Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray #1: Working Out the Design & a Trip to the Cutoff Bin

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Blog entry by Brad_Nailor posted 06-09-2008 03:09 AM 16001 reads 11 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Woodwhisperer Poker Chip Tray series Part 2: Bad blades, lots of strips, and not enough clamps... »

Hey everyone…
A while back I built a hold’em poker table for a friend of mine Click for details
and recently I was invited to a game at his house. When he brought out the poker accessories he had these real nice clay poker chips in a metal briefcase. I thought how nice it would be to have some wood trays that matched the table. I remember seeing an article in a Woodcraft magazine (Mar ‘07) by Marc Spagnuolo AKA” The Wood Whisperer” for some nice wooden chip trays. I dug up the article and they seemed perfect…great looking, easy to execute and stackable. The article was detailed enough to build from, but of course I can’t nail 2 boards together without doing a few Sketchup/Podium renders…and I wanted to monkey with a different look. After a little brainstorming I came up with this.

I am putting a link below each pic to the full size image…. 640×480 just dosn’t do these justice!

Here is a basic look at the tray. I kept all of Marc’s dimensions and proportions. I threw in this view and the exploded view with dimensions in case anyone out there doesn’t have the magazine and wants to build one of these. I am using hard maple and walnut.


Heres an exploded view of all the individual segments and their sizes. I had the guy at the hardwood dealer plane everything oversize so I don’t have to sweat the glue ups as much..I will just plane or sand them to finished width of 1”


All these images were drawn in Sketchup and then rendered in Podium. Podium doesn’t recognize line work or text so to get the line work and text into the image, I had to use a 2D export of the hidden view and combined it with my rendered image in photoshop. I was trying to get a mix between photo real render, and industrial illustration..


A trip to the local hardwood dealer a mile from my house that has a wall of cutoffs and deals yielded all the wood I will need to make the 5 chip trays that my friend needs ( he has slightly under 500 chips). The walnut I got from the scrap bin (“scrap sounds so harsh..I like “undersized stock” better) is allot darker than the brown in these’s almost black..

Basically the procedure is rip all my pieces to exact widths, glue up my blanks for the tops and bottoms without the 2 end pieces of walnut. After the glueup, I size the blanks to finished dimensions. Then I clamp together a “top” and “bottom” lay out the hole pattern then bore the 40mm holes. Then I mate up two pieces of walnut for the end pieces and bore a 1” hole in those. Then I glue the end pieces onto my tops/bottoms and round over the edges. I am thinking a few sprayed coats of catalyzed lacquer for these…no stain. I just realized I didn’t include the shallow grooves routed over each row so they can be stacked securely with the tops off…DOAH!


8 comments so far

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

162 posts in 3213 days

#1 posted 06-09-2008 04:10 AM

Wow Dave, that is cool. Some of the casinos around here should see those. Why don’t you try sending some pictures to them? You never know buddy. bye for now.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#2 posted 06-09-2008 04:47 AM

This will be a great addition to a great project. The table is definitely top-shelf! I can tell that this will be as well.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3261 days

#3 posted 06-10-2008 05:42 PM

That is going to make some nice tray’s it will go great with the table.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


602 posts in 3605 days

#4 posted 06-19-2008 05:28 AM

I can’t wait to see these come together. I love the alternating stripes!

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

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3272 days

#5 posted 06-20-2008 01:11 AM

Great blog David & nice table.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Greg Cagle's profile

Greg Cagle

4 posts in 2596 days

#6 posted 09-16-2009 01:55 AM

This is one of the most beautiful chip racks I’ve seen, nice work. I’ve seen a lot of them, I am the owner of the Pharaoh's Club poker chips in the finished image.

-- Greg Cagle,

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#7 posted 09-16-2009 06:33 AM

Cool blog

-- Custom furniture

View Morneplaine's profile


7 posts in 314 days

#8 posted 12-16-2015 01:20 AM

very cool love it

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