Games Table

My wife decided that we needed a better place to play games than our kitchen table, so I built an octagonal card table.  I used SolidWorks to design the table, then used my table saw, drill press, jigsaw, and router (and LOTS of clamps) to put it all together.

I started by designing the playing surface in SolidWorks.  This helped me determine the angles and dimesions for the pieces that I needed to make.  It also let me play around with different designs and features that eventually made it into the final product.

Card Table top in SolidWorks

I used a few lengths of 2×8 pine for the top, cut to 22.5 degrees so that I’d have a trapezoid shape.  I then made a router jig for the “chip holder” area, and used a hole saw sized to the drink inserts to cut the cupholder holes.

Then, I used a bunch of 1×4 pine for the skirt, gluing it to the 2×8’s and cutting a draft profile on the skirts so they’d mate with their adjacent piece.  Once that was done, it was on to gluing the pieces together, with the help of clamps.  Lots of clamps.  You can never have too many clamps.

Joining 1/4 of the table top together. Thanks clamps!

All 1/4 sections were joined together to form a half section, which then was joined to form a full octagon.  Two small angle brackets kept each junction from spreading apart.  I ran the router around the outside to give it a smooth transition from top to skirt, then set about filling any holes or spaces with wood filler.  Having done that, it was time to sand it all down.  So much sawdust… (wear a mask kids!)

Starting to look like a card table!

Once the ring was smooth and clean, I brought it inside and put on a dark walnut stain, and sealed it with polyurethane.  A couple sands with 600 grit paper produced a glass-like finish on the table top.

Stained table top.

When the table top was stained and finished to my liking, it was time to put the actual playing surface in!  The playing surface was made by spray-gluing foam onto a plywood octagon I had cut out with my circular saw, then wrapping the entire thing with a purchased embossed felt to give it that Vegas look.

Hey Vegas – I’ve got what you’re looking for.

I had to make the playing surface pretty strong, since I wasn’t sure how many games of spoons the table would see, and it had to survive them all.  So I screwed the actual playing surface to the octagon ring, then placed a second, smaller octagon cutout on top (underneath when it’s right-side up).  I cut some stringers and glued them to this second, smaller octagon (with help from Calvin & Hobbes and a bunch of my school textbooks) and secured the stringers to the table top skirt with angle brackets.  The smaller plywood octagon was then screwed into the playing surface octagon, and I left it overnight to cure.

Those textbooks were finally useful!

Once the top was built, I found an oak kitchen table with a centre pedastal that I stripped and restained (using the same stain).  The top was then secured to the pedestal, the cupholders were inserted, and the chairs were set up around the table, ready for use.

Finished product with Ticket to Ride, Blue Buck, Star Trek, and Spaceballs

The wife was quite impressed with how this project turned out, and has been very happy to have a purpose-build table to use to play games.  It is much preferred over using the kitchen table to play and having to move to let people get to the fridge/stove/etc…  I’m quite happy with how it turned out, and our guests have been as well.

We’ll have to have you over for cards some time soon!