Installed rare 9ft Riley Viceroy in oak, fitted new rubber and cloth in Lincolnshire

Todays work was to set up a 9ft Snooker table, a rare 9ft Riley Viceroy in oak.  The cushions having been picked up and re-rubbered at the weekend, we returned today to set the table up.
Oak 9ft  viceroy
You may notice that this square leg Riley table has very deep archways fitted between the legs, giving the Viceroy its distinctive look, of a very solid table.  There are not many Viceroys about and this 9ft one must be a very rare beast indeed.  I have seen plenty of the Riley Imperial which is almost the same table with only small archways, but not many 9ft Viceroys in my 37 years of fitting.
Oak 9ft re-rubber woodhall spa
The re-rubbered cushions with best Northern Rubber UK manufactured not your Chinese rubbish.
oak 9ft viceroy cloth draped

The new cloth just before fitting, note it has the embroidered logo of Strachan and is 6811 Tournament quality, again made in the UK from the finest of wool.  The archways veiwed from this angle really look impressive and for anyone not too keen on square legs, picture this table or its full size version, in a barn conversion with matching oak beams.
oak 9ft viceroy fitting cushions on
The cloth has been hand stretched on, marked out and spotted then ironed.  Next job was the refitting of the cushions and those brand new nets, leathers and ball rails.
oak 9ft viceroy finished balls on

The finished table set up and ready for play.  Note the brand new condition pool table on its side in the background.  If anyone is looking for a nice attractive pool table this one is going for less than half price complete with new lighting shades cues and rests etc at £450.  It is the home play version and retails at around £899 plus delivery and shade which this one has, a three section brass one.
oak 9ft viceroy end shot balls on
The table looking from the black end.  Notice all the pool trophies on the far wall, the client is a local pool shark by the looks of it.
oak 9ft viceroy matching roller scoreboard
Our client was lucky enough to get the original matching roller scoreboard worth around £500 on its own retail in a billiards shop in this condition (also made by Rileys) and a vintage cue wall rack with original bone clips.
oak 9ft viceroy rubber plate sheffield
When our client first contacted GCL Billiards, he informed us that the table was a Fitzpatrick & Longley of Sheffield.  I put him right when I first looked at the table on the cushion collection day that is was a Riley Viceroy.  The end plate you see here was put on by this firm and the original Riley one has been taken off.  If you look slightly to the right of the plate you can see where the original screw holes for the larger Riley plate used to be.  The firm should not have removed the Riley plate.  This badge was put on becuase they did a re-rubber, probably in the 1950s as the table is circa 1920/30.  The plate is just advertising the Eclipse frost proof cushion by Fitzpatrick & Longley.  They should have fitted it to the other end panel and left the Riley plate on the table.
oak 9ft viceroy fitted new GCL lighting by dextra
To round things off the client also had a new light fitted, the new twin tube High Frequency type by Dextra with COOL WHITE LIGHT tubes fitted.  This being a 9ft table a 6ft twin version is all that was required to light the table up.  The table is situated in a special games room at the bottom of the garden.  It is one of the better built buildings I have seen for such use, a real man cave … but I think his partner has other ideas about its use.

If you have a table you would like setting up or dismantling, moving and setting up, then ask GCL Billiards for a quote, or phone 07753 466064.

10ft re-rubber and re-cover in Lincolnshire + other work in the same area over two to three days

This week I have been working away for a few days and staying overnight at a caravan park in Lincolnshire.  I took on around 4 jobs in the same area, so stayed central to complete them all at the caravan park I was doing the main work at.

The main job was the caravan park’s 10ft snooker table which had been badly installed from new and had dead Chinese green rubber on the cushions.  I started by stripping the rubber off the cushions and then I replaced it with best Northern Rubber as used on the main tournament tables used on TV.

After fitting the new rubber I had to reform the pocket openings on this table.   As the table is used mainly by the park’s tourist caravanners and residents, they did not want small hard to pot tight pocket openings so opted for a large 3 3/4 inch width at the drop, which is around 1/8th larger than club tables in most snooker clubs.

The slips that hold the cloth in on the last re-cover where all nailed in.  This is bad practice and will in time split those wood blocks off the cushion.

Just take alook at the badly carved rubber around the pockets and the nailed in cloth retaining slips.  I have lifted the nails up to show just how many were in.  This is just utter cowboy work.
caravan nailed slips and carved rubber

Take a look at the next photo to show new slips that were fitted after the new rubber was fitted and new pocket angles cut.  As you can see, not a nailed in slip, just a tight fitting one.
caravan new rubber new slips
The finished table
caravan finished table
The bed of the table was not very level and the frame bolts where all loose.  The table was fitted with adjustable muntins (centre slate supports) but these were not even tightened up against the under side of the slate.  The slate also had beer mats put between frame and slate in an attempt to level it.  I removed all the beer mats, took all the packing out of the legs, tightened the frame bolts, levelled the table, adjusted the centre slate supprts to prevent slate sagging and refilled the joints with a good soft sand car body filler, before sanding the entire bed down.

The table, although not 100% level, is 98% better than it was before I levelled it.

A photo showing pocket openings after the re rubber with ball for referance of size of opening.  You may also note I fitted a new set of Riley match plate pocket leathers.
Caravan new cloth and pocket opening
A photo of the old cloth and pocket opening , as you can just about see the rubber is not as thick at the back end of the old pocket as it is on the new opening.  You need this extra rubber at the back edge to avoid cloth wear and the noise of knocking as the ball hits the thin rubber.  Better to have a bit more rubber there to protect cloth from splitting and also ball bounce out from the thud of the ball hitting the wood.  The old pocket openings where around 4 inch wide at the fall!  That’s almost two balls side by side being allowed in – the term ‘buckets’ can be aptly used to describe pockets like this by snooker players.
Caravan worn table corner
I was not finished after this re-cover and re-rubber as they also wanted me to re-cover the old pool table out the back that the kids use.  I turned the old cloth over from the snooker table.

Here it is, not too bad for second hand cloth turned over is it?  It is only used by the kids anyway.
caravan pool table cover old cloth
During my stay there I nipped out each evening.  One trip to Woodhall Spa to pick up some 9ft cushions to take home to the workshop for re-rubber and re-cover.  Due to refit next thursday with other work in the area.  The next night a trip up the road to dismantle a full sized snooker table in a garage.  It really helps if you are in the same area to combine these jobs as it helps to reduce travelling time (and costs) and thus increase the time I can spend on fitting.  I estimate with all the work I did on this trip, it saved me 8 hours travelling and that’s a day that would have been lost.

Not finished there, on the way home on Friday I popped into Newark to look at a job to quote for and then over to Southall to quote for another job. So a very productive week.

Next two weeks are just as busy, with tables to move and set up, re-rubbers x 3 and recovering pool and snooker tables.

Not much on for June although the first week is starting to look full, so anyone requiring work for June, just pop me an email at or phone me 0n 07753 466064.

By all means leave comments on this work just done, but any enquiries please use the two contacts just supplied.  Email is the preferred contact method, but if you want a quick answer the mobile phone is the best.

A couple of pool tables to start the week off, glue overspray on top of slate and the Adam and Eve the best pool table in Wragby Town to play pool ?

Started off in Nottingham with a pool table in a log cabin.  It was the table’s first recover since the owner bought the table from new.  I was amazed at the amount of glue overspray on top of the slate, which to me is a rushed job of the first recover in the FACTORY ?

I had to clean off all this glue cloth overspray, otherwise it would make the ball roll off especially where it was really thick around the pockets.  I know if the pool table manufacturer’s boss knew this had been done, he would not be happy with the person on the production line doing the work.  I cleaned all the slate off before I put a new Strachan 6811 Tournament cloth on it.

One reason I do not use spray on glue, it goes all over the place including ball runs.  I always use a comb to spread contact adhesive to slate and cloth.
overspray glue on pool slate

I then moved onto Wragby in Lincolnshire, the new Landlord of the Adam and Eve Pub required a re-cover in speed cloth on his Elite made table.  The cushions were a bit tired, but managed to get them done this time and will custom make him a new set on the next recover.  The cloth of choice was the Super pro speed cloth in olive green.  The table was very good for level.

The landlord also bought a set of new standard pool balls, a fitted dust cover and cleaner spray for the cloth.  He also ordered a new set of Premier Match balls to be dropped off next week.

They are a very keen bunch of pool players in Wragby and the Adam and Eve must have the best table in town now.
wragby finished pool speed cloth

No job too Small, from a garage 6ft pool table to a full size snooker table, GCL Billiards the firm of choice because you are dealing direct with the fitter

We are very busy at the moment and are fully booked up for the month of May.  We are not complaining as it shows people want GCL Billiards to do the work on their cue sports table.

Last week I had a phone call from a local private house who required a recover of an old pool table they had picked up off ebay.  I was fully booked up but did this on Saturday as I do not like turning work away.  The table was an old Hazel grove super league copy, probably made by Lymegrove.  This was the type of table you would find in most pubs by the 1970s/80s.

There are still plenty of these tables around and some people even put them outside on patios for a couple of years before the weather gets to them.

This one had a very loose cloth on it and was badly fitted, plus the cloth was not very good, as can be seen from the photo below.
garage old pool old cloth

I replaced the cloth with Strachan 777 grade pool cloth at a competitive price.  The cushions where not good but the client will get a couple of years out of the table before selling it on for what he paid for it, just £100.

I am sure he will get plenty of practice on the table now it has been re-covered and we also fitted a set of new pocket liners.
garage old pool recovered
Even these old Lymegrove tables scrub up well after a re-cover.

And no job is too small, from a 6ft pool table to a full size snooker table for match play, GCL billiards will not turn you away if the table is good, the distance is not too far and the work profitable.

There are however some tables we do not recover.  These are mainly the type sold by Argos and they are just nailed together.  But you will also be surpised to know that some full size tables are made in exactly the same way, nailed on block cushions with no slips and glued together.  They are a nightmare to re-cover as they were not designed to be.

We always ask if possible to send a photo of the table.  This helps us identify the make and we can be double sure that we can take the job on.  Only the other day I had a job of moving an 8ft snooker dining table and the underside wood that the lifters where on was just glued to the slate.  Unlike the Riley diners which are fully slate screwed to subframed anti bow beamed and solid.  When the table was lifted to playing height the wood board was pulled off the slate.  The maker (which I will not name but has an impressive sales web site) is still making these diners the same way and they are not cheap at £2,500.

I have persuaded the owner of the snooker diner to have the table converted to a fixed height table with a thick beamed subframe sprayed black, the same colour as the frame and cushions.  Because he has not bought any chairs yet, he can get chairs with extra leg height for this.  The slate was 8ft long and sagged down in the middle so it could not be played without balls rolling towards the middle anyway.

When I make the new subframe it will have 4 adjustable cross bearing muntings.  This will make the slate very level and a simple job of taking a spanner under the table to adjust 8 bolts for leveling.  I also put extra screws in the cushions for a better bounce.  The table was made without much thought.  I will at the same time take the very slow thick wool cloth off and re-cover it in 6811 tournament Strachan cloth.  It is a good job for me, but it should have been made this way to start with.

Raise and fall diners with the Riley type lifters are ok to 6ft and 7ft but after this size they bow in the middle, especially the 8ft and 9ft tables.  The old E J Riley ones are better as they have anti bow beams running the entire length of the table.  I will post photos of the table when I get around to doing it in June.

New snooker club opening in Nottingham and GCL Billiards gets the work @ The Hidden Spot phone 07427155182 ask for Kal .

Today I have started the job of leveling and re-covering 12 Full size snooker tables.  The owners of this brand new club have erected the table frames and positioned the slates ready for re-covering by a qualified Billiards fitter, but they require moving and adjusting for level.

The reason the tables required moving was because they had put them too close to each other.  After a look around I gave them my thoughts on how they should position the tables and make a seperate room for two Burroughs and Watts match tables, one having steel block cushions.

I will be adding some photographs of the club late tommorow.  You will be surprised at how large these premises are.  They also have 8 UK 7×4 pool tables.

The name of the club… THE HIDDEN SPOT.  It is due to open at the end of April with table rates from £5 per hour.

***The club is situated on Denman Street East and North Kyme street just off  Ilkeston road near canning circus *** PHONE  Kal on 07427155182 for enquiries of booking tables

With very low cost parking nearby at £1 all day, what other clubs near the centre of Nottingham have that facility?

here are the photo’s of the club , there is a mountain of Blue carpet tiles to go down once all the tables have been positioned and covered

.Hidden spot 1
Hidden spot 2
hidden spot 3
the above photo is of the match room , table on the right is a Burrooughs and watts with new 1990s standard cushion table not steel block but with a good set of welsh slate and very good solid pocket plates with extra broad bow leathers and new nets fitted  , the table on the left a Riley square leg is being removed from the room and another burroughs and watts but this time a steel Block cushion table is being installed for the main N0 1 match table . both of  these Buroughs and Watts tables having 2 inch thick best welsh slate , and they are very good for level .
I am advising them to install match lighting rather than the coffin shades , they will also have long bench seats installed around the edge of the room  at a later date on a high plinth so that People can watch the games from a good view point .
the room will also be available for Private hire for snooker finals etc .
Hidden spot 4
Hidden spot pool area
the pool  table area , 8 pool tables in total , and they are thinking of installing an american 9ft pool table too .
the Hidden Spot is due to open this month , watch this space for more details .

Strachan SuperPro Worsted speed cloth fitted to a DPT table in Nottinghamshire

Just been over to Bingham in Nottinghamshire to re-cover a home play DPT  brand manufactured 7×4 pool table.  This cloth is extremely hard wearing and is just what the owner of the pool table requires as he has some very young children using the table.

This speed cloth is more durable than the wool napped cloth and is used mainly on american pool tables, but we do get UK pool table owners and players asking for it.

This cloth costs more to buy in and is around £20 more expensive than the wool napped cloth.  You can expect to pay around £185 for a 6×3 or 7×4 pool table re-covered in this cloth.

Also note the new cover we supplied.  This is a good quality fitted Peradon cover and costs £21 to buy at the same time as a re-cover.   Please ask for one to be supplied at the same time as you book us for a re-cover.
super pro speed cloth

Pool tables really looked after in this venue in Nottingham, recovered using 6811 Strachan cloth 2 to 3 times a year!

com 6811 used on these .

I was in this venue recovering these two tables only 5 months ago, so to get a call back to re-cover the tables again in 6811 Strachan cloth really means this venue likes to keep both of its pool tables looking the best.  The Landlord was holding a pool final night this Thursday so decided to have the tables done a little earlier than the normal 6 months for winter and summer league starts.
com 6811 transfer on cloth
On the last recover he had 777 Strachan fitted, this time he wanted to upgrade to Strachan 6811 grade cloth.  It is a much finer playing surface than the 777.  Where the 777 scores highly on durability, the ball rolls a little slower on this thicker cloth.  The 6811 is well known in the trade as the bench mark for good speed, playabilty and wear, using all wool construction.  Unlike other makes of mixed fibre cloth when ironed you will not get black marks on the base plate of the iron where the man made fibres of the mixed fibre cloth will melt onto the iron.
com perfect 0.0 for level
Again we strive to get the pool tables to the 0.0 level indicator on the digital level.  At 0.1 it would be just the thickness of a £20 note out of level.  Just look at the very short nap of the 6811, it really is one of the best cloths you can buy and probably the best cloth for a pool table at league standard.
com perfect level 0.0 end
If you require your pool table to be maintained to this quality, then give Geoff a call at GCL Billiards or email.  We also clean out the inside of the table, washing down ball runs and the flip out side of the door.  The build up of sweat, grease and dust from the cloth and chalk results in ball jams.  This may result in players picking the table up to jolt the balls free by dropping it back on the floor damaging the feet and legs and in some cases even breaking the slate.  A cleaned out inside of the table will prevent the players from doing this as no balls will jam and run smoothly on nice clean internal rail system.

Poorly maintained tables do not attract players, in fact you will find players will start to play at other pubs where they look after the tables, such as the one here.  Five months ago new rubber was fitted to these tables and that new rubber is now at its peak of rebound value.  As new rubber has to be bruised in to this state of play, it will take around 3 months of use to get those new rubbers bouncing to their full value.

The previous people who maintained the tables, used to swop the cushions over and take the new ones away.  This resulted in the first year, that these tables where put in new (2007), that they lost their brand new cushions and second hand cushions maybe over 5, 6 or even 12 years old where fitted.  They were a right mess, some were hard others soft, some both.

At GCL Billiards we always re-cover the cushions on site putting the original cushions back on the table.  We only change over if the cushions are dead like the last lot 5 months ago.  These cushions will be good for at least 6 years, maybe more, it all depends on heat on the rubber from sunlight through a window etc.

I have seen where the sun shines through onto a rubber on a side cushion 2/3rds up the cushion go rock hard, yet the other third is still bouncy.  This normally happens to the red coloured rubber.  There is a pigment in the red rubber that makes it go hard if warm sunlight shines onto it.  This red rubber is not used by Supreme anymore, but is still available to buy.  Please avoid using this, only fit black rubber of good quality.

I use two sorts of black rubber when I replace the rubbers on a pool table, standard good quality black rubber which is ok for 6 to 10 years and Northern rubber which may exceed 25 years of use.  The black rubber will not get affected by sunlight as much as the red rubber.

I always advise that when ironing, not to let the iron touch the cushions.  This will also shorten the lifespan of the rubber.

Black v red rubber

Fitting Northern Rubber to pool table cushions, fitting the best in Lincolnshire

Northern rubbered Pool cushions

This week I have been re-rubbering a set of winner supreme pool table cushions, ready to fit to a table in Bardney in Lincolnshire.  The client was very specific that he wanted this high quality rubber fitted.  I have two types of rubber that I fit to pool tables, one is standard black rubber and the other is this high quality (as fitted to full size snooker tables on TV) Northern Rubber.  This rubber is the best you can buy and is made in Retford, Nottinghamshire.  The rubber itself is much more expensive and I have to buy a full set of snooker rubbers to cut down.  Luckily for me I can get two sets out of each set of rubbers.

Northern rubbered raised lettering

As you can see from the above photo, there is raised lettering under the nose of the rubber.  This is your guarantee that I have used the best rubber you can buy.  Because I have to cut the rubber lengths in half, the top painted print stamp is also cut, so you will not see this on pool cushions as you would see in the centre of a 6 ft long snooker cushion rubber.

This set being dated October 2012, as can be seen from the cut off ends in the top photo.

Northern rubbered the stamp 2012

The above photo shows the rubber before I cut it in half for pool tables.  The red rubber in the background is well known for going hard within a few years from new.  It is not being used anymore by Supreme, they now use black rubber.  The dye in the red rubber was the main thing that made the rubber go rock hard, that and the warm sunlight shining through a window or warmth of the room.  The black rubber is much better and Northern Rubber should be good for at least 20 years.

Northern rubber the old stiff rubber

The last photo shows just how hard the rubber had gone, note the black Northern Rubber has just drooped down from my hand where as the red rubber (which you can see is also starting to crumble and crack) is like a stiff pole.  The ball hitting this would just die and not rebound.

The cost for standard black rubber to be fitted by GCL BILLIARDS at the same time as a re-cover is just £100.  fitting new factory supplied cushions complete but not Northern rubber is £120 exchange if good wood or £140 if old cushion are no good  ,  The cost of best quality Northern Rubber is much higher and so the cost is £165 if fitted at same time as a re-cover.  Both re-rubber prices are exchange price, we take your old cushions to refurbish with new rubber if they are suitable , if not suitable allow £20 extra  .  Once the new rubber has been fitted and pocket openings shaped, you will have your pool table back to performing as if it was a brand new table.

prices correct at time of posting but may vary if materials and costs increase

Please make sure that if you have any other firm in for re-covering, they do not exchange your cushions on a re-cover.  You will probably end up with dead cushions and your nice newly rubbered cushions will be sold on as a replacement set.  I have seen this done many times.

At GCL Billiards, the only time we swop cushions over is when they are being replaced with a new or re-rubbered set.  Don’t get caught out, we always stamp any cushions we re-rubber with a GCL Billiards stamp.