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Obvious Signs of an Amateur
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Shuddy
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Obvious Signs of an Amateur - 05-24-2019, 07:42 PM

Hi guys,

Iím having my first table (US pool, most of my formative years spent around snooker tables) installed in a few weeks. Iím not living in my home country and have no idea about the installer doing the job.

In your experience, what are some major signals to indicate the workman is an amateur/inexperienced professional/professional with a few things to learn. Quite happy to hear humorous answers (odd things youíve witnessed), but also anything I need to keep an eye out for while the install happens.

Cheers!
  
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tjohnson
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05-25-2019, 05:54 AM

In my case, the following issues were clear indication that I was dealing with incompetent installers:

1. Used a power drill to install rail bolts. On three of them, they had misaligned the bolt, drove it home anyway, and stripped the threads in the nut plate.

2. Slates weren't level.

3. Left one rail bolt out because they had installed the ball box too soon and couldn't reach the hole.

4. When I asked about the condition of the cushions, they said "fine". After they left I discovered that one had come unglued from the subrail but they covered it anyway.

5. To top it off, when I complained to the store that sent these clowns, the owner told me that his guys were top-quality professionals and that I should basically go to hell.

Problem, of course, is that I knew none of this was going to happen before they walked in the door, only after they left. Get recommendations ahead of time. It's difficult to undo incompetence once it's underway.
  
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SmokinJoe46
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05-25-2019, 06:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuddy View Post
Hi guys,

Iím having my first table (US pool, most of my formative years spent around snooker tables) installed in a few weeks. Iím not living in my home country and have no idea about the installer doing the job.

In your experience, what are some major signals to indicate the workman is an amateur/inexperienced professional/professional with a few things to learn. Quite happy to hear humorous answers (odd things youíve witnessed), but also anything I need to keep an eye out for while the install happens.

Cheers!
ask if they torque the rail bolts with a torque wrench or just 'by feel'. if they don't even own one, well...
  
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05-25-2019, 06:54 AM

A true professional will use a machinist level. If yours doesnít have one just donít let him touch anything


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Lawnboy77
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05-25-2019, 08:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjohnson View Post

Get recommendations ahead of time. It's difficult to undo incompetence once it's underway.
Extremely good advice! Seek out one of the mechanics listed in the sticky in this forum if at all possible. It sounds like you might be out of country...in that case, good luck.

One of the more memorable experiences for me was when one of the mechanics setting up my Anniversary a couple of years ago ask if I wanted the tabled leveled. I thought he was kidding and I started laughing, but after watching his expression I knew that he was serious. Evidently there are folks out there that pay good money for an antique Brunswick and don't care if it's even level. Anyway, I did tell him that I wanted it as level as he could get it, and for the most part, they did get that part right (with a Starrett machinist level too) Overall they were good guys just doing what they thought was right, so you can't fault them too much. You will however, save a lot time, and money by hiring the right person the first time.
  
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bradsh98
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05-26-2019, 01:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinJoe46 View Post
ask if they torque the rail bolts with a torque wrench or just 'by feel'. if they don't even own one, well...
If tightening rail bolts with a torque wrench is a critical measure of qualification for your pool table installer, you might be waiting years to find one worthy of working on your table.. Especially if you are located in another country...

Good luck!


Geoff Bradshaw
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05-26-2019, 01:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawnboy77 View Post
Extremely good advice! Seek out one of the mechanics listed in the sticky in this forum if at all possible. It sounds like you might be out of country...in that case, good luck.

One of the more memorable experiences for me was when one of the mechanics setting up my Anniversary a couple of years ago ask if I wanted the tabled leveled. I thought he was kidding and I started laughing, but after watching his expression I knew that he was serious. Evidently there are folks out there that pay good money for an antique Brunswick and don't care if it's even level. Anyway, I did tell him that I wanted it as level as he could get it, and for the most part, they did get that part right (with a Starrett machinist level too) Overall they were good guys just doing what they thought was right, so you can't fault them too much. You will however, save a lot time, and money by hiring the right person the first time.
Most guys charge extra to level a table, if they are just there for a standard re-cover. I include leveling in my price, but I've come to find that I am in the minority.


Geoff Bradshaw
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Lawnboy77
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05-26-2019, 01:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsh98 View Post
Most guys charge extra to level a table, if they are just there for a standard re-cover. I include leveling in my price, but I've come to find that I am in the minority.
This was not just a recover. This table was purchased from a billiard restoration business...delivery and setup was included in the price of the table.
  
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Shuddy
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05-27-2019, 12:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjohnson View Post
In my case, the following issues were clear indication that I was dealing with incompetent installers:

1. Used a power drill to install rail bolts. On three of them, they had misaligned the bolt, drove it home anyway, and stripped the threads in the nut plate.

2. Slates weren't level.

3. Left one rail bolt out because they had installed the ball box too soon and couldn't reach the hole.

4. When I asked about the condition of the cushions, they said "fine". After they left I discovered that one had come unglued from the subrail but they covered it anyway.

5. To top it off, when I complained to the store that sent these clowns, the owner told me that his guys were top-quality professionals and that I should basically go to hell.

Problem, of course, is that I knew none of this was going to happen before they walked in the door, only after they left. Get recommendations ahead of time. It's difficult to undo incompetence once it's underway.
Damn, that sounds like a nightmare.

Thanks guys, lots of good advice, particularly the torque wrench and machinist level. I live in Korea. As you probably know, they take their three cushion pretty seriously here (a game of exact standards), so Iím hoping that translates to a pocket table install.

Iím having a Min table (Korean brand) installed. http://mintable.co.kr/default/
I have no idea if they, including the table makers, have any knowledge of how much torque should be applied to the rails
  
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trentfromtoledo
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06-15-2019, 02:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokinJoe46 View Post
ask if they torque the rail bolts with a torque wrench or just 'by feel'. if they don't even own one, well...
A client of mine from the other day asked me if I had one with me and I said no. It was a subrail extension, cushion and recover job so I was going to be there 2 days. I went and picked one up. Finished the job and AFTER I tightened the rail bolts down I checked them with the torque wrench and I must have the "feel" because they were right....

Trent from Toledo

P.s. A machinist level is a must, the torque wrench I am not so sure about. Now that I own one, I will most likely use it, but, not sold on it being necessary.
  
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06-15-2019, 10:02 PM

During the 80's I don't recall anyone using other than short carpenter/plumber levels and even torpedo levels. Maybe i was just oblivious? After starting to play again a few years ago, it seems like Starrett 98 series levels have become the new benchmark.

At this rate, in another 30 years it won't be possible to set up a table without an autocollimator & coordinate optical micrometer.

Seriously, I'm strongly in favor of accuracy, precision, repeatability, & good craftsmanship. So this is not an argument. It's historical curiosity - when did Starrett 98 series levels (& import equivalents) become essential? Were they in use by table techs in the old days and i just never knew it? I have Starrett 199's, Hilger Watt, & an optical level, am familiar with use of precision levels for setting up and for scraping machine way systems. I have built parts of tables, and tools for other people. I have never set one up.

smt

Last edited by Ssonerai; 06-15-2019 at 10:05 PM.
  
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06-20-2019, 09:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by trentfromtoledo View Post
A client of mine from the other day asked me if I had one with me and I said no. It was a subrail extension, cushion and recover job so I was going to be there 2 days. I went and picked one up. Finished the job and AFTER I tightened the rail bolts down I checked them with the torque wrench and I must have the "feel" because they were right....

Trent from Toledo

P.s. A machinist level is a must, the torque wrench I am not so sure about. Now that I own one, I will most likely use it, but, not sold on it being necessary.
Yeah, Im not sure I would use a torque wrench on rail bolts either even though I own many. Are there even torque specs for rail bolts available? My GCI has 3/8" diameter bolts, a typical torque value for that size of bolt is 35-45 foot pounds, Im not sure that I would want to put that much stress on a fastener fastened in wood. The reason we torque bolts is to stretch the bolt, thats what keeps them tight, if you are torquing a bolt to a setting below which bolt stretch is obtained you can easily do that just by feel, for someone that tightens rail bolts as often as you guys do a torque wrench is just not necessary.
  
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06-22-2019, 07:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fastone371 View Post
Yeah, Im not sure I would use a torque wrench on rail bolts either even though I own many. Are there even torque specs for rail bolts available? My GCI has 3/8" diameter bolts, a typical torque value for that size of bolt is 35-45 foot pounds, Im not sure that I would want to put that much stress on a fastener fastened in wood. The reason we torque bolts is to stretch the bolt, thats what keeps them tight, if you are torquing a bolt to a setting below which bolt stretch is obtained you can easily do that just by feel, for someone that tightens rail bolts as often as you guys do a torque wrench is just not necessary.
Just my take on torquing rail bolts. I'm also a mechanic (commercial aircraft) and I agree with you "fastone371". The torque wrench used for torquing rail bolts is more for the inexperienced, not for the good table mechanics. RKC, Geoff and Trent, just to name a few, don't really need a torque wrench for tightening table bolts, they do it all the time and can feel when it's right. Rail tightening is not critical torquing, like with aircraft engine mount bolts. This measurement in ft. lbs. is simply what Glenn's 35 or 40 years of experience says is a good amount of torque, and most importantly a safe amount that can be measured and applied periodically by anyone who has a decent torque wrench. Kudo's for the info Glenn! Everyone is now aware of the need to periodically retighten rail bolts, and most importantly, Trent and Geoff won't have to worry about being called out to a job because someone stripped out inserts, or even worse, snapped a slate.

Rex
  
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06-23-2019, 09:38 AM

In my opinion, only amateurs use guesstimates and impact drills to tighten rail bolts, because it's more convenient, and lazy.
  
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06-23-2019, 09:47 AM

The next time any of you go have new tires installed, ask if the tire technician torques the lug nuts on the wheels!
  
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