Riley Steel Cushioned Aristocrat open up pockets , re-cover , new nets leathers and fit Adjustable bearers

I have Been over to Derby this week to a clients house .
My client bought a table and had it installed around two years ago .
although he did not complain about the match pockets being tight ,  his guests who played there often did .
so he contacted GCL billiards to open the pockets up and at the same time refresh the playing surface .

As you can see it is a genuine two bolt hole per leg face Riley Aristocrat , but it did not have adjustable slate bearers .

this is what we retro fitted to the underside of the table to make sure we could adjust the centre of the slate and get any slate bowing or dipping out .

Bed cloth fitted , a lightweight 29oz version of the popular Strachan 6811 tournament .
we had spent a bit of time making sure the table was level and the slate joints where skimmed and blended in .
our client was complaining that the joints where showing through the old cloth , we did not wish this to happen to the new fitted cloth .

we reshaped the corner pocket openings from tight WPBSA template size to Snooker Control council size , around 1/8th opened up .
note this is a steel cushioned professional standard table .

my client had made some WPBSA templates out of soft wood , as you can see we have altered the angle into the corner slightly each side

the older Billiards snooker control council templates  ( B&SCC  ) where used to make the pockets more approachable for the average to good player
these are not club Bucket sized pockets and they still measured around 3.5 inch at the fall , and these B&SCC  templates date from June 1990 .
As you can see the template fits nice and snug , we kept the flat profile in place when cutting back the rubber , and there is minimal undercut .

the undercut template fitted snug against the flat face of the corner and aligned perfectly with the 3.5 radius cut falls of the slate .

the middles where also brought in line with the older B&SCC templates

as you can see we also fitted new Riley match pocket leathers and superior grade nets , and we fitted plastic ring ball rails and removed the old brass ones which where splitting the nets .
I always recommend to Snooker club owners to remove all metal ring ball rails and replace with lower cost option plastic ring ball rails as the nets last much longer .
and it is the same in Private houses , my client also sanded a round nose to the ring net plastic to make even more kind to the ring nets .
they also hang at the correct angle when a  ball falls into the net then through the net ring hole and  into the correct angle of slope , this is crucial to a longer lasting net .

the finished table

the plastic ring ball rails .
I feel we have solved our clients needs and not ruined his table by putting large bucket club pockets on there , they are still 3.5 inch at the fall ,
but they will take a ball much better in all 6 pockets .
The WPBSA plates are very unforgiving to most players , and you can soon lose interest in playing on a table with tight pockets .
there is a reason the pro players have that tight pocket , they can through years of practice and commitment play at a high level on these tight pockets , but the average to good player would be much better off with the older pre 1990 B&SCC template size .
A story I do like to tell now and again is in 1982 I was watching a young player on the next table I was working on , playing on pockets that where nearly 4 inch wide at the fall in a club in Kirkby in Ashfield Nottinghamshire  .
I said you would never make it as a pro playing on such large buckets for pockets .
That young man was a 16 year old just left School Gary Wilkinson and he was ranked at world No5 in 1991/92 season
Gary became a pro 5 years after I said he would not make the grade , just goes to show that bigger pockets do give confidence in playing and keeping a young man that interested , that he went on to play on tournament pockets that where in those days  sized by the same B&SCC templates I am still using today .
From 1990 onward’s the pockets where closed up a bit to around 3.3/8ths at the drop and a new governing body took control of the pocket size this is the WPBSA templates .
IF you are having problems with pocket openings you may decide to go through what a few people are doing and actually open them up a touch .
I have done many job’s like this over  42 the years I have been fitting tables .

A standard none steel cushion opening up of pocket

A burroughs and watts steel cushion set what it looks like under the cloth

and the same Burroughs and watts after I had completed the table alterations of pocket size .

trimming rubber back to alter pocket size .

sometimes I can just peel back the cushion cloth alter the pocket opening and put the cloth back on , but only if the fitter before did a decent enough job on the re-cover
if not you would probably have to have the cushions re-covered .
it is really best to have this work done at the same time as a re-cover .

as I have said 3.5 inch or even 3.7/8ths of an inch at the fall is not large club pockets .

this is what I call bucket pockets , at nearly 4 inch at the fall !

3.5 inch at the fall for comparison