We’ve done our best to list answers to many of the most common questions we’ve received over the past 30 years. If you have a question that’s not listed here, we’d love to hear from you! Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How much room do I need for a pool table?
It depends on what size pool table you want to have. Many sizes are considered regulation according to the Billiard Congress of America equipment specifications, however there are 2 sizes which are most common. The most common size used in homes is 4′ x 8′. This size has a playing surface measuring 44″ x 88″ inside the cushions and we recommend a room ideally be 13′ 8″ x 17′ 4″ to accomodate a full length modern 58″ cue stick.
Smaller rooms or rooms with obstructed areas can still fit an 8′ table, but we don’t recommend putting the table in a room smaller than 12′ x 16′ wall to wall, because you will need cues shorter than 48″ on rail shots. 48″ cues are generally the shortest cue you can use that still has the approximate heft and feel of a full length cue.
For tighter rooms, some manufacturers offer 7′ sizes in several models. A 3-1/2′ x 7′ table requires 13′ 4 ” x 16′ 8″ with a full length cue or 11′ 4″ x 15′ for a 48″ cue. If space is not an issue, or you want a professional regulation size 4-1/2′ x 9′ table, figure 14′ 2″ x 18′ 4″ to be the ideal room size.
If you have an odd-shaped room or area and would like assistance determining what size pool table you can fit, or if you just want us to confirm that you can fit a given size feel free to contact us via e-mail or phone. Or better yet, stop in with a diagram and will lay it out for you. We also make house calls!
Is there a difference between a billiard table and a pool table?
Yes and no. In recent years the term billiard table has been used frequently to describe pool tables in general. Pool tables are actually pocket billiard tables in that they have 6 pockets or holes for the balls to fall into and 6 separate rails or cushions in between the pockets. Many games can be played on a pool or pocket billiard table, however the 2 most common are probably 8-ball and 9-ball.
An actual billiard or “3 cushion” billiard table is quite different than a pool table in many ways. First of all, it has no pockets. The table is rectangular like a pool table but has only 4 rails or cushions that meet at the corners. The table also usually has extremely fast cloth and lively but very precise cushions. The most common game played involves the use of 3 balls: 2 white balls and a red ball, all larger than ordinary pool balls. To score, a player must cause one of the white balls (the cue ball) to contact the other 2 balls and either one or 3 cushions depending on the game version (one-rail or “straight billiards” vs. 3-cushion). The game requires extensive knowledge of banking, angles, caroms, speed and how to use cue ball spin or “english” to affect all of the above.
Why do pool tables have slate beds?
There are several reasons why pool table manufacturers use slate to create the playing surface of a well-built table. First, a quality pool table must be somewhat heavy so that it will sit flat on any type of flooring, enabling it to be leveled and hopefully remain level for a long time.
Second, slate can be milled or ground to within a few thousandths of an inch of perfect flatness, to insure a smooth surface on which the balls can roll.
Third, slate is more resilient and flexible than other stone such as granite or marble. This is important because it makes the slate less apt to be broken or damaged during shipping and also allows more precise control over leveling, since it can be shimmed or screwed down without fear of cracking or breaking.
Lastly, given all these desirable characteristics that makes slate ideally suited for a pool table playing surface, it is relatively low in cost, especially since it is readily available from such places as Brazil, Italy, and China.
How do I choose a two-piece cue with regard to brand, weight, shaft type, etc.?
The answer to this question can be simple or complicated depending on your level of interest, skill level, desire to improve, and budget. If you intend to be a casual player and are merely looking for a quality cue that is better than the average one-piece or house stick, look for a two-piece (not 3 or more pieces) that has a maple shaft, medium hard leather tip, and is in a weight that feels comfortable to you. If you don’t what weight to select, 19 or 20 ounces are common and will work fine. Standard shaft diameter is 13 mm (approx. 1/2″) and is recommended for beginners and those seeking consistency. Only select a smaller diameter if you have small hands and have trouble holding the standard 13 mm. After these choices are made whether or not you pick a cue with a wrap on the handle of linen, leather, nylon, or other material is up to you. Plan to spend $60 to $100 for a decent cue in this category.
If you’re more than a beginner or casual player, or have a cue like the one described above, and want to upgrade you should plan to take a little more time to choose the right cue. We strongly recommend trying cues before buying and we even encourage you to bring your current cue for comparison.
Without getting into detail regarding the differences between all the different brands, models, etc. suffice it to say that there are several factors that combine to make one cue “hit” differently than another. Balance, stiffness, vibration, and sound all contribute to the uniqueness of a given cue’s feel or hit. Some prefer a cue with a forward balance, while others like a rear-balanced or “butt heavy” cue. These characteristics along with most of the others are really more personal preferences than practical features.
The most important part of a cue with respect to playability is the shaft. Shaft diameter, shaft taper, ferrule and tip type all affect how a player can impart english or spin and how accurately he/she is when shooting. There are several types of high technology shafts available today either as an upgrade to existing cues or with a new cue purchase. These shafts greatly reduce deflection. which is the phenomenon that makes using english more challenging, and thereby help to increase accuracy and consistency. Players looking to take their game to the next level should strongly consider one of these shafts on any cue they use. These shafts can cost upwards of $200 purchased separately, or with a new cue for $300 or more.