It amazes me that only a few years ago the Billiard and snooker industry looked like it was going pear shaped and work was hard to come by .
in fact I was put on a three day week in my last employers charge around 7 years ago .
And was often reminded by this employer that work was hard to come by and that I would find it very hard to establish a successful business in the billiard snooker and pool table maintenance industry .
I would have agreed with him at that time as we where experiencing a down turn in work , but something inside me kept telling me to carry on and try it for myself , I was not going to waste nearly 36 years of Time served Billiard fitters Experience .
I started GCL billiards 6 years ago now and with each year the bookings have increased , Pool is very popular and snooker is now fighting back in popularity .
many Qualified Billiard fitters have retired or left he industry in the down fall of work without training new blood up , it is hard to keep young people interested in work when all they want to do is play on their i phones all day , this makes finding a billiard fitter with free time almost an impossible task .
And at GCL billiards we are currently looking at November the 13th as our next free time to take in work , I have the first week and the last week of November already booked out .
with the rest of September and all of October booked out there is no free time to fit anything in now .
I am sorry for any inconvenience to future clients wishing to use GCL Billiards as their choice to carry out work on their cue sports table .
Some people seem to think I just do not want the work and one lady left me a bad feedback on google because I could not fit her in which I found most unfair , but it is a case of I simply cannot let people down who have booked me to do work to let someone in early or jump the waiting list so to speak .
I do work the occasional weekend Saturday , but I also have commitments on some of these Saturdays .
Please by all means continue to inquire about my availability , but be prepared to have to wait a few weeks to get a free slot , unless I have a cancellation which is very rare .
below a few photo’s of what we actually do .
sometimes we find ways of making lifting slates that much easier .
the other alternative is by hard graft
we get some people asking for other coloured cloth such as this upstairs install .
or printed designs on cloth , this is butlins skegness .
now and again we get asked to open up pocket openings and if possible do it without recovering the cushions .
or to template size such as this opening on a set of Burroughs and watts steel cushions .
carried out at the same time as a re-cover .
We are also a specialist in table removal transport and re-erect ,do not trust this type of work to a man and a van
from fitting new rubber to cushions and shaping curve and undercut
setting table up in the correct position .
Even american pool tables are no bother to our experience of a vast range of table designs
to exquisite Billiard rooms
to large snooker clubs
and UK pool tables .
I have just completed a return to St Johns snooker club in Bloxwich in the west midlands .
I first did this clubs tables in August 2015 and they asked me for a better cloth to play on , at the time Strachan had brought out a lightweight 29 oz version of it’s popular Tournament cloth
which they do in three weights , 32 oz thick and slow but lasts longer , 30 oz the normal grade that is a happy medium of faster cloth but yet still retaining good wear qualities , and 29oz , shaved nap a little closer for speed , and OK for use in clubs that get moderate wear such as St Johns .
I do have problems getting hold of this 29 oz cloth , Strachan had problems with the weaving and shaving machine in Stroud where they manufacture the cloth .
Lucky for us most choose the 30 oz for more use .
but at St Johns they where delighted with the speed of the tables using this 29 oz version and asked for it again .
it took me around 8 weeks to source it through Peradon’s but I finally got hold of a few bed cloths .
I use 30 oz on the cushions with this 29 oz as so not to disturb the Cloth retaining thickness and give the cushions some extra wear nap .
St johns first table though the door with cloth off showing the 1 inch thick slates .
these tables are upstairs and all three tables have thin slates , I guess they did not wish to carry full thickness slates upstairs .
when the firm who supplied the table sold them to St johns Church snooker club .
checking level on the tables .
Far table completed and someone is polishing their balls in the back ground !
three tables at St johns the center table does not get much use so this was left this time .
The two outside tables where the only ones getting a full recover in Strachan tournament 29 oz on bed and 30 oz on cushions .
After one of the clubs committee queried the cloth used as they looked on the Strachan web site and could not find Tournament 29oz , I have visited the Strachan web site and it states they do a 29 oz club cloth but no 29 oz tournament , I can assure the club and the two people who where their the two blue lines running through the side of the cloth and the embroidered Tournament stitched into the cloth , proved they do make tournament in 29 oz .
I do not supply club cloth and never will as there is very little cost to be saved on a full size recover if you use Club cloth maybe around £20 per table .
I value my reputation and my clients trust me to use the best so I order only tournament cloth and never use Club cloth on Snooker tables .
UNLESS a client asks for it , then I have to order it in as I never keep it in stock .
I will be contacting Strachan to see if they have made a mistake in their listing of the 29 oz and they should have stated tournament and not club .
Peradon list it as lightweight tournament and not 29oz .
2nd Table ready for play .
I have a client who wishes to sell a full size solid oak Riley Hybrid Viceroy / Imperial Billiard table . for offers around £600 for a quick sale .
I say Viceroy / Imperial as this table I noted has the viceroy deep arches but the Imperial slide in cushion panels .
the Viceroys I normally work on have a thicker slanted slide in cushion panel .
so that is why I say a hybrid Viceroy / Imperial model table .
also the deep arches are not as deep as some viceroys but a lot deeper than the shallow arch of the Riley Imperial model .
so maybe an imperial with deeper arches, a Riley customer option that they may have asked for ?
as you can see this table is solid 1/4 sawn English oak
the sun has faded the lower parts to the legs .
a nice selection of period rests are to be seen here too.
You may notice that the table will require a full re-cover and maybe new rubber , and nets and leathers .
but the wood is in very good order . it depends how you wish to go about any restoration work , from minimum as is to full or part recondition .
but the table is as seen for offers around £600 buyer to arrange dismantle and removal , the table is on ground floor .
these tables look very good in Barn conversions .
If anyone would like an estimate for GCL billiards to travel and pick this table up and do any work required then deliver and set back up , then please contact Geoff through our email
email@example.com to discuss this .
all inquiries for this table to Geoff Large at GCL billiards .
an original advert for the Riley Viceroy circa 1920s
Even Walter Lindrum played on a viceroy as the table of his choice for his Home in Australia .
Another viceroy I put together for another client , I put this photo in to show just how sturdy these tables are .
another viceroy i put together this one also in Wales for another client , note the thick slate pads under each leg on this one ,
this client had these put in as he was a tall player and suffered from a bad back playing on low tables .
and yet another Viceroy I worked on in the Cotswold’s .
an imperial frame , note the shallow arches of the imperial model .
same leg as a viceroy , just not got the deep arches of the viceroy .
they even made 8ft and 9ft Riley viceorys .
any one wishing to sell an 8ft built like this table , we have a few inquiries for 8ft tables , So get them advertised on GCL billiards web site we do not charge to list and we only charge just £25 if we mange to find a buyer for you , only payable once sold , this to cover our time on internet emailing and the odd telephone call setting the sale up .
NOW SOLD AND COLLECTED BY BUYER
I have a client who wishes to sell their 8ft x4ft Snooker table one piece slate bed with 6 legs .
this 8ft Quality one piece slate bed table has bolted on cushions no low cost wood screwed loose cushions , this show signs of the manufacturer quality as very good .
the table is in very good condition as seen in the photo’s .
It had a new cloth on bed and cushions recover less than a year ago at a cost of over £300 in Strachan 6811 30 oz all wool napped cloth .
I will be dismantling the table so it can be ready for collection by anyone with a long wheel base transit with just over 4ft between the arches .
the cushions will be taken off for this purpose , and the frame dismantled .
The cushions do have a few marks in the wood caused by belt buckles , but you get this on all tables .
as you can see a very attractive looking table with turned legs
the minimum room you would need if using full size cues is 18ft by 14ft
if you use smaller 4ft cues you can knock around 10 inch from all sides off this measurement .~
or you may just have one problem end or a upright support in the way that a smaller cue will be required to get around .
a very nice table for someone .
the all important 6 legs is a must have on a span of 8ft , without the centre legs they just sag in the middle .
when buying just 4 legged tables they can have this problem unless they have anti bow bars fitted like the Riley diner tables .
a table with 6 legs can be adjusted upwards in the middle by shimming under centre legs removing any sagging slate problems .
the table comes with a set of snooker and pool balls three brushes small scoreboard as well as large scoreboard triangles and dust sheets
plus a set of lights and cue rack and cues .
the cue rack in matching woodwork .
brassed bar light fitting with 3 green shades .
large matching wood scoreboard .
Contact please to Geoff at
I will forward on your interest to the sellers and put you in touch .
The table will be located on the ground floor storage facility in Ilkeston , ready for Buyer collection , or you can use a small removals or a man and van firm to collect .
or maybe arrange with seller any other agreement .
The owners are taking the table from their home in Derby to their Storage depot in Ilkeston , they may if local , deliver the table for you to your doorstep of front driveway as they run a haulage company .
We could also give a quote for a bespoke service to collect the table deliver and set back up on ground floor installation .
the choice is yours from a low cost pick up using a man and van right up to a bespoke Qualified billiard fitting delivery service or any other part instillation and finish off work .
At GCL Billiards we offer a one year contract for pool table rental.
in that first year we re-cover the table twice at every 6 months and if you time it correct this coincides with your Summer and Winter League start weeks .
the tables we install are all one colour Black satin pearl cabinet , and comes supplied with Strachan 6811 club green cloth already fitted from new by Supreme themselves .
we upgrade this 6811 Strachan club cloth to the better grade 6811 tournament at 6 months and keep it on that cloth for the entire time you rent the table .
we also supply a new set of balls every year and cues and a box of chalk .
All maintenance is covered within the price of £18.50 per week for 52 weeks which works out at £80 per month with all recover’s and the maintenance included .
we do not charge VAT .
after the first year you will be placed on a rolling 6 month renewal , which you renew at re-cover time .
so you are not tied into a long contract after the first year .
The Supreme winner in Satin pearl black latest green badge version with metal chrome corners and flatter alloy cushion trim
Solid metal chrome corners with raised Supreme lettering , ( old ones are plastic sunken lettering )
and flatter alloy trim between cushion and top surround .
this trim is now being made flatter as it used to get in the way of cueing over.
the latest supreme winners have a slot groove and allen bolt fixing that travels right up into the pocket this stops balls bouncing back up off the rail and back onto the table .
old type are smooth hard type that allows the ball to bounce back up and sometimes back onto the table .
most annoying .
latest table in satin black and that Green badge .
we can cover in differnat coloured cloth but we prefer Green as it is the most restful colour to the eye .
We are 100% fully cue sports specialists , you will not get a one armed bandit or amusement machine engineer working on your table that we supply
A common occurrence if you rent from a gaming machine supplier , and not a 100% committed Billiards / snooker / pool table supplier .
We do not operate any other type of machines ,no one armed bandits , no football tables , no gaming video machines to distract our 100% commitment to fitting Cue sports tables to a high degree .
You will have an experienced fitter who is a fully qualified time served billiards fitter and works on Snooker and pool tables for many well respected clients around the country and abroad .
We do not bodge tables recovering or installation and leveling , and like to work with our clients to make sure they get the best attention to detail .
We have various types of bubble levels from standard engineers levels to Digital Protractors / Inclinometers as seen above
we invest in expensive levels to get a more accurate reading , we do not turn up with builders levels that may be out by such large margins .
they are OK for laying slabs or bricks but not good for leveling cue sports slate bed tables .
I would never use one of these to level your pool table , they are just not up to the job of high degree of accuracy
a £20 note is 0.1 out of level .
if I could get any table to be within or below 0.1 then that is as high as you can get any table level .
and that is our goal .
0.0 is my goal .and unless you are one of these clubs that move tables around or to one side on entertainment night it should remain that way
one thing I do stress out to clients though is , people sitting on a table will also send it out of level .
Our coin mech of choice is the reliable Essex Engineering Straight six
we can place you table on any price you wish from 20p upwards right up to the latest new £1 coin .the standard rate in most clubs though is 50p per game .
if you wish to give your clients a free play table one night a week , it is simple to do , on the free night take cash drawer off and let your clients catch the 50p as it comes back out just under the coin mech .
We find Electronic tables are not as reliable as our Essex coin operated tables , so therefore we do not operate Electronic pool tables.
We also vac and wash ball runs , this is a general clean out of the table at re-cover time , this makes sure your table plays without balls sticking or dirty dust being transferred to new cloth ,
we find other firms leave this important part of maintaining tables correctly and just let it build up .
So if you require a new Pool table , you are fed up with poor machines supplied or poor maintenance or quality of cloth , and are within our catchment area of Nottingham and Derby .
then please get in touch to discuss the possibility of acquiring a new supreme winner pool table installed and maintain by GCL billiards .
I have been very Busy this year , it can take up to 6 weeks to get booked in at the moment .
Not many billiard fitters around and too many tables around that requires work makes this an all year problem .
It seems there is a shortage of fully qualified Billiard Fitters or Fitters with experience as firms have closed down the experience has died out with them .
or the fitters have had enough and gone into something else .
It does seem at the moment that GCL billiards is getting more than it’s fair share of the work out there , and that is why we are very busy all the time .
I do not know what it is but I seem to get more and more people with cue sports tables phoning up for booking GCL billiards in for work .
whether it is a pool or snooker table or a dismantle and transport .
And my current availability is now 2nd week of October .
Take this month for instance , Starting off on 1st of august at a snooker Club in Northampton for two days , then a local Nottingham 8ft table , and pool tables .
a 10ft snooker table dismantle and take down stairs and store , a day off to see accountant and sort out my books and also update my PC .
Pool table to install , pool table to re-cover , Full size re-cover , then over to Northampton again to stretch full size bed cloth and a pool table re-cover ,
Over to Gainsborough to recover a full size table and level , Beeston re-cover one full size service the other , Loughborough re-cover two pool tables ,
Eastwood re-cover pool tbale , 3 of my own rental tables require recovering one in Ripley one in Mansfield and one in Lincoln , then working in workshop on cushions and pockets ,
more own rental recovers , oh I get the Luxury of a Bank Holiday weekend thrown in if I am lucky , then dismantle an american pool table and wrap and Crate up to ship over to USA , more rental pool tables to re-cover , a pool table install , then London M25 to dismantle a full size load onto a clients van to ship out to South of France .
and that’s August finished with .
France , I have two job’s coming up in France , and unfortunate they cannot be done together due to work commitments and distance between the job’s
It take three days to carry out just one re-cover or one set up of table .
The fly out day leaving from Birmingham airport ( not my local doorstep East Midlands one as they do not fly to Toulouse ) , work on table 1st and 2nd day , 2nd Day finish off work on table , 3rd Day fly back and taxi back from Birmingham airport…. funny thing is the return flights to Toulouse cost just £102 but the taxis transfer return is £120 ?
My friends think I am off on some jolly when I work abroad , in honesty it take work away from me as wasted traveling time stuck in airports and taxi transfers .
and when you get there the clock is ticking to get the job done in time to catch the pre booked flight back .
Not to mention the problems of Tools and airplanes .
I am off to Toulouse to work on a table that has been flooded with water damage on September 19th 20th and 21st , this is an insurance quote that has been approved .
I have sent out a spare tool kit that the owner has bought and the cloth and other accessories will also go out , as arranged with the owner who lives in Devon but spends a bit of time in France too .
this means I can fly out and the job will take three of my working days up in September.
I have a another France trip planned around End of October beginning of September for a 2nd person , and again this will take up three of my working days , this time the table I dismantled in August just off the M25 in the UK will be set back up in southern France .
It may be possible that this 2nd person could for a small fee to the owner of the first table in Toulouse hire the tool kit I sent out for the first France job and return it to them .
Although I do take on these French and other European countries work , I now ask them to buy their own basic tool kit for billiard table fitting , as any future work in years to come they already have the fitting kit , all they need is a the fitter .
this makes traveling out by plane so much easier and stress free not having to pay for extra baggage weight or even send them out as freight as some tools are very heavy as can be seen in the below photo .
Happy days as a company , but it can be very stressful at times .
why do I keep dreaming of my next two week break in 2018 in Peurto Del Carmen Lanzerotte ,
I thought self employment you could take the odd week off here and there , but it seems I am more busy now than at anytime in my working life .
But rest assured I do like my work and I love being self employed pressure or no pressure , i know my job inside out and plan to work for a long time yet .
so GCL billiards will be around for few years yet before I retire .