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How level is "level" for pool tables?
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jviss
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How level is "level" for pool tables? - 06-03-2019, 12:35 PM

(I posted a variant of this in the Talk to a Mechanic subforum with no replies yet, so I thought I'd broaden the audience.)

What is the tolerance for the level of a pool table?

By this I mean a specification along the lines of a maximum deviation from perfectly level, perhaps expressed as being within some number of inches per foot, like .010"/ft., for example. (We know that using more and more sensitive levels we will find that what appears to be perfectly level with a common level is most likely not level when measured with a more sensitive instrument.)

I've searched high and low, and I can't find any specification for this anywhere, except in the Brunswick Gold Crown I 1961 service manual. That book says to use a 28" carpenter's level, and "[s]late should not be out of level more than 0.020." It's a bit ambiguous, in that it could be 0.020" across 28", or maybe 0.020"/ft. But other than that I can find no specification for level.

Thanks very much.

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06-03-2019, 01:16 PM

Are you a machinist or engineer by chance? I would think "level is level."

The earth is hurling through space at 67,000 mph, while spinning 1000 mph...


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06-03-2019, 01:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessEm View Post
I would think "level is level."
I would think "nothing is level" in the real world - so we need to know how close to level is good enough for the purpose.

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06-03-2019, 01:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessEm View Post
Are you a machinist or engineer by chance? I would think "level is level."

The earth is hurling through space at 67,000 mph, while spinning 1000 mph...
So your answer is "I have no idea"

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06-03-2019, 01:34 PM

..............





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06-03-2019, 01:43 PM

Not only should the four corners be level, but the entire slate should be flat.
I leveled my Diamond to +/- .005".


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06-03-2019, 02:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschool1478 View Post
Not only should the four corners be level, but the entire slate should be flat.
I leveled my Diamond to +/- .005".
I would like to know how you did that. What level did you use, and where did you place it on the slate?

FWIW, the WPA spec for flatness is .020" lengthwise and .010" across the width. I'm sure yours must be flatter than that, but it's still likely not perfectly flat.
  
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06-03-2019, 02:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
I would like to know how you did that. What level did you use, and where did you place it on the slate?

FWIW, the WPA spec for flatness is .020" lengthwise and .010" across the width. I'm sure yours must be flatter than that, but it's still likely not perfectly flat.
Thought you couldn't find one. Is there a problem with this one?
  
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06-03-2019, 02:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeephawk View Post
Thought you couldn't find one. Is there a problem with this one?
I couldn't find a spec for level, which is different than flatness.

For example, I have a Laboratory grade B surface plate that is flat, unidirectionally, to 0.0002". But I can assure you it's not level at the moment! The two are independent.
  
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06-03-2019, 02:10 PM

3 piece slate, 9' table; with legs underneath the 4 corners, but no legs underneath the middle of the table. Is it even possible to attain true level in every measurable direction, and maintain that over time?

Now if it was a one piece slate, ground truly flat on both sides; I could get it done.
  
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06-03-2019, 02:15 PM

I think the practical test of level/flat is to slow-roll the cue ball most of the length of the table to hit an eighth of a ball hanging in a pocket and not be surprised. This is also a severe test of the cue ball. Fast cloth accentuates roll-off.

I have no idea how this lines up with the WPA spec.

Flat is different from level. If the slate isn't flat it's really hard for it to be level.


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06-03-2019, 02:17 PM

get the bubble close as you can, no need to worry about it too much from there


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06-03-2019, 02:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9 Ball Fan View Post
3 piece slate, 9' table; with legs underneath the 4 corners, but no legs underneath the middle of the table. Is it even possible to attain true level in every measurable direction, and maintain that over time?

Now if it was a one piece slate, ground truly flat on both sides; I could get it done.
Well, that's the thing, what do "true level," and "truly flat" mean? It could possibly mean that they are level and flat within the sensitivity of your measuring instruments. But other than that, they are not very meaningful.

Three piece slates are ground as a set. They certainly can be set up to be flat, first, flat enough to play pool on, and certainly flat within the WPA spec. Once leveled on a good frame, like a Gold Crown, assuming a stable floor, it will likely stay that way. The spec for "level' is what I seek. At some point close to, but not exactly, perfectly level, you will be close enough that the deviation from absolute level is undetectable with pool balls on cloth. That's the point of a spec, so you can properly select measuring tools, i.e., sensitivity of the level, and apply appropriate technique in setting it up.
  
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06-03-2019, 02:22 PM

For me ďlevelĒ isnít a measurement, itís a phenomenon. The balls donít roll off when tested from various angles.

But if youíre looking for a measurement, Iíd defer to the other posts in this thread.

I assume the tolerance for level is different depending on the speed of the clothe.


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06-03-2019, 02:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Carom Club View Post
get the bubble close as you can, no need to worry about it too much from there
On a sway-backed table, such as they have at a room where I play sometimes, you have to go beyond a single happy bubble. (Especially at the "small" carom games.)


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