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Topic: Table top
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Sep 8, 2005 10:34AM)
I am looking for a good busking table. I have a tray stand and a table top, but the table top is a bit too small and there is no rim around the table so the balls often fall off during the cups and balls.

I know a lot of people suggest making your own table, but if you have any experience with the following tables I would appreciate your input. The dimensions might not be exact but I think they are close. If there are any other tables on the market please let me know. Thanks

1.Scoundrels table: 19" x 32" (48.26cmX81.28cm) $495
Table bag $135

2.The ambitious card: 18x24 inches (45.72cm X 60.96cm) $195
(table top only)

3.Tabman café: 23.5 x 33.5 (59cm X 85.09cm) $300
Message: Posted by: magicjody (Sep 10, 2005 11:57PM)
I found a table that was going to be thrown away on the side of the street. I took it home and cleaned it up and bought some black fabric with stars and moons on it and my wife glued it to the table.
It cost like $3 for an awesome looking table. I would suggest looking at thrift or garage sales. Jody
Message: Posted by: Whiterabbit (Sep 11, 2005 05:57PM)
I made a nice table from a modified hardwood waiters table that I bought at a hardware store. Just raise the support by putting a screw in, put a sponge and velvet covered board on it and instant street table. Hang an open topped cabin bag (got to be a particular type though) over the struts at the back to use a s*****te, place the table top on the struts and and voila.

I know it's probably difficult to visualise what I did from the description, but aside from getting the gear it took twenty minutes and cost less than $100. Check out a few pictures on the net. You'll get a good idea from that. Also one of Gazzo's books shows you a picture of a street table - check it out.

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Euangelion (Sep 12, 2005 10:49AM)
All three of the above are excellent. All will serve you for many years. Invest in quality for that is what it is; an investment.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Sep 12, 2005 01:23PM)
Make one and see how you like it. I did
.. and I didn't like it. In fact I made a few.
Didn't like any of them because they looked cheap
and unprofessional. But I'm glad I did it. Gave me ideas for
what I wanted in the long run and gave me an appreciation for
those who can really do nice work with wood.

So now I use (and sell) one that a
good friend of mine makes. They are all made by hand and they
take hours to make over many days.

They were originally covered with suede but we've switched to
velvet. The suede is extremely durable and nice looking and great
for buskers. The velvet works better with cards, coins, etc.

The other 2 tables mentioned above are also held to the same
high standards.

I think you should try making all your own props, etc. if you can.
If you like them, use them!
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Sep 12, 2005 01:41PM)
I think our friend Mario, in one of his posts about tables, (I suggest you search and review all of the tables posts) mentioned using a picture frame as the border to keep the balls from rolling off. And I agree, a thin pciture frame would work fine, and look pretty "finished",

I am currently building my new tabletop now, to go on a new keyboard stand I just got that is very light and highly adjustable, and I am using molding from a building supply store (it is less than 50 cents a foot, and ornate enough to look nice) for the edge/border. My table top will double for other things, as well as cups and balls so it is probably bigger than most people would use. But the back of the top which will show when the table is closed will have a painted sign too, so bigger is fine there too.

You don't have to be a master carpenter to put one of these together, but as Frank wisely says, you will get an appreciation for the difference between a home made table, and a crafted table by a real wood worker. And worse case, you will find out what you like and don't like about the table, and if you build it yourself you can change it until you like it, or decide to get [b][i]professional help[/i][/b].

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Sep 12, 2005 09:37PM)
I really like the larger tabletop. I love having the extra room. I really hate a cramped feel when I perform cups and balls.

I went to the Michael Ammar lecture a few years back and he had with him a 3-legged table at the lecture. The quality was horrid. Poor paint job and looked pretty cheezy.
You would not want to perform on it with people sitting or standing right up next to it.

At a distance, however, it looked just fine.
Message: Posted by: deerbourne (Sep 16, 2005 10:48PM)
I think that was the one I saw last weekend (black frame with a red surface). Wasn't too bad but it was really small.

I had Michael Baker (here on the Café) make mine. It is 30" x 20" and the inside edge rolls down. Unfortunately I don't remember what I paid for it. I'm sure Michael could tell you.

You can see it [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/bloodstone/43937287]here[/url].

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 17, 2005 02:06PM)
Once you get your table out on the street it can be difficult to keep it looking good. I recommend that you carry with you the stain markers put out by MinWax. These dry quickly and cover a multitude of sins.
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (Sep 19, 2005 07:13AM)
Thanks for all the info guys. I can see the advantages of umaking a table top, but I want something really professional looking. I applied for an audition the other day to a well known theme park. If I audition I want to have professional looking props. I haven't made a decision yet about which table to get.

Deerbourne, that is a very nice looking table top!!!
Message: Posted by: bwarren3 (Nov 21, 2005 08:35PM)
That is one gorgeous table. I had a craftsman make the tabletop to my specs then added a waiters fold-up under it. Next one will be even larger.
Nice job.
Message: Posted by: sdmagic (Nov 21, 2005 09:20PM)
Here's an idea that worked well for me... go to an Picture Frame shop (Aaron Brothers) or IKEA and look at their larger picture frames... they come in many designs, sizes and weights.

Throw away the glass, glue some 1/4" high cotton "batting" (fabric store) to the wooden backing, the add some velvet to the top to finish it off (just use a stapler to secure the velvet to the back of the wooden piece).

Place the picture frame / closeup table on top of either a keyboard stand (Guitar Center) or go to a restaurant supply place and pick up a waiter's stand. Voila!

The table looks good, is sturdy, and it shouldn't cost over $100.

Try to get a lighter weight picture frame if you'll be carrying it around on the streets! Also.. get a frame that is deep enough to provide a rim around the perimeter if you do cups and balls.

Instead of a picture frame you can also use a "shadow box". These are also inexpensive, and give you a bigger rim around the table. Shadow boxes can be found at craft stores like Michaels.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Nov 21, 2005 10:59PM)
Making a serviceable table is soooo easy! And fun! It may not have the features or years of service of a Tabman table, but you're not out much, and if you don't like it you just do it again. I'm on table top number four now. Not that the first three were bad, or inferior. Just different.

For Cups and Balls give yourself plenty of room. 19-24 inches deep and 30-34 inches wide. All but Frank's Ambitious table are in this size range. Frank is going for portability so he builds what works for him. I had one his size, and using the Gazzo size cups, the table was just too small. I kept bumping the balls off the neighboring cups with my arm as I reached for a cup. Give yourself plenty of room.

http://www.gamblersgeneralstore.com sells a 54" square of green poker cloth for $18 that should do fine for two tables or more. Check the photo gallery on [url=http://www.whithaydn.com/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=11&pos=30]School for Scoundrels[/url] for my table top.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Nov 22, 2005 02:14AM)
If you want to do the cups & balls and you are working with a pouch, the height of the table is important. the table top should be so high that the brim of your pouch is just and inch under it.
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Nov 22, 2005 09:55AM)
I recently picked up a very nice picture frame 28 X 20 (I think, will have to check) I paid too much for it, ($22), but it looked really nice, and I was in a hurry. You can probably find a suitable frame at Goodwill or a thrift store cheap enough.

I then took a piece of 1/4 inch plywood, cut to fit inside the frame and used double sided tape to secure an indoor/outdoor carpet scrap also cut to size, that I got for for $5 (actually got 3' x 12' of it for $5) to the plywood. I then put the plywood with the carpet into the frame, and screwed a couple of small blocks into the back of the frame in the corners to hold it together.

It looks great as the frame has a black lacquer finish and goes well with the black carpet which by the way, works great for cups and balls. You do not need the texture of a closeup pad for cups and balls! The frame does not sit up so high that it blocks vision of what is happening on the table surface, but it will stop a ball, or orange from rolling off the top.

The table top sits on top of my black metal "garage sale acquired $5" keyboard stand and so it is easily adjustable. I took the table with top to Las Vegas and used it during the Gazzo Master Class and it served quite well, and has served me well since.

Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 22, 2005 11:10AM)
Actually, last week I added a 20x26 table to my website for those that like a larger surface. The one we made for Tom Frank was this size.

I kind of like the 18x24 personally. Seems large enough for cups and balls to me but my new table will be the larger size with royal burgundy velvet on one side, and a dice stacking surface on the other. I'll see if I really like that much more real estate.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Nov 22, 2005 11:26AM)
The Starsini 18x24 is ideal for travel (So light!) I consider it to be a working table.
I use the larger Scoundrels table for Corporate and Local work.
Gazzo cups for the Scoundrels, Cellini Cups for the Starsini.
Both are superb.
Message: Posted by: saheer (Nov 22, 2005 01:17PM)
On 2005-09-17 15:06, Bill Palmer wrote:
Once you get your table out on the street it can be difficult to keep it looking good. I recommend that you carry with you the stain markers put out by MinWax. These dry quickly and cover a multitude of sins.


Bill Palmer's right, as usual. I've found that brown shoe polish works. Just be sure that you cleaned up any excess.

I hate to do this, since I've more than once been guilty of going off the posted topic, but has anyone tried one of the folding harbin-style tables like Cellini used? I imagine they're quite expensive and wonder about their durability and stability - particularly if you had a larger top.
Message: Posted by: Joe Howard (Nov 22, 2005 01:44PM)
My table base is is a wooden tray jack I bought at a restaurant supply house. The top is about 27"x19". I went to either A.C. Moore or Michaels, (I can't remember which), and bought the pieces to make a picture frame. You can by them in packs of 2 of various sizes. I picked out the length I wanted, and the width I wanted, the color I wanted, and put the frame together. Then I bought a good piece of plywood 3/8" thick, and cut it to the size of the frame. I kept it a little loose, maybe 1/8 of an inch play all around to allow for the covering to fit. Then I covered it in 2 layers of thin felt and stapled it down. Then I got some upholstery fabric and stapled that down over the felt. I took some gaffers tape and taped down the edges on the back. I covered the exposed back surface with some contact paper in case I wanted to stack dice or use the table without messing up the working surface. I also put some small "L" shaped mending plates from Home Depot on the back corners for strength, and also put some "L" shaped plates on the corners with the angle sticking out into the middle of the table to hold the plywood in place. ( I just pressure fit it in the frame, and nothing was holding it in.) The whole thing took me about an hour to make.

I had planned on using it as a quick temporary solution until I came up with a more permanent table, but I've been using it for the last 2 1/2 years. It looks pretty good for what it is. The tables mentioned above look nicer are probably stronger and better constructed, but mine only cost me about 40.00.

Bill Palmer has a great table that he explains how to build in his Renaissance Festival book. (there's a lot of other great stuff in that book.) I've already been eyeing the parts I need for it when my base wears out, ( which is probably pretty soon.) The base takes a beating from kids, (and you), leaning on it. It get wobbly. I've replaced all the screws in the thing with bigger ones.

I also made a carrying bag out of denim for the top. I just hot glued it together and put a couple of snaps in it to keep it closed. It's lasted as long as the top, and shows no sign of wear.

Joe H
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Nov 22, 2005 03:57PM)
[url=http://foreverriel.shutterfly.com/action/]Here[/url] is the stand I've been working on.

It's been as much fun putting it together as it has been using it.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 22, 2005 10:39PM)
On 2005-11-22 14:17, saheer wrote:
I hate to do this, since I've more than once been guilty of going off the posted topic, but has anyone tried one of the folding harbin-style tables like Cellini used? I imagine they're quite expensive and wonder about their durability and stability - particularly if you had a larger top.

I used one in the beginning of the season this year and had a hell of a time with it. They are fairly flimsy and even with the cut outs on the legs topple easily in the wind.

I switched to one of those el-cheepo appearing tables that have a tripod base and a red table top with gold fringe. This was a much more sturdy table for 25 bucks than my $250 Russian job. But, even that had problems and in the end went to a busker style table similar to the tray jack and top but bigger, sturdier, and more portable. I also used a Lefler suitcase table with a framed tabletop when working my usual pitch and loved it. I could fit everything into it including my sound system. I'd flip that sucker open, put the top on it, yank out my amp can and iCue, put on the wireless mic and was good to go. It broke down quick too.

The downside was it was very heavy. So when working some of the other spots where I moved around a lot the other rig was a better fit.


Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Nov 23, 2005 12:49AM)
I use the same thing as Danny for practically all my shows.

A small lefler pro table with my table top on top.
Everything fits in my lefler table except my new 12" rings.

Those I keep in the table bag with the tabletop.

A great combo. The lefler table is pretty heavy but the convenience outweighs the weight issue. Plus the wheels help.
Message: Posted by: saheer (Nov 25, 2005 12:49PM)
Thanks for the information!