Sad News Dave Gibson of Beeston snooker Hall Passed Away

It is with great sadness that I have been informed of the passing of David Gibson of Beeston Snooker Hall in Nottinghamshire aged 78.  I have known Dave for many years since the 1960s aged 14, when I used to wag an afternoon French lesson at school in the winter months and go down the Billiard Hall with many of my school mates for a warm on the pipes that surrounded the hall.  Little did I know back then that I would be re-covering the tables in there one day as a time served billiards fitter.

Below is a photo of Beeston Snooker Hall – notice those large warm pipes around the outside edge.

Dave was always one for inventions and gadgets, and was keen to show people what he had achieved by experimentation or manufacture.  For Instance, before computer controlled lighting for snooker tables, Dave invented a timer with mechanical digital counters for hours and mins used.  Many of the internal parts came from the pinball and slot machine industry.  My own boss John Hopkin at Elston and Hopkin Billiards Ltd bought one in 1980 for our new 18 table Snooker Hall on Newark Street, Nottingham (now the Spot On club).  We also bought a cue sanding tipping machine that Dave had made up with a sewing machine motor and rotating sanding disc.

Dave had made in perspex a special marking out device for baulklines.  He experimented with heat and anti slate bow bars on his tables in the hall.  I was shown on one recent visit a ball ramp with a laser attached.  This ball ramp with measure of incline and adjustable incline was used to measure such things as ball travel on a cloth, rubber rebound value and distance rebounded and by using the laser light on the back of the ball as it rolled off the ramp, you could see the ball roll off due to nap or table being out of level.  Dave was a very clever man and was well respected in the snooker and billiard community.  He got to know many of Beeston’s Snooker and Billiards players by first name.

Dave always kept a good stock of cues and accessories at the Hall.  The above photo shows his range of cues on rotating tables for easy viewing.  This was another one of Dave’s inventions.  The photo below has another of Dave’s gadgets at the left hand side of the display case, but don’t ask me what it is for.  I think it is for some sort of game played on the table.

Dave sponsored the local snooker competitions and leagues over many years since the 1960s in and around Nottingham and Derbyshire.  He also purchased many trophies, one such trophy made out of bronze was very heavy and stood 4 foot high approx.

Dave was also a Committee member of the NBSA which is the Nottinghamshire Billiards & Snooker Association of which he was a valued member.

In the 1970s Dave came over to my uncle’s firm where I was working at that time.  I had just started work as a Trainee Billiards fitter back then and Dave gave me some useful information of where I was going wrong that day as I was having difficulty in recovering some cushions, so you could say he had some early input on my career as a Billiard fitter.

It was only recently (November 2012) that I jogged Dave’s memory of what he had taught me back then.  I think he was a bit chuffed that he had some input and could see that I had taken my training as a billiards fitter seriously and after 37 years was still at it.

David Gibson’s funeral is to take place on the 22nd of January 2013 at 11.45am at Bramcote Crematorium (Main Chapel).
My condolences to wife Kathy and family and friends too many to mention by name.

Geoff Large
Billiards fitter

I attended David’s funeral today and what a turn out he had , a large number of friends and relatives seated and standing at the rear , Dave would have been proud that he had so many well wishers at his funeral .
and I know Kathy would like to wish everyone who attended a big thankyou for attending the Funeral .
A great send off for Mr Snooker as many knew him .

Dave Gibson’s Gadgets and levelling snooker tables

I visited Beeston Snooker Hall yesterday and got talking to Dave Gibson, owner of Beeston Snooker Hall since the 1960’s.  Dave has always been one for Gadgets.  Many people would think “why would he want one of those”, but I have known Dave for many years and he is always interested in electronics and the technical side of Snooker.

On this occasion he was showing me his self-made ball ramp with laser for testing speed of a table cloth and also bounce of a cushion.  The device also shows that a true level table can still roll out with nap and also natural slate warp dip spots.  The laser pointer that is installed in this Ball ramp really shows the ball rolling off, yet my engineers level and also electronic digital level – which are very accurate pieces of equipment – show the slate at that point is true.

I was very impressed with this gadget (I should not really call it that as it is a nice bit of scientific equipment).  We were talking about the pro tables on TV.  I am sure even those would show a ball rolling out on the thin match cloth with this bit of equipment when the fitter had got it spot on for level,  This device also confirmed that I got the recent bed cloths that had been fitted tight as the speed was as good as worn out no nap table cloth.

When I am recovering tables in many snooker clubs and halls I often overhear players comment after a bad shot “the table is not level it rolled off a mile”.  What players have to take into consideration is strength of nap, length of nap, thickness of cloth, temperature of table, finger drag marks in cloth and sweat off hands on cloth.  All these can take a slow ball off its intended direction.  Did you also know that when a ball strikes another ball the force is also transferred down the ball towards the cloth.  The same is also true when a ball strikes the cushion, that is why you get track marks along the edge of the table and around the pocket openings and also on the black and pink spots which wear indentations in them quicker than the other spots because people always go for the highest scoring ball.

In Dave’s Snooker Hall he also has large fans that can cause a down draft on the table.  Just like a current in a river these down drafts leave a current of air rebounding off the tables and also players as they stand underneath them redirecting air flow.  Players do not really look into the outside forces of a ball rolling off.  They always blame the table being out of level.

True out of level tables ?
When we get a table that is truly out of level it may be just a simple jack up and re-shim the legs to even it out, or it may be warped frame work which may incorporate a rather expensive full strip down, slates off and reshooting of the frame level.

In recent years (the 1980’s onwards) some modern table manufacturers have not been manufacturing the tables correctly in that the inner muntins (slate supports) are not in contact with the slate.  This causes the softer Italian slate to dip in the middle.  I refer this as a slate sag issue caused by no support in the centre of the slate.  I have devised a way of rectifying this by using adjustable muntins.  Brackets are fitted on the underside of the framework in the centre and three square and true floating muntins are used with adjustable bolts to tighten and adjust pressure to the centre of the slate upwards.  Over time a little 1/4 turn of the adjustable muntins will cure the slate dip.

If you know of a table that has this issue of balls rolling from each side towards the centre of the slate, I can retro fit these adjustable muntins to any table without taking the slates off.  Please get in touch for a quote.