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Are the cloth manufacturers making cloth too THIN ?

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  • Are the cloth manufacturers making cloth too THIN ?

    I have noticed over the years that some batches of cloth are getting thinner .
    as a fitter of over 36 years experience , I have noticed that the cloth retaining slips are getting loose after another recover in the same grade cloth , this can only mean one thing the cloth now being produced is manufactured thinner . they cannot argue the fact the retaining slips being loose is the proof , that the cloth is not as thick as the one taken off , even though they both carry the same grade number or name .

    Today I Tried to fit a bed cloth in the manufacturers top of the range Match cloth , I had secured the cloth at each end and each side of the middle pocket fall , I then stretched the fall down on one centre pocket , moved to the opposite centre pocket , gripped the cloth to form this around the fall when my fingers went straight through the cloth .
    I had to refix the old cloth back on and I am now in the process of returning the cloth to the manufacturer for an explanation of why they are taking the strenth out of the cloth by making it thinner ( to please the speed of the ball over the bed cloth ? ) Both manufacturers are doing it . it is not just down to one brand , are they trying to out do each other in trying to produce the fastest cloth , don't forget this brand of cloth is not supposed to last a long time it is the thinner match cloth not the normal high end club table cloth which is supposed to be durable as well as fast .

    Before this I had only ever ripped one bed cloth in 35 years and that was to the end of that 35 years , and guess what that was top of the range too , both of these mishaps happening within a year of each other , this recent one did not tear , my fingers went through it like butter .

    this has knocked me back a bit and I have lost confidence in the match quality cloths , to the point that if I think it is too thin I will refiuse to even try fitting it .
    I will be returning the bed cloth under the Not fit for Purpose use .

    so if you are thinking of having the match type cloths which are expensive , be aware they are as thin as toilet Paper . well not as that thin but you when I think about it I have never put my fingers through toilet paper only this cloth

    I can after today only recomend Hainsworth smart and 6811 tournament .

    Last edited by Geoff Large; 26th November 2011, 09:12 PM.

  • #2
    Jeez, I know it's been a few years (19 actually) since I fitted a new bed cloth but your fingers going through the cloth! Don't envy you having to deal with that Geoff!
    Billiard Fitters always have time for a nap!


    • #3
      the cloth reminded me of some Free 6ft bed and cushion kits that my old boss John Hopkin was given to try out , so we put them on 3 wood bed tables we had in the workshop , same thing happend there the cloth was no good fingers straight through the cloth , we managed to get one bed cloth out of three on , and the cloth just fell apart when played on .
      when the sales man came in John sent him into see me and the other fitter , we told him straight the cloth was crap .
      Not saying this match cloth would fall apart , but I think there should be a happy medium between a cloth being fast and also durable to fit .
      I know this cloth is not up to the job , it would not last long in a working situation where it had to last long .
      In fact the cloth was so thin that I did not use it to cover the cushions , I put a thicker cloth on them because they where steel block , if I had put this thin stuff on , then it would have split on the middle openings , where the steel starts and the wood tack block is situated .
      that should have warned me not to try and fit it , not useing the cushion cloth was a good call , useing the bed cloth was not .
      At the end of the day the table was being recovered for a Pro, funded by a sponser , and fitting labour by me , it leaves me out of pocket because I have done a days work for nothing plus the traveling and i am a set of cushion cloths down , the sponser having to send the cloth back to complain , the Pro not having a table to play on with a new bed cloth for his much required practice .

      BUT its a never ending circle , the Pro's want a fast table which means thinner cloth and less nap , the cloth manufacturers respond by making a cloth that thin it has no body or strenth in the weave , the fitter moans because the risk of ripping a cloth has increased .
      the sooner someone standardises the materials used on a table the better for all , if they want fast cloth fit american no nap speed cloth thats impossible to rip .

      in the meantime it's my job to fit a cloth as tight as possible , a loose cloth is no good to anyone , I would like to invite any cloth manufacturer to try and fit one of these thin cloths , they may be ok at testing for colour and speed etc but think about the last bloke in the line up who has to fit the bloody thing .
      there must be other fitters out there who have had the same experience with this thin cloth ?
      when I first started in the trade over 36 years ago I used to moan about fitting no6 grade from strachan it was so thick that I had blisters on my knuckles fitting it , well now I am at the other end of the scale moaning about thin cloths .
      Last edited by Geoff Large; 27th November 2011, 12:16 AM.


      • #4
        After reading the first few lines of your thread I said to myself `Jaysus what is he moaning about, remember the days when you would come home after fitting 38oz Strachan No6 with 6 plasters on your fingers, and knowing that youll have to go out the following day and fit some more, and your knuckles skinned to the bone` Thank goodness to all of us when the lighter grade of cloth finally came in.
        On the subject of thin (or inferior) cloth, I can remember during the early 80s I got samples of 10 coloured wool cloths. The quality of them was just `passable`but just like you whenever I went to pull them my fingers went straight through. Of the 10 I fitted only 6 of them were pulled to the right tension. The 4 that tore on me had to be glued down and the tears hiden to the best of my ability.
        When 6811 was reduced in weight to 30oz a few years ago I didnt mind it, but I thought at 32oz it was a better cloth, the same goes for Hainsworths.
        Gone are the days of being called back to stretch the cloth after 6 to 9 months, but I also look at it the other way, and Im sure the cloth manufacturers are doing the same, the the light ounced cloths wear out faster, resulting in more frequent re-covering.
        When you but cheap... You buy twice !


        • #5
          Talking about no6 grade Gerard , have you ever fitted the old hunt and winterbottom cloth , it had a triangle logo with H/W in side it . i still have a few samples of it knocking around . and the odd cushion lenth .
          I swear that was thicker than no 6 , anyway those skinned knuckles soon got hard skin on them , and I was just about used to putting them on when they bought out the thinner 6811 and Hainsworth top table Brands .
          in fact for a few years after the 6811 was brought out we still recovered the cushions in No6 38oz and the beds in 6811 32 oz . I too rated the 32 oz better , whenever they change the thickness we have to change the slips too . and i know it is still going on because of the loose slips . i have found a way of putting surgical tape on three sides of the slip this tightens them back up and also helps keep them intact and they last a long time and a few recovers .

          I'm off to a holiday camp on the east coast this week ( tommorow ) to recover and errect 6 American pool tables , so will be without a PC until saturday . Hi de Hi....hi de ho

          Last edited by Geoff Large; 28th November 2011, 03:58 PM.


          • #6
            Iv never actually fitted the old Hunt & Winterbottom cloth, but I do remember one of our rival firms using it. Its strange that you mention fitting the 38 on the bed and 32 on the cushions as that was something we used to do. This would have been in the very early 80s but we always fitted new slips. A friend of mine who owns a joinery shop used to make them up for us by the 100s, 1/4" x 3/8", also a supply of oversized slips, and some for steelblocks. Even to this present day I have slips crawling out of the woodwork.
            On the subject once more of `skinned knuckles`I have to go back to about 1977, I was serving my apprenticeship at the time and we got a call from a very posh house to dismantle the table and re-erect it in the clients new house. My boss told me that I was in for a treat as it was 40 years previous since he had covered this table and the cloth used was a double sided cloth called Janus. The cloth was to be turned and stretched, and if my memory serves me right I think the cloth was either cotton or canvas based. I can remember both of my middle and ring fingers skinned to the bone, and asking our client could he give me 4 plasters to prevent the blood getting on the cloth. This cloth Im sure was napless and was quite hard to get any wrinkles out around the middles if they occured.
            When the cloth was turned and stretched it looked a treat once we brushed out the Plaster of Paris lines at the joints, but one cloth that Id like to forget due to the knuckle saga.
            Enjoy your stay at the holiday camp, and dont forget to enter the knobbly knees contest... lol
            When you but cheap... You buy twice !


            • #7
              yes Gerard the janus cloth was cotton , i never fitted one from new but have stretched one abot 30 years ago and as far as I can remember it's still on the table now , it was cotton based made by thurston or they had it made for them .
              i have come across some chinese cloth that is also reversable with nap on both sides , they call it Dragon cloth .
              but you as well as I know that reversable cloths are just a gimmick ,becuase of the track marks in the corner pockets almost wearing through , when you reverse a cloth we know thats it,s only a matter of a few weeks or months before it finaly wears through from the other side to the slate .
              I do reverse good cloths for say a youth club or a prison , but generaly never do it or advise it in a club or home unless they demand it .
              I do often recover youth club pool tables out of old bed cloths turned over . if they want to keep the price down .



              • #8
                My table here had a reversible cloth. It was far too slow so we got rid of it and had a much faster cloth fitted. Amazing what I use the old bed cloths for!


                • #9
                  THE "JANUS" cloth referred to by Geoff was a double sided cotton cloth developed in opposition to the already established cloth companies of the day. The company Reddaway & Sons of Manchester sought and indeed found an amazingly durable cloth which apparently could be washed while on the table and required no ironing. It came to the market in 1923 and remarkably was used on the table when the greatest of them all Walter Lindrum compiled his superb 4137 break in 1932. He was playing Joe Davis who followed Lindrum with a break over 1000. It went off the market primarily due to pressure from the trade (important sponsors at the time) who objected to the possible monoply of Reddaways who were the only producers. It's name reflected the two faces of the god Janus who was able to look in both directions. It was of course napless.


                  • #10
                    hi lads just found this site ,im an ex clares/ thurston fitter out of the trade now , this brings back a lot of memories
                    sounds like you are all from a time when tables were made , slates floated bearers supporting slates, table brushes supplied that lay the nap down not the 20 bristles per brush type baulk pencils that dont snap , ring any bells lads cheers geoff b liverpool


                    • #11
                      well news today was the manufacturer replaced the torn match bed cloth free of charge , I could not go back and refit it because I was working a way in skegness doing american pool tables , so got my my old Budy Roger to fit it for me , he also agreed with me though , the match cloths are getting too thin these days to please the Pro's for ball speed .

                      Hi gb147 , yes gone are the days of good pure bristle brushes , with the split ends that wear in and the brush became even better when they where worn in , replaced today by chinese brushes with only 1/3rd the conternt of pure bristle , I do not use the Black baulk pencils anymore , I buy cheap carpenters pencils 3 for £1 from the local £ shop .
                      i have only just started to use the white tippex for marking out match bed cloths , and to be honest have had a few mishaps with the liquid white pens , to the point that I have gone back to just useing a white baulk pencil .
                      Last edited by Geoff Large; 3rd December 2011, 02:47 PM.


                      • #12
                        After reading this I am wondering why one shouldn't try fitting a plain cotton cloth with the right thickness in green for the matter of the speed and ultimate value?

                        Has anyone tried it?