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The Unconventional Guide to Purchasing Billiard Tables

A billiard table or more commonly known as a Pool table can be a great investment for any home. With proper care and maintenance, it could last you for decades, and it brings the family that owns one thousands of hours of enjoyment. Here are some questions to think about while shopping for a new billiard/pool table.

Pool tables, what to consider

Consider an 8-foot table (refers to a length twice its width of four feet) as presenting a medium challenge. Smaller sizes create many clustered balls and larger tables can cause frustration by forcing longer, difficult shot making.

If you have adequate room space, though, you might opt for a 9-foot table. As skills grow you'll be a champ when visiting “puny” 8-footers.

Allow for space on all sides of the table to stroke cue sticks and for convenient cue storage. Show me a tight poolroom and I'll show you wall marks from cues smacking the walls.

Use six feet of space per side, plus a few inches for backswings.

Blue, Green or Red Felt

Blues and greens are simplest to sight upon. Red is a frequent choice for felt, too, but other colors can be distracting and show chalk and liquid or grease stains more easily. Felts are available in any color of the rainbow to suit your décor.

Leveling Your Table

Leveling or re-leveling a new or used table becomes a simple matter with the correct caliper and some plastic playing cards (cards make easy shims, hundredths of an inch thick to go under a table leg as needed).

What you want is to have your new or used table installed at home, followed by a second and possibly third leveling visit months later after giving the table time to settle in place. Do not purchase a table without service after the sale to keep it perfectly level.

Slate Composition

Cheap, mass-produced tables use a wooden bed beneath the cloth. The best playability and durability is with heavyweight slate underlay instead.

A less costly surface is also easier to transport than a one-piece slate--slate slates made as three-piece construction--but they ought to be laid in place by a highly competent installer, so the table is level throughout and the fine seams between sections do not affect play as bumps under the felt. Ensure that the table has slate at least 7/8 of an inch thick, undergirded by slate liners.

Table Anchor

Pick a spot for your poolroom with the most level flooring possible. Bare floors or carpeting is no matter; a table may weigh over one ton and will settle into place on its own. Be prepared to leave the new furniture in place for years to come! Humidity and temperature play a role also and affect the balls and cloth both. The best location for your table is inside in a cool, dry room of your home.

Billiard Accessories

A few cues with a floor rack for storage or even a simple clip holder, a set of decent balls with a wooden rack to gather them in place on the table, a specially made table brush for cloth maintenance (available for a few dollars) and you are ready.

No greens fees or club memberships are required. You’ll want a personal cue but won’t need three rackets or 14 clubs in a big bag. Once the new table is in place

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