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Fred Rowley - Snookerman Cloth Fitter??

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  • Fred Rowley - Snookerman Cloth Fitter??

    Hi Guys has anyone used or heard of this chap, his prices seem very good but obviously i dont want to use a cowboy. he has offered to recloth our 12ft table bed and cushions with either Hainsworth Smart or Strachan No. 10 cloth at the same price of £330. I think that seems pretty reasonable, does anyone have any experience with him or other fitters that would do it for this price??

  • #2
    Tell him to come up to Scotland and recover my 14 tables with No10. I can barely buy it for that price.


    • #3
      My mistake, sorry it was the Strachan Club cloth not the No.10 as i previously stated.


      • #4
        I do not know Fred personaly , but find those prices a little worrying to a fitter that has learnt his craft over the years ( Fred since 1982 ) and with Fred working from the most expensive part of the UK as a base LONDON , what low prices they are , I had a google to find out and only came across his 2001 price list on his web site .

        yes it is possible to get low prices if a fitter is a one man operation with no overheads or little overheads , now the going rate for a recover across the country averages out at around £365 / £385 , i know firms that also charge way into the £480 and above price list , and all for the standard industry 6811 Tournament ( gold ) or Hainsworth smart , which is the most used cloth in the industry and recomended by most players and billiard Fitters . i could see a little movement say a discount of £20 if a fitter is hard up for work , but not what you have been quoted for the area of London as his base , but if these are low prices then i am afraid you are correct to ask for referances from previous customers .

        the price of recovering has not realy gone up for the last 4 or 5 years these are the same prices we where charging 5 years ago , but things like cloth price gone up about 25% / rubber has doubled , fuel has doubled since 8 years ago as I have run my own van for the firm and it was 70p a litre back then , the only thing that has not realy gone up is a fitters wages only in dribs and drabs , and thats where people expect the cost to be cutt from as Stracahn or Hainsworth are never going to cutt their prices , the fuel stations are not going to go back to 70p a litre , even my van serviceing has gone up as the mechanics is going to want his pay rises , where does that leave the poor Billiard fitter ?
        Sooner or later all the qualified Billiard fitters will be stacking shelves at B&Q or Driving Buses because the pay is Better and the hours shorter . I very nearly became a bus driver 8 years ago because of this , 8 years down the line and it's just as bad trying to earn a decent wage , please don't ask us to cutt our take home pay even more , if a job is priced cheap it's because it prob is a cheap job youre getting or the fitter is absolutly desperate for work and bills are mounting . one thing is for sure it will become even harder to find time served fitters if the customers always put Price before Quality . surley an extra £35 for peace of mind is worth it ?
        or I may be selling circular saws and bathroom mirrors at a B&Q sooner rather than later . glue Sir Aisle 3 , screws Aisle 7 . see I'm practising allready

        Did you realise that at £365 the table will prob last 2 years in home use or even more even without a stretch and that works out at 50p per day for 2 years . it's a cheap sport if you have youre own table . just make sure the Fitter who is working on it is time served , and properley trained for the job , NOT SAYING Fred is not properly trained , but at those prices around London area something is a miss somewhere and I bet all the other fitters on here will agree with me .

        Geoff Large
        Last edited by Geoff Large; 18th May 2012, 07:47 PM.


        • #5
          Hi Geoff, thank you for taking the time to respond, i can totally understand how tough your trade must be at the minute as are many trades including my own (print industry). Obviously before spending money i would like to do a little research so that i feel confident in my decision. We are not in a rush at the minute but id be interested to hear opinions on other fitters that cover our area (Slough), of course we want value for money but work that we can trust to be done at a high standard is very important and if its a matter of £35 then it would be a no-brainer.


          • #6
            There is no doubt in my mind that what Geoff says is right. If you have your own table and somewhere to put it this really is a very cheap sport. I have 2 sons, 1 of whom is interested in snooker so I hope he will be still playing on what is currently my table long after I am gone.


            • #7
              Be also aware that some fitters fit 6811 CLUB as the cloth supplied but quote as just stracahn 6811 , make sure it is 6811 Tournament with the blue sewing lines either side of the gold embroidered name on the edge of the cloth along it's entire lenth , there should also be a roll number printed on it about 6 inches in from the edge on the underside .

              I often strip down tables where the customer thought they had the top grade 6811 fitted last time only for me to inform them it is the club Grade or the old grading silver .

              you will often hear people refer to the 6811 as gold and silver grade this was the old grading which they changed to Tournament and Club about 6 to 8 years ago .

              if you want the best grade always ask for 6811 tournament and be there when they fit it and look on the side of the cloth , some crafty fitters carry two bed cloths around with them one Tournament and one club , if the owner is not around they fit the club which is around £40 cheaper in price , also feel the nap on the cushions to make sure it is the same as the nap feel on the bed , because they also use club on the cushions with tournament on the bed just to make an extra £10 .

              I am not saying Fred practices this and I need to state this as this thread was started as an equiry into a quote which if he says he is useing top grade is a good quote in fact a VERY GOOD QUOTE for the London area , I am just making sure all customers know what to look out for and not get caught out , when you get quotes make sure you know what you are on about , make it plain to the fitter you know what to look for and always get a like for like quotes , we have lost out on jobs in the past for the differance of £25 , and when we finaly get back in say two years down the line , we find they have undercutt us by fitting the lower grade cloth , which is not fair for a like for like quote .
              And I then have to point out that they in fact paid £15 over the price for a club cloth fitted recover , we never use Club cloth in private and Billiard /snooker club use , the only time I have ever used it is in Prisons or Youth clubs , where they have to have a thicker rough slow cloth to last , rubbish to play on but will last a bit longer .
              Last edited by Geoff Large; 18th May 2012, 08:10 PM.


              • #8
                We had Freds younger brother Paul over here to Norway to fit our 4 tables about 8 months ago and was/and still is very happy with his work.

                Oslo Snooker


                • #9
                  Pleased to hear that Nott. There are some good fitters about.

                  There certainly are some cowboys in the trade though. Sometimes you see a table "fully refurbished" for a silly cheap price. If you think a full refurb is get the table into the workshop. Take the wood right down to- well wood. Restain any bleached bits, re polish. New nets, leathers rerubber, new cloth etc. Refloat the slates if they need it. How much does all that kit cost? Quite apart from the labour. Even at a small premium on minimum wage you are talking a lot of money. Then deliver and install at the new place. 20% VAT if they are in anything like a big way. They also need to make a profit. It just can't be done for the price some companies are charging even if they get the table for free!

                  Geoff, how many hours would you reckon on to refurbish a table fully?

                  Now I have no doubt a quick once over with a coloured polyurethane varnish, a cheap cloth and hope the customer doesn't know any better can be done at the prices demanded but it isn't a full refurb!


                  • #10
                    hi nickburton did you get your table done by Fred in the end if so was you happy with his work


                    • #11
                      you ask some task's of me

                      a full refurb , well lets start with bringing the table in with traveling two men around a day thats £300 / £350 + 50p per mile before we even strip it .

                      to strip a table and wash the stripper off the woodwork is also around a day for one man if a square leg more if carved turned leg

                      sanding the woodwork filling the grain , and any woodwork repairs plus staining another 8 hours / 16 hours depending on type of table square leg or turned leg to heavy carved etc

                      Polishing two ways of doing this forget french polish it is too soft for modern day use a belt buckle rash will soon rub the french polish off , a two pack spray polish is the most often used , or 7 coats of Ronseal satin , sanded between each coat , last coat also wire wooled and then covered in bee's wax , a full strip stain and repolish is going to cost around £1000 . some charge even more .

                      a Rerubber £300 / £350 only use northern rubber

                      Recover includeing nets leathers and ball rails £550

                      Set up £450 + 50p mile add for any nights out if traveling too far .

                      refloating of slates ...I do not know of anyone doing this at this moment in time ENBILD and K & Hillman where the last I know of to do this . but expect around £300 for this service if a firm had the facility in the workshop to do this , if contracting out the slates may have to be transported to the floaters which would mean extra costs , I may point out I know how to float slates but my boss says too many laws on health and saftey for us to get involved with it ? i think it would be a good money earner if no one is doing it but thats life . always better to shoot a frame and float the slates on it rather than just put slates on a test frame and float .
                      Ajustable muntin's a new way of making sure slates do not sag , I say new but burrouhs and watts where useing this method in aslightly differant format on their RIGIDUS framed cross bearer type construction which had no muntin's . i would as a Guarentee w hen having a full refurb ask for adjustable muntin's to be put in useing the original fixed muntins i would expect 6 brackets to cost around £20 each so £120 plus say £40 to fit and shooting of old muntins would be an acceptable price .

                      Iv'e left out all the playing tackle like cue's balls triangle long tackle and of course the new type High frequency lighting or maybe refurbing the old coffin shade if you wanted a traditional look .

                      I make that around £2860 + vat , add more if the slates want floating !



                      • #12
                        Thank you Geoff. So all that is to refurbish a table and assumes your dealer got the table for nothing!


                        • #13
                          Re youre table Phil , the part time dealer bought the table allready refurbed , he was in the right place at the right time , he was being paid to dismantle it in Scotland , the room was wanted for another use , the table was going to be stored on site , and at the last moment he asked if my mate was interested in it , my mate gave him a stupid price for it and he just said well it will only get damp in the garage so take it , when he showed me the condition of it , I was amazed the guy let it go , why he did not just advertise it on ebay I will never know . I would say he paid around the price above to get it refurbed , so his loss is youre gain Phil .
                          The dealer did not get it for nothing , but his expenses of traveling was paid for and the guy was paying for the dismantle , he just gave him a token payment for the table , my mate was going to have it put up in his very large wharehouse workshop at the bottom of his garden but changed his mind , he allready has a pool table in the house .


                          • #14
                            I don't doubt it for a minute. For once in my life I have been in the right place at the right time. With the table and you being local it couldn't have worked out better. It is an excellent table in outstanding condition and I couldn't be happier. My son who doesn't know much about tables, it has got to be admitted, says it is spot on. He is a joiner by trade and was very impressed by the quality of and finish on the wood.

                            I shall just get some good contemporary lights in Bulgaria.

                            The point I was making was that there are dealers out there who sell tables as being fully refurbished at a price where they cannot conceivably have done a full refurbish.


                            • #15
                              Hello, Fred Rowley here..
                              Only just come across this very old post and was most surprised that I have my very own thread! Seems that my workmanship is in doubt so maybe if I drop a few names of my customers you might be suitably impressed.
                              One of my very first famous customers was Oliver Reed (very nice man) Frederick Forsyth,Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Roger Daltrey, Jamiraquai, Ray Wilkins, Jimmy White, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Sky television, Brainiac to name but a few. I can honestly say they were all 'happy with my work'. Considering we are just a 2 man band I don't think we've done too bad!
                              I retired last year and gave up recovering full size snooker tables, just do the occasional pool table now. Kind regards, Fred