Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray #3: Making progress...and lots of chips!

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 07-19-2008 06:20 AM 10904 reads 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Bad blades, lots of strips, and not enough clamps... Part 3 of Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray series Part 4: Sanding, Sanding and more Sanding....did I mention Sanding? »

Ok, after a brief side track, here we go again with the poker chip tray saga..

Where I last left you, I had gotten all the strips glued up into blanks. I had to wait about a week or so, to take a day off and pay a visit to my old boss and his wonderful wide belt sander. Sorry but I didn’t take any pictures of the process but it went something like this… The trays were only 10” long, and you cant put anything through the sander thats smaller than 16”, so I butted each tray end to end and sent them through. I fished a piece of long scrap out of the scrap bin that was the same starting thickness as my trays and sent that in after the last piece at the end. I also wasn’t going to be able to feed and catch the pieces as they emerged from the sander, so I set up a piece of MDF on some horses and the pieces dropped nicely on it. I had to remove a considerable amount of material ( I was 1/4” over) so I loaded a 60 grit belt and that made quick work of the uneven edges and excess glue. Then I kept sanding all the way to a final thickness of 1”, changing belts as I went for a final grit of 120. Here are some shots of the sanded pieces…


I love that wide belt sander..the blanks are perfectly flat and sanded nicely to 120..

I don’t’ have a drill pres so I ventured over to my buddies cabinet shop to use his ( it pays to know allot of people who own cabinet shops!). I ended up cutting my blanks to length on his RAS. Honestly, I should have waited till I got home..I ended up with some tearout..the blade isn’t the greatest in that RAS, and at home I have a 12” Makita SCMS with a pretty nice blade in it and a zero clearance insert.


Once the blanks were all cut to length, I then cut the walnut pieces to the same size. I was using a stop, so everything would be the same length. I then clamped the matched blanks together and clamped that to the drill press table and bored my 40 mm holes. I bought a brand new carbide tipped forstner bit and it payed off. I cut through the blanks like butta…no burning at all!


The drill press I was using was a little old..I think it had a bit of a run-out problem cause the holes weren’t perfectly straight..but nothing I couldn’t’ clean up with some sanding. I then set up the walnut pieces for boring. Marc’s method was to tape the two pieces together….I forgot that, so i just did it like this..


I apologize for the crappy picture…that was with my cell phone. Here is a couple shots of the raw pieces, not yet sanded…



Now it was time to really put the oscillating spindle sander I got for Xmas to work..


I was using the standard 80 grit sleeve that came with the sander, but I went to Home Depot and despite what I had read in the blogs, they offer a replacement pack of 80 grit sleeves in all the sizes, but heres the good also has a full set of 120 grit sleeves as well!



After thoroughly sanding the holes to 120, it was time to glue on the outside strips. After marking all the pieces so they would line up properly I started glueing..



Heres some trays out of the clamps and waiting for the next operation..


Heres a close up. Still got allot of sanding to do..


OK, so next operation will be rounding over the outside edges, and then routing a shallow groove over each chip slot, top and bottom so they can be stacked when the covers are off. So hopefully in the next episode that will be where were at!


11 comments so far

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 5371 days

#1 posted 07-19-2008 02:29 PM

Looking good – whens the next game?

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5353 days

#2 posted 07-19-2008 07:28 PM

Those look good. I’ve been thinking this might be a good project to make for my boss’s Christmas gift. I’ve enjoyed the blog.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


605 posts in 5641 days

#3 posted 07-19-2008 08:56 PM

Coming along very nicely! The contrasting colors are going to sing when they get the finish on them!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 5161 days

#4 posted 07-19-2008 11:33 PM

Looking good!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5858 days

#5 posted 07-19-2008 11:38 PM

Great job. I was looking at the magazine today when I was cleaning up the shop. It’s surprising what you find.

I’m cleaning up for Lee Jesberger’s visit tomorrow.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Chardt's profile


169 posts in 5059 days

#6 posted 07-21-2008 06:04 PM

Those look great! Have you made the chips yet? Or are you buying them?

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5415 days

#7 posted 07-22-2008 01:45 PM

Thanks for all the nice comments everyone. So far so good…upon closer inspection I really wish I had made all the crosscuts on my own saw…some of the pieces have considerable tear out. Oh well…it is what it is.

Chardt, these are for a friend of mine that I built a hold’em table for (see the first blog in this series). He has almost 500 of these quality clay casino chips to fill these up with!


View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 5288 days

#8 posted 07-22-2008 03:50 PM

These are very cool, thanks for sharing.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 5174 days

#9 posted 08-10-2008 12:59 AM

Great job.

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4646 days

#10 posted 12-07-2010 12:38 PM

Very cool.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Morneplaine's profile


7 posts in 2351 days

#11 posted 12-16-2015 01:24 AM

super good looking

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