View Full Version : Upgrade to Bubinga Rails? Dent-Resistant?

04-16-2007, 12:00 PM
So, I'm looking at a solid hardwood Olhausen Santa Ana 8' table and the dealer is suggesting that I upgrade the rails to bubinga wood, which he says is dent-resistant. It will be a home installation and we wanted kind of a furniture grade table because it will be the centerpiece of the room. We don't have kids, we will have parties, but they won't be keggers. The upgraded rails are about $330 on a table I'm guessing will wind up around $5k with tax/installation, etc. What do you guys think? Is this a worthwhile upgrade or a bunch of b.s.?

04-16-2007, 01:05 PM
Depends on how much you like the bubinga, whether it is veneer or solid, and whether the aprons (if any) will also be bubinga.

Personally, I would prefer solid maple or oak over a veneer. Provided that they let the oak (or maple) be oak (or maple), without putting on a finish to try and make it look like something else. But there is nothing wrong with a veneer, provided that they didn't cut corners by hiding some lousy wood or fake wood underneath.

It may depend on other furniture in the room, and how you feel about the standard rails. Dent resistant? Maple and oak are pretty rugged, too.

04-16-2007, 01:34 PM

The hardness of wood is measured by the Janka rating, which is the pounds of pressure required to imbed a 0.44" steel sphere into the wood halfway.


Oak=1300, maple=1450, bubinga=1980

So, if you anticipate a lot of 1500-1900# forces, then the bubinga figures. Otherwise, only if you really like it.

04-16-2007, 01:47 PM
I guess the concern that's being mentioned in connection with these upgraded rails is that someone dropping a ball and having it land on the rail might dent the rail. I guess I can't really think of anything else that would dent the rail? Is there anything else to worry about denting the rail?

04-16-2007, 02:33 PM
My physics is probably faulty, but a 0.2 Kg billiard ball, dropped from 2 meters generates a force of 1.96 newtons, which is around a half-pound.

It would be moving at about 20 feet/sec, with energy of 3.92 joules.

What does this mean? I didn't know, so I took a cueball and dropped it from about 6' onto a piece of white pine, and it left about a 1 cm ding. I then repeated this twice onto a piece of red oak. There was not a visible dent either trial, and on one trial there was one that I could just barely feel, but not see.

For me, the would be good enough, but I don't drop much stuff around pool tables.

04-16-2007, 03:02 PM
Wow, thanks a lot for that insight. I guess I'm thinking that if someone drops a ball from 6 ft above my rails, I'm probably going to punch him in the nose. If someone were to hop a ball off the playing surface and onto the rail, they'd have to be really, really out of control for it to go more than a foot or so vertically, right?

04-16-2007, 03:09 PM
I'd probably be more concerned about jewelery scratches.

Anyone with oak rails have ding problems?

04-16-2007, 03:17 PM
Ooooh, that's an interesting thought: would going with bubinga make it more resistant to scratches? That was NOT the angle the salesman played with me. He was talking about dings/dents. I wonder whether Bubinga is any less likely to scratch?

04-16-2007, 03:39 PM
While a furniture grade table is your preference, mine is a little different. A few dents and scratches only add to the character of a table. My table came from an early 1900's riverboat port sporting house and I wish it could tell some stories. Oh well, I'll just have to make some up.

If you like to looks of Bubinga---go for it. To me, anything unique adds value.

Rich R.
04-16-2007, 05:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MLynch357:</font><hr> Ooooh, that's an interesting thought: would going with bubinga make it more resistant to scratches? That was NOT the angle the salesman played with me. He was talking about dings/dents. I wonder whether Bubinga is any less likely to scratch? <hr /></blockquote>
Sharp objects will scratch any wood.

I think the salesman is just trying to get you to buy a more expensive product, which may increase his commission. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the bubinga. If you like it, buy it. If you don't like it, let it go. The other woods will be fine. As someone else said, any dings or marks only add character.

04-16-2007, 06:33 PM
My first Olhausen table had the standard softer wood rails. I was very disappointed when a piece of chalk dropped 3 inches actually gouged the wood! I ordered my next Olhausen with the Jatoba wood rails and I couldn't be happier. They are very scratch resistant and ding resistant as well. They are worth the small upgrade charge and Olhausen will stain them to match whatever table you order.
I am a believer in Jatoba!

04-16-2007, 07:25 PM
My table is solid maple. My brother-in-law hit a shot that lifted the cue ball onto the rail, leaving a small, but noticeable dent on the rail. It certainly was not 6 ft in the air. It has happened other times without issue, but this particular case did leave a little dent. Other than that, the maple has been a very good choice.

04-16-2007, 08:27 PM
Hmmm...I'm still up in the air about this. If the table were in my basement and all I cared about it for was literally playing pool on it, I would be less concerned about the cosmetics of a dent/ding here or there...and frankly, I guess I would probably save some money and just get a veneer table. But the fact that I'm looking at it to be the centerpiece of a room has me thinking of forking over the $350 for the upgraded rails.

04-16-2007, 09:16 PM
Vennered wood can be great or it can be just pretty. The straight grained bubinga or billian, is pretty tuff stuff, but the waterfall or quilted bubinga is too stringy a grain to be hard.

Good Luck...

Veneered wood that has a substrata of soft wood (pine, poplar or other soft woods) will still dent easily.

similar to Chrome plated copper still dents easily, while Chrome plated steel is more difficult to dent.

04-16-2007, 11:33 PM
I upgraded my Olhausen to the Jatoba wood rails, not bubinga as I originally posted. Sorry about that! They are stained traditional mahogany and match the table.
Rip ~The Jatoba Guy /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif