Thoughts on different types of 1/4 playing surface foam

Perthmike

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I’ve been trying to find some of the close cell 1/4” firm foam for the playing surface of the table I’m building but can’t seem to find a sheet big enough so far. They are all 38 x 78 and my table will be 44 x 96. Typical Perth.

I’ve seen one sheet that’s big enough but it’s a cheaper version that seems a bit too soft. Will this ruin the table if I attempt to use it. Does it need to be a high density firm foam?

I can’t imagine it will work if I try to use two sheets for one table, because the join will be obvious under the felt.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

Darson

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I was trying to be cheap when I built my table so I bought carpet underlay from Home Depot. It has little pieces of card mixed in with the foam so I was worried that you would feel them and it would not work but it works fine and I’m sure it’s very durable. You can’t feel anything through the speed cloth.

I was also thinking about other cheap solutions and a thin yoga mat may be another way to get very cheap sheet foam...
 

Shaggy

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The “trade name” for the firm, white, closed cell foam here in the states is “volara.” You May have some luck searching that term.

Personally, I prefer the volara over the open cell HD foam. However it could be just in my head. If your cloth is spill proof (speed cloth or gaming suede), then having a closed cell foam is not necessary in that regard. The volara is more firm than the open cell HD. It is noticeable if you poke your finger into the playing surface... however the difference is not noticeable (to me) while shuffling, dealing, or playing.
 

BGinGA

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I prefer a softer underlay than Volara, most of which are open-cell.

Headliner foam is one relatively inexpensive option, and you can always lay down two layers to get extra thickness if desired.

But I would avoid putting a seam in the foam underlay -- it will be noticeable no matter what method you use to try and disguise it.
 

Rhodeman77

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I used 1/4” elastomeric rubber insulation when I built my table. It is closed cell, soft enough that cards are easy to pick up but not so soft that it causes any problems with chip stacking. I don’t know how much it costs compared to the other options since I sell the rubber and just sampled some at the time.
 

ekricket

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I built a budget table once and used quilt batting underneath. It worked excellent, but the one drawback is it’s not water resistant, quite the opposite. I never had an issue, used that table for about three years before selling it and as far as I know it’s still in play.
I don’t allow drinks on the table and I’m not a fan of cup holders, so I don’t have spill issues.
 

BGinGA

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And can sometimes be permanently 'scarred' by heavy objects.
 

Tommy

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I think open cell is the type I should get on my new insert. It has more of a spongey feel?
 

BGinGA

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Yes. Need adequate thickness to avoid bottoming out.
 

Shaggy

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Closed cell doesn't "spring" back as quick right?
Just doesn’t feel as springy in general. With open cell foam... when I poke my finger, I feel I bottom out on the wood. With volara, it feels like I still have a layer of foam under my finger. Again, this is not observed when I compress with my entire hand... surface areas and whatnot.
 

BGinGA

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^ great post -- you should submit it as a resource.
 

Perthmike

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Thank you all for some very informative posts.

I might have to ring around and see what I can find. It’s good to know I don’t have to stick to just closed cell.
 

SWEATER

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Had a shipment of rail foam and playing surface foam arrive today from YAT. I got the white one.

B4103367-C773-4EAC-AD42-EB2ACB7461FB.jpeg
 

Perthmike

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So i have finally gotten around to actually building the table.

I bought some foam today, after really struggling to find anything in Perth. What I’ve found is this type of blue. Is this going to show through the felt? Should I be looking for something that’s either black or white?
239392
 

MykL316

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So i have finally gotten around to actually building the table.

I bought some foam today, after really struggling to find anything in Perth. What I’ve found is this type of blue. Is this going to show through the felt? Should I be looking for something that’s either black or white?
View attachment 239392
As long as your playing surface is not super thin and stretchy, it shouldn’t show through. Even white or black would show if that was the case.
 

MykL316

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It’s a Chanman custom felt.
You should be ok. Like I eluded to above, it’s not about what color your foam is, it’s more about the quality of your felt. If the felt is “see through”, the foam will show no matter what color it is.
 

MykL316

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I have a custom Chanman and there is no way the foam would ever be seen through the cloth. I have his old stock gaming suede. Not sure what yours is but if Tony is selling it, I’m sure it’s quality no matter what the material is. Maybe you should reach out to him if you’re uncertain.
 

sergiophil

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A couple tables I have built, I have used carpet padding. I choose the 1/2 inch water resistant padding. This seemed to work great and is budget friendly. Feels good, and chips don't rock while you stack them. It is on the cheaper end, and if I recall the width is around 48 inches. The extra money for the 1/4 volara is well worth the money, just depends on how much you are willing to spend!
 

MykL316

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Any idea how long a bird cage filled with 1k chips can sit on the foam without permanently scarring?
I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been brave enough to find out. I barely leave it on there for more than a couple minutes.
 
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