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Fred Voorhees

Building my custom poker table

Rating: 4 votes, 4.00 average.
The aprons were up next and it was quick work to milling them to size and then it was adding the decorative touches. I had thought about adding flutes to the outside of the aprons, but decided to go with a walnut band of inlay around the outside instead and that would go nice with the minor walnut inlay that would be inlaid at each intersection of the top segments later in the construction phase.

The inlaid walnut was set proud of the oak surface and when dry, it was a simple manner of planing the stock down to make the walnut flush with the entire surface. The planing took the stock down to the final ¾" thickness. I wanted to put a nice bead detail along the bottom of the playing surface and also along the bottom of the apron. This would be much easier to accomplish at the router table before everything was put together - than later with the handheld router!

And here below is one of the aprons showing the beading along the bottom edge. The dado milled into the inside of the apron is also evident.

With the milling of the apron pieces complete, it was on to fitting them to the table subassembly. I would have liked to turn back to one of the earlier jigs for ensuring consistent length cuts, but I'm not Norm Abram and any slightest bit difference in length of the eight sides of the Baltic Birch plywood would result in poorly matched up joints. That meant measuring each individual apron mounting and cutting it to size. That didn't take long and I wrapped up this particular day with gluing up the apron to the Baltic Birch ply. Things were finally beginning to take shape.

Of course, you need something to support that large structure. That is where the pedestal and its associated assemblies is brought into the picture. The mounting screws let into the top of the pedestal assembly were extended about 1 ½" out of the top. I compensated for this with two pieces of support. I started with an 11" octagonal piece of oak and then some long wide pieces of poplar, half-lapped at the center to form a cross-buck for supporting the underside of the table.

Some of the final gluing up had to do with the eight segments that made up the perimeter of the actual playing surface. You"ll recall that they were comprised of two ¾" laminations of a solid oak and a solid oak/plywood layer with the cup/can holder fitted in-between. Below I'm gluing a section together and holding it with clamps..

..and when the laminations are perfectly lined up they are tacked with some small gauge nails from the underside and afterward clamped wherever needed and set aside to dry.

I hired on the help of my lovely wife Karen to help me with the webclamping of the entire oak perimeter and once the glue was dry and it was now one solid unit, it was on to routing in the recesses between each segment for the walnut inlay that was to follow. This required yet another jig. You know, you would think that this poker table is one project, but when you think about it, it has entailed a number of smaller projects in that a handful of jigs needed to be fabricated to aid in certain aspects of building the table - so in effect, it has been a number of projects. The jig needed for the next stage was a simple one to build - took about a half hour to fabricate, but once it was done, I completed the routing task in about twenty minutes and all were a perfect match to one another.
As you can see below, the jig has an “alley” down the middle of it - which coincides with the middle of the joints of each segment. The width of the “alley” was 7/16” and that coincided with the width of the guide bushing that was mounted onto my router in which to house the ¼” upcut spiral cutting bit.



  1. Bob Direso's Avatar
    Fred, Very nice work. I particularly like the walnut inlay and beading on the aprons. Good luck in the future poker games maybe they will pay for the table. I enjoy no limit holdem myself where up to nine people are at the table. Bob