View Full Version : Best filler for table slate?
09-24-2002, 05:34 PM
I've got a really old 4-1/2 x 9 table -- so old it has 4 piece slate! I'm having it re-covered, but want to re-level it & re-fill the screw holes & seams first. What's the best material for filling & leveling? I would assume that a filler that requires sanding would be hard to get level, and risk damaging the slate in sanding, but maybe there is a proper sanding technique?
Last time I had the table covered, the table mechanic talked me out of Simonis, saying he didn't recommend fast cloth for antique tables, 'cuz of the likely extra rolls. However, I am sick of trying to practice on cloth totally unlike the cloth I compete on, so I'm definitely going for Simonis this time. However, I want to make every effort to get the playing surface as flat & level as possible before re-covering -- what would a professional suggest?
I recall from a few months ago, somebody mentioning a product called "Liquid Dowel". If my memory serves me correctly you can get it from Q-masters, or Diamond Billiard products. Supposedly the best stuff, period.
Hope this helps
09-25-2002, 06:11 AM
Wax was indeed used last time. Now, how to remove the remaining wax safely -- unless I use wax again? Wouldn't wax residue interfere with some other product like liquid Dowel?
There are wood inserts in some of the pocket areas that require a bit extra filler. Something like Durhams Water Putty looks to have been used in those areas before. I have heard someone mentioned Bondo before, and actually there is now a Bondo like product designed for wood use (Minwax High Performance Filler). I'm thinking something along those lines might be more solid for those larger build areas -- but maybe Liquid Dowel can do that. Proper sanding technique would be my next question for a product like that. No way would I trust a belt sander -- or even a random orbital -- how do you protect the slate??
Any advice would be appreciated. It's a Brunswick Balke Collender 'Popular', with birdseye background & rosewood inlay -- naturally could use the full restoration program, as there is loose & missing inlay -- someday!
One of the advantages of wax is that there is no sanding necessary. All you need do is use a hot iron to flatten and smooth the waxed area. Wax can be softened and/or removed using mineral spirits or paint thinner. I don't think taking a belt sander to your slate is a good idea. JMO
09-26-2002, 07:43 AM
Steve, you may or may not consider this, but it is something that I am seriously considering. Since I'm very mechanically inclined, I am thinking of setting up and recovering my own table. I've looked everywhere for instructions and found free instructions with a purchase of $75.00 here www.bestbilliard.com (http://www.bestbilliard.com) or you can purchase instructions for $15.00. The instructions cover TOOLS NEEDED, REPLACING CUSHIONS, CLOTH CUTTING GUIDE, PREPPING RAILS, COVERING RAILS, PREPPING SLATE, COVERING SLATE, POCKET WORK, FINISHING TOUCHES. If anyone has discovered free instructions anywhere, please let me know.
I also found this on the site concerning Leveling the Slate & Filling the Seems, http://www.bestbilliard.com/resources/buildtable/levelingSlate.cfm
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Anonymous:</font><hr> One of the advantages of wax is that there is no sanding necessary. All you need do is use a hot iron to flatten and smooth the waxed area. Wax can be softened and/or removed using mineral spirits or paint thinner. I don't think taking a belt sander to your slate is a good idea. JMO <hr></blockquote>
What kind of Wax is that ? Bees wax? or candle?
I've moved and reassembled 4 tables over the years and used
plaster of paris or joint compound.After letting it dry and a light sanding by hand,I've never had any problems.This may not be the best method but worked well for me.
For permanent repairs you might be able to use some of the afore mentioned fillers. I'm not familiar with Liquid Dowel, but if it's being sold by reputable sources as a seam/hole filler I'll bet it's great.
Personally, I've used wax on seams and holes. Wax is easy to use, is extremely forgiving, and is only semi-permanent. The stuff used on pool tables and often sold anywhere they carry table recovering supplies is normally beeswax. Some places also add some type of resin to the wax (I think Best Billiards' wax has resin added).
I've only done a few setups, so I'm no pro, but this is the way I do it.
Just get a pie tin and shape it into a makeshift gravy boat shaped thing with a spout. Put your chunk of beeswax in there (the place I got it from sells it in cakes). Heat it with a propane torch until it's liquid and just pour it into the seams and holes, and don't be afraid to use a little extra. (You may find a pair of pliers beneficial for holding the pie tin if it gets hot /ccboard/images/icons/wink.gif) Now here's the beauty part. To get rid of the excess and leave a nice smooth surface, wave the torch over the wax, don't turn it liquid again, just enough to soften it up. While it's still soft, use a scraper (I use a wide razor scraper) and shave off the excess flat with the slate. You should leave wax in the seams and holes only, with no perceptable amount on the slate's surface. When you're done, just run your hand over the slate to make sure you didn't leave any errant drips anywhere.
That Best Billiard site is quite excellent.
I've heard that an old book called "Minnesota Fats on Pool" has an excellent chapter on table recovering. Check to see if your library has it. Somehow I recall that mine may actually have a copy, but I haven't had a chance to check recently.
this is CeeBee... I did not take the time to log in. My Pool Table Mechanic used BONDO for the nicks & dents in my 4 1/2 x 9 1905 6-legged Brunswick Monterrey Mission covered with Simonis 860. The mechanic used Bee's Wax in the slate joints. My restoration cost me $6500 & it is a beauty.
Good Luck to you.
09-26-2002, 11:31 AM
Thanks, Chris. I may just order the cloth from these people when I'm ready, and get the instructions free. Their prices seem to be as reasonable as most.
I finally got my $100.00 pool table. It is a three piece slate, eight foot table. The frame has a lot of particle board. I am thinking of replacing it with wood. It doesn't look like it would be that hard. If I spend $100 on wood and $200 on new cloth, I think I can have a pretty decent table for about $400, if I do all my own work.
With $200.00 allocated for cloth, I imagine you've got you're heart set on Simonis. /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif $100.00, or even $400.00, for a table is a great deal. Heck, the slate alone can cost that much!
Not to hijack the thread, but I've got a table that's been set up at the in-laws for a few years and I'm thinking it's time it came back home. The table is 12 years old and has been played on very little for about the last 6. How long do cushions stay good for? I'd hate to get the rails recovered only to find out later that the rubber is dead. I suppose it might be best to just put new cushions on while I'm at it, so as to eliminate any doubt.
Here are some instructions for putting on the bed cloth:
09-26-2002, 07:41 PM
Good question about the cushions. I think the ones on my table are pretty ancient. They definitly don't play like a Gold Crown, but I always assumed that was partly 'cuz of the different method of bolting on the rails (from the side on the old table as opposed to from underneath on newer ones). How does one tell if the cushions are 'dead'?
If Bondo® is good enough for Ernesto Dominquez, it is certainly good enough for me. He uses it for nicks, holes and slate joints.
09-26-2002, 11:23 PM
Thanks, Ken. I noticed that my slate had what looked like joint cement on it. This might work okay if you didn't move the table after setting it up. Bondo or liquid dowel sounds like it might be more durable.
09-27-2002, 06:05 AM
Then my concern would be how to sand the Bondo, without damaging the slate? The wax method sure sounds safer!! (although not as durable for larger repairs/fills)
After doing a little research at R.S.B., etc... I ascertained that, it depends.
I read reports of pretty new tables that needed to have the cushions replaced and of 30 year old-plus tables that still play great with the original rubber. One guy was told by a mechanic that he thought that cushions made some 40 years ago are, in his opinion, better and hold up longer than most anything made today. Also read that if the table is kept indoors in a good climate then the rubber never really goes bad, so I guess I dunno. Obviously, if the cushions seem hard and brittle or have dry-rot, you'd want to replace them. If it's an old table and you're doing a lot of work on it anyway, maybe replacing the cushions would be a good idea. I happened to be by my in-laws last night so I ran a few balls around my table. It was never the fastest table in the world, and the rails are in desperate need of a recovering, but I thought the rebound was still pretty good. Think I might stick with these for now and see how it goes.
Use a wide blade when the Bondo is wet to apply and remove the excess.
Use 150 grit when the Bondo sets up. There is NO potential damage to the slate unless you really grind with the sandpaper.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: NH_Steve:</font><hr> Then my concern would be how to sand the Bondo, without damaging the slate? The wax method sure sounds safer!! (although not as durable for larger repairs/fills) <hr></blockquote>
With the cloth removed, carefully look at the nose of the rails. If there is any "cracking" the rubber should be replaced.
With the cloth still in place, I've seen both an excellent NorCal table mechanic and Ernesto tap the rails gently with a rubber hammer. A dead rail will have a distinctive "thud" at those dead spots.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: NH_Steve:</font><hr> Good question about the cushions. I think the ones on my table are pretty ancient. They definitly don't play like a Gold Crown, but I always assumed that was partly 'cuz of the different method of bolting on the rails (from the side on the old table as opposed to from underneath on newer ones). How does one tell if the cushions are 'dead'? <hr></blockquote>
Use a sanding block if you want an absolute flat surface. Auto repair body shops always use sanding blocks to get the surface straight. Using your hand may cause some high and low spots that billiard balls will detect.
Uh, obviously..... /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Anonymous:</font><hr> Use a sanding block if you want an absolute flat surface. Auto repair body shops always use sanding blocks to get the surface straight. Using your hand may cause some high and low spots that billiard balls will detect.
Table Curve <hr></blockquote>
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