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Fred Voorhees

Building my custom poker table Pt.2

Rating: 4 votes, 4.00 average.
I had had the leg set and the pedestal assembly sitting around the shop for quite a while. It was quick work to drill the holes for mounting the legs to the pedestal. First though, I wanted to make sure that the pedestal was square or else my hole layout for the leg bolts would be off.

The perimeter of the top playing surface was going to be comprised of two " layers of wood laminated together to make a 1 " thick tabletop. The reason for this can be better described by a quick sketch I did. In the below sketch, you can see that the playing surface is two layers of wood laminated together. The bottom layer extends into the middle region of the table further than the top layer. That is to allow the actual felt covered playing surface to rest on the "lip" that is provided by the extension of the bottom layer of wood lamination. Further complicating the laminating process is the fact that I will be laminating a deep well beverage holder between the two laminations of wood. This beverage holder will fully prevent a can of soda or beer from accidentally being knocked over onto the table. It will also provide a good hold on beer cups. Many tables that I have seen provide only a small indentation on their tables for holding cans or cups - nowhere near deep enough to insure spill protection.

Being that only the outer edge of the bottom lamination was going to be seen, I had the option of using minimal actual solid wood in the construction of this layer. I had plenty of scrap oak plywood left over from the bar room construction and this was a perfect use for it. The picture below shows the method of edge-gluing a small strip of solid oak to a wider strip of oak plywood using biscuits.

With the bottom lamination glued and drying, I moved to fabricating the solid oak top lamination segments. That entailed making the first jig for the job. This jig conformed to the 22 degree angled ends of the sections. The jig acted as a stop block to ensure that all of the pieces were cut at the very same length. This is critical to having the eight segments all go together and match up at all of the seams. It was a simple jig to complete and it securely bolted to my Incra 2000 miter jig fence. I needed to keep this setting for cutting the bottom lamination also before it was lost. All sixteen pieces needed to be exact!

A quick dry-fit with my Bessey web clamp resulted in tight fitting joints.

Each of the eight segments would have the hole to accommodate the beverage holders and they would each also have a recess routed into them for each player to locate their change/poker chips. That called for the second jig to be built. One of the former cardboard segment pieces was useful for laying those details out and transferring them onto the MDF based jig.

The jig would have to securely hold the segments in place while the two routing operations take place. This is detailed with an underneath look at the jig in the pic below.

Below is how the jig looked from the working side with a segment inserted into it.



  1. Ron Baird's Avatar
    Fred, Your photos, illustrations and descriptions are simple and succinct. Thanks Ron Baird