Refelting table - have you done this?

Ben

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So, I'm hosting a tourney this weekend and my tables could use some new cloth; the old stuff is looking fairly dingy. I already picked up new cloth from YAT, but unfortunately my buddy who builds tables semi-professionally is on vacation this week. So, I was going to take a shot at replacing it myself.

I can't seem to find much specific info on this at all - some questions I have here, anyone have experience with this?

-Should I remove the old cloth, or just apply the new cloth over it? That's going to be A LOT of staples to remove to get it off...

-Spray adhesive was applied to the cloth and padding when it was built. Not so much that it will be difficult to get it off, but if I do remove it, would the old adhesive create a problem for the new application and have to be cleaned off? If I DON'T remove the old cloth, how important is using the adhesive? Would it be worth going out and finding some just for this?

-I have a cheapo plastic staple gun (well actually the wife does, for sewing purposes.) Will this do the job, or do I need something heavier-duty?

-Any other helpful tips?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

grandgnu

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-I have a cheapo plastic staple gun (well actually the wife does, for sewing purposes.) Will this do the job, or do I need something heavier-duty?

I've only stapled felt onto a table once before, and have never done a refelting project. But I'm guessing the sewing staple gun may not cut it when you factor in going through two pieces of felt plus the wood of the table.

I guess it'll depend on the size of the staples it can handle. It's been awhile, but I think I used something like 1/2" or 3/4" staples? But it's been awhile so maybe I'm forgetting
 
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courage

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Ben,

I've done it many times and in your situation I'd place it over existing and not use adhesive. Not sure about your stapler but you can give it a try. If it's not up to it, you can borrow one or pick up something like a Stanley pretty cheap but I know it's a ways to civilization. [emoji12]
 
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atomiktoaster

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-Should I remove the old cloth, or just apply the new cloth over it? That's going to be A LOT of staples to remove to get it off...

-Spray adhesive was applied to the cloth and padding when it was built. Not so much that it will be difficult to get it off, but if I do remove it, would the old adhesive create a problem for the new application and have to be cleaned off? If I DON'T remove the old cloth, how important is using the adhesive? Would it be worth going out and finding some just for this?

-I have a cheapo plastic staple gun (well actually the wife does, for sewing purposes.) Will this do the job, or do I need something heavier-duty?

-Any other helpful tips?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

  • Stretch the new cloth tight over the old cloth and check the feel. Take off the rail and use some clamps on the outside. That will tell you a lot about whether you need to remove the old cloth or use adhesive. I would think leaving the old cloth and foregoing adhesive would be fine though.
  • If you have an air compressor, a pneumatic stapler is a great addition. I use a cheaper Harbor Freight one. You can make due with a metal manual staple gun. It will depend a lot on if the substrate is plywood or MDF.
  • Clamps will help a lot when getting the right tension on the cloth, too.
  • Be careful with how close the staples get to the inside edge of the rail. I have a couple that are visible from a low angle on the other side of the table :(
 
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Zathras

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I just got done refelting one of my old tables that I'm selling to a friend and I took the time to take out the staples. It just seemed like it made for a cleaner finished product, plus I was concerned about how many staples would be hitting other staples and bending or going in partially.

I used a hand staple gun on the original build but borrowed an air powered stapler from a buddy to do this task. It was MUCH easier on the hands.

ymmv
 

BGinGA

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Ben,

I've done it many times and in your situation I'd place it over existing and not use adhesive. Not sure about your stapler but you can give it a try. If it's not up to it, you can borrow one or pick up something like a Stanley pretty cheap but I know it's a ways to civilization. [emoji12]


^^ This. My oldest poker table build currently has four or five layers of cloth (I've lost count), the latest being Chanman custom gaming suede over old SSC.

FWIW, I use an electric staple gun.
 

T_Chan

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The best and cleanest way to do it is to remove the old cloth and staples. That way you start with a clean slate. A heavy duty staple remove helps the process a lot.

0219820hero.jpg


Putting the new cloth over the old is usually fine though. As long as the cloth underneath doesn't have any noticable texture from the wear. It's up to you if you want to glue it or not. If you don't spray glue it down, then make sure you pull it tight.
 

Mental Nomad

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Whether hand-stapling or using electric, bracing the back of the stapler with your free hand makes a big difference in penetration. Any kickback is force lost to the staple; if you brace the back and press well into your (layered) material, you may find that it penetrates everything and you' don't need to remove the old cloth.

But, as T_Chan says, the best possible result is probably going to come from removing the old entirely.
 

Leonard

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I have always removed the old felt. I use this tool from YAT. It's a pain in the ass but produces good results. If you just get in the right mindset, it really doesn't take that long. If you have a partner, you can pry up one end go the staple and they can go behind you with a pair of pliers and pull it out the rest of the way.
Any old stapler will likely work for one table. You might have to go back with a hammer to get them fully seated but that's easy work. Remember what a pain it was to pull the old staples when you're putting in the new ones. Use enough, but don't go crazy.
 

Ben

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Thanks everyone for your help - I just applied on top of the old felt (honestly if I had to take out all the staples it probably wouldn't have got done, it was a huge PITA as it was...)

It took a fair amount of time, swearing, and sore hands but the results turned out well - not perfect; the blue table cloth is slightly uneven side-to-side and the black table insert has a small wrinkle on one edge (totally due to user error, but I wasn't about to undo everything and start over!) Overall I'm happy with the results.

I picked up a "heavy duty" Stanley staple gun at HD for $15 and it worked great for the job, not too hard on the hands at all (pretty sore by the end, but more from stretching the felts tight than the stapler.)

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1436729899.311734.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1436729913.893332.jpg
 

Leonard

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Looks great. Next time you may have to remove the staples. I have an air powered stapler that I love but you have to be careful. You can put literally hundreds of staples in a table in a very short time. Plus, I once put a staple through my thumb.
 

tigon

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I am having some problems felting a new topper.

Are you supposed to fold the excess cloth over the foam/wood and tuck it, or pull the fabric as tight as you can towards the center of the table? Either way I'm finding it impossible not to get some creases.

I am back to having 4 corners of the cloth pulled in and stapled.
 

atomiktoaster

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I am having some problems felting a new topper.

Are you supposed to fold the excess cloth over the foam/wood and tuck it, or pull the fabric as tight as you can towards the center of the table? Either way I'm finding it impossible not to get some creases.

I am back to having 4 corners of the cloth pulled in and stapled.

Some pictures would help. Generally, I've had good luck stretching it tight with clamp (folding the fabric edge under to keep it from fraying), putting in some staples on one side (between the clamps), stretching really hard on the other side against the staples, reclamping and stapling the other side. Then, when it's stapled in maybe 6 places on each side, I go back and stretch it again by hand as I fill in with staples.

For the speed cloth I've used, ironing out creases does way more for the final look than stretching though. If yours shipped folded I'd recommend a low iron with some steam.
 

Poker Zombie

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I missed the OP (sorry Ben, I could have given a hand in the pulling/stapling process).

I am having some problems felting a new topper.

Are you supposed to fold the excess cloth over the foam/wood and tuck it, or pull the fabric as tight as you can towards the center of the table? Either way I'm finding it impossible not to get some creases.

I am back to having 4 corners of the cloth pulled in and stapled.

Are you getting creases from excess fabric, or is it from shipping? Pics useful. It sounds to me like too much fabric, which needs to be cut for even pulling/stretching.
 

tigon

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How much fabric is too much? I have about 6" excess from all sides for a round top.

By creases I mean on the underside of the table. Maybe I should say "crimping" instead. creases start when I get towards the edge of one of the corners

I'm struggling with really getting the material stretched tight. I'm thinking I probably should have sprung for the good speed cloth but the Brybelly stuff was really cheap at the time.
 

atomiktoaster

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How much fabric is too much? I have about 6" excess from all sides for a round top.

By creases I mean on the underside of the table. Maybe I should say "crimping" instead. creases start when I get towards the edge of one of the corners

I'm struggling with really getting the material stretched tight. I'm thinking I probably should have sprung for the good speed cloth but the Brybelly stuff was really cheap at the time.

I've used brybelly cloth on both my topper and table with pretty good results. It sounds like the issues are due to the curved edge of the top. When I did my topper, I had to strategically fold the underside in order to get the cloth to look right on the top side. You may have to do some sort of spiral folding pattern in order to get it to all work correctly. Or I may be confused (I'm not sure how you have a "round top" with corners).



You can seen the folding pattern on the underside of the edge here.

I'd say you want at least 6" excess to get something to pull on while you're stapling. Trim it down afterwards.
 

tigon

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By corners I meant the corners of the cloth.

How hard should it be to pinch the felt off the playing surface with your fingers or make it raise off the foam? I can't pinch the fabric but I can make the fabric raise off a bit by pressing my finger pretty hard into it.

Probably 50% done so far:

IMG_20150826_153446.jpg


The best "seam" between 2 corners of the cloth I've managed:
IMG_20150826_153608.jpg
 
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atomiktoaster

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The edge of that table is thicker than usual, which is going to make things harder. You have more fabric at the bottom of the edge than at the top, so it has to be folded somewhere. You can't stretch out the difference (all the polyester cloth brands are too stiff to really elongate under tension).

Are you planning on adding a rail? If you can hide the edges under the rail, you should be fine. I'm not sure what you mean by raising off the foam. You'll be able to compress the foam with your finger and feel a gap between the foam and fabric. Tension won't change that much though. As long as you can't pinch it, I think your top tension is fine. You can always use a light coat of adhesive between the foam and cloth if you don't like that feel.
 

courage

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Pull it tighter, staple it closer to the edge (about an inch) using the method atomic outlined in post 15. That should eliminate all bumps on edges. Trim excess about 2" from edge.
 

Poker Zombie

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Cut me Mick!

Cutting a series of Vs in the cloth prevents this. The cloth should look like a big spider for a round table.

For my octagon (a similar principle), this is what It look like on 1 corner after cutting out notches and then pulling/stapling:

2015-08-26 14.54.21.jpg


No bunching, as this is an insert that sits inside the rail, and on top of a table.
 

atomiktoaster

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You can cut or fold, IMO. The bulk shouldn't change much, since you'll still have 2 layers of cloths (instead of 3). Honestly though, for a fixed table you want a rail, and if you have a rail your cloth is going to be fine where you can see it already and hidden where the bunching is happening.
 

T_Chan

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The biggest thing to help you is to staple closer to the edge. The further away from the edge you staple the more it will bunch.

Put in one staple, then another staple about 3/4" away and let a wrinkle form between the two staples. Then put one more staple in the wrinkle and it will get pretty flat.
 

tigon

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Thanks everyone, stapling closer to the edge helps a lot. There's going to be a rail (no racetrack) so I'm not concerned too much about how the edge looks as long as it's tight and secure enough.

I like the way Ben's black table's cushion has a beveled edge down to the racetrack. Is that done by having some foam overhang around the top board?
 

tigon

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I'm starting to care how the edge looks. A few more wrinkles to stretch out.

IMG_20150826_223449.jpg
 

k9dr

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Ben

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It was a stock table made by BBO poker tables in I think 2010. No idea what they used - the table as a whole is decently made but with cheap materials - not surprising since they sold it at retail for I think $400 shipped. The insert just sits in the recess in the center of the table created by the rail - pretty tight fit so it doesn't move.
 

Poker Zombie

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I built an insert for one of my tables and it is thin. 1/8" plywood. I was concerned about the possibility of warping because of it's thinness, local humidity and the fact that it is stored on it's side, so I stapled velcro and made a few tie-down points but it turns out that they were completely unnecessary. I also built it to fit tightly, with the foam effectively filling in any gaps that might have existed.
 
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