Seeking Advice on Restoration of an Antique Poker Table (1 Viewer)


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Jul 15, 2023
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Hi all,

I have an antique 19th century poker table - came out of a ship I believe. Round and 48 inches in diameter. It needs a minor repair, and while I'm doing that I will also go ahead and have it re-upholstered.

I'm looking for help on what material to choose. A few things to note:

1. There's no rail to speak of - just a little lip around the edges. So unlike modern poker tables, there will not be padding beneath the cloth.
2. I think I am opting to keep is classy and classic looking. So no suited speed cloth, no custom printed suede, etc. Just a nice clean uniform playing surface.
3. I will likely keep the color dark - maybe like Burgundy Red, or a deep forrest green. Something again, classic and timeless. And something that conceivably would have been used when it was new.
4. I am not going to use unsuited speed cloth either. Nothing wrong with speed cloth, but I don't think it's right for these table.
5. My inclination is to go with a velveteen. But I'm also open to the idea of a gaming suede.

I need maybe two yards of material, so expense shouldn't be an issue.

Velveteen feels maybe right for the era and might have a nice plush-ness to make up for lack of padding. The only downside is it isn't water proof.

When the repairs are made, I intend to loan the table to a very upscale establishment to be used in occasional games for club members (in return for being able to use the facility for my own games from time to time). While I have great confidence in the club and its personnel, and they will have a rule for no drinks on the table. . .we all know the occasional spill is inevitable. I think anything spilled that is cleaned relatively quickly should be fine - but like, maybe it would cause a stain in the velveteen (the club can pay for repairs if needed - not too worried about it).

So - thoughts on this? Materials, colors, sourcing of cloth. . .all fair game. Love to hear your ideas.


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Why wouldn’t you add a little padding as well? You can check out american gaming supply but there are plenty of vendors who also sell table materials. I think there’s a local vendor in Austin as well, if that’s where you are, I don’t know where ATX is…lol
The lip is literally about 1/8th and inch or so - not enough for fabric and padding I don't think.

Who's the vendor in Austin? I can go check them out if they're open tomorrow.
I’m not sure fabric on this table will make an ideal playing surface…but I understand the issue with matching the height of the inlay cutout. Most modern tables have foam padding underneath and the cloth wraps around the playing surface.
How much give is there to the padding that’s there?
Not much - it's just a layer of felt.
Presumably the bowl in the center is to keep the chips on the table while she pitches and yaws?
I assume so - that or the cheesy puffs

But yeah, this is not a modern poker table by any means.
I would consider a leather or faux leather. I think a lot of the tables of that era used leather as well.

I’ve played on a leather (or faux leather) table before and it’s actually pretty nice. It’s not speed felt, but it was quite nice. I liked it.

BTW - what’s the drink holder in the center for - lol. I assume pots, but never seen that before.
It's just a bowl for the chips that go into the pot. Different than we play in the modern era I know. But kind of fun.
OK, I went around to check out some options:

1. Gaming suede - nice, completely customizable, but wrong for this table and I think needs to be over padding to really work since there isn't much to it in terms of plushness.

2. Billiard Cloth. Obviously tough enough, water repellent and has the colors. The felt has some thickness to it that made it better than the gaming suede.

3. I velvet that I saw at Joann Fabric - this had the right amount of plushness, thick but not so think as to slow down card action (I don't think) nice looking/feeling cloth. I think this particular brand was 100% polyester, so should be water resistant. The challenge is I only so this swath in a couple of colors - so very limited selection locally - will look more online for it.

But I think I've narrowed it down to a velvet or velveteen. The question is now color and sourcing.


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