Shuffleboard tables are primarily made of strong and workable wood. Many shuffleboard tables can be crafted with either maple, birch, mahogany, bamboo, or oak. These traditionally crafted tables also include a protective layer of plastic laminate or wood-grain vinyl to protect that table’s play surface. It’s highly recommended that you purchase or make your shuffleboard table out of hardwood, as they are less prone to warping.
Tables made with these types of wood tend to go for higher retail prices and are less prone to warping, but there are also alternatives that use rubberwood and poplar, which are relatively cheaper, but typically lower in quality. These lower-quality woods may not last as long as hardwood shuffleboard tables, so it’s up to the buyer to ask what kind of materials the table is made of before purchase.
Canadian maple trees are a very common material used in the creation of shuffleboard tables. Maple is an incredibly durable type of wood and can last for many years if properly taken care of. Maple doesn’t warp as easily as other types of wood, making it the ideal choice of shuffleboard table material.
If exposed to too much heat, or stored in a rather humid area, shuffleboard tables can expand and shrink, damaging the playing surface. While tables made of maple are certainly stronger, you should still keep in mind the location that you choose to set up your table. Ideally, you shouldn’t place your table in direct sunlight and use a climatic adjuster to help keep your table aligned.
Russian birch is an alternative wood that some shuffleboard tables can be made from. Russian birch can be found all throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It’s considered a medium-hard species of wood, which means that it’s incredibly durable, but still soft enough to work with when making your own shuffleboard table.
Mahogany is a really high-quality wood that tends to run on the more expensive side. It’s straight-grained and has an elegant reddish-brown tone. The wood doesn’t usually have voids or pockets, meaning that the wood is very strong and isn’t as susceptible to warping. Because of its internal structure, mahogany is so air-tight that it resists rot. There’s a reason why mahogany is often used in the making of cabinets, boats and other tables!
Bamboo is honestly one of the earth’s most versatile and strongest woods out there. You can find bamboo wood boards at your local hardware store. They’re both relatively inexpensive and incredibly strong. They may be slightly more difficult to work with, however, because of how stiff they can be. But when you’re looking to make a shuffleboard table, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Bamboo wood can last a very long time and isn’t prone to warping under fluctuating climate factors.
Oak is another go-to material for shuffleboard table makers. Oak can be found in plentiful supply all across the Northern Hemisphere. It’s known for being incredibly strong, heavy, and durable. When polished, oak can give off a beautiful golden-brown tone, which can make your shuffleboard table really stand out (even after many coatings of wax and silicone spray)!
What is rubberwood? Rubberwood is a medium-density wood made from the Pará rubber tree. These trees are used to harvest rubber, and once they’ve been harvested and no longer serve any function, it’s wood can be used as a construction material. Some shuffleboards can be made from rubberwood, often resulting in a cheaper retail price, as it’s not exactly a high-quality material.
Rubberwood is treated with chemicals to prevent fungal and insect infestation, but should not be used for shuffleboard tables kept outside, as exposure to moisture can easily warp the wood surface. Rubberwood may be suitable for shuffleboard tables kept indoors where the climate is much more stable.
Some shuffleboard tables can be made of poplar, which is actually a very strong and durable wood similar to that of oak. The main difference between poplar and oak is that poplar is much lighter in weight. It’s incredibly flexible and close-grained, meaning that it may actually be a very good alternative to more expensive types of material. The reason that it’s less expensive is that poplar is very easy to harvest and grows in abundance all-year around.
There’s a reason why plywood can be found in many cheaper products. Plywood is made by pressing thin layers of wood veneer together and gluing them together under extreme pressure. Plywood is often thinner and stiffer, making it a material that’s more difficult to work with and maintain over time. Due to the way that it’s pressed together, plywood isn’t prone to a lot of warping but can split if nailed or drilled incorrectly.
Other Shuffleboard Materials
While this may be optional, placing a fabric surface on the inside of your shuffleboard table’s box can add a hint of elegance and bring the whole model together. Playing a layer of velvet down can help soften the blow of pucks that fall off the playing surface and into the gutter.
In turn, this can help reduce denting and chips on the inside of the box, as well as keep your pucks in good shape. Lining the box with a fabric can also decrease the amount of sound the pucks give off when they fall off the playing surface.
All shuffleboard tables need some sort of scoring indicator. Often times, scoring lines or circles will be painted on the surface. But if you’re making your own shuffleboard from scratch, you can also draw your game board by using an assortment of felt-tip pens or markers.
If you’re making your own shuffleboard, it’s a good idea to ask about paints that are better suited for wood surfaces. Depending on what type of wood your shuffleboard is made of, you may need to purchase either oil-based or water-based paint. You want to make sure that the paint’s color remains vibrant even after many wax applications and games.
Nuts, Bolts, and Screws
All shuffleboard tables use nuts, bolts, and screws to keep its structure. It goes without saying that your shuffleboard table would probably fall apart without them!
If you’re planning on making your own shuffleboard table, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a lot of wood glue. Using wood glue is one of the best ways to keep pieces together in a seamless fashion. It’s also a great way to keep plywood together, especially if you don’t want to risk splitting the wood with an ill-placed nail or screw. That can be a rather costly mistake if you do!
It’s highly likely that your shuffleboard table’s play surface has been sealed with a protective layer of polyurethane. Polyurethane helps protect the wood from chips, scratches, and discoloration over time. It also provides a smoother surface so that you can more easily apply speed wax and silicone spray.
Wax and Silicone Spray
While not a part of your shuffleboard table’s initial assembly, wax and silicone spray will become an important part of your table. It’s important to educate yourself about the types of speed wax there are in order to maintain your table properly and ensure that you continue to have an excellent game experience.
Even if you have purchased a shuffleboard table made of high-quality hardwood that isn’t prone to warping, it’s still a good idea to include a climatic adjuster. A climatic adjuster is bolted to the bottom of the board. The slightest concave dip or convex bulge can affect your game.
Keeping the playing surface as flat and straight as possible is key to making sure that your games run as smoothly as possible. Simply tighten or loosen the bolts on your climatic adjuster to achieve the level you want. Many shuffleboard tables have multiple climatic adjusters along the bottom of its length, so you’ll need to adjust each one to keep the entire play surface a uniform level.