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Jeff G. Martin
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wood playing surface? - 05-05-2009, 11:20 AM

Hey guys, I'm looking at buying a table. Here's my dilema: It's going on a 12x16 family room (two of the sides are open for the most part, so a short shaft won't ALWAYS have to be used.) I'm not looking for maximum playability, but more just something to practice on. I'm tired of driving to the bar or my parents house just to shoot pool. I am not interested in spending much money, as I can't see spending much on a table going in a 12x16 room. I found a few tables on craigslist for next to nothing that I'm hoping would suffice for the time being. I plan on building a new house in the next 3-5 years so building on is not an option. My question, is how playable are tables with wood surfaces?

Craigslist Table


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05-05-2009, 11:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. Martin View Post
Hey guys, I'm looking at buying a table. Here's my dilema: It's going on a 12x16 family room (two of the sides are open for the most part, so a short shaft won't ALWAYS have to be used.) I'm not looking for maximum playability, but more just something to practice on. I'm tired of driving to the bar or my parents house just to shoot pool. I am not interested in spending much money, as I can't see spending much on a table going in a 12x16 room. I found a few tables on craigslist for next to nothing that I'm hoping would suffice for the time being. I plan on building a new house in the next 3-5 years so building on is not an option. My question, is how playable are tables with wood surfaces?

Craigslist Table
If you are truly looking to learn how to fire balls into the pockets and just for fun to keep you occupied, then the wood surface will do. But I highly recommend against it. no matter how well it is constructed the surface WILL warp. This will make you learn to power shots and not slow roll...because they OB's will go off course if you do.

Hope this helps!

BTW

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05-05-2009, 11:36 AM

hold out for slate. just keep browsing craigslist & your local paper, you find something for a couple hundred bucks. I saw a 8' oak, full slate table basically flawless sell for 200bucks the other day. Your going to be hard pressed to get a 8' in the space you have though. min recommendations for a 8 are 13x17.
  
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What kind of "wood surface"? It makes a difference as to which.
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sfleinen
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Question What kind of "wood surface"? It makes a difference as to which. - 05-05-2009, 11:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. Martin View Post
Hey guys, I'm looking at buying a table. Here's my dilema: It's going on a 12x16 family room (two of the sides are open for the most part, so a short shaft won't ALWAYS have to be used.) I'm not looking for maximum playability, but more just something to practice on. I'm tired of driving to the bar or my parents house just to shoot pool. I am not interested in spending much money, as I can't see spending much on a table going in a 12x16 room. I found a few tables on craigslist for next to nothing that I'm hoping would suffice for the time being. I plan on building a new house in the next 3-5 years so building on is not an option. My question, is how playable are tables with wood surfaces?

Craigslist Table
Jeff:

You'll need to ask some clarifying questions from the seller, like "Please provide more details on the 'wood playing surface' -- is it plywood? Particle board? SlateCore?".

Beware of plywood table surfaces -- they *will* warp after a period of time, especially in high-humidity conditions. Particle board (i.e. board prepared by compressing wood fibers under extreme pressure) is denser and better, but still susceptible to warping. SlateCore is a thin sheet of real slate sandwiched between two layers of particle board, and of the three non-"pure slate" options, is the best -- it won't warp because the slate core holds the sandwiching particle board "wafers" straight. However, keep in mind these are non-"pure slate", which means you have a wood or wood-like surface immediately under the cloth. Translation: no jump or masse shots -- you'll put a permanent compression gouge in the surface from the cue ball.

Upshot? A table like this will improve your kicking skills, because subconsciously you'll steer clear of jump and masse shots so as not to damage the table. And I agree -- having a table in the house, no matter the quality (well, almost) is better than nothing. Get a good book on kicking systems (e.g. Sid Banner's great works) and you'll be able to quietly study at your own pace.

Good luck!
-Sean
  
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05-05-2009, 11:48 AM

Thanks for all the advice and pointers you guys.

To be honest with you Sean, I don't know what surface I'm looking for. That table I'm looking at is more just a test run to see if I should even put a table in the room being so small. Like you said, some table is better than nothing. Which is exactly why I want anything, even with my small room size. I'd love to shoot a bunch of racks left handed to improve dexterity. I'd love to shoot racks using a bridge on every shot. This is the type of things I can do having my own table. (Lets be honest....who wants to go to the pool hall or bar and practice shooting opposite handed??)


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[Almost] anything's better than nothing
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Thumbs up [Almost] anything's better than nothing - 05-05-2009, 12:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. Martin View Post
Thanks for all the advice and pointers you guys.

To be honest with you Sean, I don't know what surface I'm looking for. That table I'm looking at is more just a test run to see if I should even put a table in the room being so small. Like you said, some table is better than nothing. Which is exactly why I want anything, even with my small room size. I'd love to shoot a bunch of racks left handed to improve dexterity. I'd love to shoot racks using a bridge on every shot. This is the type of things I can do having my own table. (Lets be honest....who wants to go to the pool hall or bar and practice shooting opposite handed??)
Jeff:

Absolutely! One of the things I hate most is going to the pool hall (or to a neighborhood bar, if I'm looking for a little bar-box practice), and trying to practice a certain aspect of my game. Uncomfortabilities with practicing in public one's weak aspects of his/her game aside, having to explain to someone why I want to turn down his/her offer for action just plain gets old. Sometimes I like to play on my own, work at my own things, in peace.

Now, that aside, you should still ask about the wood surface of the table, even if you plan to buy the table anyway. At the very least, it will show to the seller that you're knowledgeable of what you're looking at, and in the long run it will answer in your mind what kind of decision you made. I'm assuming you'll need to transport the table? If so, the type of surface does make a difference in how heavy it is. And it gets heavier in ascending order: plywood, then particle board, then SlateCore. Wouldn't you like to know that ahead of time?

As one poster said, I'm sure you don't want a warped table where you're forced into playing "slamball" to make sure a ball reliably gets to a pocket. The particle board (and even better SlateCore) options are less prone to warping, so you can practice your "touch" game more.

I hope this is helpful!
-Sean
  
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05-05-2009, 12:59 PM

Craigslist has lots of tables that filter through with slate on them. You just have to wait 2 or 3 weeks. They'll show up.

We once bought the wood surface. It's "okay," but I wouldn't suggest it for anyone who is really serious about his/her game. You can't lean on the rails, AT ALL. The wood table tends to sag in the middle. We built a box frame to hold ours up in the middle, because it was sagging when it was brand new. The support worked. Still, if anyone leaned on the rails, they started sagging and next thin you know, the pockets became vaccuums.

If you're a parent who doesn't care if your kids tear up the table, and the kids have no clue about pool and won't learn from their family members, a wood surface might work.

Like I said, if you're really very serious about your game, hold out for the slate table on Craigslist. And/or, post in the items wanted that you're looking for one. Just don't buy the one with a wood playing surface, unless you really don't mind the balls running off course, etc..
  
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05-05-2009, 01:07 PM

My first table was Kmart model with an MDF type surface. I assume that it will at sometime warp, but for the 3 or so years I had it, it did just fine for learning to strole the ball and play spin. I was in the same situation where I only had a small room and limited funds. If you are considering keeping the table after you move, then I would not do it. If it is just a short term thing to be able to play, then I would say go for it.
  
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05-05-2009, 01:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff G. Martin View Post
Lets be honest....who wants to go to the pool hall or bar and practice shooting opposite handed??
I do!

I think it is great you want to hone your 'off handed' skills.

I don't have a table of my own, so I don't have a choice. I just switch hands when the need arises on whatever table I'm at. Yes, I miss a lot; however I can miss just as easily with my right hand too!

So, I just slow down, concentrate on the shot, make a nice bridge, and follow through. My stroke is not nearly as smooth and slick as my right handed stroke (which is not 'all that' to begin with), but I can sink balls.

Basicaly, if it is a reasonably easy shot, I won't hesitate to shoot it lefty. If it is longer, I'l grab the bridge, or just hesitate...

Good for you man!


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05-05-2009, 01:34 PM

I would just keep checking the classifieds and craigslist. I bought a Valley bar table for $300 and it was in good shape. Good enough to put in a garage...as was my case. You will be a lot more satisfied with this and can practice all aspects of your game.
  
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05-05-2009, 01:38 PM

I just searched all the craigslists within 100 miles of where you are. Found a bunch under $500.
  
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05-05-2009, 02:16 PM

you would still be better off with a 50 year old slate table then a non-slate. Even if its a temporary situation. A seven foot slate table will still
be worth SOMETHING when your done with it! A non slate you will pay
someone to haul it away!!
  
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05-05-2009, 02:29 PM

Save your money and buy slate. The wood will hurt your game and only frustrate you.
  
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05-05-2009, 03:02 PM

Okay, I've decided on a slate table. The only thing I'm worried about is the size of the room, which is why I was thinking a cheap table would be a good test run. Maybe you guys could help me visually. Here's what the layout would look like. You can't really cause the lines are distorted a bit, but there's four feet on the long rail, and four feet three inches on the short rail. How do you think it would be playing on this??

[


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05-05-2009, 03:40 PM

never realized you were from WI until I opened the CL link.

Me Too!


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