View Full Version : Looking for Opinions on New Tables
I am looking at buying a new table, and im looking for impressions on the various brands? I have been thinking about getting a American Heritage, or AE Schmidt table. I can't find any sites that review the different manufcturers. Any help or insight is appreciated.
04-02-2002, 02:23 PM
Get a Diamond table.
What brands are available within an acceptable distance to you?How much is the most you're willing to spend?
04-03-2002, 06:50 AM
You might wish to scope out the new Gabriels Billiard & Pool Tables. Nice tables, solid, and reasonably priced.
Good Question. I can get Gandy, Brunswick, AE Schmidt, American Heritage, Olhausen, AMF, C.L. Bailey(never heard of these guys) and Peter Vitale. I would like to keep it around $2000.00 no more than 2700.00 I found I can get a American Heritage table with Delivery, set up, 4 cues, balls, brush, rack, and chalk, for about 1899.00 for the low end, to 2700.00 for a nicer cabinent. they appear to be a nicely made tables. But I am still learning about tables and what makes one better then the next..
if it is really going to be used for more than folding laundry then find the best table mechanic in your area. he will have a line on a used brunswick. buy it.
04-03-2002, 05:59 PM
I'd have a hard time recommending a new table at all, unless money is not a big issue. If you're in a large metro area, check to see if they have an internet "forsale" newsgroup. Check it at regular intervals, and be ready to run over on a moment's notice to put down a deposit. It's often a buyer's market for used pool tables, they are uneconomical to move unless it's just across town.
One of my teammates just bought a like-new Gandy Sportsman (new retail was around $5000, I think) for $600. The owner had sold his house, and had no place to put it in the new house. It cost less than $400 additional to have it moved and re-felted in simonis. It looks like and plays like new, and he has less than $1000 invested. Such a deal is not uncommon, I see several every month.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Nevets:</font><hr> I am looking at buying a new table, and im looking for impressions on the various brands? I have been thinking about getting a American Heritage, or AE Schmidt table. I can't find any sites that review the different manufcturers. Any help or insight is appreciated. <hr></blockquote>
04-04-2002, 02:41 AM
I agree. Used good Brunswicks are the best deal around. Heck you can get a good used Gold Crown for less than 3 g's setup.
I dont know about there 9 foot tables but I have an AMF bartable that has been a very good table.
Gayle in MD
04-04-2002, 12:18 PM
Joey, I totally agree!!
Gayle in Md, Love my new Diamond!
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Nevets:</font><hr> Good Question. I can get Gandy, Brunswick, AE Schmidt, American Heritage, Olhausen, AMF, C.L. Bailey(never heard of these guys) and Peter Vitale. I would like to keep it around $2000.00 no more than 2700.00 I found I can get a American Heritage table with Delivery, set up, 4 cues, balls, brush, rack, and chalk, for about 1899.00 for the low end, to 2700.00 for a nicer cabinent. they appear to be a nicely made tables. But I am still learning about tables and what makes one better then the next.. <hr></blockquote>
Hello, all. I lurk the CCB from time to time, but don't really post. My short answer to the posters question is that for that price, he should be looking for a used table. However, this is a topic dear to my heart, so I will bore you will my full skreed on this ...
The first thing to remember is that some of the people who sell pool tables are idiots, and some are dishonest. There are good, knowledgeable people out there too, but take everything you hear from a salesman with a grain of salt, unless you know who they are. Also, note that most (all?) pool tables have considerable margin of profit for the dealer built into the MSRP, particularly on higher end tables, so there is considerable room to bargain. Here is some info I have posted before in various forms to RSB, gather primarily when I was looking for my own table two years ago:
You have to make a base choice between a furniture table and a commercial table. The "industry standard" commercial table was, for many years, the Brunswick Gold Crowns. The most recent version of that table is the Gold Crown (or "GC") IV. They are not cheap, although they do pop up quite regularly used (at least earlier models, like the Gold Crown III). If looks aren't important to you, then get a commercial table. The commercial tables like the GC are built to withstand the demands of a bar or pool hall, where they are subject to constant play and frequent abuse. The base-frame is made of heavier- duty wood, the rails (and sometime the cabinet) are protected by a laminate in order to resist dings and cigarette burns. Brunswick's Website is http://www.brunswick-billiards.com/ .
Now, this is heresy to admit, but I think that the GC's are UGLY. They are wonderful in a pool room, and fine for a garage or basement, but I didn't have those options, and didn't want one in my living room, which is the only place I could put a table. I am not alone in my objection to the look of the commercial tables, although usually it is blamed on "the wife". So, IF you like (or don't mind) the look of the GC, I would certainly say go for a new or used GC. If you go for a used GC (or any other used table), bring a table mechanic with you to ensure it is in decent shape (just as if you were buying a used car). A slightly better looking commercial table, IMO, is Brunswick's Medalist, which is available with real wood rails. It is not quite the tank that the GC is, but certainly is adequate, although it may be harder to find used.
A newer table that many say has replaced the GC as the top commercial table is the Diamond table - see http://www.diamondbilliard.com/ These tables look very nice, but are very pricey (they make the GC look cheap), and I don't know if you could find one used. There really are gorgeous, well playing tables. I have never heard of anyone who has one being disappointed, although be sure to consider carefully how tight the pockets will be if you order their tighter pocket size. Diamond doesn't have dealers everywhere, but they will sell one and ship it directly to you, and I hear that may still be able to negotiate on price when buying directly from them.
An even newer entry into the North American table market is Gabriels, an established European three cushion billiard table manufacturer. I crawled under a Gabriels Signature Pro table at the Valley Forge Expo, and the combination of 1 and 1/4 " slate and steel U beam construction is impressive. Add to that Artemis cushions and a good pocket design (like Diamond's), and I would consider it a true rival for Diamond as the best table money can buy (IMHO, of course).
If you are like me, however, and don't feel like spending the $$$$ on a Diamond or a Gabriels, but still can't bring yourself to go with the looks of GC, then you are in the world of furniture tables. These tables, at their best, are made of solid hardwood and look beautiful. When I looked, I only looked at Gandy, Brunswick, and Dufferin (I am in Canada). I spent a lot of time looking at Brunswick tables, however, before choosing a Gandy table see http://www.gandys.com/ - Gandy has the best web page I've seen of any of the manufacturers, filled with tons of information about pool table construction (although of course they are still trying to sell you a product). It used to be that if they didn&#8217;t have a dealer in your area, they would sell you one directly for 25% off MSRP (see http://www.gandys.com/gandy_direct.htm ). Now, I understand that they are not selling through dealers at all anymore and are using the name American Heirloom Products.
For what its worth, the reason I chose Gandy over Brunswick is the construction of the base frame that holds up the slate. As I understand it, in their commercial tables, Brunswick has a frame made up of a rectangular box, with supports running down the width of the table, AND a cross-member built in running the length of the table. On their home (furniture) tables, they do NOT have the cross-member, and in many, if not all, cases, use the outside frame of the table (the skirt) with supports running down the width of the table only, as the means of the supporting the slate. In the Gandy tables, the slate support construction has the cross-member running the length of the table, and uses a frame to support the slate, like the GC does (although it is not quite as massive).
Note, also, that different tables by the same manufacturer can play differently. Some manufacturers, including Brunswick, makes a low-end table that is NOT a good table for the long run. Brunswick makes three different lines of furniture tables. The cheapest line, the Rec Room line, has tables which are not built to last - 3/4" slate rather than 1", particle board construction, etc. Even if you ignore everything else I say, please don't buy one of these - you would be better off with a used hardwood table. The top of the line are the Showpiece series, which are fine tables, but really expensive, and you are really paying for fancy carving. The mid-level Game Room series, IMO, is the best bet among the Brunswicks. The tables should be solid hardwood, they look pretty enough, and have the same construction features as the Showpiece series (I think). (Note that Brunswick has recently stopped marketing the tables grouped as I describe, but it should be obvious which tables fall into which categories by looking at the construction.)
Tables by the same manufacturers using the same construction methods and materials SHOULD play similarly. Other manufacturers, such as Gandy, only make hardwood tables. I can't speak about the other manufacturers, but the important thing to keep in mind is to determine if the essential elements of the construction - the base frame, the slate support, the slate itself, and the rails - are the same within each table-maker's line. Crawl under the tables in the showroom if you have to. Diamond (who make the really good expensive commecial tables) now make furniture tables, which are cheaper. They didn't exist when I bought mine, and their website tells little about them. Given how good their other tables are, I would definitely consider them, although I have heard that the construction is not as good as the commercial tables.
There are a number of other manufacturers that have their supporters, including SAM Kim Steele, Pinnacle, Lemacher, A.E. Schmidt, Olhausen and AMF. The Schmidt tables in particular have a good reputation for furniture tables.
Whatever table you get, buy top quality cloth (either Simonis or Granito). All other cloths are inferior, and anyone who tells you to "save" a hundred dollars or so on the cloth is an idiot. Good cloth lasts longer, and plays better. Also, get good balls - either Aramith Super Pro balls, or Brunswick Centennials. Don't skimp on either one - they aren't that expensive, and it does make a difference.
As a final note, I enclose a list of things to look for (problems) that Bob Jewett listed awhile back in RSB. Note that the "unheated" remark applies equally to all pool tables, as only pocketless billiard tables are heated at the moment (in other words, ignore that one, IMO).
"How about service? Is the retailer willing to fix any defect in the first year? Here are some things to avoid. Unfortunately, some of the problems won't show up for years. Some of these are due to bad installation.
pocket liner turns gummy and comes off on cue stick
pocket liner fits badly, catching and rejecting balls
pocket liner fastening falls apart
pocket liner tacks are exposed and chip balls
badly designed rack-hanger
badly designed bridge-hanger
pockets stick up too high
pockets have sharp parts that can tear clothes or cut hands
pockets reject balls that are shot straight in
pocket facings cupped and reject balls
"drop pockets" allow the balls to rattle for several seconds
flimsy score wheels
aluminum parts leave black marks on clothes
awkward ball storage slots
ball return system loses balls
rail rubber badly installed or loose
cloth put on wrong
rails misaligned (side noses not in line)
loose rails (either hard to bolt on or just neglected)
diamond markings are hard to see
ball return hopper skins knuckles
ball return hopper decomposes"
Good luck with the hunt! If you do your homework, you should find a table you will treasure.
Holy @@#$ that's a nice response. Thanks for taking the time to post that. I guess I never realized the difference between furniture tables and commercial tables. I am looking for a table that will look nice in my home, I have a finished basement and will be adding pinball machines, arcade games, etc. trying to make a nice game room. But I really want a Pool table that not only looks nice but plays well and will last me 30-40 years, maybe more
I have looked in the yellow pages and have only found one place that does repairs and when i called, the guy sounded as if, he really didn&#8217;t give a crap what i was looking for and was just trying to get me off the phone. I am in the St. Louis area and we do have a few pool shops that sell tables and accessories, but I don't see many Pool Table mechanics.
I am going to go to AE Schmidt this weekend and see what they have in person, I have only talked to them on the phone and they along with American Heritage tell me that if its their low end table or their higher end, their structures are the same its the Cabinet that is more detailed and therefore adds to the cost. I will keep looking and keep my eyes on the used market. I have to weigh the options of used and no warranty vs. new and a lifetime warranty.
Thanks again for all the great advice.
Have you been to Billiards & Spas in St.Peters,Mo or Jeffco Billiards in Florissant,Mo.?
Jeffco is out of business, and I just got back from Billiards and Spas. They carry only Connelly and I wasn't to impressed. The workmanship seemed poor, and the slate support was cheap particle board. Also some of the tables appeared to be Pine. After that I went and looked that the AH tables again, and although they were nicer and built better, I am starting to notice things like how the leather pockets are attached, and the fact that the legs appear to be attached by only one lag bolt. I will hit AE Schmidt and Mueller tomorrow and check out some Olhausen, Gandy, and AE Schmidt tables. Thanks again for the advice on where to look Anon. Even though I didn't care for them, it is good reference.
You aren't that far from the Diamond factory! In my opinion, since I have one, I think you owe it to yourself to check them out. They are NOT as expensive as gideion says in his excellent post.
Just curious which table you like best,or are you more confused than ever? Anon
So far I have looked at American Heritage, Olhausen, Connelly, Gandy and AE Schmidt, and I am going to look at C.L. Bailey and Brunswick tables this week. Out of all of these that I have seen, I like the AE Schmidt Tables the best. For a furniture table they seem to be the most sold and well built. The more I look, the more I notice the little things, like the pockets and how they are attached (not only to the rail, but the leather tabs being attached with screws as opposed to staples), the overall sturdiness of the table(some rails bend and flex too easily), the quality of the cabinet(some use ¾&#8221; material, while others use 1 ¼&#8221;), etc. The AE Schmidt, (for the money I am looking to spend) appears to be very solid, and will give me the most bang for my buck. The C.L Bailey tables are also made here in Missouri, and I will be interested to see how they look. I cannot find a diamond dealer in St. Louis otherwise I would include them too. I will post some more thoughts after I check out these last two tables.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: JimS:</font><hr> You aren't that far from the Diamond factory! In my opinion, since I have one, I think you owe it to yourself to check them out. They are NOT as expensive as gideion says in his excellent post. <hr></blockquote>
i wondered about that. i've never priced diamond but it was my impression that, at the top end, they stay well below brunswick. izzat right??
04-07-2002, 04:43 PM
Here in the north Texas area, I priced the GCIV at Billiards & Barstools, and it was around $10,000. A local Diamond dealer quotes $5995 or thereabouts for the top o' the line Diamond.
You had previously mentioned that we'd be surprised at how much you spent for Marlene. Surprised because it was so high or surprised because it was so low?
These prices do not include any negotiating of any sort.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: houstondan:</font><hr> i wondered about that. i've never priced diamond but it was my impression that, at the top end, they stay well below brunswick. izzat right??
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: SPetty:</font><hr> HD,
Here in the north Texas area, I priced the GCIV at Billiards & Barstools, and it was around $10,000. A local Diamond dealer quotes $5995 or thereabouts for the top o' the line Diamond.
You had previously mentioned that we'd be surprised at how much you spent for Marlene. Surprised because it was so high or surprised because it was so low?<hr></blockquote>
those are closer to the numbers i expected on the diamond.
the 10K for the crown sounds more like the "black crown - piano finish" which is what richard rhorer has in the g.c. 3. beautiful table. i got the table for about...well, forget "about", exactly:$5492.70.i'm looking at the invoice from a little over a year ago. naturally, the simonis and centennials added some but not a whole lot.
as i said, run the dealers against each other and they will deal. they say they won't but this is a big sale to them.
dan...thanks for the info. appreciate it.
04-07-2002, 08:06 PM
I'm not on line to make sales, but I'll take advantage of this post and maybe clear up a misconception. I take pride hearing Diamond is at the higher price end of the market and in some respects I have to agree, for we do offer tables as much as $15,000, but that's rare and solid cocabola wood with special inlays much as a cue stick. Also we only have a few dealers across the nation and only recently created a Diamond home line of tables. Our Diamond Professional is our main table. I would like to invite you or anyone to come to our plant, only minutes from Louisville, Ky., actually in New Albany, In. The truth of the matter we have found that considerable savings can be realized by buying direct from the plant. We ship and assemble world wide. You owe it to yourself to call 800-874-0557 and get a brochure and quote before crossing us off your list. I'd love the chance to have you make your selection after getting all the facts. Thanks, Greg/Diamond
Making a trip to the factory will enable you to get a Diamond for considerably less than the $5995 you've been quoted. And, they don't charge that much to deliver and set up. It's a helluva buy...imo.
Jim, where is the Diamond factory? Just curious. I was thinking of you the other day! I was playing on a table where every slate popped. As I recall you got the killer slate, anti pop glue! I wish this PH had done the same.
Of course when the c/b slows down it has to track on the line between them. I mean what else would it do?
The Diamond factory is in New Albany IN., right across the border from Louisville Ky.
You're right about it being me that DID HAVE the problem with the slate popping but that's in the past tense. The product that Brady recommended, Liquid Dowel, worked great. We applied the Liquid Dowel about 4 months ago and everything is great even with my lard-butt climbing all over the table several hours a day! It's well worth the time, trouble and very small expense because, as you've recently experienced, it's sure no fun playing on a table with a popped slate, especially when the cb is stopping with just the right angle on the next shot and suddenly it's moved over an inch or two.
After Greg&#8217;s post I called and talked to Donna at Diamond to get a quote. It turns out that their tables are not that expensive but are a bit our of my price range (at least at the moment and not by much) Over all I have been looking at tables and trying to find ones that are built well, and that use 1&#8221; slate, and full profile K-66 Bumpers, Solid Hardwood, etc, etc.
When I called Diamond, Greg got on the phone and was kind enough to talk to me a bit about tables in general. I have to say that Greg&#8217;s approach toward building tables is different from anything else anyone has told me when talking about their tables. Instead of trying to explain to me about the structure and how it is assembled, he talked about the lack of consistency in the world of billiard table manufacturing. He was concerned with the size of the pocket openings, the depth of the pocket, the type of cloth used, and the thickness of the slate used. Also, the type of balls used, all these things had never really occurred to me, the cloth I knew made a difference, but he explained that the difference in slate would effect how the ball reacts on the table. He also told me about how to check to see how deep the slate sits in the pocket. He was concerned with coming up with standards, so that all tables would live up to these guidelines, and that these standards were derived, by talking to players. I have to say that these are really the things you like to hear from someone when looking at buying a table.
I have talked to quite a few dealers and no one took the approach that Greg did. To me it says something about the company and about how serious they are, in making a table that will meet and exceed the expectations of the player. I also have to say that Greg was not just trying to sell me a table but to educate me about what to look for in a table. I am a salesman and have been for over 10 years now, and can smell sales pitch a mile away. While I know that in the end Greg is out to sell his product, I think he genuinely wants to change the way pool tables are made. To come up with a standard that will allow all pool players an even playing field and to make pool a sport. I think that this is the type company I want to buy a table from. Now I say all this without ever having seen a diamond home table, and if I can find someone within, a few hours of St. Louis, I want to take a look at one. After reading other users posts about how they love their Diamond tables, I have a feeling I won&#8217;t be disappointed. At this point, I think I may be waiting and save up the extra money to get a Diamond.
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