03-05-2006, 08:15 AM
I have finally moved my table from my in laws to my garage and have a dead bumper on one end and cloth is getting worn. Was wondering if recovering and replacing rubber bumpers is a home project. I have some upholstery experience so the cloth part doesn't scare me ...my question is that the table only has access to the underside of the slate through the ball return panel..and there is nothing to staple the cloth to. It appears that it is only glued down. Any advice would be much appreciated.
03-05-2006, 09:24 AM
To be certain that the rail rubber is no good, you need the check the tightness of the flathead screws holding the rail on to the table. They are accessed, by removing the metal trim strip, around the outside edges of the table (these are secured with phillips head screws). You may just have a loose screw, which often causes a "dead-rail" effect. If it turns out that the rubber is no good, you can purchase another rail, already covered, from many sources, including the vendor in your area, that puts tables in the local bars.
The slate is removed by taking all four rails off of the table, and just lifting the one-piece slate out. One person can do it, but it's easier with two. You're correct, that on coin-op tables, the cloth is only glued on. That's because the slate is not backed with a wood frame (like three-piece slate tables), therefore there's nothing to staple cloth to. Use a spray glue, like 3-M 77, to attach new cloth. Spray it on the underside of the slate (turn the slate upside down, with the cloth underneath, to do this), and stretch the cloth one end at a time, just like you would any other table. Hope this helps!
03-05-2006, 09:56 AM
Coin-op table recovering instructions
I have only worked on "Valley" coin-op pool tables, so these instructions may or may not apply to other coin-op tables. (Helpful links are provided below.) If this is the first time you are installing cloth, may want to order cloth for a 9 ft. table instead of a 7 ft. table. Then if you mess up when recovering the cushions, you will have spare pieces of cloth to work with.
1. Remove the screws from the chrome metal strips around the sides of the table. Remove the metal strips by sliding to left or right. This will reveal the screws which hold on the cushions. Remove these screws as well. Remove the cushions. Mark each cushion and the table with corresponding numbers so each cushion can be reinstalled later in the same location.
2. The slate can now be lifted up and out of the table. The slate alone can weigh 300 pounds. Best to have two strong people lift the slate out by gripping it at the corner pockets. Next place the slate sideways on top of the table so three sides are overhanging. The cloth is glued to the underside of the slate. Remove the old cloth by peeling it off from the underside. Slide slate to other end of table to get access to opposite underside of slate.
3. Inspect slate. Look at underside to see if it has a build-up of adhesive around the edges. Since the edges of the slate rest on the table, any build-up of adhesive can cause the slate to warp and not lie perfectly flat. Remove the build-up of adhesive by turning slate upside down and scraping adhesive off with scraper or razorblade tool with handle. (This is messy.) It is less physical work to use liquid adhesive remover available at hardware stores. This is very messy and has nasty fumes. Best to do this outside. I placed my slate on two Coleman camping ice chests and these supported the weight just fine. Rinse off slate with a garden hose when all adhesive has been removed. After the slate has dried (24 hours), turn slate back over and inspect for bumps and holes in slate. Run your hand across the surface. Your hand can feel bumps and holes which are difficult to see. Fill holes with auto body filler available from automotive stores. Let dry as per instructions. Then lightly sand surface. Clean slate with damp cloth. Again run hand over surface to be sure you got all the bumps and holes. Let slate dry.
4. With slate removed from table top, clean out inside of table with vacuum. Run a ball down each gutter to be sure it rolls ok. Fix loose gutters/pockets.
5. The center supports on the table probably have some billiard cloth glued on. This is because the cloth wraps around the underside of the slate at the sides and elevates the slate the thickness of the cloth. The cloth in the center elevates and supports the slate for the same thickness in the center. This is why it is important to remove glue build-up around the sides of the slate. There will be no glue build-up in the center, so over time with glue build-up, the edges of the slate will be higher than the center, and the slate dips down in the center and will not have a perfectly flat playing surface. Remove the old cloth from the center supports and scrape off the adhesive. Some coin-op cloth has a rubber backing and is thicker than other cloth. So best to glue on pieces of the new cloth you are installing. Do this later with left over pieces of cloth.
6. Level/shim inside of table where slate rests. If the inside of the table is not perfectly flat (parts on which the slate rests), the slate will warp. Fixing this so the slate will rest on a flat surface will let the slate "unwarp" over time. Use a piece of "L" shaped perfectly straight aluminum cut to size (available at hardware store) to see if all surfaces long ways are flat. Then diagonal both directions. Then use a shorter piece of "L" shaped aluminum to check short ways. If there are gaps in the supports, use playing cards to shim the areas which are low. Some high areas may need to be sanded down. I just glue the playing cards on with spray adhesive. Spray the spray adhesive onto the cards outside. This stuff will get on everything and make it sticky. You don't want this to get on the balls if they are still in the table or in the gutters.
7. Install first side of new cloth on slate. Billiard cloth has a "right side up". Be sure you are installing it right side up, if not sure, ask your cloth supplier which side goes up. Lay the cloth across the slate so a couple of inches are overhanging a long side and about 3 inches over a short side. Fold back the cloth hanging over the short side. Do short side first. You will be spraying spray adhesive on the cloth, the edge of the slate, and the underside of the slate. You will also be stretching with all your might and will need another person to assist you. The spray will get on everything including balls, table sides, hairy arms, your hands, etc. Wear a long sleeve shirt and get a box of latex surgical gloves (available at a medical supply). After each spraying, remove the gloves and put on a new pair, so you will always be handling the cloth with a clean pair of gloves, and will not accidentally get any adhesive from your gloves on the playing surface. Cut a piece of cardboard to lay under the folded over cloth. This will keep spray adhesive from getting onto the playing surface. Place a big piece of cardboard in front of the table side (if slate is resting on table). This will keep spray from getting on the side of the table. Cover your floor/carpeting as well. Open all windows. Use "3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive" (cheapest at Walmart). Spraying at an outward direction to keep overspray from getting on playing surface/table, spray folded over cloth, edge of slate, and underside of slate. Don't spray pockets yet as pockets will be done later after cloth applied to all sides of table. Wait about two minutes for adhesive to dry a little. Now get your helper. (Clean pair of gloves!) Fold cloth over edge of table. Have helper hold cloth very firmly in center of short side. Pull cloth sideways with all your might, almost enough to pull slate and helper toward you. You are stretching half of the short rail cloth toward the long rail. Now fold this under the slate and press it on with your hands. With helper still holding onto the center of the cloth, stretch the opposite side toward the opposite long rail, then fold it under the slate and press it on.
8. Now move to the opposite short side. (Clean gloves!) Fold back cloth, place cardboard everywhere. Spray, wait. Have helper handy. Then pull center of cloth toward you with all your might. Almost enough force to pull slate off table. Fold center a little over side and have helper hold firmly with hand. Pull one corner of cloth diagonally toward you with all your might. You are stretching half of the cloth toward the long rail and at the same time pulling the cloth toward the short rail. Next do the other side. (Clean gloves!) Now fold back the cloth on the long rail. Cut cardboard to cover everything. Spray entire long rail cloth, side of slate and underside of slate. Don't spray pockets yet. Wait 2 minutes to dry a little. There are lines in the weave of the cloth. The idea with this next stretch is to have the lines going in a straight line from one end of the table to the other. Stretch the cloth so the lines match up along the way in a straight line. Don't need to pull as hard with this stretch as you can pull too much. Next move slate so you can do the opposite long rail. Pull this really tight, but also keep eye on lines in cloth. If the cloth is pulled too much to one long rail side or the other, the lines in the cloth will not go straight down the table. (It can be disconcerting if you are practicing shooting a ball straight down the table and the lines in the cloth are at an angle.)
9. Next do the corner pockets. Use a circular bent piece of cardboard to keep spray off playing surface. You need to cut the cloth so it will fold nicely under the pocket. This takes experience and you will probably mess it up the first time. LEAVE TOO MUCH CLOTH. When the cloth is cut for the corners and folded under, there is not much to hold the center in place. Best to have a long piece like 6 inches going back under the table so the cloth will not come loose. May want to experiment cutting an old piece of cloth , rag, etc. before cutting the billiard cloth. The main thing here is to be sure there is only one thickness of cloth on the underside of the slate where the table is supporting the slate around the edges. There are not any supports near the corners, so cloth can be folded under "doubled over" and does not matter. Examine table supports and then be sure there is only one thickness of cloth under the slate where these supports are located. I guess you just need to do corners a few times or watch someone else do it to get the hang of it. Very important to spray cloth, edges of slate at pocket, and underneath. You can peel off cloth already glued to the short or long side and re-spray if needed. Next do other corner pockets.
10. Do side pockets. This is a royal pain. Again, experiment with a rag for cutting, leave long pieces of cloth to glue to underside. Just need to do this a few times to get the hang of it.
11. Cut excess cloth off of underside of table. I like to leave about 3 or 4 inches.
12. Do not place slate back on table yet. Do the cushions. [Doing this takes experience and is a pain. It is like doing upholstery work. Some professional billiard cloth installers might do just the rails for you for not too much money. Some people will recover their table, then take the rails to a professional.] Cut pieces of cloth for the cushions using the cutting guide provided with your cloth or from the link below. Note that this may not be accurate for a 7 ft. table. May want to use a spare piece of old cloth to experiment with to be sure you are cutting the cloth to the right size. The problem here is cutting the cloth too narrow, gluing on one side, then not having enough cloth left to tightly pull and glue the other side. The cushions are done by spraying the back of the rail with spray adhesive (I do this outside), then placing the cloth on one edge at the center, stretching the cloth toward the end, then toward the other end. Then let it dry, then spray and do opposite side. Be sure to install cloth right side up! Also be careful to only glue the *back* wood portion of the cushions, don't get any spray glue on the front or rubber part. The cloth needs to "slide" freely against the rubber when a ball hits the cushion. Next do the ends of the cushion. The ends can be done by *very* tightly pulling the cloth more and more as you approach the end and there will be no fold. This takes a lot of experience. Also this has the effect of pulling in the cushion rubber toward the ends of the cushions so the cushion rubber is more like a curved line than a perfectly straight line. This is not good if you have a frozen to the cushion ball near a pocket and want to shoot it to the opposite end of the table. It will not follow the rail. I prefer to fold the ends of the cushion. Does not look as nice, but keeps the same amount of pressure from the cloth applied to the entire length of the cushion and keeps a new cushion in a perfectly straight line. (Hold up a piece of "L" shaped aluminum to old cushions and see if they are in a straight line.) Fold the corners and cut getting the cloth so it can fold over. (May want to see how old cloth was cut and do the same.) Use an iron to make a tight fold before stapling. Use a staple gun to staple cloth to cushion back. Be sure to use long enough staples. Also try to not have too many layers of cloth overlapping. This will make the cushions so they will not install flat against the table when re-installing.
13. Cut and glue left over pieces of cloth to center supports of table. Let dry. Reinstall slate. Be careful to grip slate with your fingers in pocket openings so they will not get smashed.
14. Now is a good time to use a construction chalk line to mark lines on the table for where the spot should go. Have a helper assist. Hold the chalk line from one center diamond to the opposite, then snap the line to mark line on table. Then do the same from second diamond to second diamond. It is easier to line up the chalk string with the cushions removed. Then apply spot where lines intersect. (The line marks will come off with a damp cloth.)
15. Reinstall cushions in their same locations.
16. Play pool!
As of this writing, Valley is a division of Brunswick Billiards and called Valley-Dynamo. Their link is...
2525 Handley-Ederville Road
Richland Hills, TX 76118
You can get replacement rails at the following link...
Table Parts/cloth/recovering tools...
At the bottom of the page (on the following link), click on the following...
View The Championship
Fabric Installation Guide
Book: The Green Book - Pool Table Maintenance Manual...
Booklet: Secrets of Pool Table Recovering...
Book: Pool Table Sales and Service
1696 W. Morton Ave.
Porterville, CA 93257
The following site offers online instructions, but to get a password, you need to make a purchase or pay for access...
BestBilliards - Pool Table Recovering Instructions...
Also there is a book called "Minnesota Fats on Pool" which has recovering instructions.
Note: The only book I know of which covers coin-op table recovering in any detail, and at that very little, is "Pool Table Sales and Service".
03-05-2006, 02:31 PM
thanks very much for all the advice ...this sure clears things up...couldn't get much of response from many companies online and not many service people in our area...found one that comes here every 1-2 months depending on calls. Much appreciated.
03-06-2006, 06:19 AM
Your detail has helped greatly....thanks very much. Links were useful and will most likely invest in some new rails to complete the job.
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