larger than the inside of the rail, and spray some Super77 around the centre to adhere it to the wood. Then put the rail in place on top and bolt it in place.
full


Take a sharp blade and cut along the inside of the rail, and you're left with foam the exact size of the playing surface. I like doing it this way where the foam starts inside the rail. If you have the rail sit on top of the foam/felt, cards can get wedged in there.
full


Now moving on to the rail. YAT isn't shipping to Canada right now with the pandemic going on, so I grabbed a sheet of Lux-HQ foam from Foambymail. It's softer than the YAT foam, but I do find the YAT foam to be a bit too firm. Unfortunately the largest single sheets they have are 80x76", which leaves me a little short on the length.
full


I decided to try to stretch the foam using a technique similar to others on the forum about stretching rail vinyl. First I cut out a section in the centre and 2 slits out towards the arcs.
full


This gives me enough play where I can pull the foam out past the edge of the arcs, and glue it to the rail. I use Super77, put a few clamps on to make sure it didn't pull back in towards the centre, and threw some sandbags on top while the glue dried.
full


Once the ends were dry, I glued the straight edges the same way. While the glue was drying, I also drew a line 1.5" out from the outer edge where I'll cut the foam.
full


I like to cut the inside of my rails flush with the edge of the wood. I don't think there's a need for padding on the interior, and like the clean looks of doing it this way. Here's the rail all trimmed up and placed on top of the Whisper Vinyl
full


Now for everyone's favorite part. Here's the outside edge all stapled. I actually don't find this part of the process too difficult. Start at the centre of one straight edge, pull tight and put in a few staples. Then do the same at the opposite side, and then the ends of the arcs. Then just keep splitting the difference until you're all stapled all the way around. Just make sure to watch when you pull the vinyl tight that it looks uniform all the way around.
full


After doing the outside my fingers were pretty sore, so I trimmed off the excess and called it a day.
full


full


Moving on to the inside. I cut the excess out of the centre, and then made cuts towards the arcs. This provides relief when stretching around the inside of the arcs. You have to make sure not to go too close with the cuts, so I'll often have to cut a little more as I go and see where I need more.
full


Inside of the rail all stapled.
full


And trimmed. Probably about 1500 staples on the rail. I use a pneumatic staple gun with 1/4" crown staples, 1/2" long. The air stapler really makes this process a lot easier, thought sometimes its easy for the vinyl to rip with these small staples.
full


full


Now to cut some little slits for the cupholders.
full


I use some soapy water to lube up the outside of the cupholders before sliding them in as its a pretty tight fit. We now have a completed rail!
full


Moving on now to the base sheet. Here it is stained before the poly goes on. I used wipe on poly as its pretty fool proof. Finishing wood is my least favorite part of table building, but its something I want to get better at. I want to start spraying lacquer for my next one, as it should cut down a lot on the time required and probably provide a better finish
full


The base sheet is going to have decorative nails around the edge. I put some painters tape around the edge so I could lay out the spacing. I went with 1.5" spacing, and used this piece of 1.5" angle aluminum as a quick way to draw in lines for the spacing.
full


full


I used the same angle aluminum as a jig to get the holes drilled on centre. The last table I built I didn't use a jig and the results weren't perfect. I drilled a small hole for the pilot hole at the right height to centre on the plywood, then drilled 2 larger holes above and below so that I could see the lines and make sure I was centred that way.
full


You can see another small pilot hole to the left. I realized part way through that if I just made the hole 1.5" in from the edge of the jig, I could just drill my first hole, then line it up with the edge of the jig and the next hole would be right at the correct spacing. This would eliminate the need to go around marking the whole table every 1.5". I'm going to just do that next time.

Once all the holes are drilled, pull off the tape and you're ready to start inserting your nails.
full


I go around and just push the nails in with my thumb first, and then once they're all in place go back around with a rubber mallet just to make sure they're all the way in and flat against the edge of the wood. Here's the completed base sheet.
full


And here's the assembled table as it sits right now.
full


Just waiting on artwork for the custom felt which I'll be ordering from Tony along with the Gorilla legs. Then all that's left is to attach the felt and screw on the legs and the build will be complete.
 
Last edited:

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Next step was installing the Gorilla Legs.
full

This was my first experience with these legs, and wow are they great! Incredibly sturdy and I really love the nice stout look of them. I wasn't sure of the best process to install these, but I'll explain the way I did it. I started with just the plate that mounts in the centre of the table. I measured and got that exactly centre, then put in a couple of the included screws. Then I attached the legs to to the plate, and measured to try to get them as centred as possible, and put a couple screws in each of the legs. I made sure they both opened and closed properly and looked to be decently aligned, and then put all the rest of screws. Pretty easy to install once I figured out how to go about it.

Now it's time to flip it over and install the felt. First step is to take the rail off.
full


Then the slightly painstaking process of getting the felt centred on the table.
full

Tony has videos showing how to do this. It's not a hard process, but it is a lot of small adjustments trying to get everything lined up. I measure from the outer edge of the playing surface sheet to the betting line in 4-6 spots around the table, tug the felt gently to adjust and then repeat the process until its lined up all the way around. I then put a couple of staples in at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions to hold it in place. Then fold one half of the felt over on top of the other so I can spray a bit of Super77, let it get a bit tacky and then roll the felt back into place. Measure a couple more spots just to make sure its still lined up, and then put a few more staples in. Repeat the process for the other half, and then you can staple all the way around.

full


I like doing the glue under the felt. I find it stops the felt from bunching up a bit if you're dragging in a pot. Some people say it's not worth doing, but only takes a couple of minutes so why not?

Once all your staples are in, just trim away the excess with a sharp knife.
full


Put the rail back on and we have ourselves a poker table!

full

full

full

full


I'm pretty proud of how this one turned out. The artwork isn't what I would have picked, but I do like the colour scheme. This was my first time using Tony's new felt material. This was printed on the smooth side of his home grade felt, which I think is a huge improvement over his former material. This is much heavier and softer, while still having incredible card slide.
 

RedRider52

Pair
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
112
Location
Dallas
Great finished product! The rail looks great and those are stout legs. We’ll done.

How heavy is this finished product? Or asked differently, can you move the table around by yourself or does it take 2?
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Great finished product! The rail looks great and those are stout legs. We’ll done.

How heavy is this finished product? Or asked differently, can you move the table around by yourself or does it take 2?
Moving it by yourself really sucks. I'm not sure of the weight, but I would say it must be over 100lbs. I had a hard time flipping it over to install the legs and then back over to install the felt. If you were just tipping it down, folding the legs and then leaning it up against a wall you could probably make due yourself, but 2 people is the way to go.
 

RedRider52

Pair
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
112
Location
Dallas
Did you see the kickstands Chanman put on his portable table in his video on replacing a playing felt? Thought that was a pretty thoughtful addition and could help preserve the rail when moving around Such a heavy table.
 

RedRider52

Pair
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
112
Location
Dallas
Could get pretty fancy and put swivel caster on the kickstands to help mobility if you stay on a hard surface. Think they would fold under and out of the way of knees, but would have to play with that to see how it would work
 

knoxpark

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
Location
Dallas, Texas
Love this! I've been doing some research to build my own table, and your table has all the elements that I like - the rail with cup holders, base sheet with decorative nails, legs, etc. I was trying to decide between a ten-seat vs an eight-seat table. I like this one with eight. I'm glad I found this forum and thank you for sharing all the details and pics!
 
Top Bottom