How to Build a Poker Table in 18 Steps


Poker night is the perfect time to catch up with friends and show off a good hand. To provide a handsome game table that’s sure to make the guys take your bet—or bluff—more seriously, follow our free card table plans to build a table complete with a felt playing surface, insets for poker chips, and coasters. When the game is over, just fit the lid onto the surface to turn it into a dining table for the rest of the week.

DIY Poker Tables Parts

Illustration by Doug Adams

Materials

  • Newel post: EverTrue 56-inch stain-grade oak newel post;
  • Corbels: 9 13/16-inch raw maple corbel;
  • Stain: Jacobean; minwax.com
  • Felt: Padded green felt; pokertablematerials.com

Cut List

Lid

  • ½-inch plywood lid: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You’ll cut off the corners to create an octagon.
  • Nose and cove molding: You’ll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.

Game Table

  • ½-inch plywood table: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You’ll cut off the corners to create an octagon.
  • 1×2 outer-edge trim: You’ll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.
  • 1×2 inner edge trim: You’ll miter the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle.
  • ½x6 coasters: 8 @ 6¾ inches from straight cut to long point. You’ll miter one end at 22½ degrees.
  • 1×4 apron: You’ll bevel the ends of 8 pieces at a 22½-degree angle to trim the edges of the table.
  • 1×4 collar: You’ll cut 4 pieces to fit around the top of the newel post.

Playing Surface

  • ¾-inch MDF: 1 @ 48 by 48 inches. You’ll cut it into a smaller square that will fit inside the length and width of the inner ring, then clip off the corners to create an octagon.

Stand

  • Newel post: 1 @ 29 inches. You’ll cut from the top and bottom to position the tapered profile.

How to Build a Poker Table in 18 Steps

Step 1: Mark the Plywood Game Table

Person holding a ruler on a DIY poker table and using a pencil to mark where they will make a cut.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

On the underside of the table, measure and mark the sides 14 inches from each corner. Using a straightedge, draw a line to connect the two marks at each corner.

Step 2: Cut the Plywood Game Table and Lid

Person using a circular saw to cut the edges of the poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Using a circular saw, cut the lines to lop off the corners of the table and create an octagon. Lay the ½-inch plywood for the lid on your work surface with its best side facing down. Place the table on top of the lid; position it so that the uncut sides face the lid corners. Draw the outline of the table on the lid. Remove the table, place a ¾-inch-thick board on edge along the outside of each marked line and trace a second set of lines. This outside ring represents the size the lid needs to be to cover the table once its 1×4 apron is attached. Using a circular saw, cut just outside the outer ring; leave the line to create a slightly larger surface than the table.

Step 3: Miter the Edge Pieces

A miter saw being used to create a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Lay a length of 1×2 flat on the playing table flush with its edge. Mark the length of the side on the edge of the 1×2. Miter the piece at opposing 22½-degree angles so that the long edge matches the length of the table’s side. Clamp the piece in place on the table. Mark and miter the remaining pieces. To keep the 1×2 pieces organized, number each side of the table and the underside of the corresponding piece.

Step 4: Install the Outer Edge

Person applying glue to the side of the poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Apply glue to the underside and ends of the 1x2s. Using a pneumatic nail gun and 1-inch nails, nail through the underside of the table and into each piece to hold it in place.

Step 5: Cut and Install the Coaster Blocks

Person using a miter to install coaster blocks to the poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Miter one end of each ½x6 coaster at a 22½-degree angle. Use a combination square to mark the center point by drawing lines at a 45-degree angle from the corners of the straight-cut end of each piece.

Using two clamps, secure the coaster block to a scrap block. Center the hole saw on the crosshair of your two 45-degree marks. Use 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the inside edges of the circular cutout. Repeat to create a total of eight coasters.

Place the coasters on the playing table inside the 1×2 edge pieces so that the angled ends line up with a mitered joint and all face the same direction. Nail the coaster in place from the underside of the table using 1-inch nails. Hold the nail gun at a slight angle to prevent any portion of the nail from poking up through the coaster piece.

Step 6: Install the Inner Edge

Person carefully installing the inner edge on a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Lay a length of 1×2 flat on the table inside the ring of coaster blocks so that the edge of the 1×2 sits against the top edge of a coaster block. Mark the distance between the angled ends of two coasters. Miter the ends of the 1×2 at opposing 22½-degree angles. Lay the piece in place, and mark the remaining pieces until all the pieces of the inner ring are sized. Apply glue to the underside and ends of each piece, set them in place, and nail through the underside of the table to secure them. To help position the nail gun underneath the table, cut a scrap piece of 1×2 to the distance the inner ring sits from the edge of the table and nail it to a second perpendicular block to create a T-shaped spacer. Hook the T on the edge of the table with the stem underneath, and position the nail gun at the end of the stem.

Step 7: Attach the Apron

One person holding the edge of the poker table while the other secures pieces to the edge.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Slice ¼-inch spacers off a scrap block using the miter saw, and set them on top of the outer ring of 1x2s. Position a 1×4 against the edge of the table with its top edge flush with the spacers to create a ¼-inch lip. Mark the corners of the table on the top edge of the 1×3. Using a miter saw, bevel the ends of each piece at a 22½-degree angle. Secure the pieces to the edges of the table using wood glue and 1¼-inch nails.

Step 8: Mark the Playing Surface

One person holding a ruler on the poker table while the other makes pencil marks on the surface.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Measure the inside length and width of the open center space, and subtract ⅛ inch from each measurement to account for the felt. Cut the MDF playing surface to this size. Lay the cut piece centered over the open center space. Mark the joints of the inner ring of 1x2s on the playing surface. Connect the marks on either side of each corner to create a small octagon. Using a circular saw, cut the corners off the playing surface. Label the corresponding side of the playing surface and table. This way, once the felt is wrapped around the playing surface, you’ll know which sides align.

Step 9: Attach the felt

Person stapling the felt onto the under side of the table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Coat the underside of the felt and the top of the playing surface with spray adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry until it feels tacky. Set the playing surface upside down on the center of the felt. Wrap the felt over one edge and secure it in place with a staple. Wrap the felt over the next side, and fold the excess under like gift wrap. Once all the edges are pulled tight and the felt is glued and stapled in place, cut off the excess with utility scissors and set the playing surface aside.

Step 10: Assemble and Mark the Collar

Two people working together to mark the pieces on a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Cut two 1×4 boards to the width of the upper part of the newel post. Cut two more 1×4 boards to that width plus an 1½ inches. Apply glue to the ends of the short pieces, and sandwich them between the longer pieces to create a box. Shoot 1¼-inch nails through the long pieces into the ends of the shorter pieces to secure them in place. Center the assembled collar on the underside of the table, and mark its inside and outside perimeters.

Step 11: Drill pilot holes

A drill being used on a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Remove the collar and drill three ⅛-inch pilot holes through the table on each side between the perimeter lines.

Step 12: Attach the Collar

One person applying glue to the top of the table, while the other person holds the poker table steady.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Apply glue to the top edge of the collar, and place it on the underside of the table, realigned with your previous marks. Allow the glue to dry until it holds the collar in place—or toenail a few nails around its edge to hold it—and flip the table over. Using a countersink bit, prepare the pilot holes and drive 2-inch screws through the plywood and into the top edges of the collar.

Step 13: Cut the Stand

Person using a miter saw to cut the newel post on a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

To position the taper of the newel post about half way between the table and the floor, cut the top and bottom of the post. First mark the cutlines 29 inches apart on all four sides of the post. Place the post on the miter saw, and cut it to size. If your miter saw can’t cut the thickness of the entire post, cut part way through, then roll the post to the opposite face to finish the cut. Repeat to cut the second line.

Step 14: Drill Pilot Holes in the Feet

Person drilling holes in the feet with a drill/driver.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Center the short face of a corbel on the post, flush with its bottom edge. Use a straightedge to mark a registration line on the bottom of the post and corbel. Apply wood glue to the corbel, and set it back in place. Using a pneumatic nail gun, shoot 1¼-inch nails through the edges of the corbel and into the post to help hold it in place. Using a drill/driver fitted with a ⅝-inch paddle bit, drill a 1-inch-deep countersink hole through the base of the corbel and angled toward the post. Angle the drill/driver upward at a steep angle to bore out the hole and create room for the head of the screw. Repeat to create a second countersink hole beside the first.

Step 15: Attach the Feet

Person attaching the feet on a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Drive 6-inch timber screws through the countersink holes and into the corbel and newel post. Repeat Steps 15 and 16 of our free card table plans to secure the rest of the corbels to each face of the newel post, one at a time.

Step 16: Screw Through the Collar and Into the Newel

Person attaching the collar to the end of the poker table post.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Slip the top of the stand into the collar affixed to the underside of the table. Drive 2-inch screws through each side of the collar and into the post.

Step 17: Trim the Lid

One person holding the lid up while the other uses a glue gun to apply glue to the back side of the lid.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Mark lengths of the nose and cove molding along the edges of the plywood lid. Miter the ends of each piece at a 22½-degree angle. Apply glue to the back side and ends of each molding piece and to the edges of the lid. Attach the molding to the lid, flush with its surface, by carefully nailing 1-inch nails through the molding and into the edge of the lid.

Step 18: Assemble the Finished Poker Table Parts

Two people placing a plywood lid over the felt table to assemble a DIY poker table.

Photo by Ryan Benyi

Fill the fastener holes and joints with stainable wood filler, and thoroughly sand the entire assembly with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe on a stain finish; once dry, apply a protective coat of tung oil, wax, or polyurethane. If desired, line the inset of each coaster with adhesive-backed cork. Once the final finish is dry, fit the felt-covered playing surface inside the inner ring of 1x2s, and place the lid on the table. That brings us to the end of our free card table plans. Now that you know how to build a poker table from scratch, your next game night is sure to be a hit.


Tools and Materials



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