View Full Version : OT Pool tables

11-07-2007, 03:27 PM
Hi guys - i know many of you are wood workers and i imagine many of you enjoy a game of eight ball or cut-throat.

I was thinking the other day about making my own pool table - i'm figuring on a "standard" size one; 4' by 8' and i was wondering what you guys could tell me.

Anyone tried making their own before? Money is, like always, an issue so the less parts i have to buy the better. Any clever substitutes for slate (remember this is for my entertainment only - not a tournment table or anything) or substitutes for buying pre-made bumpers? How about the "felt"?

I thought maybe with all the woodworkers out their with machine skills one of you might have a hybred table using metal and wood for a cheaper table (that still performs well).


11-07-2007, 04:05 PM
I always liked the old and really heavy tables. I do mean really heavy. Where some hip action can't jar it. Very quiet. You can drop a ball on it and it doesn't rattle. A top so thick and so well supported that it cannot bend. Or sound like a hollow core door.

Solid, heavy, like an old machine. :D

I would look for an old quality table that needed to be rebuilt.

11-07-2007, 05:01 PM
There are plenty of websites detailing how people have made their own tables. Standard size is 4x8. Professionals and the more serious player prefers 4.5x9

An important thing to be aware of is what table will fit in the room. You need upto 5ft from any wall to the edge of table. Less is workable, more is always better.

As for the "felt", its not felt at all but a worsted wool cloth blend. There are many types. The better cloths are thinner and more expensive. I paid wholesale price for my 4.5x9 simonis 860 (considered one of the best) of $118 which is not installed.

I paid a professional installer $450 to put my table together, install the cloth and for new rails (putting rubber on the rails)

Table played like new even though it was made in 1983.

The hardest part of any table is making the rails (where the rubber meets the wood) Unless your a strong wood worker with patience, I would recommend you buy your rails assembled as there is some serious geometry involved that will affect the play of the table.

Another point is that I would recommend that you buy quality 3 piece matched slate. At least 1inch in thickness. Thicker for that solid table feel.

Do a google search and check some websites. The base is actually fairly simple and you can buy parts.

Also, used tables can be had for very cheap......

tony ennis
11-07-2007, 05:21 PM
I'd get a used, basic, professional-sized table. We had some at the University that were great. Slate and leather pockets. Nothing fancy.

11-07-2007, 05:28 PM
Hey Fastrac,
Seems that people don't get ot do they?, right off jump street go by a $3K vintage slate table, right!. Do you try googleing "home made pool table""?, might be a good place to start.

11-07-2007, 06:09 PM

Standard pool table is 4.5x9.0'. That is the officially standard as opposed to someone's basement standard. It never pays to build a pool table just like it does not pay to make a refrigerator. There is always ads for tables from people whao want to move and will basically take whatever for the table. You can get a good one for under $1000 and have it professionally set up and refelted for under $500. There is noway one can be made as pretty for as little. I play serious pool and belive me my friend, home made ones are not worth playing on. DavidH.

11-07-2007, 06:11 PM
I've got a 9x4.5 with 1" slate, heavy oak, thing probably weights at least a ton. I can't imagine I would be happy with anything less. But, Sears and others sell cheap tables that have pressed wood beds and probably don't weigh more than 400 lbs total. And I doubt you could build it for what you would buy it for. If money is the number one concern, with no concern for quality, that would probably be the best way to go. If you want to build your own with "reasonable" (TBD) quality, then it will cost more than a Sears table. How much, and what you get, will be based on how you define "reasonable". But as in so many other things, if you want "good for a reasonable price", you are going to be VERY hard pressed to beat mass produced slate/bumpers/"felt"(not really) and a retail table. To save anything significant (and then not that significant in my opinion) on cost, you are going to have to substitute MANY MANY MANY hours. If your skills are not up to the challenge, you are SOL, out almost as much as a retail table and wind up with junk that won't "play". Even if the are up to the challenge, unless the "I built that" feeling is your goal (if so, that's fine too) , I can't imagine it's a productive exercise. Just my opinion...

For a data point. My ex neighbor (still friends) is an accomplished wood worker with a wood shop equiped at least as well as my metal shop (we made QUITE the team! ;)). Now this is an accomplished wood worker who builds fancy inlay boxes of exotic woods, some cabinets, furniture, this-n-that as it strikes his interest. And this guy, after getting somewhat hooked playing on mine, HE went out and bought retail rather than build one...

Ed Tipton
11-07-2007, 07:21 PM
I agree with Cuemaker. If your interest in pool is sufficient to warrant the purchase of a table, then by all means, do yourself a favor and purchase an older quality table and then spend to have it re-done. Even if you are an accomplished woodworker, you're only kidding yourself that you will be able to cobble up anything that you or your friends would enjoy playing on for even casual playing. Older quality tables can be found after the initial love affair has ended and the table has since been relegated to laundry duty. Pool tables are big, heavy, and do not lend themselves to other activities readily, and there are many that are available at great savings. If you think that an older table is out of the question, then I'd seriously suggest that you find yourself a good local room where you can enjoy the local patronage and talent, rather than waste your time and money taking on a project, that to be satisfactory, will cost you much more for much less in the long run.

11-07-2007, 07:38 PM
I used to play in APA up to about a year ago and my roommates also play APA and BCA. I bought a 7' Valley bar box about a year and a half ago. One piece slate. I think it was about $500.

Really tough to build one for anywhere near that price.

Also how much room do you have? Its amazing how much more room you need going from a 7 to a 8.

tony ennis
11-07-2007, 07:41 PM
Here's a $300 slate table. Would need some TLC.

pool table (http://atlanta.craigslist.org/spo/464901886.html)

11-07-2007, 08:23 PM
I bought one from these guys. Nice table for two grand. Look at some of their construction points. That is standard type stuff if you are gonna build yours. JRouche

john hobdeclipe
11-07-2007, 09:10 PM
Watch the auction listings here and there...you can get a nice used 4' X 8' granite surface plate with steel stand for maybe $2000 or so. Then get a can of contact cement, and I'll make you a deal on some cherry veneer. Presto!

Felt? Pockets? You're not really going to play pool on this are you?

11-07-2007, 10:41 PM
Thanks for all the responses guys! I think i'm about convinced to look for a used one.

I looked on a BCA website and they gave "standard" as 4 X 8 and "tournement" as 4.5 X 9 plus a whole bunch of other sizes - even up to a 12' long table!

Thanks again guys - i didn't really expect so many helpful posts.

11-07-2007, 11:23 PM
Pool tables strike me as being number 3 on the list of unused furniture I see in peoples basements. Number 1 is home exercise equipment, number 2 are pianos.

Someone else already said it; buy used, after the love affair is over....

Think about it, would you build a piano....hopefully not, so why build a pool table. Unless you've found some intoxicant that's better than mine (Sleemans) & you just have to build a pool table.... :)

Check Craigs list....or go to the local pool den-of-iniquity....

11-08-2007, 12:49 AM
I have a friend who's building a half size table. Apparently all the parts are available properly scaled, including the rubber. What else can you do when you live in a shoe (one bedroom apartment).

11-08-2007, 01:50 AM
Yeah they sell all of the parts and i think it would be really fun to make one - in fact i think it would be really awsome to make a piano too but then there is the issue of skill. I certainly dont have the knowledge or skill to build something like a piano and i'm affraid i'd end up dumping alot of money in a home-made table that sucked. :)

11-08-2007, 02:09 AM
I have a 1906 Schultz Upright that has 21 pieces of wood in the linkage for everyone of the 88 keys. The chunk of cast iron that supports the strings could be used for a machine tool. Got a beautiful Tiger Oak veneer and filigree on it. All intact. $500 twenty some years ago.

They sure don't make 'em like they used to.


11-08-2007, 08:12 AM
I have an interest in WW II aircraft (among many other things).
Much reading on the subject indicates that billiard table makers and piano makers, were in great demand. They were the only ones with the skills necessary to build the De Havilland Mosquito.

Worth thinking about, before you decide to build a table, or piano :D

If you want to take joy in the making, go for it. If you wanna play pool, go for the secondhand table.

tony ennis
11-08-2007, 10:26 AM
in fact i think it would be really awsome to make a piano too

How about a wooden pipe organ (http://www.rwgiangiulio.com/)?

...this one is more modest (http://www.sentex.net/~mwandel/organ/organ.html)

11-08-2007, 12:47 PM
well i have no musical ability so it wouldnt do me any good to make one anyhow, i just think being able to make something that is such a work of art and yet also functional is really neat. Thats why i like machining!

Maybe i'll look at getting a used table and get better at playing pool (i still more or less suck :D ) and then when i learn more about what i want in a table and etc then i could think about making my own just for the joy of making it.

11-13-2007, 02:37 AM
I always thought it would rule to buy one of those freakin gigantic granite surface plates off ebay.... those ones that go for cheap because no one wants to move them.

Then you could place it wherever (:eek: ) and hang the bumpers and pockets so the you could still see what the table was made of.

4.5'x9'x20"x20,000lbs. :eek: Hows that for solid?

Some nice black granite, lots of oak, rare and exotic leather for the pockets.....INSANE coolness factor. :cool:

This one is big enough, but will have to be trimmed. The Buy-it-Now is kinda wishful thinking, too, but this is what I'm talking about:
http://cgi.ebay.com/SURFACE-PLATE-PINK-GRANITE-DOALL_W0QQitemZ280172115067QQihZ018QQcategoryZ633Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Also, pink may not be the right color. :D