Ways of Connecting Tables to Bases

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Up until this point I've used wood screws to connect a playing surface and rail to the base of a poker table, but I've heard of people using other methods. Could you help point me in a different direction than screwing them together? Thank you!
 

Tommy

Royal Flush
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
15,225
Reaction score
25,241
Location
Delaware
My table has threaded inserts and the base bolts to the bottom. Same with the padded rail.

sent from my phone
 

Shaggy

Full House
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
4,289
Location
Riverside, CA, USA
Installing T nuts on the top surface of the table and rail in a counterbored hole (using spade bit). The nuts are below the padding, flush with the wood. This allows for disassembly and solid mechanical connections. To ensure holes align, match drilling from one part to the next works great.
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
So if you put in a threaded insert, what goes into the threaded insert? A bolt? This is where I'm a little confused.
 

T_Chan

Full House
Site Vendor
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
3,990
Reaction score
9,924
Location
Vancouver
Yes a bolt. There are some nice bolts available that aren't the ugly hex bolts so even though the head of the bolt is exposed under the table, it's not ugly. Search connector bolts.
 

courage

Full House
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
6,571
Yes a bolt. There are some nice bolts available that aren't the ugly hex bolts so even though the head of the bolt is exposed under the table, it's not ugly. Search connector bolts.
^this.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
You drill a hole through both pieces the size of your bolt shaft.
From the top, you widen the hole to the size of you T-nut's collar (unless you're working in very soft wood.)
You pound in the T-nut from the top with a hammer.
You insert a bolt (with a washer) from the bottom and tighten the whole thing together.


t-nut-use.jpg


(The wings on the T-nut drive into the wood and keep it from spinning when you tighten the bolt.)
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Okay. I think I got it. I want to go with threaded inserts and connector bolts. Sorry for all the silly questions, but I've only ever used wood screws and I just want to use something more professional looking. One more question though: How do you line up the holes to insert the bolt into the insert?
 

Shaggy

Full House
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
4,289
Location
Riverside, CA, USA
Okay. I think I got it. I want to go with threaded inserts and connector bolts. Sorry for all the silly questions, but I've only ever used wood screws and I just want to use something more professional looking. One more question though: How do you line up the holes to insert the bolt into the insert?

You state "threaded insert". This is different than "Tee Nut." You definitely want a tee nut and use it as described by Mental Nomad. As far as how you line up the holes... you drill through both parts at the same time. This guarantees both holes line up.
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
You state "threaded insert". This is different than "Tee Nut." You definitely want a tee nut and use it as described by Mental Nomad. As far as how you line up the holes... you drill through both parts at the same time. This guarantees both holes line up.

If I go with a T-nut, does the pronged side go into the underside of the table?
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
I like using flanged insert nuts over tee-nuts, but they essentially are both the same. Both can accept a bolt from either direction, so they can be mounted in either the top or the bottom of the sheet of wood. The nut is normally insertes in the top of your table, and then covered with the playing surface foam and felt. Your bolt is then inserted from the underside of the table. The picture Mental Nomad posted is in the correct orientation.
 

Shaggy

Full House
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
4,289
Location
Riverside, CA, USA
The reason the nut enters from the top of the table is so that when it is screwed together, it clamps both pieces of wood. If it were inserted from the bottom, it could pull out.
 

T_Chan

Full House
Site Vendor
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
3,990
Reaction score
9,924
Location
Vancouver
The reason the nut enters from the top of the table is so that when it is screwed together, it clamps both pieces of wood. If it were inserted from the bottom, it would pull out.

FYP. I elect to go with flanged threaded inserts as well.
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Here's a picture of what I'm planning to use. For those who elect for threaded inserts, is this correct?

28811-01-1000.jpg
 

atomiktoaster

Full House
Joined
Jun 19, 2014
Messages
2,819
Reaction score
1,388
Location
TX
That doesn't look like it's got enough thread for the job. Seriously, just get some t-nuts and whatever matching machine screws you want. Here's the ones I'd use:

Steel T-nuts: http://www.mcmaster.com/#tee-nut-inserts/=vr7jsd

Button head cap screw: http://www.mcmaster.com/#91255a544/=vr7q6n

Add a washer. I'd avoid Phillips, because it can form a sharp corner and snag pants.

If you're worried about the t-nut telegraphing through the felt, countersink it into the playing surface, put in a screw to fill the threads and smooth the whole thing with wood putty.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
If you're worried about all your drilled holes lining up, then you're probably not securing your pieces well.

I don't know what materials you're working with for the base, but you can probably use a couple of wood screws to temporarily secure the top to the base. (I'd say clamp it up, but this would be tricky to clamp.)

Once you confirm position and alignment of the top as screwed onto the base, drill all the bolt holes straight through; they're now guaranteed to line up. (Obviously, don't put your temporary screws in the spots where you plan to run your bolts!)

Then set your T-nuts from the top - if you want to countersink they'll be certain to be flush, else if you're working with a soft plywood, you can probably just pound them flat with the hammer, plus the bolts will pull them tight from below. You want to set them with a hammer even if you've countersunk, because you want the flanges to dig into the wood so the nuts can't spin. You'll also have to make sure the bolts are the right length, or the tip may project up through the table. (To make minor adjustments, just add more washers underneath.) You can remove the wood screws now... and easily unbolt the the base and secure it again any time you need to, even after finishing the top with padding and felt.
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Here is a link to the insert nuts I use.http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?p=44237&cat=3,43715,45375 I've had much more luck with these than tee nuts. To line up my sheets so that the holes are lined up, I lay them on top of eachother exactly where I want them, then use a temporary screw in each spot that I will put a bolt in. Take a screw out, and drill the hole for the nit and bolt, then insert the nut and attach the bolt, which keeps it together now that the screw is gone. Work your way around the table until all the screws are replaced with bolts. This way there is no extra holes in the table from screws in different spots.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
Nice technique, beaver. I don't usually worry about the odd screw hole if it never shows in the finished piece or weakens anything, but that's a great approach.
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Here is a link to the insert nuts I use.http://www.leevalley.com/en/hardware/page.aspx?p=44237&cat=3,43715,45375 I've had much more luck with these than tee nuts. To line up my sheets so that the holes are lined up, I lay them on top of eachother exactly where I want them, then use a temporary screw in each spot that I will put a bolt in. Take a screw out, and drill the hole for the nit and bolt, then insert the nut and attach the bolt, which keeps it together now that the screw is gone. Work your way around the table until all the screws are replaced with bolts. This way there is no extra holes in the table from screws in different spots.

This sounds like an excellent idea. Thanks Beaver!
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
I use these insert nuts and bolts everywhere on my table; attaching my rail to the playing surface, playing surface to the base sheet, and attaching the base to the table. This way it's very quick and easy to completely take the table apart for any repairs or for transportation. I can take the bolts in and out any amount of times without worrying about weaking the wood like using a screw over and over again would.
 

Mental Nomad

Full House
Joined
Nov 7, 2014
Messages
3,640
Reaction score
2,457
Location
NJ - NY/NJ metro area
Flanged nuts like that aren't as strong a connection as T-nuts, and are more likely to tear out, especially with thinner plywood - but you wouldn't expect people to be picking up the table by the rail very often so it's not a huge concern. If your base is ornate and heavy, I'd worry about the nuts tearing out of the table top board when the table is lifted and moved around the room, so use plenty of them, or use T-nuts.

When inserting the nuts, consider priming the hole with a tiny bit of wood glue. When you drive the nut in, the wood glue will spread into any little cracks that open (in fact, as the cracks open, they should suck in the glue), and then when it sets, it should be a stronger fitting than screwing into bare plywood.
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
I've had more tear outs with tee nuts then these insert nuts. The biggest problem I've had with tee nuts is the vertical teeth, when tightening a bolt, the nut begins to spin.
 

Redbelly

Straight
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2014
Messages
972
Reaction score
1,688
Location
Nomadic and Wandering
I wish I had better pictures, I had a HD crash and lost a lot of my photos and that of my table builds.

I used 3 3/4 inch plywood sheets to form a base for decorative nails, a felt playing surface, and finally the rail.
I used ez-loks screwed into the rail. The rail is securely attached to the table from bolts that are run from the base, through the playing surface, and into the rail. It works VERY well and allows for easily removing the rail for cleaning underneath the rail or for future felt replacement. The most important part, other than the alignment of all the sheets is the VERY STRAIGHT alignment of the ez-lok into the rail! If it gets the least bit sideways it is maddening to thread your bolt into that hole.
I used a jig that used a drilled guidance hole that was made with a drill press.
Pics show the jig, the underneath of the rail (you can pick out the inserts), the holes as the poke up through the felt w/ out the rail, and finally the underneath. Hope it helps. Google and YouTube are priceless... measure 20 times drill once... Repeat.

Hope this helps!
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423070935.874451.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423070956.396962.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423070985.560937.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423071014.392346.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423071112.745514.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423071137.956747.jpg
 

MoscowRadio

Flush
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
2,464
Reaction score
1,658
Location
Phoenix, AZ
So there is obviously a clear argument between T-nuts and threaded inserts. However it seems that both are vastly superior to wood screws. Thank you to all who have helped, and especially to you Sean, who sent me a very detailed email about the process. Thanks to all of you I can now build a table of higher quality and more pleasing aesthetics.

Also, it is ALWAYS a pleasure to see the Redbelly tables. Hopefully one day I'll get to see them in person. :)
 

beaver

Two Pair
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
397
Reaction score
541
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Both are a much better solution for what you are planning with them. They are both just tools that perform the same
job, and it basically boils down to personal preference. I would try one table using each and see which you like better. Price and availability might be a bigger influence in which one you choose.
 

BGinGA

Royal Flush
Tourney Director
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
Messages
25,749
Reaction score
39,962
Location
Atlanta
Another vote for t-nuts, with glue -- to help make the nut more permanently-affixed and avoid future movement during assembly and dis-assembly.
 
Top Bottom