Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering - The Perfect Man Cave
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:46 AM
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Default Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

This guide was copied directly from SK. It is a direct copy nothing has been changed. This is one of the most definitive vinyl covering guides I have ever seen. Thanks to Zerolux for this guide.

JR
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please read this entire guide before attempting to cover your rail. i have no dreams of being a writer so my thoughts, ideas, and cautions are scattered throughout.

ok, i assume you are using 1 sheet of foam to do this, if you are using multiple sheets (ie. joanns green foam) please skip to the covering part because i will not address piecing foam together. i did it once, and will never do it again. suck it up, pay a little more and get a full sheet, it will save you time, and will look better.

now get to work….
first, clean the wooden rail, brush or blow all of the sawdust and crap off of the wood. also, make sure you are working in a clean area. if you get a piece of sawdust under the vinyl, stretch it all to hell, put in 600 staples, and then turn the rail over to see a nice "bump", your gonna be pissed.

lay out the sheet of foam, lay the rail on the foam. make sure you leave enough extra foam on the inside and outsides of the rail to cover the wood. make a rough mark with a marker, do a few marks in the curves and a few on the long strait sections. this just helps to line things up after putting the glue on.

fyi: if you made your rail in the "junell" style, meaning you have a small rail lip on the bottom of your large "rail piece", you should only factor in enough extra foam to cover to the edge. for example, if using 2 sheets of 3/4" ply, and having the "lip" on your rail, you would have a total height of 1-1/2". you can cut the foam, leaving only 1.5" of excess on the out side. remember, you will be stretching the vinyl and the foam. leaving too much foam can cause wrinkles when the foam compresses.

remove the rail, and spray it with your glue, i use 3m 77 but most spray glues will work i guess. i only spray the wood, it will work fine. now, grab the wife and lower the rail onto the foam using your guides to line things up. evenly press the wood into the foam. it will have time to dry while you mark the foam for cutting.

fyi: the 3m glue is tested and works, the rail is going to be the hardest part of your build, spend a little more and buy good foam, glue, and vinyl. if not, you will spend it again later when you re-do it.

more fyi: there are 3 sides of the rail that will be covered with foam. the top (duh), the inner side nearest the playing surface, and the outer side facing the players. the bottom is for staples and will not normally be seen. like i said, you really want to avoid having too much extra foam on the "bottom", because when you staple, the foam will compress under the staples and can cause some major wrinkles.

find a piece of wood, a roofer's square, anything that you can use to guide your marker around the outer part of the rail with. you want to make sure you keep the sides of the foam consistent, if not this can cause wrinkles and lumps. i found a plastic roofers square at home depot for like $2 and cut some notches in it for my 2 rail cuts.



just drag the maker and your measuring device around the outer part of the rail. it's ok if you screw up, of course no one will see the foam. just try to keep it strait, any problems will show up later after you cover it with vinyl.



for the inside, measure and mark a line 1" from the rail. i like to have a little extra on the inner lip, this will help to keep cards from sliding under it. any lumps in the rail will be hidden on the inside, you have the “give” of the playing surface foam to help you out.



now cut the foam on your nifty lines. you should use an electric knife for this, you know, the turkey carving ones, it cuts the foam like butter, keeps the cuts cleaner and will make the final product even better. if you have to use a utility knife, make sure it is super sharp. you can also use a hot wire coat hanger, this will make nice clean cuts but the electric knife is easier. if using ane electric knife, you dont want to have too much excess hanging off after you cut a section, this will stretch and pull the foam causing it to be uneven. make sure to cut the excess off often, and when you do, make sure to back the blade out of your cut, then cut the excess off (like pic). this will help to keep thing neat without bumps where you started to cut again. see below.



now lay out the vinyl, put the foamed rail onto the vinyl, make sure you leave enough extra vinyl on the ends and sides. you have to stretch this stuff and the more you have to hold onto, the easier it will be.

once the rail is in place, grab the wife again and stretch the vinyl length wise, and then width wise, this will help to remove any slack. this may seem minor but it will pay off in the end.

pick one of the long sides of the rail (a non-curved side). right in the center of this long section, grab the vinyl, pull it strait out, then up and over the foam. have someone hold the opposite side to keep it from shifting. you want to pull tight, then put about 3 staples in the center of the rail.



fyi: when stretching vinyl, make sure you pull the vinyl "strait out" first, then up. this will keep the foam uniform. also, pay attention to how much force you use to stretch the vinyl, it will become habit after a while but it must be uniform throughout the entire process.

move to the spot on this side, right before the rail starts to curve, stretch and staple. (see the pic below for a diagram, the numbers show the order of stapled sections.





now do the same thing to the other side.

you should have 5 stapled spots on this side.

move to the other long strait side, have someone hold the rail on the other side and stretch the vinyl to keep the tension on it. this will help when stretching the curved sides.

stretch and staple in the center and then do the same as the other side.

once you have the 5 sections done on this side, pick a spot right between staples on this side, stretch and staple. in a sense, split the difference. keep this up until you have filled in the blanks. then do the other strait side.

fyi: you should always "split the difference" when you have blanks to fill in when stapling. split, 2 staples, split 2 staples, and so on until you fill in the gaps. there should be no more than 1/8" - 1/2" between staples when you finish. don’t put in to many to start, if you do have wrinkles or problems you will have a ton of staples to remove. this is the best way to keep excess vinyl to a minimum, that is what causes wrinkles. staple where my thumb is, right in the middle between the already stapled sections



now, we can do the outer rounded edges. grab the vinyl lengthwise and stretch again to remove slack. on one of the sides, right in the middle of the arch, stretch and put 2-3 staples.



now, move left or right, split the difference, stretch and staple. do the same on the other side. you should have 3 spots stapled on this curved side. then split the difference and fill in the blanks. when you pull to staple, make sure you have an equal amount of vinyl on both sides of your center point, see pic below.



also, see number sequence pic below. the pic shows to alternate from one curve to the other, you can do it either way, it doesn’t matter as much, the large center section has tension and will keep things ok for ya.



fyi: when doing the curves, this is where the wrinkles will show if not done right. because of the curve, you will have more excess vinyl and this will cause the wrinkles. splitting the difference will allow you to keep the excess more uniform. if you started one on side of the curve, and then stapled your way around the curve in one motion, you would have a bunch of excess when you got around to the long side section that is already stapled.

more fyi: you will see how the wrinkles form when stretching around these curves, if you see that your going to have too much, you can change the angle you are stretching (left to right), this will pull the wrinkles out as you go. you might have some wrinkles on the bottom here, but if done right they will not show on the edge that faces the players.

even more fyi: you can use a hair dryer to soften the vinyl and make it stretch more. be careful if you do, don't heat one area for too long, it can deform and/or discolor the vinyl. i don’t use dryers but they do work. and can help if your having trouble with these curves or are using a low stretch vinyl. a hair dryer will work fine, heat guns can do damage in the wrong hands.

now, stretch out the slack and do the other outside curve. same way, take your time, this is the hardest part of this rail covering operation.

now grab a sharp blade. we are going to do the inner side of the long section.

before that, turn the rail over and check things out, make sure nothing is caught between the foam and vinyl (sawdust, staples, fingers, ect. ) things should be fine if you let it get this far. when stretching, you can tell from the bottom if things are not gonna look right before you flip the rail over.

now, go at least 2-3" from the foam, start your cut right where the rail begins to curve, and cut towards the other side, ending where the curve begins. then do the same thing to the other side. see pic.



now, cut a rectangle out of the center, leaving too much excess makes working hard, just make sure to leave enough. pic.



***once you make the above cuts, try not to move the rail too much, the vinyl can move and the outer side that have been stretched can lose tension.***

now pick a long strait side and do the same split the difference thing, make sure to start in the middle though. i like to get this stapled before moving on to the inner curve sections, like i said, you can lose tension on the already stapled outer side. the foam can "creep out" and cause some nasty wrinkles.



of course, do the same on the opposite strait side.

now the inner curves. we have to cut the vinyl into triangle or pie shaped sections, this helps with stretching and makes things look good. ***important, when cutting these triangles, you must leave enough uncut vinyl to stretch or the foam will show when done. when i cut, i stay at least 1.5” - 2” from the foam for marine vinyl ( harder stretch, tears easier) and 3-4” for whisper (easy stretch/ resists tears better) . it is better to have too much, if anything, when stretching, the vinyl might “tear”, but only when it needs too and it will not effect the quality of the finished product.

i like to have 16 “pie shapes” for each curve before stretching, if done right, this is all you will need







pick one of the pie sections near the middle of the curve, stretch and staple, and the follow the split the difference rule and finish the rest.





like i said before, you should get used to pulling the vinyl with the same amount of force for each stretch, this is important in the curves to keep things kosher.

do the other curve the same way.

now, check once again to make sure the rail looks good from the top side. this is the side you will have to live with while losing all of your chips to your father in law.

things look good? make sure to flip the rail over and check it out good, if there any areas that are “over stretched” or look sunken in compared to the rest of the rail, fix them now while you still have some of the excess vinyl to help you. done now? great, now hammer in any half driven staples and put more staples in if you think the are needed. now show it off to your wife like she really cares, call the kids, your ex girl-friend, whoever.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2008, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Should be a sticky
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Learning curve. I did this method and stapled the vinyl around the inside of that lip like shown. But this didnt work out for two reasons:

1) I only used a jig saw. So the cut width was not wide enough to accommodate for the vinyl "bunches" that were stapled around the bend.

2) I am doing full felt, so I had to fit both the vinyl and the playing felt through the gap between the playing surface and lip. No such room.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

You could staple the felt on the top of the table (not wrap it) seeing as how it will be covered by the rail... Still might be a tight fit though. It think this leaves the cloth with more give, though...
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:54 AM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wedge Rock View Post
You could staple the felt on the top of the table (not wrap it) seeing as how it will be covered by the rail... Still might be a tight fit though. It think this leaves the cloth with more give, though...
I've seen this done in several casinos.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:20 AM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Yeah I totally should have stapled it to the top. Thats alright, there are lots of things I am noting for next time. I knew this first table was going to have those moments. This particular tutorial is still excellent, nothing wrong with it. For many the vinyl is not going to be a problem like it was for me. Im sure my vinyl bunches were more significant since it was my first. Anyone using a router with a 1/4" bit would have no trouble at all. The width of my jigsaw blade just wasnt enough for what I had.

So far I have tried routing a corner round and sanding the edge with an orbital to make the play surface fit back in. Its too tight even without the felt. I could *almost* hammer it in with a rubber mallet. Ill just burn the edge all the way around with my jigsaw. That should do it.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Shaved a hair of the playing surface with a router straight bit. All better, fits like a glove.
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Reposted with pics:

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please read this entire guide before attempting to cover your rail. i have no dreams of being a writer so my thoughts, ideas, and cautions are scattered throughout.

ok, i assume you are using 1 sheet of foam to do this, if you are using multiple sheets (ie. joanns green foam) please skip to the covering part because i will not address piecing foam together. i did it once, and will never do it again. suck it up, pay a little more and get a full sheet, it will save you time, and will look better.

now get to work….
first, clean the wooden rail, brush or blow all of the sawdust and crap off of the wood. also, make sure you are working in a clean area. if you get a piece of sawdust under the vinyl, stretch it all to hell, put in 600 staples, and then turn the rail over to see a nice "bump", your gonna be pissed.

lay out the sheet of foam, lay the rail on the foam. make sure you leave enough extra foam on the inside and outsides of the rail to cover the wood. make a rough mark with a marker, do a few marks in the curves and a few on the long strait sections. this just helps to line things up after putting the glue on.

fyi: if you made your rail in the "junell" style, meaning you have a small rail lip on the bottom of your large "rail piece", you should only factor in enough extra foam to cover to the edge. for example, if using 2 sheets of 3/4" ply, and having the "lip" on your rail, you would have a total height of 1-1/2". you can cut the foam, leaving only 1.5" of excess on the out side. remember, you will be stretching the vinyl and the foam. leaving too much foam can cause wrinkles when the foam compresses.

remove the rail, and spray it with your glue, i use 3m 77 but most spray glues will work i guess. i only spray the wood, it will work fine. now, grab the wife and lower the rail onto the foam using your guides to line things up. evenly press the wood into the foam. it will have time to dry while you mark the foam for cutting.

fyi: the 3m glue is tested and works, the rail is going to be the hardest part of your build, spend a little more and buy good foam, glue, and vinyl. if not, you will spend it again later when you re-do it.

more fyi: there are 3 sides of the rail that will be covered with foam. the top (duh), the inner side nearest the playing surface, and the outer side facing the players. the bottom is for staples and will not normally be seen. like i said, you really want to avoid having too much extra foam on the "bottom", because when you staple, the foam will compress under the staples and can cause some major wrinkles.

find a piece of wood, a roofer's square, anything that you can use to guide your marker around the outer part of the rail with. you want to make sure you keep the sides of the foam consistent, if not this can cause wrinkles and lumps. i found a plastic roofers square at home depot for like $2 and cut some notches in it for my 2 rail cuts.



just drag the maker and your measuring device around the outer part of the rail. it's ok if you screw up, of course no one will see the foam. just try to keep it strait, any problems will show up later after you cover it with vinyl.



for the inside, measure and mark a line 1" from the rail. i like to have a little extra on the inner lip, this will help to keep cards from sliding under it. any lumps in the rail will be hidden on the inside, you have the “give” of the playing surface foam to help you out.



now cut the foam on your nifty lines. you should use an electric knife for this, you know, the turkey carving ones, it cuts the foam like butter, keeps the cuts cleaner and will make the final product even better. if you have to use a utility knife, make sure it is super sharp. you can also use a hot wire coat hanger, this will make nice clean cuts but the electric knife is easier. if using ane electric knife, you dont want to have too much excess hanging off after you cut a section, this will stretch and pull the foam causing it to be uneven. make sure to cut the excess off often, and when you do, make sure to back the blade out of your cut, then cut the excess off (like pic). this will help to keep thing neat without bumps where you started to cut again. see below.



now lay out the vinyl, put the foamed rail onto the vinyl, make sure you leave enough extra vinyl on the ends and sides. you have to stretch this stuff and the more you have to hold onto, the easier it will be.

once the rail is in place, grab the wife again and stretch the vinyl length wise, and then width wise, this will help to remove any slack. this may seem minor but it will pay off in the end.

pick one of the long sides of the rail (a non-curved side). right in the center of this long section, grab the vinyl, pull it strait out, then up and over the foam. have someone hold the opposite side to keep it from shifting. you want to pull tight, then put about 3 staples in the center of the rail.



fyi: when stretching vinyl, make sure you pull the vinyl "strait out" first, then up. this will keep the foam uniform. also, pay attention to how much force you use to stretch the vinyl, it will become habit after a while but it must be uniform throughout the entire process.

move to the spot on this side, right before the rail starts to curve, stretch and staple. (see the pic below for a diagram, the numbers show the order of stapled sections.





now do the same thing to the other side.

you should have 5 stapled spots on this side.

move to the other long strait side, have someone hold the rail on the other side and stretch the vinyl to keep the tension on it. this will help when stretching the curved sides.

stretch and staple in the center and then do the same as the other side.

once you have the 5 sections done on this side, pick a spot right between staples on this side, stretch and staple. in a sense, split the difference. keep this up until you have filled in the blanks. then do the other strait side.

fyi: you should always "split the difference" when you have blanks to fill in when stapling. split, 2 staples, split 2 staples, and so on until you fill in the gaps. there should be no more than 1/8" - 1/2" between staples when you finish. don’t put in to many to start, if you do have wrinkles or problems you will have a ton of staples to remove. this is the best way to keep excess vinyl to a minimum, that is what causes wrinkles. staple where my thumb is, right in the middle between the already stapled sections



now, we can do the outer rounded edges. grab the vinyl lengthwise and stretch again to remove slack. on one of the sides, right in the middle of the arch, stretch and put 2-3 staples.



now, move left or right, split the difference, stretch and staple. do the same on the other side. you should have 3 spots stapled on this curved side. then split the difference and fill in the blanks. when you pull to staple, make sure you have an equal amount of vinyl on both sides of your center point, see pic below.



also, see number sequence pic below. the pic shows to alternate from one curve to the other, you can do it either way, it doesn’t matter as much, the large center section has tension and will keep things ok for ya.



fyi: when doing the curves, this is where the wrinkles will show if not done right. because of the curve, you will have more excess vinyl and this will cause the wrinkles. splitting the difference will allow you to keep the excess more uniform. if you started one on side of the curve, and then stapled your way around the curve in one motion, you would have a bunch of excess when you got around to the long side section that is already stapled.

more fyi: you will see how the wrinkles form when stretching around these curves, if you see that your going to have too much, you can change the angle you are stretching (left to right), this will pull the wrinkles out as you go. you might have some wrinkles on the bottom here, but if done right they will not show on the edge that faces the players.

even more fyi: you can use a hair dryer to soften the vinyl and make it stretch more. be careful if you do, don't heat one area for too long, it can deform and/or discolor the vinyl. i don’t use dryers but they do work. and can help if your having trouble with these curves or are using a low stretch vinyl. a hair dryer will work fine, heat guns can do damage in the wrong hands.

now, stretch out the slack and do the other outside curve. same way, take your time, this is the hardest part of this rail covering operation.

now grab a sharp blade. we are going to do the inner side of the long section.

before that, turn the rail over and check things out, make sure nothing is caught between the foam and vinyl (sawdust, staples, fingers, ect. ) things should be fine if you let it get this far. when stretching, you can tell from the bottom if things are not gonna look right before you flip the rail over.

now, go at least 2-3" from the foam, start your cut right where the rail begins to curve, and cut towards the other side, ending where the curve begins. then do the same thing to the other side. see pic.



now, cut a rectangle out of the center, leaving too much excess makes working hard, just make sure to leave enough. pic.



***once you make the above cuts, try not to move the rail too much, the vinyl can move and the outer side that have been stretched can lose tension.***

now pick a long strait side and do the same split the difference thing, make sure to start in the middle though. i like to get this stapled before moving on to the inner curve sections, like i said, you can lose tension on the already stapled outer side. the foam can "creep out" and cause some nasty wrinkles.



of course, do the same on the opposite strait side.

now the inner curves. we have to cut the vinyl into triangle or pie shaped sections, this helps with stretching and makes things look good. ***important, when cutting these triangles, you must leave enough uncut vinyl to stretch or the foam will show when done. when i cut, i stay at least 1.5” - 2” from the foam for marine vinyl ( harder stretch, tears easier) and 3-4” for whisper (easy stretch/ resists tears better) . it is better to have too much, if anything, when stretching, the vinyl might “tear”, but only when it needs too and it will not effect the quality of the finished product.

i like to have 16 “pie shapes” for each curve before stretching, if done right, this is all you will need







pick one of the pie sections near the middle of the curve, stretch and staple, and the follow the split the difference rule and finish the rest.





like i said before, you should get used to pulling the vinyl with the same amount of force for each stretch, this is important in the curves to keep things kosher.

do the other curve the same way.

now, check once again to make sure the rail looks good from the top side. this is the side you will have to live with while losing all of your chips to your father in law.

things look good? make sure to flip the rail over and check it out good, if there any areas that are “over stretched” or look sunken in compared to the rest of the rail, fix them now while you still have some of the excess vinyl to help you. done now? great, now hammer in any half driven staples and put more staples in if you think the are needed. now show it off to your wife like she really cares, call the kids, your ex girl-friend, whoever.
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2017, 10:15 PM
mikiethebull mikiethebull is offline
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Does anyone know how to view these pics? All I'm seeing is a dopey photobucket generic image. Thanks.
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2017, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Zerolux Rail - Vinyl Covering

Unfortunately since photobucket changed its policy these images may be gone. Irish also hasn't been active on the forum for sometime. Perhaps someone else has them archived. I have a few shots from doing rails but nothing like what used to be here.... I'll see if I can dig them up
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