I am giving these instructions as an amateur who simply wanted a game table a did enough research to pull it off.
These instructions are for converting an existing table, so obviously not all tables could be converted and your dimensions may be complete different, but I will simply use my measurements to guide you on how to figure out your own. The table I used is no longer available, but this looks like an even better replacement: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Jofran-Olsen-Oak-Counte...
This built was done entirely with Titebond III wood glue with great success even after countless play sessions over a year. But you may consider using nails or screws both to save on drying time and to avoid the stress of worrying if the glue bonded well enough.
Pipe Clamps (2-4) & and a set of regular clamps
Corner Clamps (4)
sandpaper (120 - 300+)
3/4" plywood 45 ¾” x 45 ¾” (Gaming surface A)
1”x4” (actual ¾” x 3 ½”) (2) 45 ¾” (Sidewalls C)
1”x4” (actual ¾” x 3 ½”) (2) 47 ¼” (Sidewalls B)
molding (4) 45 ¾” (D) Pine round - 15" (E & F) - http://www.lowes.com/pd_114105-99899-L5RND174415S...
1" masking tape
Titebond III Wood glue
Velvet or similar high quality fabric
3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
Small adhesive rubber feet (for tabletop to rest on)
Stainless cup holders & Hole saws
Small: http://www.amazon.com/Brybelly-Single-Stainless-D... requires: ~3” hole saw
Large: http://www.amazon.com/Brybelly-Single-Stainless-D... requires: ~3 ¾” hole saw
½” x 6” (actual 5 ½”) Pine Board (2)
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Step 1: Measuring
Measure the tabletop dimensions. In my case it was 47 1/2" x 47 1/2". Then figure out the material dimensions for the playing surface and walls. My tabletop had a beveled edge, so I made the walls 1/4" shorter than the tabletop. I am no expert in wood working, so I used a simple butt joint for the walls. This would give me 47 1/4" for the longer walls (Labeled B) and 45 3/4" for the shorter walls (Labeled C) since the boards I am using are (3/4" actual width). Finally, the table surface would fit inside the walls, so it would be the dimensions of the shorter wall 45 3/4" x 45 3/4" (Labeled A).
Step 2: Attach Walls
Start with gluing the two shorter walls to the playing surface (A & C). Ideally I would have used 4 pipe clamps for this, but I only had 2 so used some regular clamps and a nylon hose I had lying around to create tension. Once it has cured (following instructions on the bottle), glue the longer walls to the playing surface and shorter walls (A, B & C). A corner clamp can be very helpful to ensure they meet cleanly.
Step 3: Cut Cup Holders From Pine Round
While glue is drying, you can be cutting the 15" pine round to be used as the cup-holders. I personally cut the cup holes before cutting the round into 1/4ths. I made 2 of them single, larger, cup holders for larger cups or glasses. Then 2 of them double, smaller, cup holders for cans and bottles. See the template for cutting guide.
Step 4: Finish Edges and Sand
Once all the walls are attached to the gaming surface, you'll want to sand corners down a bit and smooth the joints. Then do an overall sanding on the walls just to ensure everything is smooth to get ready for staining.
Step 5: Cut Molding
Cut the molding (for me 45 3/4") to a miter joint (although it doesn't have to be perfect because it is under the cup holder).
Step 6: Stain
I personally used wood conditioner, but that is not required. So condition then stain all the surfaces that will not have glue. This means the back of the cup holder pieces and the molding should be unstained. And also, you will need to use masking tape to mask where you are attaching the cup holders and molding to the inside walls. For me, I placed the cup holders down about 1/4" from the top of the wall so that the stainless steel cup holders had plenty of clearance from the table surface.
Step 7: Seal
Polyurethane all the stained portions with a couple of coats, being careful not to polyurethane the surfaces you plan on gluing. Also make sure you didn't miss any areas that will need stain because once you polyurethane it's a pain to go back. For example, some unstained wood was visible just above the molding in one place and I ended up having to cover it up with a sharpie.
Step 8: Glue Fabic
Adhere the fabric to the game surface. The beauty of the molding is that it does not have to be perfect. You should have about an inch to play with around the edges. But you simply need to follow the instructions on the spray adhesive can.
Step 9: Attach the Molding
I personally glued it like the rest of the table, but in retrospect this may have been a smart place to use nails in case you want to replace the fabric in the future.
Step 10: Attach Cup Holders
Glue cup holders and clamp. Once they are dried, the stainless steel holders should slide right in and easily remove for cleaning or getting in to the corner.
Step 11: Attach Table to the Original Base
I basically just attached this the exact same way the original table top was attached which was just 8 screws, but every table would be different so you'd just have to use logic there. Also, this will raise the height of your table by roughly 3.5 inches, so you may need to shave a few inches off the base/legs to avoid making the eating surface awkwardly high. Again, this is case by case and just something to consider.
Step 12: Fit Original Tabletop to Game Table
Finally, you cut/install walls to the underside of the tabletop (Labeled H in step 1 diagram). My tabletop already had small walls on the underside, but if yours does not you will need to add them to ensure the tabletop doesn't move once it's seated. In my example the walls would need to be around 30" in length (surface width 45 3/4" - minus pine round 15"). The distance from one outside edge to the other should be a fraction shorter than the width of the gaming surface. In my case, somewhere around 45 1/2" or just under. Consider the inside walls should only be around 2 -2 1/2" in height to avoid resting on the molding. I also added a strip of adhesive felt to the underside of the tabletop walls so that it won't cause scratches while finding it's seat.
Step 13: (Optional) Add-on Play Areas
In my case, I knew some games would require a little more space so I made 4 add-on play areas. These add-ons were built using some 1/2 x 5 1/2 pine boards. Hopefully the pictures with notes are enough, but if not I can figure out the measurements I used at a later date. One important detail to note is that it's a good idea to leave a little extra room in the pocket that fits over the lip of the table. That way you can add some adhesive felt to allow them to slide easily without scratching the table walls. These also fit nicely into the table for storage when the tabletop is in place.
Step 14: Play Games!
Here is the table in use. We like some of the geekier games, but of course this table would work great for simple card games also.