Working away from home for a week in March, contact details while away

Clip Art Graphic of a Billiards Eight Ball Cartoon Character

I have just one day next week where I will be able to answer emails and home telephone calls and that is Monday the 4th of March.  If anyone wishes to contact me from the 5th to the 8th of March, please phone the mobile number 07753 466064.  If emailing me please wait until Saturday the 9th of March for a reply.

I have a day in Leicester, then three days on the East coast.  On Friday I have a re-cover and maybe re-rubber if cushions are dead at Tattershall in Lincolnshire on the way back from the coast, so a very busy fully booked week.

It may be that the cushions in Tatershall have not been screwed up tight enough, loose cushions will not rebound well.   If that is the case GCL Billiards will not try and get a re-rubber out of the job, I will just inform the owner that his cushions were loose and that will be good news for him.

The following week 18th to 22nd of March, I have three full size re-covers booked in and three installations of new pro lighting at another club.  I may have a spare day towards the end of that week if someone is desperate to have a table re-covered or work done.

From time to time I share some of my findings as a Billiards fitter.  Here is one about using speed cloth on UK pool tables.  UK pool tables have L shape rubber, American pool tables that speed cloth is designed for, have triangle rubber.  It is very difficult to fit speed cloth to L shaped rubber cushions without bending the rubber down when tensioning the cloth onto the cushion.  Where wool based napped cloth is much better for UK pool tables, I see no point in using speed cloth on them, but people still ask for it.  I think it is because it is a tough cloth and does not rip easily and lasts a long time.  But it suffers from cue / ball burn marks easy.

Wool based napped cloth, if mistreated, tears easy, but does not suffer the cue / ball burn marks like man made fibre speed cloths.  So you have the choice what cloth you want – speed cloth or wool based cloth, it does not matter to us, we fit both.
Sam K steel

A Sam K steel American pool table.  These have triangle rubber unlike UK snooker and pool tables which have L shape rubber.  Speed cloth is designed for triangle rubber as it bends L shape rubber over if it is a bit soft.

American pool rubber
American triangle shaped pool rubber.

jan 2011 rubber

Northern Rubber the best you can buy to fit to snooker and some UK pool tables.

10ft Karnehm and Hillman Snooker table from Scotland to Dagenham Essex, fully reconditioned including repolish

essex cabing finished table setup

I have been very busy this week and also have a full week’s work to do next week, so I had no choice but to work Saturday the 2nd March to fulfill a commitment to fit a 10ft Karnehm and Hillman Snooker table in Essex.

I set off from Long Eaton near Derby at 7 am, arriving at approx 9.30 am in Dagenham Essex approx 140 miles distance from my home.  I was met by the client who helped unload the table from the back of the van to the cabin at the bottom of his Garden.

The client required adjustable muntins (muntins are slate supports) to prevent any future slate warp (sagging in centre).  A K&Hillman table’s muntins do not touch the centre of the slate.  By chopping the original fixed muntins down and notching them to fit the new brackets, the table was ready to assemble.
Adjustable muntins K&hillman
The new adjustable bolt brackets in position
Adjustable muntins K&hillman 2
and the old muntins notched out, cut down slightly to fit the brackets.  Now a simple method of adjusting the muntin (slate support) upwards by the turn of two bolts either end of the woodwork.  This will stop any centre slate sag.
Essex cabing muntin conversion
underneath photo of frame showing that the slate support muntin has been adjusted upwards and is supporting the centre of the slate width, preventing possible slate sag.
Essex Cabin at bottom of Garden
the wood clad cabin at the bottom of the Garden
Essex cabin K&Hillman 10ft
The table roughly level and slates put on.
Essex Cabin polished cappings beeswaxed
The table was a full renovation of re-polish, re-rubber with best Northern Rubber and re-cover in Strachan 6811 Tournament cloth.  The top cushion cappings where treated to a final coat after wire wooling of Beeswax.  Note that the finish is satin and not gloss, this will not reflect the above lighting back into the player’s view when playing.  It also shows the natural wood grain of the mahogany, you may have also noted the wood is not too dark.  I am always weary of very dark wood tables, why hide that beautiful wood grain?  If it is good wood show it!
Essex Cabin K&hillman finish 10ft
The fully repolished table showing legs and frame, note buttons cover the bolts, this is the Karnehm and Hillman style of design.  The white packing toe pieces under the legs are going to be stained black by the owner.
Exxsex Cabin repolished K&Hillman
Side photo of repolished frame – note new hooks and x-rests plus adjustable long cue and butt rest.

I arrived back home at 7 pm, having spent 12 hours traveling and working on site putting this table into its new home.  The table came from near Glasgow in Scotland in November and has been an ongoing renovation, fitting inbetween jobs to fill any slack time up, not that I have had much slack time!

Tthe new owner is delighted with the workmanship.  In November his foundations for the cabin were being laid.  The cabin was completed ahead of schedule, I had a provisional delivery date for the end of February.  I was two days late, but the owner says it was worth the wait, it was just what he wanted.

This table was one that I recommended to our client in November.  It was advertised on ebay, but no takers, so I said keep an eye on the table sale as it is a good make and a rare 10ft which my client was after.  My client was successful in getting the table at a very good price.  He then decided he wanted it fully renovated as new, from a working mens club near Glasgow to a log type cabin at the bottom of a garden in Essex via GCL BILLIARDS, a firm you can trust to carry out this type of work to a high specification.  From source to install this is our speciality.

If you are interested in buying a table please look at our For Sale section, these are tables being advertised at no cost to the buyer or seller, direct from the owner to the buyer.  You agree a price with the seller, then just contact GCL BILLIARDS to carry out any work you may require.  From a simple pick up and deliver and install to full renovation or part renovation or repair.

Glover Cues, UK made hand crafted cues, if you want the best this is the Pro Master cuemaker you want to make that special cue

Tony Glover at work

Tony at work in the workshop in Moira located at the Moira furnace near swadlincote Derbyshire.

Now and again I get referrals from Glover Cues for snooker and pool table maintenance work, I even had a phone call today from one such client.  So now is the time I repaid that gesture with a small write up about what Tony produces.

Just click on this link to see his web site and products.  Although a visit to his workshop is the best thing you could do if choosing a design and build for that custom cue, but phone first for an appointment.  Tony gets really busy, his cues are really sought after.

Tony has made cues for many well known professionals.  He has a regular workload from keen semi-pro and amateur players who strive for that perfect custom made cue and even the Chinese market has sought him out to supply cues, which I find very strange that the UK gets flooded with Chinese goods but when the Chinese require quality cues they come to a master cue maker in the UK.  That tells you something!

Tony is also well known for his replica cues of past manufacturers, so if you wanted say a Burwat Champion cue or a John Roberts Jnr Facsimile cue, Tony could make you one and it would be an exact copy of the cue in every detail.

Ccustom butt badges are another speciality from Glover Cues.  You could have your name put on the butt badge like this one below.
tony glovers name plates custom made
tony glover custom made snakewood
An example of a snakewood splice in one of Tony Glover’s hand crafted cues that was on ebay second hand for £350.  They do hold their s/h value too, so a good investment.
tony glover example of spliceing
An example of splicing work on a Tony Glover made cue, some exotic woods used here and a total of 16 splicings in rows of 4 all hand spliced!
tony glover copy b&w champion cue
An example of Tony’s replica Burwat Champion cue butt badge.

Prices of Tony’s cues start at £250 for a one piece cue.  You can pay that for a mass produced top of the range cue from say Peradon or Cue Craft even some Chinese imported cues cost in excess of £150 retail.  If you want that special cue made in the heart of the UK by a craftsman, then Glover Cues is the place to go.  You could even have a meal or snack/coffee at the local cafe which is also situated close by.  Conkers is next door, which is a local tourist attraction.  You can have a huge input in your specifications of the cue including such woods as Snakewood, burr walnut , Ebony & Tulip wood etc.  Iveroid replica badges are also available, also grained bone butt badges too.

Phone Tony today, tell him Geoff from GCL Billiards sent you.  I am not on commission, it is just a return gesture of recommendation.

Contact Glover cues
Unit 6
Moira furnace
DE12 6AT

Telephone 01283 550551 daytime
01283 760409 after 5pm and weekends


Two more Rental Pool Tables installed in local sports bar

brand new winner supremes

We have been busy expanding our rental side of the business today by installing two brand new Winner Supreme pool tables in a local sports bar.  We were contacted two weeks ago for a quote to supply two tables on contract for match play for the two league pool teams playing out of the establishment.  They already had two Supreme Prince tables on rental from another firm, but these were now looking a bit sorry for themselves with trim falling off and scruffy dirty insides.

The owner of the sports bar has also got another pub with two Supreme Prince tables in but these are in better condition and he owns these tables himself.  I have been maintaining those with good service calls and recovering work.  Once I informed him of our policy to do 2 recovers a year for winter and summer league on our rental contract, he was impressed.  I also informed him that the Winner Supreme in our opinion is a better table than the Prince, with more sturdy legs that support way towards the centre of the table reducing slate sag.  Players know this too.

He wanted black pearl finished Winner tables with 6811 Strachan cloth fitted as endorsed by the UK pool Tour, World Eightball Federation and the IPA and played at most finals around the UK, including Great Yarmouth and Blackpool.
winner badge

Winner Supreme tables have been upgraded over the years.  They have now got real metal chrome heavy duty corners where before they where chrome plastic.  The cushion trim has now gone back to alloy trim in place of the breakable plastic trim.  The black finish is now a more matt finish where before it was a wood grain shiny effect that reflected the lights into the player’s eyes.  The rubber on Supreme cushions has changed from red rubber to blue rubber now they have the better black rubber for longer lasting bounce.  Over the years Supreme have improved the table by listening to the players.  In our opinion the Winner Supreme is the player’s and operator’s choice.

By having GCL Billiards maintained tables, I always recover on site, making sure that the same cushion and slate goes back onto their original tables.  I never come with spare recovered cushions from another table and change over.  This practice is wrong, because you could end up with old dead cushions and even slate warped if changed over.  Some hire firms have a man in the warehouse just recovering pool table slates and cushions, they even mix up cushions and I have seen a table with red, blue and black rubber all on the same table.  That will never happen to tables we hire.

Your table will play well every time it is recovered.  We use top class Strachan 6811 cloth on our hire table recovering.  You will not play on better.

Before the install there were two Prince traditional look pool tables.  Note that the legs are right in the corner of the cabinet and a long length of unsupported centre section which we find produces slate sag, thats where the slate sags down in the centre of the table.
old prince supremes

After the install of the new Winner model tables, now note the slanting stream line modern sides and the legs are three pointed fixings that support the centre of the table more, reducing the chance of slate sag.
Brand new winner supreme 1

The top dimensions of both the Supreme Winner and the Supreme Prince are identical, only the style of the surrounding framework and cabinet and legs differ, cushions and slate size are identical.
brand new single winner

We have named our rental side of the business Double Eight Pool Tables.  If you require a table on a rental contract with two recovers a year then please get in touch with Geoff at GCL BILLIARDS.

Our rentals start at just £15 per week with two recovers, you have the keys on site and all that the table takes is yours to keep.  We do not do 50/50 splits, we also do a deluxe rental agreement where we call and service the tables on a regular basis, brushing, ironing and remarking.  We are genuine cue sports people who care about what people think of us.  We offer the best deal on pool table rentals, we know of no other pool table rental firms who offer such a good or better service.  We can do this because we are not side tracked by servicing fruit machine and gaming machines.  We do not do these we are 100% Cue sports maintenance and time served billiard fitters.  You really will not get anyone better to look after your pool table, either rented or privately owned.

We supply the pool team with a new set of Aramith top quality pool balls every year free of charge and also give a set of  standard balls away per table with every yearly renewal of a pool table rental contract.

Our aim is to have just 40 local rental sites within a 20 mile radius of Long Eaton.  We do not want to get too large on our rental size because our customers will get a better service from us by limiting ourselves to just 40 sites.
a sign of quality recovering

40 sites is very manageable on top of our recovering work on pool and snooker tables.  We are not greedy and will not take on what we cannot maintain just to make an extra buck.  We have a duty to offer good service not only to our pool table hire customers but also to the Snooker and Pool table recover and maintanence customers too.  By finding the right balance we know we can achieve this.
winner at the gladstone
Another of our Rental tables this one located near the centre of Nottingham.  This one in light oak finish.
The range of finish from Supreme for Winners.
digital level 0.1 £20

As with all our maintenance programmes it is important that the tables play level.  We use both types of high class levels to check our tables, an engineer’s level which I also use for full size snooker tables (and most billiard fitters have got these), then for fine checking of thinner pool slates, I use the digital level and I can get the table to within the thickness of a £20 note which shows up as 0.1 on the digital level as in the photo.  But I strive to try and get it 0.0.  Take that £20 note away and the level will show o.o.  Has your pool table hire firm gone to these lengths to please the customer? If not then contact Geoff at GCL BILLIARDS.

Geoff realy cares about his clients and goes beyond the average pool table gaming machine engineer to get the table playing good and that’s because he is a time served Billiards fitter.
Digital level 0.0

Back to Lincoln for new pro snooker light installation in log cabin

log cabin lights fitted
Today I have been back over to Lincoln to install the new pro lighting to the table I put in the Log cabin about two weeks ago.  The owner phoned our contact/agent in lincoln for GCL Billiards to come over and install ASAP.

It was a very tricky install because of the low roof and those beams.  The lights had to be fitted directly to the beams and a strengthening wood plank put up between the beams to support the lights and keep them together.

The Owner was delighted with the new lighting, there was no way a coffin type shade would have fitted to the roof without it being too low.

Cost of the new lighting starts at just £240 for a full size plus miles travelled to fit.  This lighting install with travelling costs was quoted at £310 fitted with two spare tubes.  Two photos below before lights were fitted.  Note that we covered the slate bed of the table with blankets as well as a heavy duty cover and we check for level and adjust after fitment of lighting.  Our pricing for these lights is very competitive.  You just have to check what they sell for on ebay to find out we are the best solution for pro snooker lighting.

We also give a discount for two lights fitted in the same club on the same day.
log cabin fitting lights
Barton table in Log Cabin

Well worn out cloth on this re-cover – just look at the photos , also info on 6811 strachan grade’s of cloth. there is more than one grade make sure you know what you have ordered.

worn cloth new in background

I have been over to Nottingham today to commence a two day re-cover of two full size snooker tables.

They got their last penny’s worth out of the old cloth on this table, just look at the wear in the photos below.

The table now has a nice new re-cover in 6811 tournament Strachan cloth, with 6 new nets, the old ones having been tied up.  The last re-cover was 3 years ago.  The room is very good for league snooker but no teams play out of this venue yet.

The tables are Thurston metric sized tables.  These are 2 inches shorter on the length of a full size table and 1 inch shorter on the width.  The metric sized tables never really took off as the other Billiard firms who were on the Snooker and Billiards Trade Association voted not to go ahead with the change over to metric tables.  Thurston jumped the gun back then and produced a few.  I have come across around five of these tables on my rounds.

very worn cushions cloth

Photos 2 and 3: The table with badly worn out cloth.

Split cushion cloth

Another couple of photo,s from the 2nd recover  I did at this location.
Note the very bad chalk dust build up , and at the point where the ball strikes the end cushion , you get compacted slate dust , when a ball strikes a cushion there is equal down force as impact , therefore crushing chalk dust and compacting into lumps , this can also make the ball jump off the cushion  , now some of you players out there may have blamed the table being out of level , when a ball rolling down the lenth of this end cushion , the ball  rolls off the compacted dust , well now you can see what the fitter reveals when taking a bed cloth off the slate bed . note that this tables bed cloth was last taken off 3 years ago , so there is 3 years of chalk dust here , and thats another reason why you should have youre bed cloths restretched at least once in their life time or yearly  , unless you have the tables recovered every year .
compacted dust

metric 12fts just been recovered
the two Metric 12 foot tables after being Recovered in 6811 tournament 30z cloth .
cloth side emboridered 6811t
Allways check that the 6811 that you have ordered is the top grade 6811 tournament , it has two blue lines embroidered into the side edge of the cloth plus gold embroidered writing , on the reverse it has a transfer and also a cloth roll number , also the words tournament should be on the embroidery and also in the roll black print number and the gold transfer it may also have the word gold tournament on the transfer too printed just under the large 6811.
Club 6811 has two red lines , when getting quotes make sure they do not fit club when you have ordered tournament , a well known trick that makes them an extra £20 per recover , at GCL billiards we only use the top grade and I show you the transfer stamp and roll number before fitting. 6811

Club grade 6811 is only a £20 saving over the top grade tournament , and this is only viable to use if you have say 15 tables to recover , then it becomes £300 saved , but on one or two tables in my opinion it pays to fit the top grade, and thats 6811 tournament. if you just ask a firm for Strachan 6811 and they say nothing about the two grades , then expect them to fit Club 6811 , as it makes them £20 per table extra . I prefer to be upfornt and honest about the grades and give the client the choice , I only use club if it is asked for. and then I give them the £20 reduced rate for that grade. You get what you pay for as they say.

Beware of undercutt priceing , when I quote for 6811 tournament , other firms may undercutt then use 6811 club or even worse 6811 substandard . when you order a recover in 6811 tournament look at the cloth transfer and side Embroidery before they fit it , and stay with them while they fit it to make sure they have not swopped it over as soon as you leave the room …it has been done .
It is ok to use club and substandard as along as the customer knows that it is being used and a lower price given because of this , I rarley get asked for club and never get asked for substandard , but I often get offered substandard cloth for stock but never buy it . substandard can be anything form white flecks to stop start lines in the cloth , there is nothing wrong with it , it just has faults within its weave . and the manufacturer stamps the transfer substandard right across it , if you see a cloth with the transfer looking as though someone has tried to rubb a diagonal print off the face of it , leave well alone ,  I often come across cloths that some fitters have done this . I have been around too long not to notice these things.
strachan cloth transfer 6811t

Very busy month ahead for GCL Billiards, snooker and pool table work in Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln and even one job in London

twin pool tables

The next 4 weeks are really busy for us.  We have 12 full size snooker tables for recovering work in 6 different locations, a 10ft snooker table to set up in London which we have fully renovated from full strip down to set back up with a re-polish and re-rubber, plus re-cover and nets leathers etc. plus a full range of accessories ordered.  We also have a few pool tables to re-cover and also re-rubber.

From the rental side of our business which we call Double 8 Pool Tables, we have acquired another new site for two new winner supreme tables.  We are building this side of our business up, on the pool table rental side we like to keep our tables pretty close to base.  This makes servicing the tables very easy to fit in with our other cue sport maintenance work.  We also do two recovers a year in our top contract, try finding that service from our competition.  We are only cue sports people, we do not do fruit or video gaming machines and offer what we think is the best pool table rental deal in the business.

And we get the table level to within the thickness of a £20 note or even better, so your pool team will never moan about the table being out of true.
digital level 0.1 £20
The new pro lighting has also brought some business into the firm, more and more clubs are now going over to the new lighting system, which will give a much better white light to the playing surface with more concentrated under shadow of the ball rather than side shadow of ball from the old shade system.  It will give you that pro feel of playing at the crucible, the difference from the old coffin shade to this new lighting is that good.

pro lighting old shade under

We also have an enquiry to order and supply 10 new winner supreme pool tables and 5 full size Snooker table Re-covers for the end of march in Cambridgeshire, so the future is looking very busy for GCL Billiards.  We are very pleased with the support of our customers and new clients, we always strive to please and offer free advice.  We will not go ahead with a job for a quick buck if in the long run a better alternative is out there for you.  Our aim is to keep our clients coming back to us for good maintenance work on your cue sports table, that is our main business and it is what we are trained for as a billiard fitter.

Steel block Burroughs and Watts Re-rubber and Re-cover in Leicester and Service contract information

B&watts oak steel finished table
Due to me targeting Leicester last month, an order came in from a club for a Re-rubber and Re-cover of a full sized Burroughs and Watts oak steel block table.  The rubber was past its best and the balls were bouncing upwards on impact with the cushion.  I gave a quote for a full re-rubber in northern rubber by Hainsworth made in Retford Nottinghamshire (the best you can buy) and fit.  You should really only trust this brand of rubber, it will outlast any imported rubber by up to 25 years of use, if kept at a good temperature and not allowed to harden.

If you buy imported rubber it may only last 4 or 5 years and that’s fact.

I allowed two days for this job, where some billiards firms will send two fitters or even one speed fitter and complete in one day, I prefer to allow the rubber to fully bond with the block and the contact adhesive to fully dry overnight before recovering.  This prevents the rubber sliding down off the block rebate.  30 years ago we would be fitting loan cushions and bringing the cushions back to the workshop for a re-rubber but today we fit on site.  Some speed fitting firms do it all in a day.  At GCL Billiards we do it over two days.

Some firms use low grade Taiwan / Chinese  rubber which may be canvas backed and allows to fit in one day as it grips better to the glue.  Northern rubber has no canvas back so the glue should be allowed to fully dry.

I always show my customers the logo on the Northern rubber and the date stamp that is also on there.
B&watts oak steel 1
A photo of the table showing the steel plate with slots for adjustment of pocket opening, this makes sure all pockets are the same size when fitting.  They do take more time to recover than normal wood cushions and you have to take your time when fitting them back onto the table to make sure they all align up with correct measurements of centre pocket opening of this B&Watts at 3 3/8 inch gap between cushion ends, then corner pocket opening at 3 1/2 inch at the fall.
B&watts oak steel 2
This set of steel block cushions has the makers name stencil painted on the reverse of the plate circa 1920/30.  This maker Burroughs and Watts were the first firm to patent the steel cushions and it was this invention that really put Burroughs and Watts on the map as a billiard table maker.  Thurston and George Wright, the two other leading manufacturers in London at that time, would have lost some valued customers to Burroughs and Watts over the years, including Queen Victoria who was mainly a Thurston customer and who had a slate framed and cushion capping (frieze) table which had Burroughs and Watts steel cushions on, installed at Osborne house on the Isle of White.
B&atts oak steel deluxe cover
The clients also invested in a new dust cover.  They where that impressed with GCL Billiards’ work that they have given the go ahead for a 6 monthly service visit and the other table at the side of this table is also having work done in the near future.  New accessories have also been ordered and maybe new lighting.  GCL Billiards would like to get as many local clubs enrolled into these 3 or 6 monthly maintenance visits.  We do not look at the visits to tie the firm and club together, it is more of a partnership in maintaining the tables to an acceptable standard.  We to know we have regular work coming in not only with the small service visits brushing ironing and tipping cues etc. but the main recover / rerubber or stretch bed cloths and levelling too.  The customer is safe in the knowledge that the work is going to be carried out to a good standard.  The club will get to know us from our regular visits and a mutual trust between client and GCL Billiards which can only be maintained by good workmanship and we will strive to keep to that standard.

Did you know that if a table meter takes £10 per day and you were to put £1 of that £10 away to one side for a year, you could have a new cloth re-cover every 12 months?  £365 is the average price for a recover using Strachan 6811 Tournament cloth.  But on average a table only requires a recover every 18 month to 2 years, with a stretch bed cloth at 9 or 12 months and two 6 month service visits.  Pick up the phone and give Geoff at GCL Billiards a call today, we will be happy to go over the figures for a 2 year service contract for your club or even privately owned table.