Correct pocket openings on a Riley steel cushioned Aristocrat Snooker table after bad set up in Birmingham

I have been contacted by a client in the West Midlands who purchased a table from a firm not too far away , close to Sheffield.
He was after a Genuine UK made  twin bolted framed Riley Aristocrat to match specs including pocket openings as close to template as possible which is 3.5 inch at the drop.
I was also instructed to replace the bed cloth due to an accident with a chocolate bar that his Daughter had left on the table .
Here are a few photo’s that describe some of the faults that I found on close inspection.
birm hussain centre pocket out of alignment to one side
the first thing that stick out was the center pocket openings where not central to the table  , as you can see from this photo , the pocket fall is slightly positioned to the left of the cushion center pocket gap ,
this made the baulk end pockets very tight 3.1/4 inch and the spot end pockets at 3.5 inch .
birm hussain before middle not set correct too small
as you can see the template does not fit within the cushions , the center pocket is too tight .
birm hussain centre template fin
From this photo, you can now see that I have altered the pocket opening and centered it up to the fall , the center pockets are now to match spec. that was the easy part to do , my client can now pocket balls at a bit more pace ,
before they where being spat back out , as there was not enough gap to allow the ball to fall properly. they where ricocheting back and forth between the tight close together angles .
I was not re-covering the cushions so could not see if I could improve the undercut a bit more to reduce this even further , but did comment to my client that on the next cushion re-cover.
I could improve them a bit more by cleaning up any rough cut rubber that had not been finished off smooth .
birm hussain corner pen cut line to template
By careful removal and fold back of the cushion cloth on the corner , I placed my template and found that I had to remove a fair amount of rubber to make the pocket openings 3.5 inch at the fall .
above I have drawn around the template onto the top of the rubber to show just how tight these pocket opening are , the fitter who closed the middle pockets up , did this to make the corner pockets wider
The table pocket opening where not uni formal , you had two at 3.5 inch two at 3.1/4 inch and the center pockets tight and out of alignment with the center fall .
It was apparent that they just made the two spot end corner pockets that are used most in the game of snooker to template and just bodged the other corners and middle openings , and made a quick exit .
The camera tells the story so they cannot deny this .
birm hussain corner template fin
With the rubber cut and sanded and the undercut also smoothed out , the baulk end pockets are now 3.5 inch , the same as the spot end corner pockets they are all uni formal .
It is always better to re-rubber on the table rather than on a bench , I have been re-rubbering cushions for 40 years , and I always ask if I can re-rubber on the table rather than take them into the workshop ,
it is much better to set the pockets to the tables own slate falls .
Sometimes it is not possible to do this as the table may be in storage or dismantled and you have the cushions to work on , I tend to make a mock pocket opening up using a large square and cardboard to find the slate fall
Different fitters are taught different ways , but I find my way suits me and I end up with good pocket openings that are not going to cause a problem going forward .
Birmingham hussain finished
My clients table with correct pocket openings with templates in the pocket , and new bed Strachan 6811 tournament 30 oz cloth fitted.
birm hussain screw holding plate up cowboy 1
One other problem that was spotted , the use of wood screws to hold up a loose pocket plate , these where only loose because they had not set the center pocket opening wide enough making the corner pocket plates sag down .
I removed these screws and packed a little cloth inside the two pin holes that the twin pins from the pocket plate locate into , this made them ultra tight .
the use of screws over time would mean the ends of these cushions being chewed up , the wood falls apart and the pocket plate will become even looser .
A bad way of finishing the job off .
I also noted that this table did not have the proper adjustable slate muntins , under the table , these should wind up to the slate to prevent sagging down in the middle .
birm dummy bolt hole upper one
above  photo , the top button has a hole for a button but no hole in the side long frame rail with nut has been drilled , this is a a dummy bolt hole to make it look like it is a genuine twin bolt hole table , but the fact that the dummy bolt hole is near the top of the leg rings alarm bells it should be lower than this .
The table was ordered to be a genuine twin bolt UK made  Riley Aristocrat match table , in my professional opinion if I was asked , is that this table was originally a one bolt hole frame table , extra bolt holes have been added , but the end of the frame has only one bolt in and the top bolt hole is a dummy , this would not be the case if the table was genuine Riley Match play Aristocrat .
now I do not name and shame other firms , I do not get into arguments , but if a client is paying me good money to put a table right and asks why it was bad , I cannot say I will not comment , he is paying me not only for my time but my professionalism in the art of a fully qualified billiards table fitter , so if he asks me what the problem is before I remove the first screw and it is as obvious as these photo’s then I have to explain truthfully .
I take photo’s to prove this to be the case and also explain it by posting on my web blog .
so if you have a problem with a way a table is performing , it may be that the rubber is sitting on too high block work or that the pockets have not been cut to a template correct or set up correct in alignment as was the case here .
If you have any of the above problems then contact Geoff  at GCL Billiards on email  .
We will try to help sort out any problems you have been having with your table .