by Ryan O'Connell
Reasons for building your own
After endless searching the vast Internet Prairie I came to a conclusion: that there is no one providing a suitable facsimile of a faro layout at a reasonable cost. Some were $55 pieces of felt with the cards silk-screened on them, others ranged up into the $300's, and originals on eBay were out of my starving student price range. So I decided to make my own. Since I am an amateur woodworker, I do make mistakes. I also get bright ideas afterward, so read through the instructions and adjust accordingly.
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There are many benefits for building your own layout..
- It's cheaper.
- It's customizable. Do you want yours to fold? Which ways? Do you want it big or small?
- You get to play with your tools and make sawdust.
- A personal connection with your handy work
- Bragging rights.
Before you start taking notes you should probably already be familiar with what a layout or a case counter is, and if not, it can be found in the How to Play section. The plans are for a typical 2-fold faro layout sized 42 inches by 20 inches.
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- A piece of wood at least 42' by 20'
- A piece of felt at least 60' by 22'
- Ruler or tape measure and pencil.
- 1 box Carpet tacks, sz #10
- 2 pair of smallish hinges and screws
- batting material
- paint or a spare deck of cards
Faro Card Game
Tools to be used:
- Table saw
- Electric Screw driver
This layout is going to fold in on itself, so that the folding edges lie flush with each other like closed double doors. In order to do this the two folding sides added together should equal the length of the larger board. So in this case 42 divided by 2 is 21 and 21 divided by 2 is 10.5. So the two smaller boards will be 10.5' x 20' and the larger one will be 21' x 20'.
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<----This should now look like the photo to the left. That's the easy part, now things are going to get tricky.
The batting is used to insulate the felt from the wood since we aren't sanding anything. It would be a loss to work so much at this and have it tear. Also, it's not so hard on the hands. Batting gives the playing surface a pleasant feel and a soft surface as well as padding. How many layers of batting you wish to use is up to you. But as I found out, even 2 layers can really loft your table and make the hinges I bought a tight fit, depending on how thick of a board you have! I had to go out an buy 2 new ones!The batting sheet should be large enough to cover the edges. What I did was that I marked out where my hinges would go and cut those areas out to have a good flush fit when I screwed the hinges in. Glue down the batting for each of the 3 individual boards. Hold the areas down where you glue because sometimes it doesn't want to stay and wait for it to dry. Hopefully you've left the areas where you wanted to put the hinges in clear of batting. Go ahead and screw those bad boys in but make sure they are even or it will look funny or not work.
Feel how it Felt
The Last Steps
Now you should have a green folding table like object. It has a playable surface but nothing on it to play with. Let's fix that. You have two options. Paint or glue. Both have good and bad points.
- Painting card Pros: Can look really good if you know what you are doing. Permanent touch up maintenance now and then.
- Painting card Cons: Might be hard to do on a felt surface, accidents could be permanent, exact placement necessary.
- Gluing cards Pros: Easy to do, requires no artistic ability.
- Gluing cards Cons: Might want to put a protective sealer on the cards before gluing and that may be hazardous to your cards, possible warping later on, require the sacrifice of a deck, exact placement necessary.
I chose to glue my cards, because I have no artistic ability. I chose to use a satin sealer on my cards to help protect them from whatever comes up and after testing it on some sacrificed cards a thin layer looked the best. As I found out much later, Many faro layouts had their cards shellacked on. The exact placement of the cards is crucial. I would heartily suggest old style cards without indices (the little numbers in the corners that tell you what the cards value is) and as thick as you can get them. You can pick up such a pack from Parnell Cards. I chose to have the cards be separated by 3' so that two 1.5' checks can be placed between the cards in betting. If you were sitting at the table as the dealer the cards should be facing you! Note how all the cards are arranged below..
This is the dealer's side of the board
This is the punter's side of the board. Image from Here.
Ace is below the King, 7 splits the difference on the end. It seems that Spades were used most often, but I have seen it done with Clubs. If you have 13 cards that are 3.5' by 2.5' and you want 3' gaps between all of them you end up with a necessary playing field of 41.5' x 16'. Why is this model 42' by 20'? So that you have the option to put a 'High Card ' bar on the top (that faces the punters). When you are putting down your cards I suggest you tape them so that they stay. The end result should look like this:
You can add little things to make it your own. You can paint a picture on the blank wood panels on the back of the table. You can add a High card option with closely matched colored paper glued to another sacrificed card, you could add a cool latch like I did. Or you can take a break. You deserve it.
New Updated Photos for Fine Tuning Your Table!!
In Summer of 2010, I visited Tombstone, AZ in search of Faro stuff. I was pointed to the Historic Bird Cage Theater where they had a Faro table on display. I paid up to take a look and a got a few good photos on the fine tuning of the faro board itself, so here they are.
The first photo is the table I made images of as a whole. The second photo shows the detail of the cards such as that they were directly shellacked to the table, it isn't aesthetic but it was easy and accurate to do. The third photo is the most important, in my opinion, gives clues as to how to place the hinges under the felt. I hope this helps you in the creation of your own board.
Faro Card Game Free
- 2 abacii
- drill press
- scrap wood
- masking tape
- specialty hinges with screws
Faro Table Gambling
The Last Step