Need advice on table topper, minimal tools/skills

waddadonk

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Looking for some advice on ways to improve this topper build.

I've got a dining table that is 108”W x 42”D x 30.5”H, leaf is set in there so the width cannot be decreased. Note also that the edge of the table top is 2" thick.

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Playing Surface
For the playing surface I've picked up 4 yards of SSC, 3 yards of volara, a few feet of seatbelt webbing, grommets, sewing material, and bungee cords. The plan is to cut out small squares of seatbelt webbing and hand sew them in spots around the edge of the SSC. These spots will serve as reinforcement for the grommets, where bungee cords will hold the topper taut. I will be cutting the volara to the exact table top size and just let the SSC be pulled over the edges. This whole plan so far seems like it will work fine, as just laying the volara and SSC on the table makes a nice playing surface itself already.



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Rail (approach 1)
I'd like to have a rail for comfort and as a barrier, but I can't land on a good approach. My first idea, which I made purchases for already, was to use pool noodles, headliner foam, marine vinyl, and super 77 glue. The plan was simple, cut the noodles in half lengthwise, then glue on the headliner foam, and glue onto that the vinyl. The goal was to end up with a rectangle shape that matches the table, 2 long pieces and 2 short pieces. My fears are that it won't stick together, it will come apart while when moving into/out of storage, it will turn out too small, or it will just look too funny. Diameter of the pool noodles is less than 3 inches.

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Rail (approach 2)
An alternative is to go with wood, staples, thicker foam. I don't have many tools - a few standard tool kits, and just purchased my first power drill. So, I don't do much in terms of handy work and have limited knowledge. I've done some research and found dimensions/material that are suggested. I don't want to risk damaging the dining table, so this would again be 2 short straight pieces and 2 long straight pieces sitting over the volara/SSC, not overhanging the edges.

I've read that 3/4" plywood would be the way to go with a 4-5" rail width. Does Home Depot/Lowes sell ((108"and 32") or (98" and 42") )x(4 or 5)"x3/4" plywood, or do I need to buy a large standard piece and cut it down myself? Tools required for that? Is there a way to make sure the whole thing doesn't slide off the table? I'm thinking that I should make the rail smaller than the table top size, and have the corners somehow lock in together like puzzle pieces so that someone can't easily knock a piece onto people's laps/toes. Given that approach, this would probably mean that the corners of the wood would be unpadded and exposed. What kind of staple gun/staples are used in this process? What would the bottom of the rail look like - is there a way to protect the SSC from the staples?

Super rough mockup of this approach 2:

Green section is the padded area of the rail. The corners are probably exposed wood that are shaped to fit together, and its slightly smaller than the table as a safeguard against someone knocking it off the table...

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waddadonk

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Heading to home Depot today to learn about what I don't know.

Please help with rail suggestions, and help me avoid the fugly table thread.
 

BGinGA

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dining table that is 108”W x 42”D x 30.5”H, leaf is set in there
How wide is the leaf? 108" is a very long table for poker, almost unmanageable. I'd much rather deal with 70" total length (and seat fewer players) than something that large. You can effectively extend the length by 6" or so (and by default, also the width) by adding an overhanging rail design, essentially making it 76" long (plenty large enough for 8-9 players, and also a decent size for many roll-up neoprene table toppers).

Personally, I'd build a folding table-topper (1 or 2 folds optional, but much easier to move and store) using 1/4" MDF, automotive headliner foam from JoAnn's, suited speedcloth from YAT, a can of poly paint, and 3M spray adhesive.. You can make it fit the exact size of your table, and put foam or thin rubber on the underside to protect your base table. Total cost for a bare-bones version (no SSC) is around $60, or closer to $100 if you want a nicer playing surface and some flexibility. Tools are extra.
I don't have many tools - a few standard tool kits, and just purchased my first power drill.
Only basic tools you're really missing is a jigsaw, sander, and a circular saw. Home Depot will do most of your cuts (they will cut the MDF to the exact size you need), and if not using rounded corners or a folding design, that eliminates need for the jigsaw and circular saw at home.

Please help with rail suggestions,
First suggestion is to ditch the pool noodles idea. I've seen several attempts, and it's just not a good solution.

If going with a table-topper design, I'd design a sectional rail that overlaps the playing surface with overhangs (padded to protect the table edges), and fits together using cam screws/connectors (requires power drill). Once installed (requires a screwdriver to connect the sections), it won't go anywhere. You can go full-bore with vinyl-covered 1" foam, or make it a low-rider rail using 1/4" pool bottom closed-cell foam. Base material can be 1/4" MDF (also cut to size at Home Depot) with 2x4 blocks pre-cut to size for the overhangs.
 

waddadonk

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If going with a table-topper design, I'd design a sectional rail that overlaps the playing surface with overhangs (padded to protect the table edges), and fits together using cam screws/connectors (requires power drill). Once installed (requires a screwdriver to connect the sections), it won't go anywhere. You can go full-bore with vinyl-covered 1" foam, or make it a low-rider rail using 1/4" pool bottom closed-cell foam. Base material can be 1/4" MDF (also cut to size at Home Depot) with 2x4 blocks pre-cut to size for the overhangs.

Thanks. I think I'll give project this a shot.

I don't think I have all the details down. Let me sketch this down to confirm...


What I understand is the cross section. MDF will be screwed down into the 2x4. Staples will be on the MDF at one end, and the 2x4 on the other.
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And here's what I understand the birds eye view would be...just before assembling the rail
The grey nubs being the cam screws, and grey circles being the cam locks in the unpadded portion of the 2x4

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Do I have a proper understanding of this setup? I just put togethre some Ikea stuff yesterday and understand that cam locks will just fall out. Is there an alternative solution that also wouldn't require a screwdriver each time? Like a hand twist thing? Just to make it easier to disassemble...
 

BGinGA

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Set-up looks correct -- note that you can create overhangs that will allow the entire circumference of the rail to be padded (no exposed wood necessary). Just glue some thin foam onto the underside areas of the rail for protection where it comes in contact with the table.

I've never had an issue with home-installed cams falling out -- just the pre-fab versions.
 

waddadonk

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I'm not sure how this will turn out in the end, but I thought I'd post some updates.




Speed cloth + Volara from YAT - held down by bungees

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The view from underneath - two cords going lengthwise, five cords going width-wise. Pinned next to the grommet is seatbelt material.


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Thought I could use that to reinforce the grommet hole, but only after spacing and pinning all the patches, and sewing in one patch, realized its impossible to create a hole through the material with the mallet and punch.


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Corners could use work, but I think it should be covered by the rail when its finished.

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Top stays mostly taut. Theres some bunching where the bungees are, but it smooths out by hand easily. Hoping the rail will help with this.


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Got wood cut at Home Depot. Ended up with 2x4s and plywood, both probably higher quality than they need to be. I didn't do enough homework before going and trusted the associate with suggestions.

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This was the plan going into the project, but the measurements were all wrong. Where it says 3", it should say 5". So the wood I got didn't work...had to buy a jigsaw to cut the wood down.

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Getting done with the easy parts - attaching the plywood+2x4 on the shorter ends


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Started on the longer end after cutting the plywood to down to size. Needed 101" in length, so had to do two pieces. Theres a slight discrepency in the width of the plywood, but hoping it doesn't matter when covered.

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This is where I stopped. Need to secure the other long side together. Then start drilling for the carriage bolts. The plan is to have the bolts stay installed in the plywood of the shorter ends, and when setting up the table, use a wingnut to secure the corners together.

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The hard part is coming up.

Next steps:

1) Drill straight holes for carriage bolts
2a) Come up with a plan for how the corners will be covered with vinyl/foam
2b) Glue 1" HD foam to the top
3) Staple staple staple marine vinyl
4) Glue headliner foam to the inside parts which touch the table. Also use that to cover staples
5) Cross fingers and hope it fits and doesn't damage the table.
 
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