Re-rubber of steel block Snooker cushions ready for next week install in Yorkshire.

It may be the weekend but for some we have to carry on working , no trip to the golf course or other leisure interests .
Today is Saturday and I am a bit behind with some work so I have to work on a set of steel block cushions , this is for a table in Barnsley that we have dismantled and taken down two sets of stairs from an attic last month then transported 8 mile up the road, it is going back up into another attic  in this other property next week , I decided to work in the back garden as the sun was out for the Re-rubber , this makes a change from working inside either in the workshop or in a snooker club , the glue smell is not so overpowering , and the black rubber that is sanded is not all over the place too .
Have a look at the following photo’s of the shaping of the middle and corner openings .
steel rerubber date of rubber apr 2013

First photo above  shows the genuine Northern rubber with it’s stamp and date of manufacture of April 2013 , and fitted today 31st of August .

steel rerubber end blocks and slot

This photo above , shows the end blocks that are fastened to the end of each cushion for the wrap around of the cloth , these are the original block ends and have had only 3 recovers in it’s life the serial numbers are very clear to see being 4354 , the last recover was in 1988 . as you look to the left of this you can see the first slot for the cushion bolt , and you can also see two scribed lines , one fitter has put these on as a rough guide as to where the bolt should be . the cushion is then measured from the middle pockets as a centre guide and bolted up once in the correct position. the end cushions are adjusted the same once they measure the same both sides on the slate fall .
Not a lot of people realise that even normal bolted hole wood cushions can be out by as much as 1/8th , as the bolt hole clearance allows the movement of the cushion left or right by this amount. Speed fitters often do not check that the cushions are properly in alignment , a good fitter always measures his pocket openings to make sure everything is 100% correct.
The slot that you can see almost at the top edge of the rear of this cushion is for the cushion cloth retaining slip , this is a thin long length of wood hammer inserted into the slot tightly to trap the cushion cloth in from the rear , some cowboy fitters have been known to miss these slips of wood out and to GLUE the cloth to the rear of the steel plate with evo stick ! ….This should not be done .
Steel rerubber no undercutt yet

Above corner angle no undercut yet , below middle angle no undercut yet.

steel rerubber corner angle before sanding from top

this next two photo’s above , shows I have marked and cut the rubber to a template then sanded smooth , there is no undercut on this end angle yet , some players have been telling me that there is no undercut on professional tables , if that was true this photo above is how the shape of the pocket would look ,  I can assure them that there is an undercut as some of the following photo’s show . This photo above shows I have roughly cut the undercut.
Now where some players get confused with the idea that professional tables have not undercut , is the flat edge can be seen all the way to the back angle , years ago this would come to a triangle edge with no flat showing in the curve at all , when the cloth is on the cushion the nose of the cushion looks like it is moulded all the way from the front edge of the rubber to the back edge , it is not and is all hand rasped and sanded , some fitters have slightly different ways of doing it , but we all aim for the same result , the old method of sanding and rasping the undercut all the way to the top edge , makes it easy to get the ball into the pocket as more of the ball can get under the overhang of the rubber.
Today’s pockets are more difficult to pocket balls , you have to be more accurate with you’re potting.

steel rerubber rough undercut by knife

steel rerubber undercutt rasped smooth steel rerubber undercut sanded sharp edge off

The three photo’s above. show the stage of the undercut ,This actually the middle angle of one cushion, the end cushions are done the same but it is more of a long sweeping curve rather than the tight curve of the middle pocket, first photo you can see the rough undercut has been done and the slice marks of the knife as it has passed back and forth through the rubber , the second photo shows the undercut has been smoothed out by hand rasping , the third photo shows I have taken the sharp edge’s off the rubber top and just as it enters onto the undercut , if this was not done the cloth would split easy as the ball hits the sharp angle of the rubber , so yes rubber can cut through cloth if left sharp .
I often see where a speed fitter has just roughly cut the rubber as in the first photo, then re-covered the cushion without hand rasping and sanding , you get what you pay for,speed fitters are not after repeat work , all they care about is getting home or onto the next job they have squeezed in that day to make more money .
These speed fitters are only around £20 to £30 lower cost than a proper time served fitter , is it really worth trying to save that extra few quid to end up with a bad re-rubber.
It took me over 6 years to learn my trade as a billiards fitter , and to re-rubber is craft that you just cannot learn in one week , some think they can do it after watching over the shoulder of a fitter for just one cushion. I have seen some awful attempts of re-rubber of a snooker table , and it may come as a shock but it may be necessary to carry out another full re-rubber to rectify it , so get it done right first time and call in a professional time served Billiards fitter .
I will be adding the top rubber tape then recovering the cushions in strachan 6811 tournament cloth , I will post a photo of the finished table at a later date.

Geoff Large
Billiards Fitter