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Help, pocket plate nightmare.

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  • Help, pocket plate nightmare.

    I've picked up some steel block cushions on ebay but they didn't come with pocket plates. I've tried six different plates but none fit. They were sold as Burroughes and Watts steel vacuum cushions. They require a plate with a single pin bolted from underneath. All the plates i have are too small. I even bought some two pin plates with a view to plugging the holes and redrilling but the front pin would be lined up with the steel on each side so not possible.
    If anyone has, or comes across, a set that might fit I would be happy to pay for them.

  • #2
    Think Geoff Large is your man on here...


    • #3
      Try these

      but if you can fit these then these are the Riley Match cushion plates also two pin , not sure if they fit as you will have to fill holes up in the cushions and re-drill for the two pin , they are large span plates though
      Last edited by Geoff Large; 7th February 2015, 05:46 PM.


      • #4
        Hi Geoff. Thanks for your advice. Unfortunately the broad bow plates 4633 were the first ones I bought and were miles out. I have a set of Riley plates which are close but still about 8mm out on both sides. The problem is that I can't use smaller plates and redrill the holes as they line up on the joint between the steel and the wood. I even have plates off a Burroughes and Watts steel block table which are also too small and yet the steels I have are stamped B&W so I assumed they would fit.


        • #5
          That's the problem with Early and late Burroughs and watts cushions , one thing to check first is have you got the centre pocket opening correct and it may be the centre plate that is wrong . you can get different width B&W pocket plates for the middle opening and they can vary by as much as 3/8th of an inch in width and also the curve at the rear may differ , some are more curved further back than others.
          The key to any steel block cushions is the centre pocket opening being correct for the type of cushions you have .
          there are 3 common different types of steel blocks that B&Watts made plus maybe a few prototypes out there when they where experimenting , same goes for the pocket plates , as the game progressed they looked to upgrade the pocket plates , this has been on-going from the early top plate pockets to the more modern plates of today , I would say there has been around a dozen different types of pocket plates for the steel cushion from 1895 to modern day 2015

          if you contact Brian Cheshire billiards he may be able to find a set for you , but your corner plate positioning will all depend on the centre pocket plate you choose

          here is Cheshire billiards contact details ask for Brian or Peter his son . .

          I would fit your side cushions with the middle plate fitted and the wood frieze also in position , then fit the end cushions and wood frieze making sure all corner openings are the same width at the fall , then with a ruler , from under the cushion frieze's that are fitted , measure the centre of the bolt holes , this will give you the correct corner pocket plate measurement from centre of bolt hole to centre of bolt hole

          then ask Brian if he has any of that size in his old stock , he may have but I cannot guarantee it , failing this take one corner plate to a foundry moulder and get him to make a pattern up with a larger curve for you and to make sure the centre bolt holes align to those measurement's after drilling them and tapping them out , also make sure the bolts for these plates are not too long as they can burst through the top capping of the Frieze .


          • #6
            Thanks for that Geoff. It looks like I've a project on my hands. I forgot to mention something the table fitter, Gary, said when he put the table up last year. When he was marking the spots he measured from both sides and commented that the slates were wider than normal. I don't know whether that's common or not but might explain some of the discrepancies when putting other cushions on. I've done as you suggested, starting with the middle pockets. Having done this it seems the middle pockets are fairly tight while the corners are fairly generous. It seems like the middle plates may be a problem.
            I'll check with Brian and failing that I might mock up some plates and get them made as you suggested.
            I've quite enjoyed messing about and have a much greater appreciation of the skill of you guys. The history of the tables is fascinating.


            • #7
              Send me your contact email to

              I have 6 or 7 sets available. Just scrapped some B and W steel block tables, which were beyond salvage. Kept steel plates and pocket plates though. If anyone needs a set, they just have to get friezes made for them.


              • #8
                Hi Maryfield.
                I've measured the pocket size. If you draw a line from the middle of the bolt holes at the edge of the frieze until they meet at a right angle at the back of the pocket its 3.5in each way and about 5in from bolt hole opening to bolt hole opening if you measure directly across the pocket. The middle pockets are 3.5in.
                Do you have any plates that might fit?
                Geoff Large said that some of the older cushions had wider middle pocket plates. My middle pockets are pretty tight and if a set of plates were slight wider in the middles they might be best ones.
                Let me know if any might suit.


                • #9
                  The ones I have, the diagonal spacing on corner pockets is 6.5 inches