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How do I install a pool table?

Are all natural gum rubber rails the same?

Is there different types of body construction, they all look similar from the top?

Does the thickness of the slate make a better playing table?

Does slate warp?

What should I look for when buying a used table?

 
   

 

 

How do I install a pool table?

All manufactures will agree that a slate pool table should only be installed by a trained pool table mechanic. Warranty on a table is only honored by manufactures when the table is installed by a qualified mechanic. When installing the table all pieces of slate must be true and flat, this is not something the average handyman is going to be able to do. Proper tightening of all screws is important, too tight and there is a chance of a crack while too loose could leave the table room to move. Stretching the felt takes years of experience to master. One must be sure to have correct tautness in order for the table to play and wear properly. The alignment and positioning of the rails also play a critical part of how the table will play.  Here at All About Billiards Mark has 20 years of experience,  that means he has worked on thousands of tables not only “the best in billiards” but on all brands. “The table is only as level as the person who put it together.” Do you want to invest your hard earned money on a table and not have it play the best it can?

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Are all natural gum rubber rails the same?

There are five grades of natural gum rubber. Most slate pool table manufactures claim to have natural gum rubber and say they meet BCA standards. This may be true but the higher the grade of gum rubber, the more accurate the rebound of the ball and the more lively the response. Olhausen is the only company to offer the Accu-fast cushion with a lifetime warranty, made from premium grade rubber mixed with proprietary chemicals and pigments to increase accuracy.  Anti revision chemicals are used to prevent the rubber from reverting back to its natural state. A true k-66 face profile is used as a standard for over a century. 100% bonding, compared to 66% used by most manufactures ensures the best possible end product. Of coarse the cushions are made in the USA to unsure the quality control need to produce the most important part of the game.

What the rubber is attached to also makes a difference in the play of the ball. A hard backing secured properly to the slate will make all the difference in how the ball will react. A rail secured with free floating plates held by a staple will vibrate loose and change the play of your table.  This will also need regular tightening to keep in place and have a rattling sound. Olhausen tables are installed on only hardwoods using “T nut” construction. This combined with high quality bolts and washers maintain a consistent level of play.

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Is there different types of body construction, they all look similar from the top?

Many tables designed have been copied from other larger brand manufactures. The problem with a copy is that corners are cut to make the selling price lower. Most of us have heard the saying “You only get what you pay for”, this very true in pool table designs. Most copies are made over seas with inexpensive labour, therefore the attention to detail is lost because of non skilled workers. The frame is made of many pieces so more tables can be packed into shipping container, the quality of wood is generally overlooked which can cause the finished table warp in the future. Just because the lumber is from North America does not mean the wood is high quality. Cheap low quality lumber makes for a poor strength final product that has lots of screw, bolts and metal brackets that weaken the overall integrity of the table. A true flat surface is needed to stabilize the slate.  We do not drive a car with four bald tires, or build a house on a weak foundation why would we buy a table the will shift when you put any weight against it.

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Does the thickness of the slate make a better playing table?
 
The thickness of slate is not as important as where it comes from and how it is finished. More importantly, what is the slate being laid on?
For many years the standard thickness of billiard table slate was ¾”, making 1” an upgrade for 4x8 tables.
The thickness of the slate has minimal effect on the overall playability of the table. Thick slate is often used to add weight to a table giving customers the false impression of stability which should come from the tables frame.
Olhausen offers 7/8” thick slate, with a bed liner glued to the back as a standard, not ¾, with an up grade of 1”.  By attaching a bed liner with glue not screws, the ball will have less vibration sound when rolling on the table; this also provides a more stable piece of slate when handling during shipping and installation. The bed liner also offers the ability to staple cloth to the slate instead of gluing. Stapling will allow for a much more controlled installation and removal of cloth, therefore improving the end playing enjoyment.

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Does slate warp?

No, slate can not warp. The best slate in the world comes from Italy; hundreds of years working with the stone have provided them with experience needed to create the highest quality finish.  Diamond honed slate is ground on the top surface with a series of peaks allowing the surface to be much truer and flat. Many tables now offer slate from the orient and Brazil.  If the slate is not true and flat before it is installed than how will a mechanic be able to make it level on the table?

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What should I look for when buying a used table?

When buying used there are many factors that come into play. 

What shape is the cloth in, and does it need to be replaced? 

Does it have a slate bed in it? 

Does the table have good working rubber on all the cushions, is the rubber the same age and consistency for the table to play properly. This is an expensive part of the table to replace if the rails are dead.

What shape are the accessories in? 

Another question you should ask is what kind of wood is the table made from, or is it even real wood?
A table should be set up and moved by a professional because each slate slab can start at a weight of 145 pounds. As the table gets bigger, the slate becomes bigger which means each piece becomes heavier. If a piece is damaged you will want to replace all 3 as they should be a matched set.
You should also be aware of whether or not the table has the type of rails you want (pool or snooker).

Very often you can purchase a new Olhausen table, complete with no headaches for about the same price, as a used table that is filled with many hidden costs. Everything you need to get playing is included, plus professional installation. For many customers a billiard table is a “once in a life time purchase”, this why it is so important you know what you getting for your money. By contacting our store we can educate you about what to look for and give you comparable pricing from new to used. We will also educate you about the details of what makes up a great playing table.  If you decide to buy used we can move it, recover it, replace rails, or just sell you the accessories you will require.

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