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The unfixable pool table
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skipbales
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The unfixable pool table - 02-01-2020, 07:25 PM

I recently had my Beach 8 ft pool table Leveled, new Simonis cloth, new bumpers and new pockets installed. I was told the installer had many years experience and was one of the best.

The center section of slate was slightly higher than the two end pieces. About the thickness of a playing card on one end and half that on the other. The technician assured me he could fix that and it would be perfectly level. Overall he did a good job. The table plays well and rolls true but the two seams are still there. The only thing he did was put bees wax in the joint which did not solve the problem. It isn't hobbible but you literally cannot place a ball on the "ridge". It will roll off. It is pretty easy to feel the ridge.

I called the company and the owner told me, again, about the number of years of experience the technician had and number of tables he had done and so forth. Interestingly the technician said he had been doing it for "about 5 years". The owner said 15 years and that it was not fixable but the technician did the best he could and made it better. It isn't better, nor worse, it is exactly as it was.

I don't have 15 years experience but I have 72 years of life experience and a little common sense. If one of the pieces of slate is a little higher than the others and you can't lower it, you shim up the low sides. I don't know if they have to take the table apart to do that or how big a job it is but it rails against my common sense to believe it is impossible to fix.

I do know I am 100 miles away from them and they surely did not want to come back out. I offered to pay them but the owner insisted it was not possible.

Is there any way that could be true? If not, what would be involved in shimming one or two of the slate pieces to get them even? I assume they would have to remove the rails but what about the cloth? Is it a large job but doable or is it really not possible?

Last edited by skipbales; 02-01-2020 at 07:28 PM.
  
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02-01-2020, 08:32 PM

Table has to come apart, cloth removed, slates leveled, super glued and preferably bondo-ed.


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02-01-2020, 09:17 PM

Not a mechanic, but I do have some experience with this exact same scenario on a table I had back in the 70's. Come to find out that one of the slates was an odd ball (not machined together with the other two) and it was about .020 thinner than the other ones. Most have serial numbers on the edge and those numbers should match. You might want to check those serial numbers and see if they match.
  
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02-01-2020, 10:12 PM

They are feeding you a bunch of BULL. If you paid via credit card, I would do a chargeback... They just dont want to spend the time and money to fix it correctly. Sorry to hear you are having this problem. Good luck

TFT



Quote:
Originally Posted by skipbales View Post
I recently had my Beach 8 ft pool table Leveled, new Simonis cloth, new bumpers and new pockets installed. I was told the installer had many years experience and was one of the best.

The center section of slate was slightly higher than the two end pieces. About the thickness of a playing card on one end and half that on the other. The technician assured me he could fix that and it would be perfectly level. Overall he did a good job. The table plays well and rolls true but the two seams are still there. The only thing he did was put bees wax in the joint which did not solve the problem. It isn't hobbible but you literally cannot place a ball on the "ridge". It will roll off. It is pretty easy to feel the ridge.

I called the company and the owner told me, again, about the number of years of experience the technician had and number of tables he had done and so forth. Interestingly the technician said he had been doing it for "about 5 years". The owner said 15 years and that it was not fixable but the technician did the best he could and made it better. It isn't better, nor worse, it is exactly as it was.

I don't have 15 years experience but I have 72 years of life experience and a little common sense. If one of the pieces of slate is a little higher than the others and you can't lower it, you shim up the low sides. I don't know if they have to take the table apart to do that or how big a job it is but it rails against my common sense to believe it is impossible to fix.

I do know I am 100 miles away from them and they surely did not want to come back out. I offered to pay them but the owner insisted it was not possible.

Is there any way that could be true? If not, what would be involved in shimming one or two of the slate pieces to get them even? I assume they would have to remove the rails but what about the cloth? Is it a large job but doable or is it really not possible?
  
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02-01-2020, 11:37 PM

I'm not a table tech either, though used to build tooling for a guy who built them (built custom tables).

If your frame is flat you can turn all the slates upside down and plane the liners flat with a handplane. I don't mean a power plane, i mean a Stanley type #7 or #8 (long) handplane.

This assumes the liners are solid wood and glued to the slates.
& no stray staples or busted off screws

It will in no way be ready to go when the slates are turned right side up, but it will be easily within reasonable shimming distance without the 2 end slates needing to rest on shims everywhere.

smt
  
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02-02-2020, 08:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ssonerai View Post
I'm not a table tech either, though used to build tooling for a guy who built them (built custom tables).

If your frame is flat you can turn all the slates upside down and plane the liners flat with a handplane. I don't mean a power plane, i mean a Stanley type #7 or #8 (long) handplane.

This assumes the liners are solid wood and glued to the slates.
& no stray staples or busted off screws

It will in no way be ready to go when the slates are turned right side up, but it will be easily within reasonable shimming distance without the 2 end slates needing to rest on shims everywhere.

smt
IANAM. That is a really interesting suggestion! I see in the Brunswick Gold Crown I Service Manual (which is the installation manual) they say to level the base frame by planing down high spots. I would hesitate to plane the slate liner unless there was an obvious defect, but I would definitely check the frame for flatness.
  
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02-02-2020, 09:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rexus31 View Post
Table has to come apart, cloth removed, slates leveled, super glued and preferably bondo-ed.
I'm not a mechanic, perhaps you are? I don't think there's a general consensus that crazy glue and bondo are a good way to go. They are both relatively permanent, and not easily reversed if something goes awry.

The vast majority of tables over the last couple of hundred years are just leveled and the joints filled with beeswax.

You might be able to fix this without disassembling the table, if it's as slight as you say. The thickness of a playing card varies form about .009" to .013". The average piece of paper is about .003. Fortunately, playing cards being nearly incompressible are often used as pool table shims. I think a skilled person or perhaps two, working together, could push that low slate up and insert shims (cards) to bring it to much better flatness. Any distortion to the seam wax can be rolled out using a spark plug socket as a roller.

If I were a pro, I'd probably advise that to be done right the table has to come apart.

Beach Billiards are still in business. You should call them and discuss your situation. I am sure they will tell you it was installed incorrectly. If you can get this in writing, via email, for example, you have something to go after your installer with, perhaps even to small claims court.

I agree with Trent!

FWIW, I have a similar issue with my Gold Crown I. It's not as noticeable as you describe, but there's a palpable "step" in a couple of spots going from one slate to another. I am very disappointed in the installation I got. It's shimmed in places with tongue depressors, which I also don't think is a good idea, as it seems to me the slate could sag down either side of them, which I think it's doing - I can detect a crown, running lengthwise, using my Starrett 98-8 level. I'm planning on a disassembly, exact and proper leveling, new cloth, and properly assembled rails, etc.
  
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02-02-2020, 09:24 AM

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Originally Posted by jviss View Post
I don't think there's a general consensus that crazy glue and bondo are a good way to go. They are both relatively permanent, and not easily reversed if something goes awry.

That is exactly how I would do it. It is within a playing cards thickness. Not rocket science or brain surgery.

TFT
  
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02-02-2020, 09:35 AM

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Originally Posted by jviss View Post
If I were a pro, I'd probably advise that to be done right the table has to come apart.
Bingo! There is no way to fix it with the table together. Obviously, you wouldn't super glue and Bondo the seams until the slates were dead even and level. Don't you want it permanent? Once it is together, you don't want the slates moving.


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02-02-2020, 09:41 AM

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Originally Posted by trentfromtoledo View Post
That is exactly how I would do it. It is within a playing cards thickness. Not rocket science or brain surgery.

TFT
Maybe it's rocket surgery?

Seriously, so, you'd pry the slate up to level and then crazy glue the seam? Just trying to understand.
  
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02-02-2020, 09:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
Maybe it's rocket surgery?

Seriously, so, you'd pry the slate up to level and then crazy glue the seam? Just trying to understand.

I would shim the slates to level and the technique is called "liquid dowels". Then bondo over the seam and sand off excess bondo.
Many mechanics use this method because it works.

TFT
  
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02-02-2020, 10:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipbales View Post
I recently had my Beach 8 ft pool table Leveled, new Simonis cloth, new bumpers and new pockets installed. I was told the installer had many years experience and was one of the best.

The center section of slate was slightly higher than the two end pieces. About the thickness of a playing card on one end and half that on the other. The technician assured me he could fix that and it would be perfectly level. Overall he did a good job. The table plays well and rolls true but the two seams are still there. The only thing he did was put bees wax in the joint which did not solve the problem. It isn't hobbible but you literally cannot place a ball on the "ridge". It will roll off. It is pretty easy to feel the ridge.

I called the company and the owner told me, again, about the number of years of experience the technician had and number of tables he had done and so forth. Interestingly the technician said he had been doing it for "about 5 years". The owner said 15 years and that it was not fixable but the technician did the best he could and made it better. It isn't better, nor worse, it is exactly as it was.

I don't have 15 years experience but I have 72 years of life experience and a little common sense. If one of the pieces of slate is a little higher than the others and you can't lower it, you shim up the low sides. I don't know if they have to take the table apart to do that or how big a job it is but it rails against my common sense to believe it is impossible to fix.

I do know I am 100 miles away from them and they surely did not want to come back out. I offered to pay them but the owner insisted it was not possible.

Is there any way that could be true? If not, what would be involved in shimming one or two of the slate pieces to get them even? I assume they would have to remove the rails but what about the cloth? Is it a large job but doable or is it really not possible?
We use to be a beach dealer, so I have worked on quite a few. It should be a pretty easy fix as long as the slate is not warped. Then it would take a little more work. But it would be an additional charge for each service. If we are using an upgraded cloth and have not serviced the table in years, or ever, I always make the customer aware that an advanced relevel may be required to fall into our specs.



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02-02-2020, 11:21 AM

Originally Posted by jviss.....
“I don't think there's a general consensus that crazy glue and bondo are a good way to go.”

See this......

https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=54538


Shoot Pool
Not People

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02-02-2020, 12:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchnhed View Post
Originally Posted by jviss.....
“I don't think there's a general consensus that crazy glue and bondo are a good way to go.”

See this......

https://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=54538
Thin super glue, yes. Bondo is not necessary for every table.



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02-02-2020, 12:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
I'm not a mechanic, perhaps you are? I don't think there's a general consensus that crazy glue and bondo are a good way to go. They are both relatively permanent, and not easily reversed if something goes awry.

The vast majority of tables over the last couple of hundred years are just leveled and the joints filled with beeswax.

You might be able to fix this without disassembling the table, if it's as slight as you say. The thickness of a playing card varies form about .009" to .013". The average piece of paper is about .003. Fortunately, playing cards being nearly incompressible are often used as pool table shims. I think a skilled person or perhaps two, working together, could push that low slate up and insert shims (cards) to bring it to much better flatness. Any distortion to the seam wax can be rolled out using a spark plug socket as a roller.

If I were a pro, I'd probably advise that to be done right the table has to come apart.

Beach Billiards are still in business. You should call them and discuss your situation. I am sure they will tell you it was installed incorrectly. If you can get this in writing, via email, for example, you have something to go after your installer with, perhaps even to small claims court.

I agree with Trent!

FWIW, I have a similar issue with my Gold Crown I. It's not as noticeable as you describe, but there's a palpable "step" in a couple of spots going from one slate to another. I am very disappointed in the installation I got. It's shimmed in places with tongue depressors, which I also don't think is a good idea, as it seems to me the slate could sag down either side of them, which I think it's doing - I can detect a crown, running lengthwise, using my Starrett 98-8 level. I'm planning on a disassembly, exact and proper leveling, new cloth, and properly assembled rails, etc.
I have been told by two technicians it is possible to shim the slate from underneath without dis-assembly. The correct way to to take it apart, level the slates but a small adjustment can be done from underneath.

My frustration is being told "it is the bes it can be and can not be fixed. My installer has 15 years experience". If I remember correctly he actually told me he knew the owner for 15 years but has only been working on tables for 3-5 years. I actually think it was 3.

But that doesn't matter. You don't have to be a technician to see if you have three flat surfaces which come together and the center one is a little bit higher then the other two, you have to lower the middle or raise the ends so they match up. It isn't a question of the slate being warped or rolling off, it is just like there is a piece of sand under the middle piece. In fact the table rolls true even across the ridge. It is only when a ball slowly approaches the edge at an angle that it rolls back. You literally cannot place a ball on the ridge and get it to stay there but it can roll up the ridge and go straight to the pocket without getting off. It is also only along one edge of the table. The ridge decreases as it goes across the table to almost nothing on the other side. This is all true for the matchup with both end pieces. One more than the other but raising them both a fraction would solve the problem.

BTW it isn't about money. I offered to pay them. I spoke with the mechanic listed for Arizona on this site and he said he would be glad to do it but has moved to Idaho and not updated his information here. He won't be back for a year. He offered to walk me through an external (underneath) fix but I wasn't comfortable doing it.

Last edited by skipbales; 02-02-2020 at 12:16 PM.
  
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