If you've started to notice your shots aren't quite as accurate as they used to be, the good news is it might not be you. Chances are your pool table just needs a little bit of care and attention.
Coin-operated pool tables tend to see a lot more action than in-home pool tables. For that reason, they develop wear and tear more quickly. To keep players happy, it's necessary to keep up with your pool table maintenance.
Any pool hall operator or pool table owner should prioritize regular pool table repair. Here's what you need to know about how to keep your pool table in good playing condition.
5 High-Priority Pool Table Parts
Pool table maintenance doesn't need to require a full pool table overhaul. Keeping an eye on key pool table parts will keep your pool table in top-notch playing condition.
Some pool table parts have a more significant impact on the game than others. Here are the five pool table parts you'll want to prioritize replacing to prevent any disruptions in the quality of play.
Pool table rails sit along the outside edge of the playing surface of any pool table. These rails prevent pool balls from going over the edge of the table. They consist of a wood ‘blank’ and a rubber cushions that act as bumpers to keep the balls in play.
Signs your pool table rails need replaced, when your shots no longer bounce off the rails the way they used to. Often you find you have to start hitting the ball harder to end up in a desired position.
If the way the ball comes off the rails isn’t quite the same as it used to be - you might need new rails.
The best types of pool table rails are usually constructed from solid wood. Solid wood pool table rails allow balls to rebound faster for a much longer period of time than other rail materials, like particleboard.
Another aspect of solid wood rails pool table owners enjoy is that the rubber cushions can adhere directly to the wood rails. This makes it much easier to replace the cushioning as needed.
When you remove the cushion from particleboard rails, they tend to chip. When that happens you'll need to replace both the rails and the cushions. Fortunately, solid wood rails won't chip during cushion replacement.
Solid wood rails also hold staples better than particleboard. This facilitates the convenient replacement of pool table cloth when needed.
Pool table cloth coverings on average have a lifespan of up to a decade. As the cloth ages it will need to be replaced.
Pool table cloth is made from napped felt or worsted felt. Worsted felt is more expensive, but provides a smoother playing experience.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether your pool table cloth needs replaced just by looking at it. The best way to check the condition is to run your fingers over the surface.
Notice whether the felt feels smooth or bristly. A rough or bristly pool table cloth means it's getting close to needing replaced. Likewise, if you can pick fuzzy lint off your pool table surface, it's time to consider a replacement.
If you’re able to easily move the felted surface of your pool table, or the cloth bunches up when you run your fingers across it, then you should replace the pool table cloth as soon as possible.
Most high-quality pool table manufacturers use slate. Slate is extremely durable and easy to split into large flat sections. The slate is also polished into a supremely flat surface that is essential for playing pool.
Thicker slate offers stiffness that makes the playing surface more level. The thicker the slate, the more successful your jump shots will be, too.
Pool table slate must be perfectly smooth for the balls to roll properly over the surface. A pool table slate that is not perfectly smooth will impede your ability to play the game.
If you notice cracks, bumps, or divots in your pool table slate, it's time to consult a pool table repair service.
4. Pool Table Legs
Legs are the foundation of your pool table's structure. The entire weight of the pool table sits on top of them. Most tables have four legs, while others have two pedestals.
Pedestal legs should always have solid wood frames - not plywood or particle board.
It's important to advise players to not place unnecessary weight on top of a pool table. Even the weight of people sitting on it can cause problems for the table legs and pedestals.
If you are certain your pool table legs are in good, sturdy condition. The next thing to check is your pool table hardware.
Pool table legs are screwed into the table using large pins. Over time, as people lean on the table, these pins loosen and the table starts to wobble.
An off-balance table creates problems for players. It causes the table surface to become unlevel and forces the pockets and the rails to shift out of place.
5. Warped Cues
A pool cue may not be part of your pool table, but it's an essential instrument that affects how well you play the game. Taking care of your pool cues is just as important as taking care of your pool table itself.
Because pool cues are made out of wood, they are prone to warping, swelling, and developing cracks.
A warped pool cue can make you slip and dig your cue right into the pool table felt. In order to prevent these issues, you need to store your pool cues properly.
Proper pool cue storage can be a rack or a drawer. It's never a good idea to leave pool cues laying on the table in the sun or inside of a hot car.
Pool cues require a consistent environment that maintains a regular temperature and humidity level. Cues should rest perfectly straight whether in a cue drawer or on a rack.
There are a few techniques and tools you can use to straighten a warped pool cue. If these tips don't work, it's time to think about replacement.
Pool Table Repair
Pool tables are guaranteed to break down over time. This is true whether the table gets frequent use or sits in the corner collecting dust. When pool tables break down, it effects how you play the game.
For a wide selection of high-quality replacement pool table parts, you can trust Penguin Amusements.