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How to Build a Shuffleboard Table

If you're interested in trying to build a shuffleboard table and have no prior woodworking experience, then we have something in common. I recently completed a shuffleboard table in my basement with no tools, materials or construction knowledge going in. The mistakes came early and often. But overall the shuffleboard table turned out great and I learned a lot along the way. If you are considering taking on a DIY shuffleboard table, here is an overview of the major steps that it took me to complete the project.

Timing / Costs:

You should have an appreciation for the expense and amount of time it takes to build a shuffleboard table. Overall the project took me 3 weeks (weekends and a couple nights during the week). This, however, is a long estimate considering the number of mistakes that I made and that I hope you can avoid.
As far as costs go, I've added up the actual costs I incurred and also the required costs (not spending money on things that were not necessary). I've also looked at project-specific materials and general purpose items (ex. Tools) that could have been used for more than just this project. Overall costs:

• Project-specific materials (required): $ 495
• All materials & tools (required): $ 837

Honestly, I tried to be as realistic and budget conscious as possible when adding up these totals. It was more expensive than I'd hoped but I came out with a great table, a good start to my tool bench and some experience.

Preparation:

Before beginning the project, you'll want to divide it up into manageable parts. This will also help with expenses and trips to the hardware store. I did not want to get in over my head and purchase a truck full of materials right out of the gate. Instead, I began with the shuffleboard playing surface / court. I figured the success or failure of the project really depends on a level and smooth playing surface for the shuffleboard pucks to Travel across. The three manageable components of my project (in order) were:

1. The Playing Surface / Playing Court
2. The Box / Cradle
3. The Legs

Playing Surface (major steps):

• Sketch out the dimensions
• Get your first set of materials and tools at the hardware store
• If the playing court is longer than 8ft, you'll need to join two pieces of MDF with glue or a biscuit join
• Sand down the join and apply wood filler, if needed
• Paint the entire surface (3-4 coats)
• Lightly sand down painted surface to remove imperfections
• Apply polyurethane or polycrylic with a brush (at least 5 coats)
• Lightly sand the poly
• Apply additional polyurethane or polycrylic with a brush (at least 3 coats)
• Finish the surface with a spray bottle application of poly

The Box (major steps):

• Sketch out dimensions for the box
• Get your second set of materials and tools at the hardware store
• Attach the ends of the box to the sides of the box
• Screw supporting pieces of wood, every few feet, along the bottom of the box
• Lay down bed of box (OBF) onto supporting pieces
• Lay down carpet so that it covers inside inside of box (use staple gun)
• Install shelving rail and carriage bolt assemblies where you'd like the playing court to be supported

The Legs (major steps):
• Sketch out dimensions for the box
• Get your third set of materials and tools at the hardware store
• Cut a piece of wood to the size of the width of the box, screw a leg post into either side
• Where the piece of wood is attached to the posts, screw in two metal, 90 degree brackets
• In between the two posts, screw in a support wood beam
• Replicate this for as many sets of legs that you need to support the box / cradle
• Attach the leg sub-assemblies to the bottom of the box

At this point, all of the major elements should be complete and the table should be ready to play! There's still some trim, seal and stain finishing to do, but that is mostly cosmetic.

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