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Woodworkers Challenge: Building Foosball Tables


There are a lot of great foosball tables on the market today, but some people just like to do things themselves. My husband is one of them, and once researched making a foosball table for our family.

The first thing that Jeff did was look at high quality foosball tables, play on a few of them and decide what features he liked best. This is what he came up with:

  • Center ball return on both sides of the table
  • Off center serving holes (the holes are off center to the center line, this way the serving side serves the ball slightly closer to their own men.)
  • Textured surface
  • Thick side walls
The table has to be very solid and sturdy, weighing around 350 pounds, this way the table will not move when play gets exciting. A 3/4" plywood works best, it is heavy and less expensive than solid wood (especially a heavy hard wood like maple), though even it will still need to be doubled up in areas. Besides birch plywood and particle board some other basic materials that you will need from your local hardware store include wood screws and glue, nuts and bolts to attach the legs, four adjustable table feet, a sheet of plexiglas to cover the play surface, clear spray adhesive, hinges, and some veneer strips for giving the table a finished look.

From a foosball store (easiest found online) you will need 13 foosball men each in two different colors, rods and bearings, handles, a high quality ball, and play field trim strips. The rods and handles are probably the most expensive single purchase, running up to $300 (which can double the final price of your foosball table) depending upon the quality you purchase. If you can salvage any of these parts from an old table, you can save quite a bit of money.

The dimensions of most foosball tables are very similar. Here are the basic dimensions for making your own table.
  • Table length, width and height: 55.5" x 30" x 36"
  • Play field size: 48" x 27"
  • Play field depth: 4.25"
  • Side walls: 1.5" thick
  • Back walls: 3.75" thick
  • Goals: 8.375" x 3" (with rounded top corners)
  • Rods: 6" apart from center, 3.125" up from surface
  • Goalie rod: 3" from back wall
If you are a woodworker, then most of the construction can easily be figured out. There are only two parts to the table that may need a bit of explaining. The first part is the ball return, and the second is the play field. The lower and upper halves of the foosball table are made separately and then assembled together with hinges so the the ball return can be accessed if necessary. With a ball return on both sides of the table, there is a simple "L" shaped ramp going from each goal to its respective return (the person who is scored on gets the ball).

The table top play field may take a bit more explaining. The base is 3/4" particle board with a paper playfield attached on top (either draw your own or you can find plans online). Then using the clear spray adhesive, secure the 1/8" plexiglas on top. Some people like a smooth surface, but many of the top tables have a textured surface which makes for better ball pinning. To texturize the surface, use 60 grit sandpaper to roughen up the plexiglas. This gives you a great play surface for around $30, but if money is not an issue, you can put out about $250 and purchase a play field.

Well, that is the basic information for building your own foosball tables. Jeff likes drawing up his own plans, but you can find more detailed instructions online if you do not enjoy that aspect of woodworking. Good luck!

 


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