A Pool Table Can Be Lots Of Fun
In pool and billiards, the pool table is the main piece of equipment. Get yourself a table, a room to play in, a cue stick, and some balls and you are ready to play. On this page I'll give a short description of the basics of its construction. For a more in-depth picture of how tables are made, see the
pool table page
at Pool And Pocket Billiards Resource.com.
Watch the Pool Table Assembly Video to see how pool tables are built and assembled.
The modern table consists of several distinct sections - the body, slate, rails, and pockets. All these together form the modern pool table we all know and love. There are hundreds of different styles of pool tables, but they are all made of these essentials.
The body of the table is the actual box-like structure that everything else attaches to. The body is supported by the individual legs, or sometimes it is held up by arches or partition-type arrangements. The upper part of the body usually consists of hardwood beams which support the heavy slate bed.
The interior of the body is often made of a wood such as poplar, which is workable and strong for the necessary construction, but less expensive than the more striking hardwoods.
The external surfaces of the body are where the beautiful oaks, mahoganies, walnuts, and other exotic types of wood are used. Many pool tables are actually very attractive pieces of furniture in their own right.
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The slate bed of the table comes next. This is often backed with plywood or hardwood to protect it and provide more support. Slate is often from 1" to 1 1/4" in thickness. The slate lies on the support structure of the body and bolts to it. The bed of the table is covered with the felt or table cloth to provide a smooth, even surface for the balls to roll on. The bed of the table is usually exactly twice as long as it is wide - "regulation size".
The rails sit on top of the slate and bolt to it. They are made up of sections which are joined together by the pockets. The rails consist of the wooden top section where the diamonds are inlayed, the decorative apron which hangs down on the outside of the rails, and the cushions, which are made of vulcanized rubber and are bonded to the top section.
The cushions are made in a triangular shape, and the part that the balls contact is called the nose. They are made so that the nose contacts the balls at the optimum location of 64% of the 2 1/4" height of the balls for the best action and rebounds. The cushions are also covered with the table cloth.
There are two basic types of pocket configurations on billiards tables. Tables with individual pockets often have pockets made of leather webbing which catch the balls and hold them until the player retrieves them. Other tables use a system of channels which direct the balls to a central retrieval hole at one end of the table. The balls drop into the pocket, enter the channel below it, and gravity feeds them to the collection area.
Tables generally come in three sizes - 7 foot, 8 foot, and 9 foot. 9 Foot tables are usually seen at tournaments and in pool halls. 8 Foot tables are often used in bars and are a popular size for home use. The tables seen in bars are often the type with the coin slot where you have to pay money to retrieve the balls. 7 Foot tables are usually used in homes when the room is not large enough for a full sized table. See this room size chart to find out if your room is large enough to comfortably hold a pool table.
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