I play a lot of Poker and wanted to build a poker table for when I host games. After perusing a few forums on designs and seeing the costs of the nicer looking ones, which can be a $500 plus, I went my own route.
While doing my research I noticed that the hardest part to make it look good was the table top/railing. So I decided to buy a pre-built poker table top online and go from there. That 1 step would save me time and what I can only imagine to be a massive amount of frustration.
Before starting you will need to have some basic wood working skills. Nothing complicated but enough to know the difference between a hammer and a saw.
That said let's start!
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Step 1: Materials, Cost and Tools
The first thing I bought was a Harley-Davidson 675 Folding Poker Table Top off Amazon for $106 with free shipping using my Prime account. From there I designed the rest of the table around it.
$106 - Harley-Davidson 675 Folding Poker Table Top
$10 - 50"x50"x3/4" MDF Board for Table Top
$16 - A set of 2 1/2" x 28" Legs adjustable to 31"
$13 - A Can of Matte Black Spray Paint
$8 - 2 - 8'x3/4" Black Corner Stripping
$7 - 3 - 6'x1"x2 1/4" Boards
$6 - A box of 2" Wood Screws
$5 - Velcro
$171 Total (Not bad)
Miter Saw or a Saw with a Miter Jig
Circular Saw or Jig Saw
Straight Edge or Long Level
Tin Snips or Really Powerful Scissors
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting the Base Table
For this you will need the 50"x50" MDF board. This will be smaller than the 52" poker table top and will create a nice looking lip in the end. In my pictures you will see mine in two pieces. Since my car does not have a huge trunk I needed to cut it to fit it in. If you can avoid this do so.
The first thing we have to do is measure out our octagon. For this you will need a measuring tape. For the purpose of this how-to I will be using my measurements. Adjust as needed.
Start off by drawing a straight line from one corner to another corner. Do this from the other corner. This should create a "X" on your board and where the 2 lines intersect in the middle is the center of your board. Next measure the distance between the center of the board to one of the corners. It doesn’t matter which corner since it is the same all around. Write down this number. For a 50"x50" board the measurement is 35 3/8". Take this number and measure from one side of the board to the other on the edge and mark it, see picture with note. Do this for all 4 sides going clockwise. Do the same going counter clockwise. At this point each edge should have two marks. Take your straight edge and draw a line from one mark to another at each corner, see picture with note. This will give you your octagon shape.
We need to cut out the shape. Place your board on a table or stand, I used some bar stools, and get your clamps, saw and straight edge or level. In order to make these cuts as straight as possible I used a level clamped down on the board as a guide for my saw. First I placed my saw on the line I will be cutting. I then took the level and placed it against the edge of the saw as straight as possible to the other side of the line to be cut. Clamp down the level. Now go to the other side of the line and again place your saw at the line to be cut and adjust the other side of the level to lay against your saw. Clamp this side. Check again on both sides to make sure the level did not shift during clamping. Now you have a guide for a straight cut. Saw away and repeat for all four corners.
**Using a guide is not necessary. I only did this b/c I do not have the most steady hand when cutting.**
Step 3: Creating the Skirt
At this point I could of added have some legs and it would be a decent poker table. However I wanted to add a little more stiffness to the table and make it look more professional. So I decided to create a skirt going around the bottom edge of the table. This step I think is the hardest part. The cuts need to be precise and should not be rushed. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to do this properly.
First you need to get out your miter saw or miter jig and set it at a 22.5 degree angle. Now get one of your 6'x1"x2 1/4" boards and make a cut right at the end. Next you will need to measure as precisely as possible the length of one of the sides of the table. From the longest side of the board, since you cut an angle one side will be longer than the other, mark off your measurement. You now need to cut the other angle so that it's opposite of the other angle, see picture with notes. Take your cut piece and place it on the edge of the side you measured for. It should be flush with the edge. To help make sure you cut the correct length cut an angle in a smaller length wood and put it against each side of your measured/cut piece of wood. You want to make sure that the corners come together and the pieces are flush with the edge. Trim if necessary.
Now that you fitted your piece of wood, clamp it down and drill some pilot holes from the table top side for your screws. Screw in place. Continue going around the rest of the table using the same procedure. Do not worry too much if it is not exactly flush or the corners are not as tight as you would like. The trim work will cover this up. Only fix if you are off by 1/16" or more.
Step 4: Painting
The hard part is done and it's onto the easy part...painting. Lay down enough paper on the floor to cover the table and then some. Grab your matte black spray paint and start on one side. When spraying go from one end to the other end of the end enough times to just cover the side evenly. DO NOT over spray or you will get drips. Do not worry it you can see the wood still. This is only 1 coat of 3. Use the same procedure on all sides and let dry for 30 minutes. Test if dry and add your second coat using the same procedure. Repeat for at least 3 coats, more if necessary.
Step 5: Attaching Legs
I found some great legs on sale that have a base plant that attaches to the table and the legs screw into the base plates. This is a nice feature since I can un-screw the legs with ease and store the table when not in use.
You will need to add a leg at every other corner on the bottom of your table. Use the base plate as a guide on where to drill your pilot holes for the screws. Make sure the plate is flush against the corner, drill and screw down.
Step 6: Adding Trimming to the Table Edge
Your table is almost ready and needs a few finishing touches. In this step you will cover up the edge of the table top. For this you will need your 8'x3/4" Black Corner Stripping, scissors and staple gun.
First thing you want to do is mark where your screws are with a pencil, see picture below with notes. Next cut an angle on the edge of the stripping. Place the stripping on the edge of one side of the table. We will be using the same procedure as we did with the skirt. Line up the side with the angle already cut using a piece of stripping with a angle cut into it to make sure the end is flush with the corner, see picture below with notes. Now mark off the other side of the edge and cut. Again cut an angle in the stripping as you did with the skirt. Verify your cut is correct using the piece of stripping you cut for truing up the other side. Staple down avoiding the screws by using the marks you made. Repeat the same procedure going around the table.
Step 7: Prepping, Fitting and Attaching the Poker Table Top
Your table is ready for prepping,fitting and attaching your table top. If you went the same route as me and purchased a Harley-Davidson 675 Folding Poker Table Top you will notice on the back side there are 2 large Velcro straps and two hinges. You will need to remove the hinges and the Velcro straps that hold the table top together. Leave the Velcro portion that is attached with glue to the poker table top itself.
Once you have done this place the table top on your table. You will see that the poker table top is bigger than your table. That is good. It creates a nice lip which gives the table a professional look in my eyes. All you need to do is use a ruler and walk around the table adjusting till all sides hang over evenly when compared to the opposite side. Not all sides will be equal unless you are really good.
The last step is attaching your table and for this you will use the Velcro. This is done so the top can be removed and placed back into its covering to protect it when not in use.
Start by lifting one quarter of the table top, see picture below. Apply the Velcro to the table leaving on the other side of the Velcro strip. Now remove the other protective strip and lay the table top down. Press firmly to attach. Do this with all 4 quarters. To match up in the table top edge in the furture I drew a outline of the table top sections by lifting each section individually and tracing the edge with a pencil. I also revesed the black/white color scheme on one of the velcro strips to know what side to place the halves to match up to the velcor strips.
You now have a great looking poker table! Ta-daa!