We are that booked up for the Christmas rush that we are working weekends to fit all the work in , Last Saturday we had arranged to re-rubber a full size snooker table for an old school friend of mine , who just happens to be related as he is my cousins cousin if you can get the meaning from that .
Mick used to be in the same year and same school as myself we both left school in 1969 , Mick bought Anthony Hamilton’s Full size snooker table that he had at home when Anthony lived with his parents in Carlton in Nottingham , I moved the table for Mick around 20 years ago to a stable block at his home in Ockbrook which is about 4 miles from where I live in Long Eaton.
The Table is an old Riley square leg in oak , Mick has stripped the table down to bare wood and just sealed it for a more natural rustic look of natural light oak , he and his brother also replace the lower moulding with rebate slot for the slide in cushion panels , with good English oak reclaimed from another source.
Mick is very enthusiastic about showing the woods natural grain , he has made furniture around his house like a roll top desk and head boards for the beds all in oak .
As can be seen the wood has some very good natural oak Grain swirls, and for what was Rileys entry model in the 1920’s the quality of the oak is very good. there is even some 1/4 sawn oak striping on the cushions.
Mick has just completed an extension onto his house and built into this a very large basement games room , he has put up the modern high frequency lighting , and there are also mood lighting concealed in upward light reflection lighting system around the outside edge of the room which changes colour .
You may have read a few months ago on this GCL billiards blog site about the job of lowering by crane some snooker slates into a basement . well this is the table and the finished basement, you can read that posting here https://gclbilliards.com/crane-in-snooker-slate-into-building-basement-near-derby/
This is the table before the re-cover , the new rubber has been fixed onto the cushions and the corner and middle pocket openings have been cut to size using a template , the set of templates we use are just a shade too large for these standard cushions at the back edge of the template in the inner pocket it overlaps the oak woodwork and are really meant to be used on steel block cushions , so we used the templates to get the size at the fall and then adjusted the angle to suit the wood work of the table .
Now before you think i am saying the templates on steel block cushions are larger then these , they are not , I know it is confusing , but what I am describing is the back edge of the template so here is a couple of photo’s showing the template in and what I cut them at , taking the first part of the template as it meets the fall then free hand the cut to the rear.
the corner pockets cut to size , the black ball to show the size of opening which without cloth is 3.3/4 of an inch at the fall and with cloth 3. 5/8ths at the fall .
As with most of these old tables especially the Riley’s , the rubber narrows at the back end of the angle , this makes for ball rattle , I am afraid the rubber has to be there and you cannot just have bare wood with the cloth just in front of it as the cloth will wear out very quick , some players and some Match officials still cannot understand why these old tables have narrowing pockets from the 3.5/8ths to just 3 1/4 inch as in this case , it is because of the way the cushions have been manufactured , trying to cut woodwork off it to rectify the opening would not work you would end up with other problems of trying to fit the pocket plates onto a wider opening , the only option to get modern pocket openings is to fit modern cushions or steel block cushions , I have seen tables like these that Billiard fitters have butchered trying to get the modern opening , they always look a mess .
So I am afraid you have to learn to live with the opening , after all Joe Davies was making 120 to 147 breaks on these types of tables in the 1930’s / 40’s with tighter pocket openings than these.
Joe had the Mahogany turned leg version of this table with the same cushion profiles as this table at as his own table at home , the last time I worked on that table was at the Metal box company in Mansfield in the 1990’s where his Nephew had the table installed. He of course had other tables in his lifetime but the first one he owned was given to his Nephew who worked for the metal box company in Mansfield. and because he had no where to put it , he asked his work if he could put it above his workshop and then the workforce could use it , I do not know if it is still there ?
Mick’s Brother has re-blocked the cushions for the new rubber to be fitted , I found he had by mistake reproduced the corner angle to the centre pocket angles so , I spliced new bits of wood to the centre angle and belt sanded them to form a proper angle for the centre pocket undercut of the rubber , this allowed for a much better job when re-covering the cushions .
apart from this minor mishap the woodwork renovations carried out by Mick and his Brother was spot on and the Rustic oak look is what they where after and I think they achieved it .
Mick is also about to strip the very nice original vintage double bevel mirrored oak scoreboard that came with the table which is worth around £350 on it’s own , he will of course strip value off the scoreboard as well as the old polish , but he does want things to match up woodwork wise within the room .
The finished table , after working Saturday and Sunday , we could not have fitted the work in otherwise , it was the same last year when I also had to work weekends to get the Christmas work completed , only this year we have had to turn work away .