How to Build a Pool Table
Follow these step-by-step instructions for making a billiard table you can call your own.
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The pool table in this project is constructed mostly of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) because it's sturdy and inexpensive. The underside is fitted with a honeycomb grid to preserve the top from warping. The table includes built-in compartments for the rack, cue sticks and billiard-ball tray. Walnut railings and a bright felt cover with gold trim add a touch of class.
five sheets of 4-by-8½-inch medium-density fiberboard
five sheets of 4-by-8¾-inch medium-density fiberboard
five oak planks measuring 8 feet by 8 inches by ¾-inch
three walnut planks measuring 8 feet by 8 inches by ¾-inch
five 8-foot pine 2-by-4-inch boards
9-foot precut felt bed and rails (bright red)
two 16.5-oz cans of high-strength spray adhesive
six K-66-style 9-foot cushions (rubber bumbers), cut to fit for project
six Western-style tooled-leather pool pockets
billiard accessory kit (includes pool balls, wooden triangle, brushes, four cue sticks, cue chalks, pool-table cover)
1 gallon of dark brown latex paint
one roll of ½- or ¾-inch-wide white paper tape
two cans of gold spray paint
1 gallon of primer
one can of rich brown furniture wax
nail gun and nails
stapler and staples
five to 10 wood clamps
Surface (playing area) total: 3½ feet by 7 feet
- Tapered sides: 5 inches by 10 inches by 1 foot high
- Total leg dimensions: 6 inches by 11¾ inches by 16 inches high
- Bun at top: 3 inches high by 10 inches across
- Bun at bottom: 3 inches high by 7 inches across
Square (routered) top: 1 foot
Square (routered) bottom: 6 inches
Tapered Sides of Table:
- Long sides: 6 feet by 6 inches by 13 inches high
- Short sides: 4 feet by 13 inches high
- Molding: 2 inches wide
Ball holster/slot: 37 inches wide by 3 inches high
Holes (six): 4 7/8-inch opening with a 1/4-inch lip (round-over bit for router)
Rails: 2¾ inches (top flat surface) wide by 4 to 5 inches high
Rubber bumpers: 49-inch lengths (cut to fit); end dimensions 1.177 inches by 0.968-inch
1. Using a table saw and chop saw, cut ½-inch 4-by-8-foot medium-density fiberboard (MDF) sheets into the tapered sides of the four legs (two of the same side for each leg). There is no exact angle to the taper. Cut an opening in the center of the duplicate side of each leg with a band saw, which forms a 2-inch rim (it looks like a frame).
2. Cut out two ¾-inch MDF squares for each leg - the top is a 1-foot square, and the bottom is a 6-inch square - and router the edges. Cut oak planks into 1-by-1-inch strips to fit the four corners of the tapered sides. Router the strips, mimicking the squares. Everything for the legs should be glued and nailed into place.
3. For the top bun, cut and glue three ¾-inch-by-10-inch squares into a block. Clamp and let dry. Cut a circle out of the block (10-inch diameter). With a router and a lathe, form a convex edge on the bun. For the bottom bun, follow the same process, but use three ¾-inch-by-7-inch squares and form a concave edge on the bun. Sand as necessary. Glue and nail everything into place. Repeat process for all legs.
4. To create the tapered sides, cut four 78-by-13-inch MDF pieces, following the angle of the legs. Cut the 2-inch-wide molding out of two of the four pieces. The molding then goes over the full MDF pieces. Repeat the process for the ends, but use 48-by-13-inch pieces, and adjust measurements accordingly. Apply oak strips as step 2 describes. Glue and nail into place.
5. Once the sides are together, glue and nail 1-inch MDF strips into the inside edge of each corner.
6. On one of the longer sides of the table, centered, cut out a 37-by-3-inch rectangle in preparation for the ball slot. This removed portion will become the back wall of the ball slot, set inside the table. For the outside, cut a rectangle frame from oak strips: the topmost strip is 1 inch wide and about ½-inch beyond either side of the rectangular hole; the side is ½-inch wide plus the height of the hole; the bottom protrudes about 2 inches and slopes up to hold the balls. Router the edges for style. The front-most edge will be ½-inch thick. Glue and nail into place.
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