View Full Version : Decreasing the "shelf area" on my table..

09-27-2007, 12:52 PM
Hi all, I have a 7' table that's EXTREMAL difficult to play (some say impossible) due to the large shelf area of the pockets. The pockets are approximately 4 1/2" wide and the shelf area is about 2 1/2" off the points of the cushions..

I have been playing with the idea of putting 1/4" shims between the rails and the pockets, which will increase the playing surface by 1/2" in both directions..

The effect of this should decrease the shelf area by about 1/8", thus slightly "loosening" both the side and corner pockets..

The big question is will a 1/8" reduction in the shelf area reduce the way the pockets rattle the balls??

Or for that matter, what is a typical shelf size on a 7' table??

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated..

09-27-2007, 06:25 PM
Try this site http://www.wpa-pool.com/index.asp?content=rules_spec

4 1/2" is pretty tight, combined with a long shelf it would indeed be difficult.

Could be if the shelf is too deep it may have been originally installed wrong. New slate on my table came with no bevel on the circular cuts for the pockets. The shelf can be shortened by removing the cloth and filing a bevel on the slate edge.

Adding shims to an already tight pocket isn't going to play any easier?

09-28-2007, 06:36 AM
You don't say what type of table you have. I find the depth of your shelf to be mighty deep, and non-regulation. It makes me wonder if your rails are properly installed. The dimensions of the playing field (cushion to cushion measurements), the pocket mouth measurement, and the shelf depth, are all related to each other.

First, measure your cushion-cushion distances. For a standard 7' table, the width should be 39", and the length 78". If your table does not meet this spec, the rails need to be repositioned until it does. If you do have to reposition to make the playing field dimensions greater, you may find that the pockets become wider and the shelfs shorter. The pockets could then be addressed by rail extentions, if they are too easy for you.

If the field is 78 x 39, you would probably have to recut the slate which should probably be done by a pro.

09-28-2007, 12:57 PM
Thanks for the feedback..

I'm not sure who makes the table, but it's at least 25 years old and it has NO markings on it what so ever..

As far as the rail alignment, there's really no flexibility to it, the leathers and irons (pockets) all bolt onto the rails, so the distance between them is preset, I just had to make sure that they were all square and straight..

Also keep in mind that I'm not shimming the pockets in the conventional sense, I'm actually making wood shims to extend the rail length without adding to the cushon mouth of the pocket.. Bassicly think of it is a way to push the pocket itself outward in both directions by 1/4"..
This should actually extend the playing surface, in turn slightly reducing the shelf area..

I know it's hard to explain, I'll try to take a few pics and post them when I get home..

09-30-2007, 05:02 PM
For what it's worth....

I once ran across an fancy old table at a place that specialized in rebuilding them. That thing had LARGE pockets with shelf cut back so far that any ball rolling by them would drop in. Fun to play on at first but got boring quick. I think the sales pitch was the table came from a bawdy house in San Francisco back in the gold rush days.

So, don't overdo the fix.

10-01-2007, 07:21 AM
That's what my fear is, I really like the table to shoot tight, but right now it's more like ridiculous.. Even perfectly shot balls rattle out of hard cut shots..

I guess I'll move forward with the shims, if it makes it too easy, I could always take the table apart AGAIN and remove them....

10-05-2007, 10:37 AM
Well, I got it all back together.. Seems like it accomplished what I wanted it to, I just hope it doesn't end up shooting too easy..

The shims BETWEEN THE WOOD PART OF THE RAIL & THE POCKET have opened the pockets by 1/8" on both sides as well as reducing the shelf by 1/8" also..

I guess a good night of shooting is in order to see if it's too my liking.. If it's not tough enough, I'll just tear it back down and put cushion shims in to tighten it up just a tick...

If anybody's interested I could take a picture of what I did..

10-05-2007, 11:45 AM
I'd like to see pictures of what you've done. It took me awhile to figure out what I think you're talking about, and I'd like to see how close I am to what you've done!

10-05-2007, 01:50 PM
Will do, I know, it's really hard to explain..I'll get a pic up sometime this weekend, stay tuned..

10-08-2007, 07:19 AM
Sorry for the poor pic, I grabbed it with my cell phone..
http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/7862/1007072055ce8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/7862/1007072055ce8.2bf1b72a0e.jpg (http://g.imageshack.us/g.php?h=514&i=1007072055ce8.jpg)

10-08-2007, 09:05 AM
Again, I wonder what your playing field dimensions are. It looks to me like the rail-pocket iron alignment is funky.

Do you have a pic with rails-off? It almost looks like the pocket cutout in the slate doesn't have an offset from the slate edges for the center of the circle for the cut out. That shelf looks huge.

10-08-2007, 09:15 AM
The playing field dimensions are small, I think the with is 36 3/4" if memory serves, but I can tell you that adding these shims has my rails at the outermost portion of the adjustment holes.. I have always suspected that the rails were just too short.. I know they have never been cut down, because I bought the table from the original owner..

So if I'm reading your post correctly, you think the holes in the rails may be drilled incorrectly?? anythings possible I guess..I can grab some more (and better) pics when i get home tonight, but I don't think I have any with the rails off..

Thanks for the input,

10-08-2007, 10:37 AM
If you go to this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on the 7' slate schematic. This will give you the specs for a typical 7' slate. Note that it is assumed that the cushion noses are 3.5" in from the edges of the slate, making the playing surface 39 x 78". Also note how the corner and side pockets are designed. They are circular, but not from the corner of the slate, but from a point inset from the slate corner. For the schematic linked, there is a 40mm inset from each edge of the slate and an 89 mm circle radius. This inset and radius is what governs the shelf size, along with the assumption that the rails have been properly placed to get the 39 x 78" playing surface.

You might want to get some measurements of your slate dimensions, which should be 46" x 85".

If the outer dimensions are good, position the rails so the cushion noses are 3.5" in from the slate edge, all around the table. This will give the desired 39 x 78" playing surface. If the rails and pockets don't fit together after this, it is time to consider rebuilding the rails.

10-08-2007, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the information, but you must have forgotten the link..


10-08-2007, 11:33 AM


down at the bottom of the page

10-08-2007, 12:01 PM
Thanks for the link, LOTS of good info there... Now you got me thinking about building my own rails.. I guess the next step is to measure the slate to insure it's correct..


10-08-2007, 12:33 PM
If you decide to build rails, best billiards sells pre-cut sub rails that can save a bunch of work. I think they are milled for K-66 cushions.

If you have a table saw, or are adept at cutting precise bevels with a circular saw, the K-66 specs for the subrails 1 3/4 and 1/5/8 thick ( don't try 1.5", it won't play right)can be found here: