SNOOKER AND POOL TABLE RECOVERING IN LINCOLN , DERBY , NOTTINGHAM , LEICESTER , make sure you are dealing direct with professionals not middlemen and agents

Many of the advertisements that you see on search engines are not what they appear to be , many claiming to be experienced in the art of billiard fitting for snooker and pool tables are just agents passing on work to qualified people , they then take a commission out of the price for passing on this work . this applies mainly to Pool table operators who recover pool tables passing on information to proper time served billiard fitters who are then hit with a commission fee or sub contract to the middleman for a fixed labour fee.

When looking for experienced people to work on youre cue sports table , always do some home work , ask if they or an EMPLOYEE ( not subcontractor ) will be doing the work or passing the information onto a third party .

At GCL BILLIARDS we are fully experienced billiard fitters for working on any cue-sports table , UK POOL , AMERICAN POOL , OLD BILLIARD TABLES , and modern SNOOKER TABLES , BAGATELLE AND BAR BILLIARDS ,  the best way to find out if the person you are talking to is fully qualified in the art of Billiard fitting , is to ask technical questions , such things as pocket sizes and cushion rubber height , table height , History of tables etc , difference between tables made in periods significant changes where made such as pocket plate design , slate first used , what was used before rubber etc .
GCL BILLIARDS will not overcharge for their service , a pool table recover starts at £185 , a Full size snooker table £430 club cloth £450 Tournament cloth , and we only use top graded strachan cloth unless the customer prefers another choice .
we will point out we are not the lowest price , yet we are also not the dearest price , we try and stay within £20 of our equal competition , that extra £20 is for Experience , and safe in the knowledge that your table is in safe hands and that we are using top quality materials not seconds as some do .
And you can be assured you will have the work carried out by a TIME SERVED billiards fitter . *** with no added commission or middlemen charges.***

GCL billiards do not subcontract to other firms and we do not use sub contract fitters  , we have our own identity and our own fitting standards based on 42 years experience , we do not want to assist another firm who do not have the same experience have that skill and compete against us in our market sector , it would be like letting someone in on our area and helping them establish themselves using our 40 year experience and skills as a spring board ,
Our main area covers from Sheffield to Northampton and East coast to Stoke on Trent , we do further than this but we like to remain a Billiards firm that concentrates at least 90% of its clientele in the midlands .
I am constantly refusing subcontract work for other firms on a monthly basis as they try to muscle in on our area .
Most of these firms that contact us are just keyboard firms using subcontractors around the UK to form a business of which they pay peanuts to the firm and pocket a good percentage for themselves .
they have no experience in Billiards / Snooker & pool table fitting apart from what they have read on the internet or from books .
I do take on the odd table sale from other firms say from Scotland , that require a fitting service if they have sold to a client in my area , but that is about as far as I will let other firms into my area and to compete against us .
My advice to anyone seeking a skilled firm for their snooker or pool table re-cover is to look at that firms past work and standing within the Billiards fitting community .
Geoff Large of GCL Billiards has over 42 years personal experience of Billiards fitting from early antique Billiard tables to modern day Billiard tables that are mainly designed for the game of Snooker .
We also have a vast experience on Pool tables renovation , from UK pub type tables to 9ft american pool tables .
Butlins hotshots artscape bud dec 2015
Brunswick 9ft pool tables at Butlins Skegness maintained by GCL billiards
alfreton sam pool tables
Sam american K steel pool tables installed by GCL billiards .

On holiday next week in Tenerife

Due to my OTHER HALF booking a holiday in our favourite resort in Tenerife, she has forced me into a break, even though the phone is still ringing with work coming in.  So we will not be available from Tuesday of next week the 2nd of July right through to Friday the following week, the 12th of July.  But my daughter is manning my mobile phone and the home phone for any work that may come in for the remaining FREE DAYS of July and August.  I would like to thank Steve and the Nottingham Snooker Academy for letting me move the recover dates for the 3rd recover so this enabled myself and Carol to jet off for some much earned sun and sea plus our favorite watering hole the Whisky Jar pub.

Yesterday I had a repeat booking for a full size table recover in Nottingham.  This venue has a re-cover every 8 months on a full sized snooker table.  They have three tables and rotate the recover so that they get one done every 2 years, one per 8 month period.  We also service the other two when we are there.
three tables maintained
Today my new van had to go back in to have a noisy fuel pump replaced, but they ordered the wrong pump so have to wait another day.  I am in a little Astra van until I get the Movano back.

I have just agreed to have the van sign written with pool balls on the side and a snooker theme on the rear, have a look at the photos of the final design.
van design sign written final
The van is being sign written and wrapped when I am away on holiday, so look out for our bright design on the road.  We are sure to get noticed with this art work, and it is all free advertising.

Back to work after 5 day holiday break

Having been solid for work for the last 11 months (time has flown by).
new movano 3500 125 van

I am ready to start the month of June with a large amount of work already booked in, including two pool table re-covers and another full size snooker table to re-cover at the Nottingham Snooker Academy.  A full size snooker table to dismantle in Skegness and two more full size tables to re-cover in Nottingham.
A new van has been ordered to reduce the hassle of moving full sized snooker tables.  We used to rent the vans out for these removal jobs, but now we are fully equipped in-house to do it ourselves.  This makes for less wasted time collecting and returning hire vans and we can be on a job as early as 6am ready to start, rather than at the hire van company coming out with a van by 9.30am.

My smaller van was capable of moving anything up to a 10ft snooker table, but just could not manage a full size 12 foot table.  The new van is equipped to carry 1610kg, well within the weight limits of a full size snooker table plus tools plus two men.  I got a fantastic deal on the new van discount wise and a good part exchange price for the old van.

We will be sign writing the new van up with a special photo wrap and sign writing, so look out for us on the road.
academy logo nottingham
acadamy 3.5 inch pocket

The second week we will be moving 6 x 9ft Sam K steel American Pool tables and re-covering them in speed cloth 3 red 3 purple.

The third week of June we are fitting light units, relocating a table and possibly a re-cover on a full size.
oak 9ft viceroy fitted new GCL lighting by dextra

If anyone requires work doing in June and July we still have a few days left to fill for work.  Please contact Geoff on 07753 466064 or by email

Snooker or pool tables re-covered and re-rubbered.  we also supply.  Cool white light high frequency cue sports lighting  this lighting is sweeping the country at the moment , replaceing those coffin shades  .  our sister company double eight pool for Pool table Contract hire etc.

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

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

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

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

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.