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.

Wanted: Full size oak snooker table ….NOW got one !

6th july 2013 …located a full size riley imperial from Burgh le Marsh near Skegness via ebay seller , dismantled and loaded onto clients van , cushions awaiting new rubber and re-polish  in the workshop then its set up in clients re-furbished barn conversion near the welsh borders .

We have a client who is requiring a full size snooker table in oak to go in his oak beamed barn conversion, at a good price, that is relavant to the current market.

The table must be in good condition woodwork wise.  The two types that he likes are the Riley Viceroy and the Riley Imperial.  There is not much to choose between these two, the Viceroy has deeper arches and the chunkier the leg the better as I know there are some thin 6 inch oak Imperials about.  We prefer the 8 inch version like the one in the photo below.  They really look great in old barns with the oak beams.

Get in touch with Geoff right now if you have one for sale or know where there is one in good condition.

Contact email or phone 07753 466064
oak imperial

Another 9ft NOW SOLD

NOW SOLD being moved by GCL Billiards Tuesday 18th june . please look at the other 3/4 sized snooker tables for sale direct from the owners on GCL Billiards blog site .

Just as I have advertised one 9ft , I get a phone call about another that is local to Lincoln /Grantham at Welbourn in a large country house .
The table top alone is very well made and would have cost a considerable amount ,
welbourne 9ft
Both the 9fts have their merits, this one having an oversized dining top fitted to allow for under knee space when on a chair.  But make and age  I am uncertain of?  I was told by the seller it was a 5 section slate which is unusual for a 9ft table and I think I may have set up a table the same design as this around two years ago, an Allied Billiards made table which was also a 9ft and had 5 slates on it.

.welbourne 9ft 2
As can be seen another table in good order, this one with 6 turned legs with all equipment shown plus a score board.
welbourne 9ft 3
We have four 9ft Snooker tables in our for sale section at the moment, probably more choice than some billiard firms have in stock and all direct from the seller.  All are private sales and all are priced around the same price.  Why not look at the tables and make a choice of which is the right table for you.

If you require further information on the tables then please get in touch with Geoff who will give you his personal feelings about each table, but I will say this NONE of the 9ft tables are bad tables.  Some are better than others only because of condition of say cloth, rubber and polish.  But they are all sound tables for sale direct from the client without any middle men’s fees or commisions.  So a great way to purchase a table.

GCL Billiards advertise these tables free of charge and in return we just hope you use us to move the tables and any future re-cover work or other maintenance you may require.  We are only in this for continuation of work, it all helps and by providing this free service.  It helps the seller as well as GCL Billiards.
welbourne 9ft 4

Raising Funds for table maintenance, not a new thing?

With the recent news that Nottingham Snooker Academy’s members had raised funds to finance the re-rubber and re-cover of 4 snooker tables, another table re-covered this past week just happened to have the same process.

The owners of a Caravan Park were not releasing funds this year for the upkeep of the snooker table, as funds were required in more important areas of the park.  But the table was way past its sell by date for a new cloth and rubber plus pocket leathers.

The local Residents and Fishermen who use the site bar clubbed together in an 8 month fundraising venture to do it themselves.  A quote was provided 8 months ago and a few people decided to get fund raising events off the ground to raise the cash so to speak.  It took them around 7 months and a date was booked in to do the work.

The table in question was the 10ft that I have just put up on the Blog, but here are a few more photos of the strip down.
Caravan park Fund raiser
The wall fund raising chart
caravan rubber removed from blocks

The cushions have been stripped of cloth and rubber and the blocks sanded up to take the new rubber being glued to them.
caravan new rubber glued

The new rubber is glued all 6 at one time on my glueing board.
caravan old and new slip
As can be seen again from the photo  above, the old cloth retaining slip showing signs of where it was nailed into the cushion slip slot and a new planed to fit tight without being nailed in new slip.

Caravan old green rubber
This last photo shows the old green rubber.  Northern Rubber is black and can last upto 25 years.  This old green rubber lasted less than 7 years.  When pulling it off the blocks it was brittle and broke up.

Today I stripped down a 9ft set of cushions and the Black Rubber on them was dated 1935, but it was in much better condition than this green rubber.  But I am also re-rubbering this set too.

Low quality rubber can vary in the way it just goes off, you can get sunlight damage where the sun shining through a window catches part of a cushion and that part goes rock hard and crumbles.  Yet there may be 1 foot of the rubber length that cannot catch the sun that still remains good.  You get this a lot on UK pool tables that use red / pink rubber.

Northern Rubber  plays good in most conditions.  The only thing that Northern Rubber does not like is cold, but thats the case with all types of cushion rubber.
Northern rubbered the stamp 2012

Another example I have used before showing the hard red rubber with Northern Rubber at the side of it.
Black v red rubber

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.