View Full Version : Table top idea...

02-12-2008, 12:50 AM
Hello all,

Let me preface this by saying- please don't laugh me out of here. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I'm a noob, not much experience playing pool, but I really like it. I've played off and on growing up but now have some friends that play, so I'm kind of getting in to it. I'd like a table for home, but I don't want to buy a cheapie. I'll probably end up holding off until I can find a good slate table that someone's offloading when I have the liquid capital to purchase. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

My other option I'm considering... now is why I said don't laugh... making my own. I'm a finish carpenter/ cabinet maker by trade. I've also done guitars and some lathe work, so accuracy is not a new thing to me. If I do it, It'll more than likely be Oak framed with Cherry as the primary wood with Ebony, bloodwood and Purpleheart accent inlays and black felt. Now, I was wondering- I have access to a few countertop installers. What kind of difference would it make to not use slate for the top? I was thinking granite. Whatcha think? I coulnd't find anyone using it for a pool table... is it a bad idea, or what?

Hmm... how about a disco table, with a tempered glass surface, white felt with custom lighting under the glass so the table illuminates with music? That way, when I'm playing, it can be off, but when it's the other guy's shot, I can have lights all over the table... hmm... that's not a distraction or anything... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Seriously though, whatcha think about granite?


02-12-2008, 05:24 AM
It might be difficult to get the granite polished and totally level. Building the table is a great idea if you are an accomplished woodworker, but I would probably buy the slate for the top.

02-12-2008, 08:46 AM
This is something that I put a lot of thought into a year or so ago.

Granite would probably work, but there are a couple of major disadvantages:
1) It is very expensive. Much more than slate.
2) You would need to be able to cut it, and that isn't easy.
3) Seams might be problematic.

For the home builder, I see 3 viable surface options:
1) Buy a new K-pattern slate for about $600
2) Check with local billards dealers and see if they have an old 3-piece slate lying around. $150 would be a fair price.
3) MDF (don't laugh, see below)

Regardless of the playing surface, I would recommend using a steel frame (2x2" square, 1/8" thick), which can be found for around $2.10 a foot. It is cheap, true, and won't warp.

MDF works easy, has no seams, and is cheap. I affixed an MDF surface to a steel frame tightly using self tapping screws. So far, no warp. If it does, I can replace the MDF for $22, or toss on a 3-piece slate.

The real challenge in building a table is milling the sub-rails. Or, you can buy them pre-cut. See the links below for info on building your own:

www.bestbilliards.com (http://www.bestbilliards.com)

02-12-2008, 09:29 AM
I'm a DIY kinda guy and buy most of my lumber from a saw mill. I suggest getting the table plans from a Brunswick table. Look at how they are constructed and then make your own frame.

Brunswick has been making tables for many years. The frame is all wood and not that difficult to replicate.

Good slate can be obtained in many places such as pool halls disposing of old tables. mini-merchant papers, etc.

The advantage to buying an old table includes all of the "extra" parts such as pockets corner braces etc that come with the table.

I have moved my brunswick (GC III) about four times and always use Bondo in the seams. Sure I have to cut it with a Dremel saw each time I move it but the seams are easy to patch. This is by way of saying that old slate can be worked with using Bondo and a good sander.

You will probably not be happy with any table that does not have a slate bed. Sorry that is just the way pool balls roll. In addition, you will need high speed rails and good cloth.

By the time you add all of this up (including pockets) you will have $400 - $500 dollars and much precision work. I think you would be much better off to buy an old table and re-build as needed. For $1,000 - $1,500 you can get what would today sell for about $10,000. That is a good deal.

I do not think that a table is difficult to build. I do think it takes lots of good precise work to get it right. We are talking machinist grade for rails and pockets and cabinet maker grade for the rest. A fun project.

02-12-2008, 09:35 AM
Every machine shop and their quality control labs use granite surface plates for part inspection and to measure flatness. Granite surface plates are ground to a precision level of tolerance and have a high resistance to warpage. Granite for countertops wouldn't be as flat as a surface plate, but it would be just as flat as any slate table. It wouldn't be a problem if you know you could machine the granite for size and pocket cutouts.

Why would you want to?
It probably would cost much more to buy and machine granite than what you could buy manufactured slate that is already machined. Granite is harder than slate, but if you want to build your own table why not just buy an old slate table and use the existing wood for a pattern.
Even a table with pressed wood (flakeboard) could be reworked and made into a nice table if it has a decent slate bed. You could remake all the wood parts to your own specs, apply a nice finish, add leather pockets, inlay diamonds and add fancy goldwork. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

02-12-2008, 12:27 PM
I used to work with the guy behind *** pool tables. Asked him how he came up with the original design, and he said he did what everyone else did...."borrowed" from Brunswick. Those old Brunswicks were built to last...and I'd even buy a used Gold Crown II before, I'd try to build one.
My home table is somewhat hand built...the guy has very little machinery, but after 4 yrs, it still plays better then I do.....

02-13-2008, 11:45 AM
I considered building my own table for quite a while. I was watching for a used table just for the slate, when my current table came up. It is an Olhausen that was made in the 40s, and was in serious need of restoration. It had been in a couple's garage and their kids had used it as a jungle jim. When I took it apart, I realized it was so well built, that there was little room for improvement. I sanded and stained the rails, trim and legs a dark black walnut stain, and left the rest the original oak color. I also left all the dings and dents for the "distressed" look. I upgraded it to the #6 cast iron and leather pockets in dark cherry color, which I distressed with a wire wheel on my dremmel, and then rubbed with oil. The hooks for the crutch, the ball rack down the side, and the hook for the triangle are items I made of old horseshoes, and 7/16 steel rod, and then painted gloss black (my wife's idea). I then covered it in electric blue felt and use Elephant balls (the swirl colored ones........my daughter's idea). I think I am more happy with with what I have than I would have been with anything else........
If you send mean email addy, I can send you pics of what I have done, and might even be talked into making more hooks and racks if someone wanted them

02-13-2008, 11:59 AM
I dont know anything about building your own table but just wanted to make a suggestion along with building it........
A custom top for it turns the table into a piece of furniture for dining /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Before i got the 9 ft., I had an 8ft. in my dining room,so,had a 3 piece wood top made so that we could use it as a dining table!
Best of luck with table


02-13-2008, 12:25 PM
As Carol notes, there are some interesting design possibilities. Check out these tables:


Fancy eatin' bill-yard tables.

02-13-2008, 04:39 PM
Wow, those are nice,but,I didnt have that leg room-my brothers 8ft.,the wood came down on the sides low and now-I have an old table 1911 Brunswick-Balke -Collander-
So,your really not going to have that LEG room, but those are nice!


02-14-2008, 02:28 PM
I dont know if your still reading this, but my brothers 8ft. that I had in my home had a ONE-PIECE 1 inch. slate,which is still in my dining room against the wall-I spoke with Blatt Billiards (pricey)-they said,if I wanted a one piece,it would cost~3000.00,the price of a new table) and that it usually isnt one piece,but I told him I HAVE an 8ft. 1 piece-the 3 pieces would go for~1000.00

My 9 ft. is 3 pieces, 1 1/2 inch slate!