PDA

View Full Version : I bought an American Heirloom table.



WoodMonkey
02-03-2007, 08:57 AM
Hi,

There are a lot of posts here asking for advice on table buying, so I thought I'd share my experiences with American Heirloom, an online seller (www.ahpooltables.com).

I built an addition to my house to hold my dream table, a 9' pro table. During the time that I was building the addition, I scoped out tables, mostly online. AH attracted me right away because of the detailed info at their website, explaining how they use very traditional pool table construction techniques, with all hardwood (no plywood, particle board or OSB) and so forth, very thick 1-1/8" slate and so on. They go into great detail about supporting the slate out to the rails and explain all the shortcuts even good "names" are using in the business these days that they refuse to use. Anyway, I appreciated that they took the time to explain all that.

Then I like the many, many styles available, especially those with a modern look. They point out that all their tables are made with the same "guts" so quality is not affected by style chosen. I settled on the Scandia. Watching their website over time I noticed that they have regular specials on particular pool tables and about every 2 months they run a $1,000 off on any model, so don't pay full retail. At one point, the Scandia went on sale for $1700 off, so I put down a deposit (half the price) on a 9-footer. The price (which includes shipping to anywhere in the country and professional setup, was $4400).

Prior to this deposit I had talked to the AH people several times and they sent me cloth samples (Mali is included in the price or Simonis is $200 extre) and wood samples of all the woods and finishes available. You also have to choose rail style and pocket colors and diamonds (real abalone shell or real mother-of-pearl, no extra charge).

When my room was ready I called them to build the table (it takes only 2 weeks to build once the order is finalized), and it took a week for it to travel from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. I live in rural Utah, 4 hours from Salt Lake but that is where the closest setup guy they had was. He charged AH $800 to come down and install it, which certainly lowered their profit margin if any.

So what are the pros and cons of AH?

Well, the table is beautiful, the workmanship is incredible. The table weighs a ton, if you bump it the balls don't even jiggle. Everything was shipped in very serious OSB boxes to ensure no damage. The setup guys were fairly good although they were in kind of a hurry and didn't really give me the thorough knowledge of what they were doing that I wanted for future reference.

And the cons? Just little stuff. First off, my credit card was charged the second half of the table during construction. This was fine except I wasn't notified to authorize the charge--I might have wanted to use a different card for example. Secondly, the carpenters decided that my choice in pockets was bad, that the color didn't match, so they took it on themselves to substitute another color. When I discovered this just after the table was shipped I complained (again I wasn't even notified). They were nice enough and sent out a second set of pockets (my original color choice). Unfortunately, those arrived a day after the table was setup and I didn't really want to install them myself even though I liked my original choice better. AH told me to keep both pockets and that if they have a guy in my area in the future they will have him come around and make the switch. So everything is cool.

I guess to summarize AH, I'd say that my overall impression is that they are old-fashioned. What this means is good service and quality in the traditional sense. However, in the modern online sense, they are not so great. For example, they really don't stay in touch enough by email or let you know what's happening. They don't seem to realize how intimidating it can be to make such a large purchase by internet. On a similar note, while their website is first-rate, I think they need to understand that it is still very difficult to match colors, cloth, pockets, rails, etc. all with just computer pictures and your imagination. I felt that when I was ordering that they didn't give sufficient feedback about my choices to make me understand the issues of what would or would not look good. i.e., not enough hand-holding.

Pool Table Quality: A+
Service: B+
Would I recommend them: yes

Feel free to post related questions on this thread and I'll check back to answer them in a day or two.

Wood Monkey

bsmutz
02-03-2007, 09:42 AM
Nice review, WM. Congratulations on what sounds like an enjoyable experience for years to come. Changing the pockets shouldn't be very hard to do yourself if you have any mechanical ability at all. Just unbolt the rails, slide the old ones out, slide the new ones in, and rebolt. Just make sure you have someone to help so you don't drop a rail on the floor. Good on you for doing your research before you purchased. So often we hear about those that didn't.

ceebee
02-05-2007, 10:27 AM
If you have the pockets replaced, I would suggest getting a Pool Table Mechanic, to do the job. Watch the mechanic & learn something about your table. The rails have to be "squared up" during the install or your banks will be off for all time (i.e., your playing surface becomes a parallelogram instead of a rectangle). Running a ball down the rail, past the side pocket, might be a problem too.

Some Pool Tables require the rails to be assembled upside down (with pockets attached) then turned over & dropped onto the slate surface, then the Rail Bolts can be installed.