On the next episode of This Old Full House, two table toppers rehabbed into stand alone options (1 Viewer)


Jan 20, 2020
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Kenosha, Wisconsin
I got these poker table tops before Covid hit, and it was about high time I did something with them! They were designed to be placed on top of a 6 foot folding table, so I added the legs pretty quickly after getting them, but the project stalled out after that. These were used by a charity gambling company and have been very well loved (and reek of smoke). You can see just how stained and faded the fabric is compared to the hidden edge under the rails. The fabric had to go to get rid of the smoky smell, and I took the opportunity to change the foam since I was taking the fabric off. Plus the foam probably doesn’t smell great either….. The green table is a basic oval, but the orange table has the dealer cutout which added a few challenges. They used a 1/2" ply for the table and rail construction. Not my favorite, but it's what I got. They were $10 a piece, so I can't be too mad!



I started with a cut list and diagram to try and make my life a little easier. I went with precut aspen boards for the skirt. This kept me from needing to do any ripping and I could keep from having too many knots that would wind up on an edge. After running through my cut list for the first time in at least 7 years, I’m happy to report I still have all ten fingers! I dry fit everything before moving on to ensure it all fit as intended, and it turned out OK. A few angles wound up less than 90 degrees, but that’s probably my chop saw being out of true square. Nothing some creative clamping can’t fix though, so add true square to the horseshoe/hand grenade list.


I decided against mitre joints for the corners for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it’s been a while since I’ve done them and I wanted to avoid multiple trips to the hardware store for additional lumber. I opted for my first venture into pocket screws because I could double up on them framing the apron AND attaching the apron to the tabletop.
I watched a few videos before getting started to try to avoid any mistakes, and it seems to have paid off. Everything went really quickly without any major fixes. I framed up the table without the dealer cutout first because it gave me a little more leeway to make an error.

I used scrap wood as stopping blocks to ensure the apron wound up centered in the table when I pulled the dry fit off for final glueing. I laid out the hole for the drop box slot and cut that before glueing and made a relief for the drop box lock so it can’t be pulled from the table without the key. Once the slot was cut and dry fit again, I was ready to finally attach the apron the the table. Some squeeze clamps on the corners help pull everything tight enough, although there does still seem to be some gaps between the two. If I had to do it all over again, I’d get some wide throat clamps that could hold until the glue dried, or at least until it was screwed together.

The final touch was to sand around the edge to smooth all the holes and splinters caused by the old staples coming out. The base plate for the drop box got screwed down, the screw tips from that were ground off, and that table is almost ready for foam.

The second table was a carbon copy of the first, save for squaring up the dealer tray hole and making it a little larger. The framing on this one is a little more important because the dealer tray will carry a lot of extra weight once the chips are in the tray. My cut list and diagrams ensured the frame sat right along the edge of the hole to provide maximum support of the 22 pounds of chips that will be in the tray. I still needed to add the internal supports to this table, as well as the support between the tray and the drop box.
Next step was to make sure the tables are comfortable to sit at, and I was happy to see I could get my legs underneath without issue, so I didn’t have to scrap the whole thing and start over!! Only a handful of messy steps lefts before the upholstery got started!

The aprons needed some touch ups, but were soon attached to the tables. They were also painted and sealed. In addition, the legs were centered and straightened. Drop box housings were attached. With the exception of the kickstands(which are being attached at the end) this marked the end of construction!
Everything is got a light sanding to remove the old glue and foam. (Besides, it’s just so damn therapeutic!) The last bit was to install the T-nuts into the rail and countersink the kickstand bolts with a Forsner bit (Which are really great BTW).

By far the most tedious task of the project was pulling the old staples from the rail. It’s finally done, and I couldn’t be happier about it. On the plus side, my grip strength has never been better! There was a complete crack in one of the rails, right on the curve. That’s part of the reason most builds will use 3/4” plywood. (It’s amazing what the extra 1/4” provides in strength.) A little glue kept it strong enough to recover it and get it on the table, and will hopefully provide all the stability it needs.


The 1" bumper foam went on without a hitch with the help of some 3M Super 77 spray and an electric carving knife. For those of you that don't know, an electric carving knife is far and away the best tool there is to get clean cuts in closed cell foam like this. The vinyl itself went on in two phases. The first was getting it over the foam and the bumper frames. The second was to wrap everything back around to the inside of the bumper. Between these two phases, I was reminded that vinyl upholstery, which i have not done much of, is always stretched and stapled. Never folded. Never. Never never. Never Ever! This means that there are some buckles in the vinyl in a few places, especially around the outside of the bumper curves. (This is one of those things that will drive me nuts until it doesn't) This is also the phase of the project when I realized why I had to pull so many damn staples from the table in the first place! How many staples do you think it took? Post your guess in the comments below. (Am I am influencer now?)








The playing surface was a much smoother process (Pun totally intended). The 1/4" closed cell foam is glued to the table using our old friend 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. The speed felt is then glued down to the top of that. This ensures the fabric will never bunch or stretch and should remain smooth until the time it gets switched out. The speed felt was then stapled to the edge of the plywood to keep it secure. The excess was trimmed off, folded under, and then stapled to the underside on the table. (Where you going? Nowhere!) I got much better at the fold and staple as I went along, so one table is remarkably neater than the other. Thank goodness it's all on the underside of the table!



Continued below..........
I did make a boo boo when stapling and forgot there is exposed table edge at the dealer position of one table, so you can 100% see those staples. I didn't want to risk the integrity of the fabric by pulling those staples out, so if it bothers me, I'm going to run a piece of gold half round right over that section and make the boo boo disappear.
The T nuts I used to initially attach the bumper to the table were entirely too weak to overcome the density of the 1/4" foam and they pulled out without a fight. If I had put them on the top side of the bumper before I added the foam and vinyl, It wouldn't have been a problem. The T nut would have bit into the plywood and sucked up nice and tight. Whoopsie. Plan B was to use wood nuts to drive into the plywood and bolt directly into them. Because these have threads directly into the wood, they shouldn't ever pull out unless the bumper becomes damaged somehow.

Switching to these nuts, which are screwed in with an allan wrench posed another problem. The threads started a 1/4" up the nut, meaning my 1" bolts were now too short to overcome the 1/4" foam and the 1/4" gap. Luckily, my local hardware store carried 1 1/4" button head bolts that fit the bill perfectly. They do stick up a little bit into the foam, but I spaced them in such a way that they should never be directly in the elbow space of the players. Any way you cut it, I wasn't pulling that vinyl off to fix the problem, so the other players can deal with it!

The chip tray was a no brainer once I picked the vinyl. It's a big upgrade over the black plastic one the came with the table, but it looks so sharp once it's set in place. The larger size will allow me to carry enough buy ins for a full game as well as all the chips I'll need to color up as the game goes along, so I shouldn't need to get up every time we need another buy in. It does add a lot of weight to the table, so I'm glad I added the supports to the surround of the cut out. I also folded the foam and fabric over the side to aid the fit of the tray and to keep it from rattling around if the table gets bumped.

The drop boxes both work flawlessly and are a fun touch to a professional look that our game certainly hasn't earned. I had a hard time finding the correct way to cut the slot through the fabric and foam, so this is one of the things I'd possibly want to do over, depending on what was involved. For now I'm pumped they're centered and easily accent the paddles, and more importantly, the cash. All said, the paddles are meant to stay in the slot during play, so the craftsmanship (or lack of) will only be seen for a couple brief seconds.

One of the major design additions to the tables are the kickstands. They allow the table bumper to sit off the ground when stored so the foam doesn't permanently compress and the vinyl doesn't scuff or tear during moving and storage (The old vinyl was about as ratty as could be without falling off in some spots.) They're as simple as can be, a 1/2" strip of plywood that rotates around a 3/4" post screw. I had to counter sink one end of the post screw (Forsner bits rule!) because it was in the playing field and I had to lay the foam over top. I also used an epoxy to hold those steady under the surface and hopefully keep them from ever pressing up into the foam above.


I tried to set up a second set of kickstands so I could store them standing tall, but they wound up needing to be too long to be stable and I couldn't fold the kickstands underneath the table. Those will need some washers i can slip over the post and then put the screw back on to keep the post from ever breaking loose and pushing back on the foam.

The last step was to replace the crappy plastic table feet with beefy rubber ones to add grip and a touch of cushion. I had been slides the tables around pretty easily while working on them. Now, not so much. The little things do make a big difference. If I had to do it all over again, I would search out some beefier legs for the table. Everything has a little more wiggle than I would like, but I can live with it in the long run.

The color scheme took off when I realized I didn't need to go with a standard black vinyl for the bumper. A search on eBay delivered marine vinyl in a host of colors, including gold carbon fiber. A bold statement to be sure, but I'm a sucker for bold statements! The royal blue speed felt was something I had bought ages ago when I first started the process. I bought (and returned) a couple other options, but I stuck with the royal blue. And after seeing is in the sunlight against the gold, I'm so glad I did. I don't have many blue chips as a part of my current sets, so I shouldn't really leave/lose chips that are supposed to be part of the pot.

And now, for the pr0n!!!!









Thanks for reading through all this and for coming along on the journey!
I am bumping this thread b/c I just found it and think that more people need to see it. Amazing write-up with lots of depth and details. Inspires me to kick-start my own project...

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