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str
01-03-2010, 03:50 AM
Hi,

I would like to get some objective information on the care of the balls and the cloth and also on when ball sets should be replaced. Subjective opinions are also welcome. I will summerize what I know below and I’d like comments as to agreement, or not, and any additional related information or where to find it. I plan to use your informed/expert responses as one way of informing/demonstrating to the ‘uninitiated’ some of the things related/required to properly maintain billiard equipment.

1.) Vacuuming the cloth is the best way to get the chalk dust out and that if the dust is allowed to remain, the friction it causes would result in ‘poorer’ playability and increased wear on the cloth and on the balls. In addition, any chalk build up under the cloth will also cause increased cloth wear and poor playability in that area. The longer the time between vacuuming, the greater the difficulty in getting the chalk dust up and out. Vacuuming once a day, assuming 4-8 hours of play, is adequate. A vacuum of good power should be used and the average time to properly vacuum a table would be less than 5 minutes.

2.) The balls must be cleaned/waxed at least once a day. That is sufficient to maintain good playability and minimize the wear and tear on the balls due to the increased frictions caused by dirty balls (from chalk dust and other dirt and etc.). That process would take about 1-2 minutes per set of 16 balls using a ball cleaning machine. Polishing is the only way to remove the scuffs that the balls receive during normal play, especially the cue ball. This is best done by machine and occasionally, as needed in between cleanings (mainly the cue ball), by a buffing wheel. Scuffs that are allowed to remain will drastically affect play (by throw) and cause skids/misses when balls make contact in the scuffed area. Marks from the dye of leather backed pockets are in the same category as scuffs as far as the above is concerned.

3.) The ball specifications for the diameter is 2.250 +/- .005 inches. Balls of varying sizes would cause loose racks and if under 2.240" or smaller could cause misses on some shots. Further, inconsistency in size would cause racking problems. A range of 2.229" to 2.239" and an average of 2.233" for the balls and 2.225" for the cue ball is definitely out of specification (by 1 to 4 times the maximum allowed) and the balls should be replaced.

Thanks for your time, guys/gals.

Art


CCSC-BilliardRoomProject-03.wpd 100103 0145

Rich R.
01-03-2010, 08:52 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: str</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hi,

I would like to get some objective information on the care of the balls and the cloth and also on when ball sets should be replaced. Subjective opinions are also welcome. I will summerize what I know below and I’d like comments as to agreement, or not, and any additional related information or where to find it. I plan to use your informed/expert responses as one way of informing/demonstrating to the ‘uninitiated’ some of the things related/required to properly maintain billiard equipment.

<span style="color: #FF0000">I am only slightly informed and I am not an expert, but I will throw my 2 cents into this discussion. </span>

1.) Vacuuming the cloth is the best way to get the chalk dust out and that if the dust is allowed to remain, the friction it causes would result in ‘poorer’ playability and increased wear on the cloth and on the balls. In addition, any chalk build up under the cloth will also cause increased cloth wear and poor playability in that area. The longer the time between vacuuming, the greater the difficulty in getting the chalk dust up and out. Vacuuming once a day, assuming 4-8 hours of play, is adequate. A vacuum of good power should be used and the average time to properly vacuum a table would be less than 5 minutes.

<span style="color: #FF0000">I am a firm believer in vacuuming the cloth to get it as clean as possible. I do not have a set schedule for vacuuming. I just vacuum the table whenever I am cleaning my game room. Keep in mind, normally I am the only player on my table and I only use it for an hour or so at a time, so it doesn't get very dirty. I use a shop vac, with good power to do the job. In addition to vacuuming, I do like to brush the table once in a while, again on no set schedule. I believe brushing helps the cloth in ways that vacuuming does not, but I have no proof of that. </span>

2.) The balls must be cleaned/waxed at least once a day. That is sufficient to maintain good playability and minimize the wear and tear on the balls due to the increased frictions caused by dirty balls (from chalk dust and other dirt and etc.). That process would take about 1-2 minutes per set of 16 balls using a ball cleaning machine. Polishing is the only way to remove the scuffs that the balls receive during normal play, especially the cue ball. This is best done by machine and occasionally, as needed in between cleanings (mainly the cue ball), by a buffing wheel. Scuffs that are allowed to remain will drastically affect play (by throw) and cause skids/misses when balls make contact in the scuffed area. Marks from the dye of leather backed pockets are in the same category as scuffs as far as the above is concerned.

<span style="color: #FF0000">I also clean/wax my pool balls using a machine and I use the liquid cleaner/wax that came with the machine. As with the cloth, I don't have a set schedule for cleaning the balls. Actually, I have three sets of balls that I rotate. When a set gets too dirty for my taste, I rotate in clean set. I would guess I change sets with every 4 to 6 hours of play. If any scuffs can not be cleaned by the machine, I clean them by hand using a cleaner/wax made for pool balls. Normally, the machine does a good job and I rarely have to clean any balls by hand.
I have to add that I don't like to totally play with pristine balls as most pool rooms don't have perfectly clean balls. I like to practice with balls in varying stages, within reason. </span>

3.) The ball specifications for the diameter is 2.250 +/- .005 inches. Balls of varying sizes would cause loose racks and if under 2.240" or smaller could cause misses on some shots. Further, inconsistency in size would cause racking problems. A range of 2.229" to 2.239" and an average of 2.233" for the balls and 2.225" for the cue ball is definitely out of specification (by 1 to 4 times the maximum allowed) and the balls should be replaced.

<span style="color: #FF0000">I neither measure nor weigh balls. I have one set of decent quality Belgian balls, that came with the table. My other two sets of balls are top quality Centennials and Aramith balls. I trust that they were all within specs when they were new and any changes since are within reason and comparable to any wear and tear on balls at my local pool room. Again, I don't think I want to use pristine balls all of the time. Of course, if the balls become too pitted and chipped, they will be replaced. </span>

Thanks for your time, guys/gals.

Art


CCSC-BilliardRoomProject-03.wpd 100103 0145

</div></div>
<span style="color: #FF0000">As I said earlier, I am no expert. These are just my personal feelings about the balls I practice with on an every day basis. I keep these balls in good shape but I don't think they should be perfect, as that would not be in line with the balls at any of the local pool rooms. If anything, I prefer to practice with the balls within a moderate range of cleanliness, like they are in the real world. </span>

pooltchr
01-03-2010, 09:00 AM
Rich makes some good points. The only thing I would add is to use caution when vacuuming the table. A powerful vacuum can actually stretch the cloth, or if the cloth has been glued to the slate (not likely, but sometimes they use spray adhesive to hold it down), a strong vacuum can pull the cloth loose. I have a small hand held vacuum (Oreck) with an attachment that didn't allow it to lock on to the surface. (Little groves in the side allowed some air to come in from outside)

Not cleaning the table will allow chalk dust and dirt to work it's way down between the slate and the cloth, and can cause the cloth to wear out more quickly.

Steve

Bambu
01-03-2010, 10:44 AM
God I want that ballstar machine! Grrrrr!

Billy_Bob
01-03-2010, 10:46 AM
When I first got my home table, I went to a lot of work to make it perfectly level. And I got used to this. I could shoot a VERY slow shot and the balls would go perfectly straight...

Then I went somewhere to play in a tournament, I shot a very slow shot... The cue ball curved and completely missed the object ball! (Table was not level.)

I no longer keep my table level.

So if you're playing in tournaments, best to keep your table in a similar condition to the tables at the tournaments.

JoeW
01-03-2010, 10:49 AM
I have pretty much followed your schedule for the last 20 years and would only add that it helps to wipe down the table with a damp terrycloth towel about once per week.I wipe the table in the same way it would be brushed by hand, from head to foot using a new part of the cloth for each quarter section.

Someone suggested using a damp microfiber towel to clean the table. I found that this does work but that a terrycloth towel picked up chalk dust the microfiber missed. Therefore I only use the terrycloth towels that I buy by the dozen at Home Depot. The chalk does not wash out of the terrycloth so I just use a new cloth each time. The old cloths go to the basement for rags in my shop. A dozen cloths last for several months and only cost a few dollars so it is no great expense.

I vacume with a Dirt Devil that has a rotary brush. This seems to be very similar to a regular table brush and is much easier on my arms.

About once a month or so I iron the cloth with no steam in the iron. You can not do this if you have wax in the seams of the slate. I learned about ironing the cloth from the snooker players and find that it does seem to set the cloth and may help to avoid some bad rolls. It does seem that when I do not iron I get more bad slow rolls than when I iron occassionally. The effect is subtle and I am not sure it is even worth doing. It just seems to make me feel better knowing that the cloth is as flat and running as smooth as possible.

When my table, with gully pockets, was installed by the Bruswick technicians about 20 years ago they placed a dab of Carnuba wax in the back of the pockets. I have continued to do this about every six months. This tends to reduce the number of black marks on the balls. Usually when I am cleaning the table rails with Pledge I also clean the inside of the pockets. This too seems to reduce the number of black marks left on balls. Carnuba wax is the primary ingredent in many wax products. I use Johnson and Jonhson floor wax for this job and it seems to work well

One other possible tip. Over time the metal plates on the corner pockets tend to get banged up. I found a gold / brass magic marker antiquing pen used for gold leafing at Home Depot that is usually used to touch up picture frames and similar projects. I use this pen like device to touch up the bang marks on my table. This is similar to the way we touch up a sink or a bath tub. Seems to work reasonably well and keeps my table looking new to the casual observer.

I have a home made mechanical ball polisher and use Aramith ball cleaner / wax though I tend to think that Pledge furniture polish is just about as good for waxing. Aramith seems to be better for "deep" cleaning. Regardless of the type of polish I use I also find it best to polish the balls by hand when I start to play. Seems to remove any humididty /water build up and this quick wipe down also removes any chalk or black marks on the balls.

I have also found that it is best to let cleaned / polished balls sit for 30 minutes or so. It seems to take awhile for the wax to completly dry. If I don't let them sit the balls will show small circles where two balls collide. In general it is best to clean polish at night when I am done playing and let them sit over night. However I am usually to lazy to do this. I like Rich's idea about having two sets of balls. I have several sets and think that perhaps I will try his way for a few weeks.

Not sure if any of this will help you. It has kept my Gold Crown III in excellent condition for 20 years.

LWW
01-03-2010, 10:57 AM
Our table is within 1/10th of a bubble being dead perfect after about 4 years.

Still have the original cloth.

I'm going to guess it gets about 20 per month of play.

My first of the month routine is to polish the balls and vacuum the table.

I use a handheld Dustbuster much like Steve described earlier.

The cloth by now shows visible wear but is far from worn out.

LWW

str
01-10-2010, 01:08 AM
Thank you all very much for your comments thus far.

Art