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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I've been lurking here quite a while, getting ideas for gaming tables. I think this one is done enough to make a long-winded post about it, so here goes my entry.

A little history first.... just a little. I grew up in New Jersey, and it was nice to enjoy the casinos only 75 minutes or so away. My dad taught me craps and some other table games, and for years we both loved playing them. But then life threw some changes, and now here I am in Virginia, with 2 kids, and almost no way to escape to the casino lights anymore. So I'm putting them in my basement. :cool:

I first tried a stripped-down version of this build, and it worked out OK. Add in ideas from other posts, and I had a concept ready. I figured I could work out the details as I went along, so I grabbed some tools and told the kids to get lost for a while :rolleyes:

So here's the basic setup. 2x3 studs cut to around 11", sandwiched by 1/2" ply. Note how the outer wall has a lower lip to get it to set in the right spot and stay there. The table base is 3/4" ply, 4' x 7'2". (Weird dimensions, I know, but the felt has already been printed. This is about the absolute max length I can make the table, and besides, I don't want it so big that 1 dealer won't be able to handle all the action). I then cut 8 or 9" (can't remember) off the corners of the base, so I ended up with an octagon.





I kept cutting and nailing until I had all 8 segments done, then I threw in my twist. A pair of buckles are used to hold each segment to its neighbor. The initial lining up of the clasp didn't work out, but they have to line up to work right! So I added a little 1/4" strip to one side.






Almost there but not quite. The diagonal (corner) sections are held in tight, but the end sections wobble outward quite easily. They needed some bracing. I added some scraps to the diagonal sections to prevent that outward movement.




That's the basic table. Easy to take apart and store away when I need that space for other stuff. The rest is all about giving it a look all its own. So what's it gonna be? I'm thinking a padded suede armrest like the poker tables have, a single chip rail, and all that fancy green rubber for the dice to bounce into. Little did I know just how much of a beast it would be...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OK, so now for the top area of those sections. The first layer is a trapezoid-shaped piece of 1/2" ply. This will be the base for the armrest and chip rail. I left a space between the sections to allow for the fabric that will be wrapped around. I also half-nailed them in place so I could remove and reattach them as needed, and have them end up in the same spot every time. This proved to be quite the good idea.




I'll spare you most of the math for how I came up with the dimensions for the traps; basically I'm going for a 4" arm rest (3/4" ply base) and a piece of pine wide enough and deep enough for the chip rack and top-rail rubber. This stuff from home cheapo does the pine trick perfectly:



Now the tough part. I don't have a table saw of any kind, so I need to make up my own table, fences, etc. from scraps or other pieces of stock. Not very smart, but I made sure they were stable and wouldn't get damaged. In the end, all worked out very well.



I made 3 separate cuts on 3 pieces of that 5/4" pine. A groove for the top rail rubber to seat into, then a little shave off the top because the dimensions of the rubber didn't match up with the pine + base (the 1/2" ply), then 7 passes with a router to make the 1 5/8" chip groove. What a mess!






The result was great! I won't need all 3 pieces, just 2 and a little of the third. So I had some stock to experiment with, and some left over if I ever need it.





That's for the chips and rubber. Next is the armrest....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The base of the armrest is 3/4" ply, cut to the same trap shape as the base layer, minus the area for the chip rail, and a little for the wrapping of the fabric. I dry set and clamped all the rails to the bases, then measured up and trimmed the 3/4" pieces. When they were the right size, I rounded off the outer edge with a router and screwed the base to the arm rest from underneath.





I wanted the fabric that wraps underneath to go all the way under the base and right up to the edge of the table wall. To make things easy, I decided to just go ahead and do most of the black paint around the table, and let a little hit the bottom of the base. That created the black lines on the underside of the base. Now I know where to cut the fabric without having to re-set the bases onto the walls.



It's time, sadly, to put the power tools down. Here's the segments, ready for their next phase...




 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Luckily it wasn't too cold, because all this has to be done outside. The smells of the stain and glue and etc. are very strong! If you've ever done a poker table rail, you know. I used the same stuff.

So here's the arm rest segments. I glued on a bigger-than-needed piece of foam, then cut away the excess later. Since the segments are small, I only used glue on the wide, flat part of the segments. They're gonna get wrapped in fabric and stapled on all sides, so I'm not too worried about getting adhesive everywhere.






And the rails were stained once, for a little brown color, then poly'ed twice. I have no idea if that's gonna be enough, lol. I don't really have any experience with those things. :oops:




On to the table top next!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thinking about the dice banging into the felt and wood underneath with sharp corners gave me the shivers. I wanted something to pad the surface with, just a little. The only thing I could find was shelf liner, but it has worked great! The dice now have a little bounce but still come to rest quickly, and hopefully the wood stays protected for a long time. I used 5 sheets of liner, each 4' by 16", and glued them on with the good 'ol 3M super 77 spray stuff.



The fabric went on next, and all the excess was trimmed away. I mentioned earlier that I was maximizing the length as much as possible. Take a look! Don't worry, the walls will cover all the 'bare' areas. I did my maffs. ;)




Next I attached the rails to the bases with wood screws. I was really nervous about misaligning them and having them potentially poke through the top so I only went along the thick (front) edge where the rubber will wrap over. This is the weakest part of the build. Hopefully the ones I did use are enough. We'll see! And yes, those alignment nails are there to the end to help!




I fit all the segments back on the walls to double check everything. It's coming together now!



Now the rail rubber goes on, and the rail/arm rest pieces get soundly attached to the walls with corner braces. Rubber first. I cut sections a little bit longer than the segment it was going into with a hacksaw, then worked the &*@! out of it. I about tore my fingers apart prying and untwisting it into the groove. Very tough stuff to work with. Very tough. After it was all in, I shaved the edges and tried to keep it flush as I was cutting. This didn't turn out all that neat, but there was no way I was doing it over. Maybe a few months down the road.... maybe.





Since the table is in segments, it's easy to get a pic of a 'cut-away' view to show the rubber. Also, right where the rubber was cut, I hammered in a small finish nail to keep it in place tightly.




The corner braces were screwed to the arm rest from underneath, and into the 2x3 studs of the walls. They should hold just fine. I had to cut away a little of the fabric underneath, and added extra staples, but I'm not worried about how the underside of the arm rest looks. Maybe I'll go back and paint the braces black. For now, I don't mind. Here's 2 bonus detail pics.


 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After handling and moving the segments around, I quickly realized the dealer's segment needed some beefing up. So I painted the viewable area black, used it as a background, and stained a new piece of 3/4" ply to be attached to the front of it.





Here's two pics of the table with that dealer's segment removed, and a new snazzy light for over the table that I found at bLowe's. (I gotta figure out how to make my camera take better pics than this)




As you can see in that last pic, the diamond bumper rubber isn't attached to anything at all. The height of that piece figured in to the equation right from step one, and now it has a cozy home that it won't easily slide out of.

But it does have to be able to slide in and out, and it can, with a little force, since it covers multiple wall segments and covers up all the seams. Well, except for one. One piece is only 4' long, and I used 1 and 1/2 segments on each end of the table. Where those 2 pieces meet is somewhat visible in that last pic, on the right side, and you can see a little white of the ply showing through. There's not much I think I can do about that, except to paint that part of the ply black. So here's the view from one end of the table and from behind the dealer's spot when all the wall segments are set up.




And here's some with all the goodies thrown in.







There's still a little more to go, like strengthening up those cheapo folding table legs somehow, and a few other details. Making sure it can all fold up and be broken down neatly will always be priority #1. And of course, not everything lines up perfectly, but it's close enough. :thumb:

CI
 

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Solid job and nice step-by-step.

How many do you get to throw the bones on the regular?
 

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Check a restaurant supply house for some table bases. I wouldn't be afraid to mount two or three under it for stability. IF you need portability, you will find the folding legs in heavier gauge steel and far more sturdy than the ones you have under there now.

Or consider building a base, think: very simple stand up design, a box held together much like you clasp / latch the walls of the table together.

Very nice table, excellent step by step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@ Wedge: I think 6 will fit quite easily. That's my intent, anyway. The outer dimensions are about 94" x 55", and the open playing felt area is 80" x 41".

@ Quads: Good advice, thanks! So far the only 'guinea pig' has been my 6 year old son. And although he does know how to bark "Gimme aces and midnight, dad!" while flipping 2 redbirds in the middle, he's not a good tester of the stability.

I've been playing mostly hold'em tournies with the same 5-7 guys for about 7 years now. Although they don't seem to mind (they're such good junkies!) I am getting a little bored with it. So I suggested a 'casino night'. They all agreed to play if I could make the tables, so sometime real soon we'll see how it goes!
 

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I wonder if he actually hosts craps "home games" on it. Of course I always wonder this when I see home craps table builds. I know if I had one it would be a giant dust collector.
 
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