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View Full Version : Antique vs. new Pool Table, Pros and Cons ?



04-08-2002, 08:42 PM
I'm in the market for a pool table. I recently took the game back up and I am interested in a Very good quality "furniture" table. I am toying with the idea of buying an antique Brunswick table in the 80 to 100 year old range and having it professionally restored. I recently came across a Brunswick 9 foot 6 leg Kling pictured here: http://www.brunswick-billiards.com/history/kling6leg.html that I will have around $10,000 once it is restored. this restoration would include new k-66 rails and slate realignment/leveling.

Can anyone tell me if these tables play well (like tables today?)? Are there any drawbacks to having an antique table. Anyone know of an excellent table restoration business here in US.

Also, if I were to buy a new table, any recomendations on new table brands. I've looked at Brunswick, Olhausen, Golden West and Connelly in person. The American Heirloom tables built by Gandy appear promising with all harwood consrtuction but I have not seen one in person. Frankly, the first three have too much plywood and particle board in their build up for my taste. Again, I'm not interested in the box on leg design of pro tables like the Gold Crown.

Essentially, I'm looking for a table that plays well, looks great and my children fight over who gets the table in 50 years when I'm gone!

Thanks for your help!

Brady_Behrman
04-08-2002, 08:51 PM
We do alot of installs on Ol Tables. We have a 1913 Brunswick 3 cushion Billiard Table in our room. My opinion, GET NEW. Old tables have Old Problems. Have you seen the rail bolts on the Old Brunswicks? Break one of them, Your In trouble. Those old tables are nice if you have an old style house that will "feature" an old table, Otherwise get New..New Table will play MUCH better!
Good Luck

04-09-2002, 05:20 PM
Well it doesn't appear any of you can reccomend an antique table. (I find it hard to believe none of you play on or own one of these besides one member).

So, if I were to buy a New furniture table, who makes the best playing and finest appearing pool table. I would even consider small table builders. If price (within reason) was not a consideration; who would you reccomend?

Thanks for your help!

TomBrooklyn
04-09-2002, 06:38 PM
Hi Doc:
Check out http://www.blattbilliards.com/. They have A LOT of antique tables; but I don't have any personal experience buying or using their tables, sorry.

A nice looking professional quality new table made with hardwood rails is the Gabriels.

Ken
04-09-2002, 08:56 PM
I think that once you get $10,000 in an antique table it will play just fine. It's the under $2,000 tables that I agree will have some problems. That's what the extra $8,000 is for. The antiques can be very heavy and quite solid. There will be differences from modern tables. I have read that the rail attachment with bolts going into the slate will result in different rebound characteristics but I don't remember what was said about the difference.

I have a 1920 Monroe model Brunswick-Balke-Collender with about $1,700 in it which plays fine and it has had no restoration other than some repair work on the rails and pockets that I am doing. The pockets on the old tables tend to be on the generous side and won't play with the difficulty of a modern table but that can be altered. The tops of the rails may be narrower than modern tables.

The Connelly is a good quality modern table with an antique appearance. I don't know if it is available with a ball return. I would prefer a ball return and don't see any reason to get a great home table and then skimp on the ball return. Walking around picking balls out of the pockets is fine if you are just banging the balls or practicing but for serious play a ball return is better.

I'm sure that Brady knows a lot more about this subject than I do. If he says he installs the old tables and he can't get them to play right I would have to defer to his opinion. I just don't know if he's referring to restored tables or the ones you might purchase out of someone's basement.

Here is a list of some sites that sell and restore old tables. Some will work on your table but some may work only on their own. I doubt that any of them have any for sale for $10,000. Double or triple that if you want to buy a properly restored table. I think you could get a table in great playing condition and cosmetically pretty good in your price range or considerably lower. It's the detailing that will run the price up

http://www.antiquebilliardtables.com/
http://members.aol.com/cbilliards/billiards.htm
http://www.antique-pool-table.com/index.htm
http://www.billiardrestoration.com/
http://www.blattbilliards.com/MainNav.htm
http://www.avalon.net/~billiard/
http://rebcobilliards.com/
http://www.custombilliards.com/main.htm

There are also places that sell tables that are not restored to museum condition. Pool Table Magic at 4 Prospect Hill Rd, East Windsor, CT has quite a few antiques that are not quite as ornate as the Kling or the ones at the above sites. They specialize more in new tables and exotic cues but they also deal in antiques. None on the website however:

http://www.classiccues.com/

There is a huge market to choose from.
Ken in CT

Brady_Behrman
04-09-2002, 09:22 PM
You can get one of the Diamonds used at the U.S.Open for 4 - $4500.00. If interested email me Brady@q-masters.com and i will get all the details

Thanks
Brady

Q-guy
04-09-2002, 09:28 PM
I have an old Sanuyer Willhelm (sp?) most likely built by Brunswick. I put new cushions on it and had everything could be done to make it play good. It played like junk next to the new tables. The biggest problem seemed to be the T rails. They just never all play the same. The Verhoven billiard tables are T rail but have twice as many bolts as my old table. Mine even has an original wood ball return. I put it in storage, where it still is and set up a Gold Crown. Myself, I would not invest a nickel in that table if you want the table as a playing table and not as a decorator item. You Asked.

Ken
04-09-2002, 10:33 PM
It's "Saunier-Wilhem" in my catalog. I agree that it's the play of the rails that is likely to be different in the old tables and I guess it's no surprise that they might be variable. Anyone wanting to acquire the skills to play on modern equipment should buy a modern table. I too have been thinking of putting my antique away or trading it for a Gold Crown. However I also had the thought that I might develope some skills. I'm having doubts about that now. Maybe it's the table.

I still think the Connelly is a good looking solid table with an antique appearance. Six legs and 1 1/2" slate I think. Not too pricey and seems to play like most modern tables. I just don't know about ball returns. I think Chris in NC has a bunch of them with tight pockets. Maybe they aren't all sold. No ball returns on any of his, I believe.

Brady_Behrman
04-09-2002, 11:46 PM
I have done plenty of Old falling apart tables aswell as tables that been totally restored. I have never had one go together with NO problems. I have probally worked on/installed about 30 OLD Brunswicks (pre 1930).

Its just so Darn hard getting any parts for "old" tables...And then if you do find parts, its gonna cost you! I would much rather have a brand New Diamond, GC, or Gabriels ...I appreciate you valueing my opinion!

Example: We have a 1913 Brunswick 5 x 10 billiard table, everytime we recover it, problems arise.

Whatever your decission,
Best of Luck and if I can be of assistance,Let me know.
Brady

You can only go In and out of wood so many times...

04-10-2002, 12:05 AM
Thanks for all your posts. It sound sounds like I should forget the antique table idea and buy a new table that perhaps looks like an antique. The most important thing to me is playability. The new tables at Blatt billiards look very nice http://www.blattbilliards.com/MainNav.htm . Has anyone played on one of their tables?

Thanks Guys,
Bryan

#### leonard
04-10-2002, 08:50 AM
Buy it if it is made of Sarcassion Walnut. It is the best table ever made by Brunswick, that and its sister table the Arcade, it weighs in at 2300 lbs . Most new tables weigh 1200 lbs. Solid as a Rock. I would be more worried over who is doing the restoring. Blatt Billiards would want $40,000 or better for the same table.####

Ken
04-10-2002, 09:09 AM
Brady, I've seen your billiard table and the snooker table. I certainly can second your description of the problems that can arise with the wood. I have had extensive contact with only one antique table and the places where the staples go has a great deal of wood simply missing. If these problems are present in "restored" tables then there are indeed problems. In particular the rail bearing surface on the slate is also the place where the cloth gets stapled. That very key surface is riddled with missing chips of wood to the extent that nearly half the bearing surface is missing. That is what might contribute to uneven playing response of the rails. I consider that a very serious design flaw. I've had some success restoring those surfaces but it's not the kind of work I would want to pay someone to do.

I love the old tables and actually prefer the way my rails play but it is quite different from modern tables and not what I would recommend to anyone who might anticipate playing anywhere else.

The antique tables often can be acquired at a very good price because of the problems finding someone who has the space and the desire to move them. They should not be equated with modern tables, however.
Ken in CT

04-10-2002, 12:18 PM
Heartdoc, I too am in the market for a new table but with far less of a budget, I will first direct you to this <a target="_blank" href=http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccbboard&amp;Number=7788&amp;p age=0&amp;view=expanded&amp;sb=5&amp;o=0>Post </a>I made about the Diamond tables.

If playability is your main concern, then I will ask you to call and talk to Greg at Diamond. Just by talking to him, you will realize that it is his main concern when bulding tables. Depending on where you are, I would find a Diamond dealer near you or visit the factory before you buy a table.

04-10-2002, 03:16 PM
I believe an issue which has been raised here many times is important for you to consider--and that is where you intend to play. If you like to visit pool rooms as you travel (as I do), then your best bet is a commercial table. Play at home on what you will be playing on when travelling. I have played on a number of beautifully restored antiques, and they do not play the same as a commercial table--regardless of the brand. One friend has a grand old Brunswick, and the bevel in the slate toward the pocket creates a very large pocket. If I got used to that pocket, it would kill me on a commercial table.

It seems to me that the playability of the Brunswick, Diamond, Gabriel, AMF, etc. commercial tables is sufficiently similar to make little difference. The playability (i.e. rails, over-pockets, pockets, etc.) of non-commercial tables is sufficiently "different" to merit consideration of a commercial table.

My attitude is that a table is a tool--the higher the quality of the play, the better. The beauty is in how well it does the job. Look at a Grabriel Vector, and get down under it. You'll be impressed, and understand what I'm talking about. Which is not to say that Gabriel is the only choice, but the table I saw at Valley Forge was truly impressive from a functionality and quality stand-point.

04-11-2002, 10:53 AM
The Connelly Ultimate tables ARE available with ball returns. Tom Minor, who owns The Marble Club, in Rapid City, SD, has several, all with ball returns...and they DO play GREAT!

Scott Lee