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Frequently Asked Questions
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What size pool table should I get?
How do I take care of my pool table?
My table doesn’t seem to be level, what should I do?
How do I take care of my billiard cloth?
How do I take care of my cue sticks?
How can I tell what size table I have?
How do I move my pool table?
Can I save money by purchasing a used pool table?
What do I look for when buying a new pool table and how much do they cost?

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What size pool table should I get?

You should purchase the largest table that your room will accommodate.  An 8’ table is the most popular size for American homes followed by 7’.  You will normally find 8’ OS (aka 8.5’) and 9’ tables in pool halls.  To find out what size will fit in your room, you can access this chart CLICK HERE after measuring your room. 

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How do I take care of my pool table?

As you enjoy your table, please remember that it is not designed to be sat upon.  While the table is perfectly sturdy, the rubber cushions are glued to the wooden rails, and even a slight “overhang” can push them apart.  This results in the “dead” sound you hear on some table rails.  While the cushions can be re-glued, it is a time-consuming and somewhat expensive proposition.

The leather pockets used on your table are manufactured by skilled craftsmen from carefully selected leather.  They are designed to achieve the highest aesthetic value possible; you should care for your pockets as you would any fine leather.  Handle them with care, avoiding harsh treatments, which may cause scratches or scuffs.  Dust pockets regularly with a soft dry cloth.  Never drag your cue across the top of the pocket!  Keep them in a dry environment, and avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight or intense artificial light or the finish may fade and change color over time.  Ballpoint ink, carbon paper, nail polish remover or other similar liquids can cause permanent stains.

If your room size causes you to occasionally bump the wall with your cue end, cue bumpers can be covered with clear nail polish to eliminate scuffmarks on the wall.

With just a little care, today’s family pleasure becomes tomorrow’s family treasure! 

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My table doesn’t seem to be level, what should I do?


Many billiard companies offer an installation warranty when they deliver your new pool table purchase.  For your protection, our installation is covered by a 90-day warranty: however, it is most unusual for there to be any problems after installation as settling occurs while the installation is occurring.  The few problems encountered are usually the result of an unlevel floor under very thick carpet.  Over use of talc or powder can also cause problems due to accumulation between the cloth and the slate.  Do not attempt to move the table or you will disturb the level and will void your installation warranty.  In the event you feel you have a problem, notify your billiard company immediately, but if the table is settling to an unlevel floor, you should allow several weeks for the table to finish settling.

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How do I take care of my billiard cloth?

Billiard cloth is a special blend of wool and nylon and is extremely durable.  Due to the heavy nap on commercial grade billiard cloth, you may initially notice a slight ball “stagger” as the ball comes to a stop on the table.  This does not mean that your table is unlevel!  As you vacuum and/or brush the cloth, you are removing the excess nap and the stagger is virtually eliminated.  Keeping a small square of billiard cloth in the pocket will help in quick “pick-ups” of chalk marks after playing.  The brushes, which are available, are either nylon or a combination of nylon and horsehair.  Although all of them initially lose bristles, they are effective in maintaining the cloth, with the more expensive horsehair brush requiring less “elbow grease”.
You must be aware that masse’, jump, or extreme “English” will cause friction spots on the cloth from the severe ball spin occasioned by these shots.  These shots can also cause the tip of the cue to contact the cloth, which will leave wear spots.  These are normal but can be mitigated somewhat by wiping lightly with a damp rag. 

Spills can be removed with clean cool water and a soft cloth or sponge.  Wipe with straight strokes, using as little moisture as possible.  Cleaners, designed for use on wools or other upholstery, are generally very effective.  Many people choose to use a very light spray of fabric protector such as Scotchgard when the cloth is new, as this gives additional protection against spills. However, 3M has determined that, while a little Scotchgard is good, too much will cause the ball to “skid” on the cloth.

The best protection (other than keeping liquids and foods away from the table) is a table cover!  Whether you choose a plastic “throw” cover, a fitted Naugahyde cover or a custom cover to convert your table to a dining table, this is an item that will save wear and tear on the cloth and the table.

Small tears or rips can be repaired in several ways.  Trim frayed edges and place gummed or iron-on tape under the cloth with adhesive side up.  The lint, which collects under the rail, can be used with a touch of glue to fill in small scuffmarks.  Care must be taken not to leave bulges in the cloth, as they will deflect the ball.

The length of time before your cloth needs replacing will vary according to the amount of use and the care you take of it.  Many commercial rooms replace their cloth several times a year, but with good care, you should get several years of use from your new cloth.  Replacing torn or worn cloth should be done professionally for best results, but with good manual dexterity, some table owners become fairly proficient.  We offer a recovering service not only on the tables we sell, but also on tables purchased elsewhere and we appreciate referrals.  We regret that we cannot offer this service on non-slate tables or tables purchased from department stores or catalogs.  We do sell “recovering kits” if you choose to do it yourself.  Because recovering the rails is the most difficult part of the recovering, we will also recover just the rails for a minimal labor charge if you bring the rails in and purchase the cloth from us. 

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How do I take care of my cue sticks?

An important part of cloth care is proper cue care.  Cues should always be stored in the cue rack.  It is advisable to protect them from temperature extremes, so an inside wall away from direct heat, sunlight, or air conditioning is the best place for the cue rack.  The tips should be kept scuffed so that they will accept the chalk (which prevents mis-cues which can tear the cloth!).  Under no circumstances should you play with a cue that has a worn, or missing tip, as this is the main reason cloth gets nicked or torn.

The easiest way to replace tips is to bring it back to us; however, with a little time and patience you can do it yourself.  Cue repair kits are available which contain cue clamps, sanders and shapers to make the job a little easier.  To replace a cue tip, remove the old tip and sand the top of the cue and the bottom of the tip perfectly flat and clean.  Tips come in a limited range of sizes (11mm to 14mm), while shafts come in a myriad of sizes.  The tip should be the same size as your shaft or a little larger, which can be trimmed to fit the shaft after the glue has dried.  The final step is to shape and scuff the tip.  Slip-on tips are also available for a quick fix, but since fit is important with slip-ons, you need to know the diameter of your tip.  If the slip-on tips are just a little large, the cue can be “shimmed” with Scotch tape to keep the tip on tight.  It is not necessary nor recommended that they be glued on.

Tip chalk is the medium that allows the cue tip to “grab” and direct the cue ball.  When the cue tip becomes so impacted with chalk that you begin to mis-cue, the tips should be scuffed up to knock the excess chalk out of the tip and raise the leather fibres so that they can again accept chalk.  There is no better product for this than the BRAD cue scuffer.  Cue care products for keeping the tips scuffed and the shafts smooth are available.  Shaft conditioner, micro pore papers, suede leather, waxes, and many other products keep your enjoyment high and your frustrations low.

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How can I tell what size table I have?

It is important, when ordering service to know exactly what size table you have; especially when getting it recovered.  If you tell a company that you an 8’ table but you have a 7’, you will have paid for more cloth than you needed. If you say you have a 7’, but you have an 8’, the cloth they bring out will not work. Additional trips result in additional charges.

There are several ways to measure your table.  If the table is disassembled, you can measure the slate or rail sites.  If it is assembled, you can measure the playfield or rail sites.  The playfield is the area of the table that the ball rolls on.  Measure from the tip of one bumper to the tip of the opposite bumper.  Do not include the area of the rail rubber.  When measuring the distance between rail sites, make sure that you measure from the exact location on both sites.  Here are the measurements you will be looking for:

Size Playfield Slate Size Rail site distance
7' 39" x 78" 46" x 85" 9.75”
8' 44" x 88" 51" x 95" 11"
8.5' 46" x 92" 53" x 99" 11.5"
9' 50" x 100" 57" x 107" 12.5"

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How do I move my pool table?

We do not advise that pool tables be moved by non-professionals.  Most major table repair work that we perform is the result of individuals moving the table themselves.  With the exception of coin operated tables, slate pool tables must be disassembled to be moved.  While the disassembly is not difficult, the reinstallation is.  Instead of risking damage to the table, your back, or your walls, we highly recommend hiring a billiard company to move your pool table.

The company that you hire should have extensive experience in billiard maintenance.  They should also carry insurance and run background checks on their employees.  It’s important that the company you hire is safe for your home and family.  While there are lots of “jobbers” that do this kind of work on the side, rarely are they insured.

If it is your wish to save money on one portion of the job, you can disassemble the table and move it to its new location on your own.  To do so, you will first remove 3 bolts from each rail and 2 bolts from each pocket.  After the rails and pockets are off, you will carefully remove the bed cloth which is normally stapled underneath to the slate backing.  If your cloth does not have any worn areas or tears, you will be able to reuse it.  The slate is attached to the frame using 12 to 18 slate screws; depending on the brand.  Remove them.  Each piece of slate should be carried separately.  Leave your table frame assembled; it can be moved in one piece.  Should you need to disassemble it to get it out of a tight area; you will incur additional charges to reassemble it.  Make sure that you keep track of all hardware, pockets, and parts of your pool table.  Not having them when it’s time to reassemble will incur not only the charge for replacement parts, but also charges for the extra trip by the installers.

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Can I save money by purchasing a used pool table?

Well, yes and no.  Sometimes a good quality used pool table becomes available to the public.  Most often, the nicer tables are sold to relatives or neighbors of the original owners.  Remember that even if the table is regulation and good quality, that on top of the price you pay for the table, you will also have the cost of having it moved and usually recovered.  So, that $1000 table just became a $1300 to $1500 table.  As you look at used tables, you will want to know the brand and model of the table.  If that isn’t available, key features to find out are:

  • What size is it? (measure the playfield, not the outside dimensions)
  • Is it slate?
  • Does it have exterior leather pockets or interior plastic pockets?
  • Is the table wood or is it covered in laminate?
  • Does it have 4 separate legs or 2 panel legs?
  • If it has 4 legs, are they square, tapered or carved?
  • If they are carved, is it an intricate carving or just a “band-saw” cut?
  • How old is the cloth and rail rubber?

If you have the above information, most experienced billiard dealers can give you an idea of the value of the table.  However, these are just the basics.  Even if the table looks like wood, it could be a thin veneer over particleboard, veneer over MDF, veneer over ply or actual solid wood.  Be wary of the statement “all wood”; even particleboard is wood!

Quite often, the tables which are available cheaply were originally purchased from department stores or larger “box” discount stores.  Most billiard dealers will not service these tables.  Only consider these tables if you don’t care about quality or regulation standards and if they are free.

So, can you save money? Yes.  Could you be spending good money on a bad table? Yes.  Should you purchase a used table without the help of a billiard dealer? No.

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What do I look for when buying a new pool table and how much do they cost?

You can expect to spend at least $2000 for a new table, accessories, delivery and installation. Pool tables (like other fine furniture) can also get very expensive depending on wood type, finishes and carvings.

The first and most important thing to do is qualify the seller. Reputable dealers will carry multiple brands so that you can choose your design and price range from many different tables built to BCA specifications. You can find billiard dealers for your city by visiting the Billiard Congress of America website. http://home.bca-pool.com/index.cfm (under membership)

You want to make sure that the table you choose will last a long time. At International Billiards, we carry only top quality tables which will withstand many years of use, moves and/or recovers. And when the table gets older –pockets and rubber is standard thus replaceable.

Look at several different manufacturers. Many of them will have similar styles with small visual differences so ask what the table is made of and where it is made. American made tables will usually have prettier woods and better finishes however won't necessarily last longer than imported tables. Imported tables are most commonly made in China. International Billiards carries the American made Golden West line as well as the Legacy and Bailey imported lines. It's important to look for tables in which all the wood parts are manufactured in the same plant. When the parts are brought together from different parts of the world, variances occur between wood species and stains.

You always want to make sure that the top rail is made of solid wood. The frame should be furniture grade MDF, plywood w/furniture grade veneer, or solid wood. Avoid particleboard in the structural portions of the table. If it has particleboard anywhere other than the blinds or the leg panels, (cosmetic portions) it will also have sub quality material elsewhere. Normally you will find non-structural particleboard in tables which are more contemporary style and covered with laminate.

The slate should be 7/8" or 1". Some promotional tables will have a ¾" slate, but for the most part – tables today have a 1", three-piece slate. Avoid names like "Slatene" or "Slatite", that material is fake slate and subject to warping. You will find those tables at Sears, Costco and other online discounters.

Many of today's billiard manufacturers offer lifetime warrantees on their tables. This is a relatively safe claim to make as there are no moving parts or electronics on a pool table. The things that will wear out is the cloth (depending on how often or rough you play) and the pockets (over time, like shoe leather, wears out). Lifetime warrantees on rail rubber is common, but doesn't cover heat, non-use, or separation from the rail. Because much of the rail rubber produced is manufactured in the same plant, specialty names do not guarantee that one style will last longer or play better than the next.

Whether the table is sold to you with the accessories and installation separate, or part of the package – always look at the bottom line. Never trust the word "free". "Included" is a more accurate word.

At International Billiards, we put a fair price on our tables every day so you can get the same price on regularly stocked items if you decide to purchase now, or want to do it next week. Whenever possible, we make special purchases from our suppliers and pass those savings on to you. Know that as long as you are buying from a real company with a real store front, you are probably going to get a good quality table.

International Billiards is a family owned and operated Billiard Company which began in 1940. We have been in our Washington Avenue location since 1968. We hope to be able to help you in the near future.

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