This week I have been over to Nether Broughton in Leicestershire .
My work was to strip down a very old Billiard table and re-rubber and try to make the pocket openings wider as my client was expressing concern over not being able to pocket the balls .
This being the old top plate billiard table built before 1895 , the woodwork would not allow for me to open the pockets up by simple trimming extra off the rubber curve as it entered the pocket .
this would be my normal method of opening a pocket up , as plenty of rubber on a modern table and the wood work is wider .
so the only solution was to rasp the slate falls further in on the corner pockets , this had been done before but not to a good standard .
before the cutting of the rubber and the rasping of the fall inwards .
all cushions on and measured to make sure we cut accurate the openings .
once the rubber had been shaped and undercut , the covering of the cushions begins .
Cushion now covered and ready to be refitted to the table
the table is now complete and ready for play , but my client is replacing the old metal shade with new LED lighting
the pocket opening after we had rasped the slate fall further in by 1/2 an inch !
the falls are now set at 3.3/4 inch at the fall but close to just 3 inch at the rear , a common thing with these old billiard tables .
I prefer not to do this and keep these old billiard tables as original as possible because that was the opening that was being played on in pre 1895 for billiards .
but it has not made it too daft and like buckets , these old tables are very difficult to play the modern game of snooker on , my client requested that I open the pockets up and after some discussion this was only going to be the best way to do this apart from replace the cushions with modern ones .
When I completed this table over two days , he asked me to go around the corner to look at a friends pool table and pull this in at the same time if it where possible ,
I did this by taking the cushions off the pool table on the first day and taking these home and re-covering them in the evening , and bring them back the next day so I only had the bed cloth to fit to this pool table .
this is how busy I am at the moment , right up to Christmas day we are booked out .
We are fully booked out , I am keeping just a few days spare for local work in December , but they are for job’s that are pending booking and put to one side for them to confirm .
so in theory we are fully booked out and unable to take anymore work in before Christmas day 2017 .
sorry to anyone who would like work done before Christmas but it has been like this all year and with Christmas coming everyone requiring work pulling in , we are even working some weekends to keep up with demand .
with snooker table’s being sold at low cost or given away free we have a few tables to pick up and deliver plus work on them .
one that was Given away free last week , arranged to pick up in November and deliver .
this job take up to three days due to miles to travel and work required on table .
you do not need many of these per month to fill the days up .
a re-rubber is a days work , and we have a few of these to do .
same with a re-cover another days work , they are not the type of job’s we like to rush , we take our time get it right and it takes a full day with traveling to complete .
With some snooker club’s requiring multiple table re-covers this is also sometimes a few days to a full weeks work .
another club that requires multiple table re-covers in Derby before Christmas
I also have to fly out to France the week before Christmas for a three day works program of fitting just one table with a day to travel there one day to fit the table and a day to travel back from Luton airport , all these three day jobs mount up over the three months before Christmas and prevent me taking on any more work as I just cannot be in two places at the same time ,
We are a small company , as is most Billiard firms today , gone are the large billiard firms with plenty of fitters working for them as above my old firm Elston & Hopkin Billiards ltd of Nottingham ,
Who I use to work for at one time had half a dozen fitters .
and in my time working with them for 24 years from 1980 to 2004 they had over a dozen employees if you count the billiard hall staff .
there where 3 office staff , a billiard hall manager , 4 fitters , 2 full time billiard hall employees , part time billiard table cleaner and billiard hall cleaners .
Today at GCL Billiards it is just myself full time , one part time sub contractor , and part time book keeper ( My wife ) , this is how most small billiard firms work these days long gone are the large firms with many Billiard fitters , maybe just one or two left Thurston of Liverpool and maybe BCE Riley of Bristol , and World snooker who supply new star tables .
we also have our own Pool tables out on long contract hire site’s , where we must keep the maintenance program up to date .
this one gets two re-covers a year , plus we may get the odd call out for a sticking coin mech or faulty coin operation or torn cloth .
that ‘ goes with the territory of renting table’s out you have to upkeep them to a high standard or people will go elsewhere to rent if you let them down .
Some clients think oh it’s only a pool table you can fit us in , but I’m afraid we just cannot take anymore on , unless I get a cancellation or finish a job surprisingly quicker than normal .
We are now taking orders for 2nd week of January , we are closing for two weeks over Christmas from 22nd of December to and start back on the 8th of January .
Today we have been over to Edwalton in Nottingham
our work to day was to strip down the Sam K Steel table for re-rubber and -recover
as you can see the cloth was not in bad condition , but the rubbers where going hard and no rebound value in them at all ,
it was impossible to play the game with no rebound in the cushions .
To get at the rubbers the cushion cloth would have to come off so our client chose a full re-cover and re-rubber .
The table was purchased S/H but is one of the better conditioned ones probably private owned from new rather than one from say a bowling or working men’s club , apart from the rubber that should have been replaced the table was in extremely good condition .
the table was purchased for a firm in Leeds area some years ago .
When buying any second hand table always check the rebound value of the cushions .
top surround shroud off and cushions fully separated we take the cloth and rubber off the cushions .
As you can see the original rubber from new was still on the table and was deteriorating fast .
As you can see the old rubber that I am holding , and the new rubber just below hand attached and glued to the cushion alloy block .
the new rubber was supplied by the UK firm of Peradon .
to re-cover we used Strachan Super pro speed cloth a 70/30 mix of wool to man made fibers .
it is in my opinion the best speed cloth available .
Easy to form around difficult angles and pocket falls .
the finished table , new rubber , new cloth and slate joints re skimmed and sanded and check of level ready for play .
these solid steel framed American pool tables are manufactured in Spain , and are considered to be the best type to buy here in the UK .
they are over £4000 new today , but you can pick good second hand ones up from £800 on site as they are to £2000 renovated .
but if buying renovated always ask for new rubber .
the makers name plate , Sam Billiards , manufactured in Spain , but all spares available from UK stockist in Coventry .
so I do recommend these tables over any american Brunswick in the UK , which you may find hard to get hold of spares for .
I have had problems in the past getting hold of spares for the american Gold crown Brunswick , but find that a phone call to SAM in Coventry and they have the spares for Sam tables .
Please note , it is a two man job to even re-cover an american pool table as the heavy surround and skirting have to be taken off in one piece ,
and is too heavy and awkward for one man to do this .
where a full size snooker table is only a one man job to re-cover .
therefore pricing to do any work on these type of tables always incur a two man day rate .
Just waiting for prices from supreme to confirm if it is worthwhile keeping these in stock , they look good in the Dark grey finish .
We had a job come in this past month , a client of mine was a bit worried about a 10ft table that he had bought from a Midlands firm which appeared to be badly fitted and important slate bearing parts missing …. yes there where no inner slate supports or muntin’s as we call them in the trade .
the table was suffering from out of level and bad slate joints , the slates where badly leveled using thick card between slate and frame .
My advice to him was to at least make sure that who ever sold him the table the chance to put the table right , they did send someone out to try and rectify the joint problem , but was fobbed off that this table did not require slate bearers , the firm in question made an offer to my client for his money back in full , which my client gratefully accepted .
He then asked me a recommendation of what make and type of table would be best for him , my advice was a Karnehm and Hillman 10ft .
my client found one reasonably priced on Ebay second hand but in very good order apart from cloth fade and dirty leathers and nets .
I was instructed to pick this table up for him from a village not far from Dover , and transport it over to my clients home near the Malvern hills .
the frame is up ,we had to do one important improvement to the table frame .
The improvement was to cut out the fixed muntin slate supports that did not touch the slate,
and fit adjustable brackets so that they could be adjusted upwards to touch and support the slate bed , a very simple procedure that took just 20 to 30 minutes
the leveling done and the slate is slid on , 5 sections in this 10ft the same as a full size
the fine leveling is now done next and slate linings fitted to tack the cloth to .
then we fill the slate joints and blend in , no slate joints to show through cloth .
cloth laid on ready to fit
cloth fitted , now ready to mark out and iron , before the cushions are bolted back on .
New nets and leathers fitted to bring back to as new condition .
finished table showing new nets and leathers fitted
Cleaning up , you may have noticed we protected our clients cream carpet with Blanket wraps as we worked around the table .
balls set up ready for a game , my client was very happy with his table and the installation , I went through the set up with him step by step showing what we had done ,
also those adjustable slate bearer muntins and how to adjust if he gets a problem going forward with slate sagging .
I do not think he will ,but at least he can sleep in the knowledge that this table can be adjusted if this happens .
and I am only a phone call away to instruct him to do this himself or have me do it at a later date when the cloth is do a re-stretch .
I had some previous experience with the Midlands firm that supplied the first table to our client and they did make a habit of fitting tables without the adjustable bearers even though the table supplied came with them .
like this example of a table they also supplied yet I went over and retro fitted these to make the full size table better as the balls where rolling in from each side of the table .
adjustment upwards of this centre slate support could rectify a problem of sagging slates and should be fitted either as a fixed support or adjustable like these .