Today we were reminded of the hazards of purchasing used pool tables without the help of a professional.

During the week, Eliza and I took numerous calls from a gentleman who had purchased a used pool table online from another individual.  He was told that the model was a Sunset II but that it had sustained some damage during a move.  The rails had been chipped and gouged when the original owners had turned it upside down without disassembling it and slid it down the stairwell.  To increase the chances of selling the table, the seller had somehow obtained a set of replacement rails.

Our customer’s questions began with “How much to refinish rails?” but soon switched to “How do I make the new rails fit the slate?” and “How do I drill the slate to fit the rails?”  Based on the model name and description it  sounded like the American made Golden West Sunset II, however there was no nameplate on the head rail, nor was there a spot where there might have been one at any time.  The new rail set that he was given was made by the C. L. Bailey Company.  After many conversations, it was decided that the customer would bring his slate and both sets of rails to our warehouse this morning for us to suggest the best way to solve his problem.

The first thing we saw was that the new rails had a different hole pattern than his slate.  But then when we measured his slate, it was 51″ x 96″ instead of the standard 51″ x 95″.  Measuring the length and height of the original rails also found them shorter in length but thicker in height than standard rails.  There was no way that the new rails would work on the table even IF he reslugged the rails or redrilled the slate.

It was determined that the table was probably manufactured in the 90s when there were many people importing pool tables without any knowledge of how to build them.  While the original owner had a table that he could play on, the subsequent owner received a damaged table with no chance of finding replacement parts.

Based on previous experience, we estimated that a refinisher would charge him between $600 and $1000 to fix the rails but that the parts of the wood that were completely gone would be gone for good.  The customer was hesitant to put that much more money into the project.  Other options we suggested were to either use the rails unfinished or sand and stain them himself.  Marcellus also  suggested for him to use a saw to trim all of the outside edges of the rails and stain them so that they were consistent with the rails that were missing wood.

The customer stated that with what he spent on the table plus over $600 to have the rail rubber replaced and the table installed and recovered professionally would be close to the price of a new table.  While he was very grateful for our help, he left disappointed that he had such limited options for the table he had already spent money on.  He decided that he would try to sell his used table AS-IS for dirt cheap and come in to purchase a new table.  While he hoped to sell the new set of Bailey rails, he realizes that would be a long shot to find a buyer.

We don’t often hear of tables being slid down the stairs on their rails, but we do get at least one call a month where repairs to a used table exceed the value of the table itself.  It’s important to call a professional for advice before buying a used table.  It’s also important to know that just because you think you recognize the brand name of the table, doesn’t mean that it is good quality.  Purchasing a 20 year old Golden West Highlander for $2000 is a good deal where finding a 10 year old Brunswick Bristol for $200 might not be.  Additionally, people don’t always remember correctly what they have or how much they paid for it.

If you send us pictures or the link of what table you are interested in, we are happy to help determine the value.  We have instructions on our website of how to disassemble a pool table so that you don’t destroy it while moving it.  We can also send you the links to the best installation videos if you want to try it yourself.  (Many do it yourself YouTube videos are wrong)  Often, customers determine that the hassle of moving and reinstalling a pool table themselves is greater than the cost to have us move it for them.  If you choose us to move your used table, you can be assured that you are hiring a company who carries insurance, background checks employees and will transport your table in covered vehicles.

We may not make a sale to the gentleman that we helped this week.  We hope we do, but if not; we know that we helped him find the most economical solution to his problem.  We also gained a person who will join the many others who refer us for gameroom needs.  At the very least, we gained another blog idea.