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Table refurbishment from a DIY perspective

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  • Table refurbishment from a DIY perspective

    This is probably going to be a bit of an "Anti-Geoff" thread! Not against the good man in any way, but closer to "tales of how a snooker table probably shouldn't be refurbished"

    As per one of my first posts, I bought an antique Riley 6 foot table a while ago. Very pleased with it, but it's had it's fair share of wear over the years and by the looks of it the last time it was recovered, it didn't appear to have been done particularly well. The cloth sits well and is tacked in well, however little things like the pocket brass screws being driven into the wood at an angle. *shudder*.
    I'm far from an expert, this is my first time, however I like to research, take advice and learn, all whilst taking as much care as possible.
    The one thing going against me is lack of money, so this is something I'm doing slowly and on a budget!

    At the back end of last week I ordered replacement cloth from Hainsworth - things are tight enough that I couldn't stretch to a Strachan, but as this will mostly be used by myself practicing and my friends playing pool, it's probably for the best. I also took the opportunity to buy some new rubbers. Again, couldn't afford some nice Northern Rubber but what I've bought should hopefully be considerably better than what looks to be the original rubber on the table, which feels particularly stiff and fragile.

    The rubbers are coming today (I love DPD and their tracking!) and the cloth tomorrow, so thought I'd make a start by surveying the damage.

    All the cushions off. The difference in colour of the cloth under the cushions is amusing - once I'd scraped off the years of dust! Found a few nicks and tears under the cushions on the bed cloth here too. Wonder if that was a bad original fitment or if wear and tear can do that where cues aren't accessible?

    There's some repairs having gone on here by the looks of things. I imagine the screws no longer bit in these two holes so they've been padded out with dowels (the screw went down the middle of these). I need to take time to consider how I'm going to refit those. Also noticed the original colour of the wood underneath the brasses. Rather nice! Will also research on wood restoration to see if anything is possible on limited/no budget.

    As per previous posts, I'd started to gain some interest in the history of the table & cues. Wondered if there was any significance to "Huddersfield" being written on this - is that reference to the place, or are the indistinguishable letters the initials to a name?

    Similarly, got a closer look at the serial number on the bottom of the cushions. On closer inspection, rather than just being an upside down 7 as I'd previously thought, it looked to be more of a made-up 4 - perhaps they didn't have a 4 stamp, or only had stamps for numbers they couldn't otherwise make up?

    Still, very pleased to see the serial numbers match on all 6 of the cushions.

    The next job on the list is to hunt for an extremely cheap oak or oak effect dining table, firstly to borrow the legs from (this is a table-top table) to convert it to a proper table, and secondly to convert the top to be able to cover this with. This sits in an enclosed gazebo with plastic roof, so sunlight pours in all day - the cloth would fade nearly instantly if not covered!
    I'd also like to refurbish the pocket brasses and leathers. The brasses could probably be brought back to life with Brasso and a polish, however I may smile nicely at some friends working in the local shoe factories to see if they can make me up some leathers.

    All comments & suggestions welcome, including criticism!

  • #2
    Take some videos and upload them to youtube...

    Everyone on the forum loves this kind of thing, so keep at it and share all you come across


    • #3
      Can't do Youtube My speech doesn't lend itself particularly well to saying anything - plus, I'd spend so long editing bad bits out there'd be nothing left!

      Anyhoo. First stumbling block, the cushions. These aren't something I've seen before, so looks like I may have to return the rubbers I have and hunt for something more suitable!

      Edit: No panic. The darker stuff underneath what is obviously rubber is... rubber. Felt like a brittle plastic. It is in fact VERY old rubber, quite likely original. Found a bit that was still bouncy! Pulled it off, found it was affixed with tacks. Just need to re-profile the new rubbers slightly to fit
      Last edited by Kryten; 26th April 2016, 07:53 PM.


      • #4
        Gack. Decided to bite the bullet and sending these cruddy rubbers back. Bloody awful! Didn't expect that much from the pink stuff anyway but when they're sold as "for 6 foot snooker tables" and they're 3/4 profile... only way they'd fit is with a LOT of cutting. Not worth the hassle for something crap anyway.
        Struggling to source rubber for this though. The old stuff appears to be about 9mm square (sorry, don't do inches!) Nearest I can find is this stuff:
        However it looks suspiciously like what used to be on my first snooker table, a 4 foot cheap n cheerful Argos jobby. 5/8ths looks like it might be just slightly too big with that spacer bit removed.
        There's 14 - 14.5mm between the cushion rail and block for an L profile, or should I go for a like-for-like square cushion?


        • #5
          Visible progress today!
          Started untacking the cloth from the bed. Found an old cheap pair of wire cutters that worked wonders for this - sharp enough to get under the tack but entirely flat so no damage to anything!

          Took quite a while, and found a few iffy spots on the way round. For instance, on 5 out of the 6 pockets, the tacks were fitted in such a way that the balls could have/likely have been hitting them. There only appears to have been *just* about enough cloth to stretch round the table.

          I noticed quite a bow in the wood at the spot end. This worried me quite a lot, however noticed a lot of filler between the wood and slate which wasn't there in the middle to baulk end of the table. Also found this nasty split

          Nothing that some wood glue wouldn't resolve and likely superficial, however a bit worried about the strutural state of the timber. Obviously it's very old and it's been reclothed numerous times looking at the tack holes.

          Some patience and a couple of swear words muttered under the breath and we're here - ready for me to tidy up and remove the cloth, and inspect the damage.

          Seems like it's had a fair bit of water damage over the years. However far more concerning were the screw holes holding the slate to the timber. The fillers/caps had either disintegrated or dissappeared completely, the one below was in play about an inch from the cushion and balls often just rolled up to it and sat there. I can see plenty of debris around these bits where it's disintegrated, so they've either just aged, or been refilled with something inappropriate.

          Pockets seem OK, the filler and bow at the spot end still concerns me. The pessimistic side of me is thinking I should scrap it, however the slate seems to be true. I certainly can't afford to give it the restoration it deserves, so optimistically perhaps I should cut down the cheap rubbers I have and fit those (assuming I can cut them down enough straight enough for a consistent bounce) and continue using it for mucking around on. Not sure if it's worth the time! I'll probably continue for now and keep my eyes open for something else in the future.

          One last thing today. The amount of respect I have for professional fitters has gone through the roof. Not just for the skill required, but for the physicality of it all. My slate is half an inch thick - a quarter of what some are, and I think this weighs a lot!
          Last edited by Kryten; 27th April 2016, 01:13 PM.


          • #6
            Fair play to you for having a go at it, surely a 6-foot table's only going to be good for messing about on anyway, I still wouldn't mind one in the house.


            • #7
              A full size one would be lovely, then again so would a house big enough for one

              I'd like to give a huge thanks & thumbs up to ClubKing on Amazon who've given me great customer service today. Not often enough do people talk about a positive experience so it seems right to do it. They do quite a lot of items for more "casual" players at good prices, so bought my rubbers from them. They were far too large - the listing stated they were ideal for 6 foot tables and not much else. They wouldn't have fit on my table without a lot of cutting down. I emailed them last night, and received a reply this morning acknowledging their listing wasn't clear enough and will be amended, and also that I would be free to return the rubbers and they'd refund fully, including return postage. They also pointed me in the direction of Peradons for the sized rubbers I needed (1/2 inch L), which are now on their way
              Last edited by Kryten; 27th April 2016, 06:10 PM.


              • #8
                HUGE balls up. The Hainsworth cloth is considerably shorter than the table despite being marketed for 6 foot tables. It appears pool & snooker tables are measured differently I hope this particularly company is as forthcoming with customer service as clubking were otherwise this is a dead table


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kryten View Post
                  HUGE balls up. The Hainsworth cloth is considerably shorter than the table despite being marketed for 6 foot tables. It appears pool & snooker tables are measured differently I hope this particularly company is as forthcoming with customer service as clubking were otherwise this is a dead table
                  I think that pool table cloths are a different size to snooker tables, but might be wrong? How short is it?
                  No one is listening until you make a mistake!


                  • #10
                    Very short - about 2 inches short either end. Hope they take it back if opened otherwise I'm screwed


                    • #11
                      Yeah when they recover a pool table they use adhesive and basically just stick it straight to the slate, also the cushions tend to just attach to the outer frame and push up flush so the slate bed is actually a lot smaller. I hate to say it but you'll have to grovel, I assume they listed the dimensions of the cloth?
                      If you can't get your money back one of the fitters on here may trade it for you, or you could ask if anyone has any old cloth from a 12ft table, I'm sure you could find a 6ft length and hide the old spots under the cushions?
                      No one is listening until you make a mistake!


                      • #12
                        A couple of mistakes you made , the cloth you ordered was it a pool tbale 6ft ? if so the pool tbale is dimensions from outside cabinet so bed cloth to fit a 6ft pool table will be about 4 inch short for a 6ft snooker table .
                        so when ordering the cloth buy a 7ft pool kit or ask for a 6ft billiard / snooker tbale kit , I find it better to ask for a 7ft pool kit as it is slightly longer than a 6ft slate bed .

                        the rubber , take old rubber off blocks and scrounge or buy a rebate plane , making sure no screws or nails are in the way , rebate a new shelf for the rubber to sit on further back and lower to take take the larger rubber

                        arouter may also be used if not nails or screws in way to put a new rebate shelf on the blocks for the new rubber to sit on

                        if you cannot manage to get the rebate shelf to go much further back then you may have to file those slate falls further into the slate by say 1/4 to 3/8ths , so the ball meets the fall further in on the tbale pocket opening .

                        I like that you have posted this , as I get many calls to refurbish a playing area of a 6ft , and you can now see why I say there is more man hours trying to re-rubber and re-cover a 6ft than a full size .

                        when i quote for a 6ft recover , I allow the same labour charge as a full size , and explain it is only the cloth price that is different

                        average price from most billiard firms for a 6ft re-cover is £265

                        average price for re-rubber on a 6ft useing the chinese rubber is £200 fitted and shaped but with block work maybe more .

                        average price for decent leathers and bag nets for a 6ft is £75 , you can get lower priced bag nets and thinner leather fitted for say £45

                        personally I prefer these small sized tbales upto 8ft with thin one piece slate to be done DIY

                        they are so fiddly to work on and many in the state that your tbale is in , not many fitter will take them on , I only take them on if I had no work in and I am always busy so prefer not to .
                        they can take around three days manpower to complete , sometimes better replacing the wood blocks is better than rebating them .

                        once done though they can play very well


                        • #13
                          Absolutely, it's a bit of a state but hopefully I can get it back in playable order. I'll see what they come back with regarding the cloth. I've got 1/2 rubbers on the way so they'll go in like-for-like.
                          I've epoxied the screw holes in the slate, something I can see isn't usually done in favour of beeswax, however this isn't likely to be faffed around with much more once this is done.
                          I don't like the idea of fiddling with the blocks too much, the wood is in such a state it doesn't look like it'll be worth the hassle. I particularly enjoyed (or not!) removing the countless tacks left in place underneath the cloth that the last person didn't bother removing!
                          I'll probably make a few more mistakes but it's a learning curve for someone like me who likes to tinker. Again though, gives me a whole lot more respect for the pro's like yourself I could happily quit working in IT to do something like this, with a LOT of training and experience under the belt! (I have the patience and a bit of common sense, but it looks like this is the sort of job that experience would trump all!)


                          • #14
                            Good luck with the cloth, looking forward to seeing how you get on with the cushions, I've got an 8ft Thurston's Jubilee table that needs reclothing, got the cloth a couple of years back but never seem to find the time to get around to it!
                            No one is listening until you make a mistake!


                            • #15
                              No major work done today - I've de-rubbered and clothed the remaining cushions which seemed to be in a worsening state as I got round to them. One had a chunk that appeared to have been chiseled out and put back in loosely, and another barely had enough cloth on it to tack it down on the underside. Quite a few splits which I've made good with wood filler and/or epoxy depending on the size.

                              Positively, I have the go ahead for a refund on the cloth and have ordered a Hainsworth tan coloured cloth instead which is plenty big enough And the new proper sized rubbers will be here tomorrow.

                              My thumb hurts though. There was a particularly difficult tack to remove and used a chisel for leverage. Slipped and it went straight into my thumb - wasn't even sharp but it cut well!
                              I'll be seeing tacks for weeks. The cloth was very well tacked down, however at a previous change it was clear they couldn't be bothered to or just couldn't get all of the old tacks out. Nothing a little elbow grease couldn't sort out!