Dreaming and designing my own pool table

MamboFats

New member
Being a player for 25 years and loving the game, I find myself in a position I can no longer frequent any poolhall on a regular basis. So, I want a table of my own...
I've played on Diamonds my first years, then to Gabriels and last the popular brand in my area is Clash (BTW I'm located in Belgium). All competent tables, I enjoyed them all. In all those years I've helped the hired pool table mechanics with almost every maintenance and changing of the cloth. So I've learned a lot about the built of a pooltable. I should also mention I'm skilled as a furniture maker. Because of 100's of reasons I'm not able to put down the money in one purschase: my preference to buy is not so cheap, not even secondhand. But I can spread the money over a longer period when building myself. So ... that's what I'll do

I've searched the internet for pictures, manuals, how-to's, technical specs and info, ...
I have read the Talk To A Mechanic forum for most part, 300+ pages in this thread, skipping the bs to read the interesting ones of course. A lot of knowledge is written down my multiple mechanics on this forum: people as RKC, trentfromtoledo, Bradshaw and many others have given me a lot of things to think about and figure out a workable way to achieve this on my own table. I've learned a lot and in my head I'm dreaming of my dream table.

I've been drawing some ideas:
the first one inspired by the Riley Ray pooltable (UK manufacturer), no skirts
Pool Table v2.png

the second one inspired by the Nest Olympic Stadium, no rails and skirts
Desain Pool Table v2 - 2.png


I've drawn the feet of the Diamond Pro-Am to understand the inside structure:
Desain Pool Table - Diamond Edition v1 - Inside View.png

These are just some ideas ... I have plenty on a lot parts of a pool table.
I will share them with you all on this thread.
 

MamboFats

New member
Contemplation on shims

One the most intriguing things on a regular pooltable are the shims for leveling the slate.
Thinking about it, tells me that a big, heavy slate is only directly supported by a couple of dozens of small wood pieces, totalling maybe 20 square inches of contact between the slate and the frame. This is a lot weight for such a small surface to handle. Although this technique has been used for decades on millions of tables, I find this disturbing.
When looking at the leveling system on a Diamond table: that's a whole other story. Diamond uses 22 wedges, about 10inches long (as I estimate from pictures), where each wedge has a contact surface with the frame of probably 15 square inches or more ... EACH. So the slate is supported by hundreds of square inches ... this, to me, is very reassuring and comforting.

In the final design of my table I will be installing some Diamond inspired leveling system. But, that's not for this post.

Thinking of the shims ... I tried to work out an enhanced version, inspired by Diamond.
Using regulars shims, you squeeze a triangular wedge between two flat parallel surfaces. Obvious, at best, only one surface of the wedge touches one of the other surfaces (bottom of slate or top of frame). The squeezing probably enlarges the contact surface, but never will it fully contact the two sides of the wedge.
I had this idea, maybe it has been before, maybe not, ... but I didn't find anything similar online. I'll share it with you.

These pictures shoud make clear what I'm thinking of:
DSLS - Perspective View 1.png

DSLS - Perspective View 2.png

DSLS - Perspective View 3.png

and here is the side view:
DSLS - Side View 1.png

DSLS - Side View 2.png

DSLS - Side View 3.png


In my design the frame has a cutout, the width and form of the wedge. So, when the wedges makes full contact with the bottom of the slate, the top of the frame makes full contact with the bottom of the wedge. Maximum contact in any case, the weight is distributed over a big surface.
I've covered the wooden wedge with a metal U-casing, for tapping with a hammer, not only on the outside, but also on the inside of the frame. When tapped too far (too high), you can tap it back from the other side to lower the wedge/slate, always in full contact with all surfaces.
I just come to think of making the outside edge of this metal casing a little longer, so it can also function as a stop when contacting the frame.
The angle of the wedge and it's length make for the maximum height adjustment. When playing with angle and dimensions you can alter the maximum height that can be achieved.
When applying shims, I've noticed a lot of mechanics placing two shims close together, left and right from a slate screw (makes sense to me). So I slotted my wooden/metal wedge so it can be placed right under the hole for the slate screw, with the slate screw going through the wedge - not obstructing - into the frame (of course, longer screws needed).

Since I use the name Desain Design for my blog and website, I'm calling this DSLS - Desain Slate Leveling System.
If anyone ever wants to use this design commecially, contact me ...
I'm dreaming, right ...

I am looking for maximum weight support all along the complete design of my table, from top to bottom.
A lot of pool tables have adjustable feet, which is only a threaded rod (3/4" of so). This is IMO the next weak point in the weight distribution. But that's is for another post.

I love to hear from you ... thoughts, ideas, I'm open to your criticism.
 
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bradsh98

Bradshaw Billiard Service
Gold Member
Silver Member
I like the looks of the overall table design. It looks unique.

The slate leveling system design is clever. However, I think that it may be missing a key element.. What makes the Diamond leveling system a great concept is the fact that the slate can be leveled with the table fully assembled. With your design using slate screws, it doesn't appear that you will have the same ability.
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
I am looking for maximum weight support all along the complete design of my table, from top to bottom.
A lot of pool tables have adjustable feet, which is only a threaded rod (3/4" of so). This is IMO the next weak point in the weight distribution. But that's is for another post.

I love to hear from you ... thoughts, ideas, I'm open to your criticism.
A 3/4" bolt has a very high load carrying capacity. My GCI has feet attached to the adjustable bolts that are 5"-6" in diameter (I'm guessing from memory but its close) That will carry far more than the 1,200-1,500 pound's that a heavy table would weigh.
 

MamboFats

New member
I like the looks of the overall table design. It looks unique.

The slate leveling system design is clever. However, I think that it may be missing a key element.. What makes the Diamond leveling system a great concept is the fact that the slate can be leveled with the table fully assembled. With your design using slate screws, it doesn't appear that you will have the same ability.
Thanks, I want it to be unique ... this is to be a one in a lifetime built.
And I'm planning to post all the steps in designing and building in this thread

Regarding the slate screws: do you mean Diamonds don't have the slate screwed down? Only the rail bolts holding it in place?
 

Sheldon

dontneednostinkintitle
Silver Member
Regarding the slate screws: do you mean Diamonds don't have the slate screwed down? Only the rail bolts holding it in place?
Depends on the table. The older 3 piece slates did have screws. The best ones are 1 piece and the slate is not bolted or screwed down.
 

MamboFats

New member
Depends on the table. The older 3 piece slates did have screws. The best ones are 1 piece and the slate is not bolted or screwed down
So, how is the slate held in place ?
When transporting a Pro-Am, they are put on their side, isn't it?
How does the slate not move during?

When looking at the leveling system on a Pro-Am, I thought the slate is screwed down on the 6 wooden boards that holds the wedge leveling system.
 

MamboFats

New member
A 3/4" bolt has a very high load carrying capacity. My GCI has feet attached to the adjustable bolts that are 5"-6" in diameter (I'm guessing from memory but its close) That will carry far more than the 1,200-1,500 pound's that a heavy table would weigh.
So, in my quest for the ultimate, strongest, heavy duty pool table, I could place a double nut ...
Let's say one nut has 10 threads of 360°, two nuts have double !!!
That would make the load carrying capacity even higher, doesn't it.
That is a lot easier than designing an alternative system.

Thanks for the input.
 
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Sheldon

dontneednostinkintitle
Silver Member
So, how is the slate held in place ?
When transporting a Pro-Am, they are put on their side, isn't it?
How does the slate not move during?

When looking at the leveling system on a Pro-Am, I thought the slate is screwed down on the 6 wooden boards that holds the wedge leveling system.
The slate is held by the rail bolts.
 

MamboFats

New member
This could be my final design.
Since I'm on a real quest, searching for the best (???), I have it in my head that a 4-legged table can be topped by a 6-legged table.
The idea of the long frame beam having all that weight, that can only be distributed to its sides, to the legs, does not make me confident. I prefer an extra support under that long frame beam.
So I got to the drawing board ... let me know what you think ...
Desain Pool Table 2.png

Desain Pool Table.png

Desain Pool Table 3.png
Desain Pool Table 1.png


Changes will be made to the thickness of the frame beams (2 layers of plywood will make it 2" thick)
The 4 beams will be thicker also, and there will be 3 additional beams in the middle, lenghtwise to the table.
I'm all about optimal weight support and distribution from top to bottom.
From there on, I want to copy the Pro-Am: a plywood support, which hold the levelling system.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for a meeting date to visit the french billiards table manufacturer Toulet.
I'm curious about their pooltable with a 2" thick slate.
I know the advantages of thicker slate. I also play 3cushion, and in my club we have our regular carom tables with 40mm slate (±1 9/16"), and we have a new table with a 60mm slate (2½"). All other specs are equal: same size, same rubbers, same cloth, same mechanic, heated to the same temperature. But on this thicker slate, the ball keeps rolling, and rolling, and rolling, ... a real pleasure ... a fantastic experience.
Toulet has 3cushion tables with slates upto 80mm (±3 3/32" I think) ... WOW
They have some amazing designs ... check out their website https://billard-toulet.com/
 
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rexus31

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Wouldn't you want a more robust surface for the slate? To me, it doesn't seem stout enough. Here's a Gold Crown frame for comparison. Cross members are missing in this pic but you get the idea.

48445502811_6aa9c6ec45_k.jpg
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Another furniture maker here-

There's 2 separate problems: 1.) how does the floor influence the frame. 2.) how does the frame interact with the slate.

If i was going to design a modern pool table, i'd frame the slate support surface with steel rectangular tube.
If your building has floors which do not move in the time interval between expected re-cover jobs, 6 legs is ok. (even concrete can bend with time)
If your building has wooden framed floors or floors which are less stable for other reasons,, I'd stick with 4 legs, at about the Airy points on the long frame members. 3 legs at the Airy points of a plane for a true stressed frame would be even better, but require a more substantial frame, & frame-to-leg connection.

Then add wood for any pleasing style you can imagine.

A point of curiosity: Do you guys still mine your own slate specifically for pool tables? Or are you importing those 1-1/2" to 3" thick slabs?
During the 1960's "Belgin slate" was kind of famous in the US, though a lot of it was used for honing stones. It looks like there are still plenty of active quarries? The pictures look like the old quarries in Pennsylvania. Probably like the ones in Vt, too, though i think while they made better slate, there are fewer left active.

smt
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
Another furniture maker here-

There's 2 separate problems: 1.) how does the floor influence the frame. 2.) how does the frame interact with the slate.

If i was going to design a modern pool table, i'd frame the slate support surface with steel rectangular tube.
If your building has floors which do not move in the time interval between expected re-cover jobs, 6 legs is ok. (even concrete can bend with time)
If your building has wooden framed floors or floors which are less stable for other reasons,, I'd stick with 4 legs, at about the Airy points on the long frame members. 3 legs at the Airy points of a plane for a true stressed frame would be even better, but require a more substantial frame, & frame-to-leg connection.

Then add wood for any pleasing style you can imagine.

A point of curiosity: Do you guys still mine your own slate specifically for pool tables? Or are you importing those 1-1/2" to 3" thick slabs?
During the 1960's "Belgin slate" was kind of famous in the US, though a lot of it was used for honing stones. It looks like there are still plenty of active quarries? The pictures look like the old quarries in Pennsylvania. Probably like the ones in Vt, too, though i think while they made better slate, there are fewer left active.

smt

Now we're talking, I like the steel frame table. Not affected by humidity, heat, or cold and extreme strength can be accomplished by material sizing and/or design. Well I guess it is affected by temperature but not at the temps we are likely to find in living spaces.
 

MamboFats

New member
To me, it doesn't seem stout enough.
I just corrected the dimensions on all the frame beams.
Double 1" plywood on the sides (11" high) and the 3 middle beams (8" high) = 2" thick
Triple 1" plywood for the 4 big inside beams (10" high) = 3" thick
No beam is unsupported directly by a leg for longer than 34 inches
Calculations say this is - vertically placed - stronger than many other woods, and ultimately cheaper.
Plywood I can manage at home with simple tools, for handling and processing solid wood I have no equipment.

This is how it looks like now:
Desain Pool 7.png

I think this can handle a lot of weight and won't budge when kicked ...

Next will be a 3 cover plates that holds the leveling system...
... and then the slate ...
... and then the rails ...
... and then the skirts ...
 

MamboFats

New member
A point of curiosity: Do you guys still mine your own slate specifically for pool tables? Or are you importing those 1-1/2" to 3" thick slabs?
During the 1960's "Belgin slate" was kind of famous in the US, though a lot of it was used for honing stones. It looks like there are still plenty of active quarries? The pictures look like the old quarries in Pennsylvania. Probably like the ones in Vt, too, though i think while they made better slate, there are fewer left active.
Over time, Belgium has lost a lot of high quality billard table manufacturers. Carom and 3cushion is big in Belgium (remember Raymond Ceulemans, Ludo Dielis, Frederic Caudron, Eddy Merckx, ... and many more world class players)
Gabriels was sold to the dutch company Loontjens and the name is still used for a complete carom line of high quality billiards tables.
The biggest Belgian name in carom tables is Verhoeven, which still exists today Verhoeven Biljarts

Belgian Blue Stone is a high quality product that's been mined for ±350 years, but to my knowledge never been used in billiards tables.
I have no idea where the Belgian manufacturers got/get their slate, but it's only logical it would be mined close by.

But I'm proud that Belgium is home to Aramith billiard balls and Simonis cloth.
Used to be 2 separate companies, but they merged almost 10 years ago. I had the honour of visiting the Aramith factory 15 years ago.
I also had the honour to visit the Longoni production facilities in 2015 (close to Milan, Italy). And in the near future I'll be visiting Toulet Billards in France.

I feel like I'm making a commercial ... lol
 

MamboFats

New member
It occured to me last night that I do not need an extra cover plate over the frame to fixate the leveling system.
My frame is sturdy enough to have the wedge system installed directly on it.
Just a quick sketch of all the wedge positions
Desain Pool 10.png

A little playing with repositioning the exact location, repositioning the support beams, will make a big difference
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks, I want it to be unique ... this is to be a one in a lifetime built.
And I'm planning to post all the steps in designing and building in this thread

Regarding the slate screws: do you mean Diamonds don't have the slate screwed down? Only the rail bolts holding it in place?
Watch the video on YT. Shows it very clearly.
 

MamboFats

New member
Wouldn't you want a more robust surface for the slate? To me, it doesn't seem stout enough. Here's a Gold Crown frame for comparison. Cross members are missing in this pic but you get the idea.
A frame like this is big to be solid and strong to bear that heavy slate, but the slate is rarely lying on this frame. When shimmed the slate is lying on those shims, which are squeezed between slate and frame: the slate not touching the frame. Although used on probably millions of tables, I feel not confident in using this.
I wrote down my ideas in my second post:
Contemplation on shims
 

MamboFats

New member
Hello again,
I've been working on the slate leveling system. I've got it figured out ...
I've got some images to show :


dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v1-1.png


dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v4-3.png

dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v4-6.png

dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v5-7.png

dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v5-9.png

dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v5-10.png

dsls-desain-slate-leveling-system-v5-11.png


* the hole for the threaded rod will be routed to a full groove, so when the wedge is pulled in, it gets higher, the threaded rod is no longer horizontal. For that reason I will not tighten the screws of the little metal plate that holds the inner nut.
* For a lengt of ±9 inches, I get a maximum height difference of about ½ inch. That shoud be more than enough.

I just think of a flaw in my idea.
When lowering the slate by turning that left screw, the wedge will not move.
I'll keep thinking about that.

C U at the table.

Edit a few days later : I just saw I got the direction all wrong. The general idea is right, but I switched inside/outside frame
 
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