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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
Today has been one of those odd requests to dismantle a full size snooker table, take the slates off and load them onto a specially made slate cradle, which was then put on a crane and lowered into a new build extension of the client’s house.
This particular client is an old school friend from the class of 69 at Beeston Fields School (Mick Kirkham). We also happen to share the same cousins… work that one out. Mick is the father of Superbike racer Jon Kirkham. here is his link to his own web site http://www.jonkirkham.co.uk/
The table used to belong to Snooker professional Anthony Hamilton, from his younger teenage days. It was sold to Mick by Anthony’s Father and I set it up in a stable block about 20 years ago. It’s an old Riley oak framed square leg circa 1910.
Mick is refurbishing all the woodwork, then it is having new cushion rubber and a re-cover before I return to assemble it in the new snooker room ( MAN CAVE ) that Mick is building onto his house. There are a further two levels to build yet, but my advice was to get the slates into the basement before closing it in with the ground floor. This will save on some sore backs at a later date trying to get it down some stairs, when it is all finished.
The slates were put onto a home made steel girder rack two at a time and one on its own. Shown here is the last slate being lowered strapped to the steel rack with my piano trolly on the other side . I was looking at that chain thinking it was going to snap at any moment. When it was up in the air and with two slates loaded it was taking the load of 2/5ths of a ton plus the weight of the steel girder rack, but I was assured it could take the strain. I must say they made an excellent job of building the rack made from a steel girder with centre support post.
Today was not the first time I have had experience of using these versatile, forklift cranes to help a job go more smoothly and save on sore backs. This one in France last year was the third one I had experienced.
Having just completed the large Snooker Club installations in the centre of Nottingham, we move onto a run of pool table re-covering in Derby and Nottingham. Then we re-rubber, re-cover, nets and leathers on a full size snooker table in Nottingham. We then move onto Lincolnshire for another re-rubber and re-cover, this time on a 10ft, before ending back in Basford, Nottingham to work on another pool table.
The phone is busy and work is still coming in, but we still have some days spare in May to fill.
A recent re-cover in 6811 Tournament Strachan cloth, with new extra extra broad bow leathers and nets. The pocket size on this table is 3 inches and 5/8ths at the drop, whereas a standard match table is closer to 3 and a half inches at the drop.
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
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 .
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 .
I am used to working for the many armed forces, I have worked in Army, Airforce and Navy bases around the UK.
For the past two days we had the pleasure of collecting a table from far up in West Yorkshire where the snow was still causing chaos with roadblocks. We had to detour 40 miles in order to get to our location and remove the full sized snooker table. Who would have believed we still had that much snow laying on the ground, but we were at a high point.
We were thankful that the access to the room was direct from the drive through double doors which made the dismantle and loading only a 2 hour job.
On the way back we came upon another problem, FIRE! The road between Manchester and Sheffield was closed, but we just managed to get through before they stopped all traffic. The fire was caused by a passing motorist who flung his lighted cigarette out of the window. The lower ground had dried out and so the bracken had caught fire. Talk about one extreme to another – snow then fire!
The next day we set off early from our Nottingham base towards Arncot Army Barracks for the bomb disposal and training unit. We had an appointment with Mike at the newly built officers mess for the installation of this donated table which is in very good condition. I think the table is a George Wright with readed legs. The owner of the table donated it to the Army for use in the Officers’ mess and they are highly delighted with it.
Just look at the following photographs of the table to see why they regard the table so highly.
The table during installation. Just one more slate to get off the van. These were very heavy quality Welsh slates.
The finished table, truly in imaculate condition having had a complete refurb by the owner only last year.
The woodwork was also in very good condition, not a mark on it. The readed legs are typical George Wright design circa 1900/1910.
GCL BILLIARDS are specialists in moving full sized snooker tables throughout the UK. The table was delivered over two days, from collection, dismantle, load to deliver, unload and set up. No fuss, just a complete service from A to B, set up, level and ready for play at a competitive rate.
What a very busy month March has been for snooker and pool table work and April looks like being the same as orders are coming in for even more work. Starting off in march we went to London. We have then been to the East coast Linconshire, also Lincoln, Wragby, Bardney, Leicester, Nottingham, Stapleford, Beeston, Mansfield, Newark, then over near Melton Mowbray, back to leicester, then to Hinkley and Nuneaton and we now have some work in Derbyshire at Barton on trent, plus possible work back towards the East coast again.
We are solid right upto the 12th of April and just starting to fill the rest of April in. Although we are very busy, the workload is not going to make us rush jobs in order to make extra money. When I started GCL Billiards it was with the determination to take our time with clients tables and make sure we do a good job. Most of our work is by recommendation and Geoff has been in this trade nearly 40 years. We are now picking up some nice work for large organisations. Repeat work is also coming back to us, but we do not intend to get any larger as an organisation, prefering to offer good quality service and materials and also good value for money is our aim.
Together with our pool table hire business we are doing very nicely, slowly but surely we will get to a point where we will have to turn custom away rather than spoil a good reputation by doing speed work to increase profit. But that is a long way off yet. If you have a cue sports table that requires work, then please get in touch with GCL Billiards on email email@example.com