View Full Version : Buying a new table; do I REALLY need solid wood ?

10-03-2004, 09:06 PM
Firstly, let me preface my post by saying that the information I have found in these forums have been extremely helpful. That said, I am looking for some more information/advice regarding my upcoming table purchase.

I started out wanted to spend around $2,000-$2,500. But, before you know it, I was finding myself looking at $3,500 solid-wood tables. Iím now trying to get my champagne dreams in-line with my empty wallet. I donít want to finance a more expensive table, so again looking for a sub-$2K table I could purchase with cash.

Thus far, Iíve checked out some Prolines, Olhausens, and Brunswicks. I like the Brunswick Avalon, but not the $3,500 cost; the Bradford was nice, too, but again, thatís about $500+ over what I really want to spend.

As far as the Olhausens are concerned, I looked at a $3,400 Santa Ana, which I sort of liked. The one thing about Olhausens that Iím taking into account is the construction. Looking underneath the tables, even the solid wood ones, the cross beams are supported by what looks to be a scrap cut of plywood stapled to the base. I really wasnít impressed when I saw the metal brackets and little piece of scrap plywood holding the supports. The pockets and their connections are pretty cheesy, too.

So my questions are simply this:

I hear from both salesmen and players alike that the playability is relatively the same on the veneer/laminate tables as their more expensive tables; itís just the wood vs. laminate debate, and the price differential is attributable to the base construction. Given that I am looking for a nice table to fine-tune my game, and given that Iíll be using the table for about 5 years before I relocate further South (hope to leave D.C. and head to Florida in the next 5 years or so, and would want to buy my dream table once I am a little more permanent), would I not be better served just getting a lower-line model and saver $? My wife, of course, wants the nice furniture piece, but I am just looking for a perfectly true roll and a table that plays like a real table should.

In short, I am looking for a solid (not wood-wise, of course, just a solid no-worry construction) that will play true for years to come and not have to worry about warping wood and wandering balls /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I would also like the table to have a decent residual/re-sale valueÖif I use it for, say, 3 years, it would be nice to recoup ~50% of the original purchase price; is that a reasonable estimate?

10-04-2004, 07:15 AM
Just went through the same process. Ended up staying within my self-imposed budget and went with immediate playability versus all wood, fine furniture type construction. I bought a 7' Olhausen Drake with Accu-Fast cushions and Simonis 860 cloth. It is a laminate table with Olhausen's Uniliner construction. I bought from an "all billiards" long term dealer and went alot on dealer and manufacturer reputation. I believe the table will play very well right now. 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now, only time will tell. Like you, I wanted an all wood table, 1" or thicker slate, fine furniture corner and leg construction, and alot of weight. But, as you have discovered, you pay alot for such things. By the way, the Vitale tables I at looked were very impressive pieces of furniture.

10-04-2004, 10:05 AM
I thought I saw a thread where someone posted that a "Virginian" ran them $1800+ delivery/setup...trying to troll through all the threads and see if I can't dig that up again.

So you think that the cheaper base models with the same slate/cloth as the more expensive solid wood tables will play about the same?

10-04-2004, 11:48 AM
I just bought me a new table around 7 months ago. I looked at many manufacturers. Thought I was going to settle on a Diamond Brand, but chose to purchase an AMF Huntington. It's a 7 footer, list price is around $4100.00 but I was able to get it for around $ 2700 delivered setup and acessory package. This table gets around 15 to 25 hours a week played on it and it is very durable. Good Luck , Hammer

10-04-2004, 12:38 PM
I do not know whether it will play the same, but both the dealer and Olhausen stated it would. I was left with the impression that the additional money gets you a nicer piece of furniture and, perhaps, some longevity in the life of the table.

10-05-2004, 07:00 AM
I have had both Olhausen and Brunswick. I would not buy an Olhausen again. However, I'm sure there are many happy Olhausen owners also. The largerst problems I had were generally centered around construction issues that made the pockets larger than BCA specs and the table playing surface was not BCA spec. The installer, Muellers Olhausen rep., said the type of pockets and pin system they use on their open pocket tables were the problem. I went to a Bunswick dealer and measured a bunch of their display tables and they were all right where they were supposed to be. Also, Olhausen will use 3/4 slate on tables between 7-8 foot. I was drawn to them for the same reasons - Price. However, IMO I actually think they are overpriced for what you get. I decided the extra money was worth it to get the surface and playing quality I wanted. If those issues are important to you, no matter what you buy, make them stand by what they say they are selling you. After all, its a big investment to most of us.

10-05-2004, 07:32 AM
I don't have much real knowledge about this but it seems to me that some of the "man-made woods", the laminates, could/would be stronger and more warp resistant than the solid woods.

My problem is that I just don't KNOW that for a fact and I think that's what you are asking.

My limited experience has shown me that Olhausen's do have pocket issues. I don't like the way their pockets play. The one's I've seen were too big but then that makes sense since the tables are made for family fun as opposed to being players tables.

I have a Diamond and I'll always tell anyone who wants to listen that if they want a good table they should just do whatever they have to do but get the Diamond.

10-05-2004, 03:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote frankbullett:</font><hr> Also, Olhausen will use 3/4 slate on tables between 7-8 foot. I was drawn to them for the same reasons - Price. However, IMO I actually think they are overpriced for what you get. I decided the extra money was worth it to get the surface and playing quality I wanted. <hr /></blockquote>

I did not know that; I was under the assumption that the 8' tables do, in fact, use 1" slate...I am not sure I need the solid wood base, but I do know I want, and won't settle for less, the 1" slate /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Back to the drawing board.

10-06-2004, 06:03 AM
This is not true. Olhausen uses 7/8" slate on all 7' and 8' tables, with 1" slate an option. I believe 1" slate is standard on 9' models.

10-06-2004, 09:13 AM

Are you a SERIOUS player?

If you are just purchasing a table that you, mon, pop, the wife and kids are going to play on you can get away cheaply.

HOWEVER, if you are a serious player you will need to spend SERIOUS money to get a table that plays GREAT. What are your expectations?

Here is what a friend of mine told me about tables:

The nice fancy new ALL wood (meaning rails, etc) tables are no good (Connely excepted) for the serious player, these tables are designed even worse than top name billiard tables that are placed in pool halls; these tables are designed for mom, pop, the kids, and any casual player that happen in off the street in your local pool room to MAKE BALLS. You won't get people into you pool room or get your family to play pool IF they can't make balls.

A serious player will have his home table pockets shimmed to at least 4 1/2 inches.

When I purchased my table I mentioned Olhausen, he said to stay away from it and buy a Gold Crown; he never elaborated as to way he didn't like the Olhausen, could just be personal preference. I looked into the Olhausen's and I believe the come from the factory with 4 1/2 inch pockets

He also said that solid wood didn't matter when the legs and side framing are concerned, they are basically just decoration; however, a SOLID wood table is more stable because it is heavier.

I purchased a use Brunswick Medalist from my local pool hall which the owner had shimmed to 4 1/2 inch pockets for his own personal use, it costs me $1800 plus $200 for the cloth and $200 for moving and setup. The only difference from the Medalist and Gold Crown is the fancy Gold Crown name and solid wood legs and decorative facings below the rails; and the handy adjustable leveling devices placed on the Gold Crown legs.

Everyone has there own personal preference for the best pool table, but the bottom line is if you're a serious player and intend to GET serious about your playing; you will have to travel and play on ALL sorts of equipment and be able to ADAPT to that equipment. In Babe Cranfield's book "The Straight Pool Bible" he recommends NOT having your own pool table so you are forced to play in local pool halls on different tables.

I don't agree with this, I think that a serious player SHOULD have his own table so he can practice in quiet and privacy without being disturbed by others who just want a game. There are sets of drills and practice routines that each player sets up for himself to run through every day.

The best thing to do is to do what you are doing right now, get information from people have purchased tables and get their opinions and weight them and make a decision. But on NO ACCOUNT go to a billiard supply store and talk to a SALES PERSON, you'll just get a line of BS just so they can sell you a table.

My advice:

Buy a used table, but check it out COMPLETELY. My friend told me to stay away from the Gold Corwn III's that were made in the first half of the year because of construction problems, since it's hard to determine when the III's were made I would say to stay away from the III's. Look for a Medalist or Gold Crown II. You can probably get a new Olhausen completely set up for around $3500. Connely's ( I could never spell that name right, it probably has two L's) are going to be out of your price range for a new one. Some people prefer Gandy's, you can probably get a used one for dirt cheap. Others prefer Diamond tables.

The bottom line is going to be how much you are willing to spend for what you want to accomplish in your pool.

Good luck,