GCL Billiards and snooker are very busy in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derby and Leicester

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 c.large@btinternet.com

Wragby table perfect slates
Wragby, a very good level set of Welsh slate

pool 6ft before
The sort of job I am called out to do on a pool table, they really let loose on this table in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

pool 6ft after
The table after a re-cover

stapleford recover door
Another full size re-cover in 6811 Tournament cloth, with new leathers fitted in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire

pool 7ft jaques
A Jaques home play pool table

Thurston full size snooker table for sale in West Sussex

Another full size snooker table for sale, this time in West Sussex.  Please contact the owner direct, Bruce Allamn, tel: 07939 138539.  Estimated value between £500 and £1000, buyer to discuss offers with seller direct.

If you want a quote for the dismantle and set up please contact GCL Billiards by email to c.large@btinternet.com giving full details of move, ground floor to ground floor and distance to be moved etc. for an accurate quote.

The polished woodwork looks in very good condition from the photos and all the tackle seems to be there.  It may require a re-rubber and a re-cover, if so GCL Billiards can quote for this.
Thurston 1
Thurston 2

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:

http://less.leaguerepublic.com/l/league/765163148.html LE.S.S snooker league
http://www.staplefordcueclub.com/ 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.

Very rare Gillows NOW Sold to a firm within the Billiards TRADE


The table has now been sold to a Trade Buyer

And I am looking forward to seeing the renovated table .




Original advert

gillows after recover

A very Rare gillows table , gillows was a cabinet maker in the very early 1800s .
the firm later algimated to become the well known furniture manufacturers Waring and Gillow .
This table is now up for sale , it is the most sought after antique billiard table that was made , gillows only made around 15 tables a year . it was not their main line of furniture making , John thurston was an aprentice for Gillows london branch in the very early 1800s.
gillows 2nd side shot

please read this information about the table and gillows as a history that was posted by myself and Peter hainsworth in 2007 about this very table.

gillows craved name

It is very unusual to have gillows carved into the end frame work of the table , if their are gillows records about the referance number 1105 should reveal who was the first owner of the table , but i will point out that I did find a label on one of the cushions when I re-covered this table in 2007 . and here it is , on the lable it reads a womans name a Miss Gladstone and a village called Witham in which maybe in essex and is not too far away from where this table is now located  , I think this is the original owner of the table or a sibling that the table was passed down to. the number 26-483 maybe a job referance number for work on the table or a removals tag , which would have been a horse and cart removal in those days .
but it could also be a lable from when Thurston did work to the cushions Rubber blocks in 1890s
gillows original owner

the table would have had a three section wood bed and stuffed felt cushions when it was first manufactured it has now got a three section slate bed which is circa 1830s so the table itself would be at least that old as not long after three section slate 4 section was the norm by 1850s  then 5 section by the 1870s , Thurston billiards has done some work on the cushions around 1898 by the ivory name plate on the other end from the carved Gillows end . maybe Thurston will have some record of doing this ?
gillows three section slate
Thurston badge which I have been told is circa 1890s /1900 , this badge was put on by Thurston when they changed the cushions to modern blocks for the new type of rubber being used in the cushions at that time period , the table is much older than this badge . maybe as much as 90 years older . but no less than 70 years older.

gillows thurston badge

if you require any more information on this table please enter the link to the snooker forum as listed above at the top of this page , there is more information and more photo’s of this very rare Billiard table , if anyone would be interested in the Gillows table , then please feel free to contact me at the email below only , and I will refer youre enquiry to the owners of the table , but I will warn you , fully renovated pieces of gillows furniture fetch a considerable amount of money , this table fully renovated would be worth in the region of between £30.000 to £55.000 , in all honesty I expect this table to end up at Bonhams auction house , that was my recommendation to the Owners. it will prob end up in America , that was where the last one I knew about went to in the 1970s and that sold for £25000 back then .
All proceeds I have been informed are to go to charity .

please do not send enquiries for the table through the comments section of this advertisement , please send them to c.large@btinternet.com