Two Recovers of snooker tables in Nottinghamshire and what a mess they were in!

SC Tables before recovers
For the past two days I have been to a local club that has two tables.  The first table is used by a local snooker team who had moved to the club from another club.  They were not happy with the table so decided to self fund a recover out of their own pockets.  The club then decided to have the other table done at the same time.

What a mess they turned out to be, the cushions were falling apart, they really need two new sets of cushions and pocket plates fitted, but at this moment in time they just wanted me to recover them and try to make them playable for the next two years at least.  They pointed out the sagging pocket plates on both tables, which turned out to be a very poor maintenance by the last two firms who worked on them.

They should have made good the woodwork, by filling in the crumbling wood around the pocket plate holes and lugs.  The pockets then would have kept their shape and not been loose.  But this was not the only poor job they did, the cushion cloth retaining slips were all nailed and stapled  in, on some cushions every 2 inches.  This is very bad practice, as the time it took them to nail the loose slips in, would have took the same time to plane down new tight fitting slips.  So yes you could say cowboy for this job when it was last done.

Here are a few photos of the crumbling woodwork and bad attempt of trying to pack those pocket plate holes up.

Nailed in slips?  A message to the last fitter if he reads my blog, they are called slips because they are meant to slip out, not be nailed in!  One set took me 2 hours just to strip the cloth off them.  When these so called fitters nail in slips they can do a lot of damage to the wood blocks that the rubber sits on.  One of the problems after time would be loose blocks, as the nails split the block away from the cushion body.
SC nailed in slips on stripdown
Below: What a mess.  Look at the holes and you will see where the last fitter tried to pack the pocket plate pin lugs up with cardboard
when all he had to do was refill the hole and drill new holes.

SC what a mess pocket plate holes
Below: A photo of the other set of cushions.  The tacks over the years have really nibbled away at the wood.  This is why we now use thin staples for attaching the cloth.  Believe it or not I have seen worse than this on other tables.  Also note the ragged knife marks in the undercut of the rubber angle.  If you have read my previous posts on how to undercut rubber, then you will see this is not good.

SC w2hata mess cushion rot
Below: The repaired cushion end.  The large hole has been filled using a simple car body filler and then sanded and drilled for the twin lug pocket plates.  It took me about 1 hour to fill all ends and redrill.

SC pocket plate holes after filling
Below: A photo of the refixed and level plus tight fitting pocket plate, which should now last until the next time it is recovered.  I have asked them to think about new cushions next time, as I think rerubbering these cushions is a waste of time effort and money.

SC pocket plate now fixed and tight
Below: Both tables after recovering.  The far table also had new nets and leathers fitted.  What should have taken me 5 to 6 hours per table, turned out to be 8 to 9 hours per table.  I lay the blame for this on the last fitter, very bad workmanship, no effort to try and improve those sagging pocket plates and nailing in all the slips which I replaced all 6 on both tables.

SC both tables after recovering in 6811T

Below the level is just 0.1 out and thats the thickness of a £20 note as the next photo shows
SC table 0.1 out of level

Sc table 0.0 with £20 note under

And finaly LEVEL ! The engineering bubble level is very accurtate , but The digital level gives me that bit more information that the eye cannot see .
at the end of the Day the thickness of a £20 note on napped cloth is not going to effect the ball , so as long as I can get the table within 0.1 then I am happy
I include leveling as part of the recover . also cleaning of the slate for compacted slate dust especialy under the end cushions and on the spots .
SC tables 0.0 for level

Local snooker players playing snooker in more than 70 clubs for Charity

Two amateur snooker players have pledged to play a frame in more than 70 social clubs around the county in a bid to raise money for a children’s charity.

Jon Sully and Steve Burrows, both members of Nottingham Billiards and Snooker Association, aim to raise at least £1,000 for When You Wish Upon A Star by the end of the year.

Read More

Butlins Skegness

5 Snooker table re-covers at Butlins Skegness Lincolnshire

To add to our recent work in November and December 2012 at Butlins in Skegness, we contacted Butlins to see if they would consider us to carry out any snooker table re-covering in their Green Baize club which has 16 full size snooker tables.  We were successful in our bid for GCL Billiards to be selected to do this work.
Butlins looking from Bar area
I had a conversation with one of the management at Butlins about some of the tables they have located in the Green Baize and he was a bit surprised that one of the tables was circa 1870 in age of which I think is a Thurston make.  The table in question is the one on the left of the photo where I have the cushions off on the bed which is no 1 table.  You may note that this Victorian table has slender legs and a high table skirt when compared to the right hand Edwardian table which is circa 1910.  This is a sign of early Victorian furniture as when Edward came to the throne in the early 1900s the legs got thicker like the one on the right.

I was asked to write down the history of some of the tables as they are thinking of adding a small plaque to each shade with the maker’s name and history and circa year of each table.  This I will be doing on my next visit, but just as an insight, the table on the right no 14 is a Burroughs and Watts steel block table, the first to be manufactured with steel cushions which where invented around 1890 give or take 2 or 3 years.  The table on the left which is the very old table has had new cushion fitted to it around 1980s/90.

Some of the other makes of tables they have in the Green Baize include, Riley of Accrington, Thurston of London, Burroughs and Watts of London, Orme & Sons of Manchester and Willie Holt of Burnley.  Some date from the 1930s/40, but most are around the 1900s in date.  There is also a top plate table on the left going down the hall which must pre-date 1895 as top plates were discontinued after this date in favour of the concealed plate.  The original cushions from no 1 table which is the circa 1870s table would have had top plate cushions on.

As you can imagine, over the years of constant use, many of the tables have had new modern wood cushions fitted.  The wood work can look a bit rough around the edges on some tables, but you have to take into account that snooker table time is FREE at Skegness Butlins only.  If you go to Minehead or Bognor Regis you have to pay for it and they do not have the large amount of tables as Skegness Butlins have.

Butlins do have a maintenance schedule for the snooker tables and they are constantly recovered in time, so on your visit you may see a very worn cloth on one table and on the next one that has just been recently recovered.  All 5 tables at Butlins on this visit have been re-covered in the high quality Strachan West of England 6811 Tournament cloth, so no skimping by Butlins.

The interior of the Green Baize in recent years has been refurbished with a nice low ceiling and the heating in there was very warm, when outside can be chilly at this time of year.  If you have the opportunity to stay at Butlins Skegness even if it’s for short break, visit the Green Baize for FREE Snooker.  It is situated behind Guest Services near the tennis courts.
N0 14 table Butlins B&W steel
No 14 table, The Burroughs and Watts steel block cushions circa 1910.  There are two of these, number 14 and number 10.
Note the Edwardian style turned legs, which are much thicker than early slim victorian legs.
GCL BILLIARDS are proud to be associated with the maintenance of snooker and American pool tables at Butlins Skegness resort.
Butlins artscape 1
In November  of 2012 we re-installed and re-covered the 6 x 9ft American Pool tables in Hot Shots at Skegness Butlins, in special Art Scape cloth with the Butlins logo on it.  I was very surprised at how this cloth has held up over the last 4 months.  I popped into Hot Shots to re-spot the tables on this recent March 2013 visit and the cloth is as good as the first day it was fitted and it has been used constantly.  Don’t stare at the cloth too much it may make your eyes go out of focus ….LOL

Michael Holt gives free time to LE.S&S. snooker league presentataion night at Stapleford Cue Club

presenation LESS league

With professionals demanding good appearance money for exhibitions it was refreshing to see local pro snooker player Michael Holt give some free time back to the local snooker players in the form of a presentaion evening at Stapleford Cue Club for the Long Eaton Stapleford & Sandicacre Snooker League.

The night, I have been told, was a huge success and the league set up with new comittee for this past season  with the aim to  attract more local cue sports people to try their hand at league snooker has been given the thumbs up by local players.
Michael holt.
I am sure Adam, Steve and Jed would welcome any new players to come over to Stapleford Cue Club to try their skills on the tables and discuss playing for one of the many teams in the league.  I have added two links one for stapleford cue club and the other for the new committee run  LE.S. & S Snooker League: LE.S.S snooker league Stapleford cue club

They are also listed on Facebook.
Cue club match table
The Match table at Stapleford Cue Club with the new soft white pro lighting, maintained by GCL BILLIARDS.

GCL Billiards was happy to contribute by the way of sponsorship, towards the presentation evening.

Very level Pool table and a recover in blue Strachan cloth in Leicester

Leicester pool after recover
The table after the re-cover in Blue Strachan cloth.  Note I put a skirt on after the recover, this will help keep the wear down at the ball end when racking up.

Today I have been over to Leicester to re-cover a pool table, before I have to go over to the East coast for the rest of the week’s work.
Leicester pool table before

The table is in the City Centre and is based in an office block with over 30 workers using the table, so it is in constant use during all break times and was very worn as the photo above shows.  The table is a DPT make, so not a bad table to re-cover having the modern allen key fixing bolts in the cushions.
leicester pool level 0.0 spot end

Rack end of table is 0.0 on the digital level
leicester pool recover Baulk level 0.0
Baulk end is also 0.0 for level .
leicester recover level middle section 0.0
The middle section of the slate also showing 0.0 for level .

I got the level bang on at 0.0 in all the main areas across the table and it’s length.  These electronic digital levels are ideal for finding low spots on thin pool table slate and they have an audible sound beeper so that when you are adjusting the feet up or down it will sound when it is is level, so no need to keep getting up and down to check for level.

At GCL Billiards we strive to get your pool table playing level, this we find is impossible for other fitters or coin op engineers to do.  Many times I have  checked a table that has just been re-covered by a firm (I may be doing other work in a club on say the snooker table) and I get asked “can you level our pool table?  We have just had it done and it is way out the coin op people just cannot get it level”.

If this sound like your table, then you know where to go next for a re-cover …GCL BILLIARDS.  We do it right, we get it level to within 0.1 and thats the thickness of a £20 note!  We also clean the inside of the table out when we service a pool table.  It is a full service every time, we do not cut corners and we do not speed fit.

I am off to Skegness tomorrow recovering 5 full size snooker tables and then on the way back on Friday there is a pool table to look at, with loose cushions and a re-cover to sort out in Tattershall Linc’s.

More input from these jobs at the weekend on the blog.

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