The slightest imperfection on a pool table surface can cause havoc. Nothing is more frustrating to the focused pool player than making a great shot and watching the path of the ball be disrupted or redirected by a slight tear or hole in the surface cloth.
Before your friends, neighbors, or patrons begin tearing their hair out, know that you can easily take care of this. Patching the cloth will not work; you are going to have to resurface the entire table! Don't be concerned, this is a fairly simple one man job that's not too expensive.
The felt cloth can be found on line, from a billiards supply store, and even at some fabric stores. The billiard supply stores will have championship quality felt. This cloth comes in different colors and is generally sold by the square yard. The billiard supply store will know exactly how many square yards you need, so you need to take your measurements. Because of the drop on the sides for the bumpers and the fact you will be stretching the cloth and attaching under the rails, add at least 12 inches on each side of the surface dimensions.
The next step is to remove the old cloth. This should be fairly easy and how it is attached will depend on the table backing. Wood backed tables use staples and slate tables most commonly are glued.
Remove the side rails and place your new felt across the table stretching it lengthwise. If you are resurfacing a wood backing begin stapling the felt under the rails in the middle first on one side. Place a staple about every 4 inches. When you reach a corner, stop and go to the next corner. Stretch the felt tight and begin stapling the opposite side. Make sure the surface is smooth.
If you have a slate backed table you will need a good spray adhesive. Spray the adhesive on the table about five inches from the edge of the table. Spray some more adhesive on the underside of the cloth. Wait about a minute for the glue to become tacky and press the felt down. Follow the same procedure as with the staples, doing one side first and then the opposite side.
After you have the sides finished and the table completely covered over, use a razor blade tool to make little holes where the rails bolt down onto the table. This will prevent the bolts from causing tears that could travel when you fasten down the rails. Cut from the backside of the felt.
Pull back the pocket lining which is sometimes leather for example, and pull the felt down at the pockets and glue or staple. Then cover with the pocket lining and reattach for a finished job.
As it's really quite difficult to move pool tables around, most repairs are usually made on location. When you resurface your pool table alone, you'll save hundreds of dollars over a professional service.
You might find a need to make repairs to slate seams and cracks in your pool table. A perfect time to go about doing this is while the felt is removed when you're in the process of recovering the pool table. Billiard beeswax is a special wax that contains resin and hardens more than normal beeswax. This wax dries very hard and yet has enough flexibility to move with the table. Using a small torch, melt the wax and let it drip into the seam or crack. Use a paint scraper or putty knife to remove any excess wax. For larger cracks a slate patch is necessary.
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