A pool table can be a great investment for any home. With common sense care, it will last for decades, bringing the family thousands of hours of enjoyment. Here are questions to ponder before making a table purchase.
What Size Table is Best for Gaming?
Consider an 8-foot table (refers to a length twice its width of four feet) as presenting a medium challenge. Smaller sizes create many clustered balls and larger tables can cause frustration by forcing longer, difficult shotmaking. If you have adequate room space, though, you might opt for a 9-foot table. As skills grow you'll be a champ when visiting “puny” 8-footers.
Allow for space on all sides of the table to stroke cuesticks and for convenient cue storage. Show me a tight poolroom and I'll show you wall marks from cues smacking the walls. Use six feet of space per side, plus a few inches for backswings.
Warranty and Repairmen Available?
Always get references from satisfied customers before placing an order. What guarantees and service after the sale will seller provide you by written contract? If your new table breaks or becomes not level after time, will the seller be there to make it right?
The seller may warrant a table for 10 years but be closed for business in five years. Who is a trustworthy table restorer you may rely on located near your home? What will they charge for house calls for various repairs or routine maintenance (a semi-annual change of table felt and a tightening of the rails)?
Economy vs. Enjoyment?
Don't skimp. Paying $500 more for a bigger or better table may not seem a good investment until you consider the possibility of owning the table for 40 years or longer.
Three generations enjoyed pool on my grandfather's table until his home sold, when the table was given to the incoming homeowner still in excellent condition for play.
What Colors for Your New Beauty?
Blues and greens are simplest to sight upon. Red is a frequent choice for felt, too, but other colors can be distracting and show chalk and liquid or grease stains more easily. Felts are available in any color of the rainbow to suit your décor.
Can you get a table with special inlays on the rails, a personal monogram or inlaid counters at a reasonable price or free of cost? How long will you be waiting for such an order to be fulfilled by the table company?
Leveling Visits Provided?
Leveling or re-leveling a new or used table becomes a simple matter with the correct caliper and some plastic playing cards (cards make easy shims, hundredths of an inch thick to go under a table leg as needed).
What you want is to have your new or used table installed at home, followed by a second and possibly third leveling visit months later after giving the table time to settle in place. Do not purchase a table without service after the sale to keep it perfectly level.
Cheap, mass-produced tables use a wooden bed beneath the cloth. The best playability and durability is with heavyweight slate underlay instead.
A less costly surface is also easier to transport than a one-piece slate--slate slates made as three-piece construction--but they ought to be laid in place by a highly competent installer, so the table is level throughout and the fine seams between sections do not affect play as bumps under the felt. Ensure that the table has slate at least 7/8 of an inch thick, undergirded by slate liners.
Where Will Your Table Anchor?
Pick a spot for your poolroom with the most level flooring possible. Bare floors or carpeting is no matter; a table may weigh over one ton and will settle into place on its own. Be prepared to leave the new furniture in place for years to come!
Humidity and temperature play a role also and affect the balls and cloth both. The best location for your table is inside in a cool, dry room of your home.
How About Accessories?
A few cues with a floor rack for storage or even a simple clip holder, a set of decent balls with a wooden rack to gather them in place on the table, a specially made table brush for cloth maintenance (available for a few dollars from most poolrooms) and you are ready.
No greens fees or club memberships are required. You’ll want a personal cue but won’t need three rackets or 14 clubs in a big bag. Once the new table is in place, all the fun is free of cost going forward. Enjoy!