I Need Advice on Antique Table

BeerBrewer

New member
I've been looking for an old wooden (slate top) billiard table that needs restoring (not major) for a while now. I'm a seasoned wood worker and looking for a project. You see I finally convinced my wife to convert our never used living room (18' x14') into a pool room. So I've been looking at ads on craigslist and letgo for a while now. Well I was just offered a Brunswick table for free that the owner claims is from the 1920s. He said that his father bought it at an estate sale in 1974 and had it in his home until he passed away. Since then the table has been taken apart and stored in his garage for many years. For some reason, last year he placed table outside under a tarp! He claims that it's packed well not getting wet. Maybe so, probably not, but I'm also worried about dampness and rodent damage.

I haven't seen this table yet, so I'm afraid that it might just be rotted fire wood. I'm going over today to look at it. Is there anything I should look for? Assuming its not totally rotted is the table worth salvaging?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not sure if this one is going to be worth your time, but first and foremost is everything there? so often tables that have been disassembled are just pieces and parts. If everything is present and accounted for and the slates are not broken, or cracked then it might be worth it. A word of caution though, I know you are a good woodworker, but those old T-rail tables tend to be very expensive to restore properly. It will likely need sub rails replaced, so be prepared for that, and if you aren't comfortable doing that you could always send the rails out to a good mechanic for restoration and then do the rest of the restore yourself. Everything else is basically just furniture restoration in my opinion. Could be a fun project, I hope it looks decent and is 100% accounted for. If you have a local mechanic that you could take with you that knows these old T-rail tables that would certainly help you determine if it's worth the haul.

Edit: I kind of assumed that this one would be a T-rail design since the owner says it's from the 1920s. All tables prior to World War II were of that design. Many times folks are way off on when the item was produced, so who knows, this one might be a post WWII era table.
 
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BeerBrewer

New member
Okay....I went over to see the table. Unfortunately it is getting wet, as the tarp has holes in it. Having said that it appears that whomever took apart the table knew what they were doing, The parts are in a wooden crate with the 3 slate on top, so they seem to have shielded most of the parts from the water. Well, except the sides of the table frame, these seem to be getting wet on the edges, but I didn't see any rot. I did see veneer issues on those side pieces though. All of the pieces were wrapped in paper and the three slate top pieces were in individual wooden frames. I'm thinking that most of the parts have been shielded from the weather because the paper wrapping around them doesn't seem like it go wet and only the 2 larger side pieces will need any real help.

I measure the slate top and they appeared to be 54" wide and 2 inches this. Based upon this I'm thinking that the table is 9 ft long (4.5' x 9'). Is that safe to assume?

I am leaning heavily towards taking the table. Why.....because it needs to be rescued. Aside from the condition issues, it may be too large for my living room. The room is 14' x 18'. In your expert opinions, can this space accommodate a 4.5' x 9' billiard table?
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Okay....I went over to see the table. Unfortunately it is getting wet, as the tarp has holes in it. Having said that it appears that whomever took apart the table knew what they were doing, The parts are in a wooden crate with the 3 slate on top, so they seem to have shielded most of the parts from the water. Well, except the sides of the table frame, these seem to be getting wet on the edges, but I didn't see any rot. I did see veneer issues on those side pieces though. All of the pieces were wrapped in paper and the three slate top pieces were in individual wooden frames. I'm thinking that most of the parts have been shielded from the weather because the paper wrapping around them doesn't seem like it go wet and only the 2 larger side pieces will need any real help.

I measure the slate top and they appeared to be 54" wide and 2 inches this. Based upon this I'm thinking that the table is 9 ft long (4.5' x 9'). Is that safe to assume?

I am leaning heavily towards taking the table. Why.....because it needs to be rescued. Aside from the condition issues, it may be too large for my living room. The room is 14' x 18'. In your expert opinions, can this space accommodate a 4.5' x 9' billiard table?
Yes, a 14’ X 18’ room would be okay for a 4.5’ X 9’ with standard 58” cues being used. The slate being 54” wide would be a 4.5’ X 9’ T-rail table. Sounds interesting! Hopefully the short time that it’s been exposed to the elements won’t effect it too much.
 

BeerBrewer

New member
Sam74...Nope I found the table in New York, the TN table is in WAY better shape! It looks similar though.

Lawnboy77....thanks for all of the info. I'm with you, I'm hoping the elements didn't do too much damage. Its not costing me anything to bring it and see how bad it is. Having said that, I'm fairly certain that I handle the issues that I did see with the table sides, but there is still a lot to uncover. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
14 by 18 is really tight though. dont expect to have much room around it. still it can work but not much fun. generally 15 by 19 is a minimum.
anything other than the table in the room will be in the way at times.

cant go wrong for free. get it set it basically up and then before you put the real money and time in you can be the judge of it.
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've been looking for an old wooden (slate top) billiard table that needs restoring (not major) for a while now. I'm a seasoned wood worker and looking for a project. You see I finally convinced my wife to convert our never used living room (18' x14') into a pool room. So I've been looking at ads on craigslist and letgo for a while now. Well I was just offered a Brunswick table for free that the owner claims is from the 1920s.

You mean you are doing this without her forcing you?
You could walk away at any time & she would be ok and none the wiser?
Run! Run while you still have a chance!

2 years ago wife went to an auction in Syracuse & bought a 1926 BBC Royal.
I have had no rest or peace since.
Restore the table.
Renovate the room.
But first shore up the foundations in the cellar.
Pour footers.
Cut out masonry walls & form & pour lintels in cellar.
Set steel to hold floors up 2ea @ 16’. & 2ea @ 14’
Move ductwork, fix plumbing add electric.
Remove drywall to accomdate above & to add better insulation & add squirrel elimination structure.
That still leaves wall treatments/raised paneling.
New ceiling with better lighting.
New subfloor & hardwood over existing splinters through which the cellar can be seen through the cracks.
It will never end.
You of course won’t choose to believe me. But my conscience is clear.


smt
 
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book collector

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Run away you will send lots of time and money fixing things to get ready to play , then play 5 times and use it for a place to put magazines. plus 14 by 18 is too small for a full size table, unless you use mini cues
 

Cuebuddy

Mini cues
Silver Member
Run away you will send lots of time and money fixing things to get ready to play , then play 5 times and use it for a place to put magazines. plus 14 by 18 is too small for a full size table, unless you use mini cues
Hey! Whats wrong with mini cues?;)
 

michael4

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
1) your room is a little too small in both directions.
2) As with all projects, it will take you 3 times longer than you thought and 3 times the money
3) If you're retired, or really have time for a project, go ahead, it would be a beautiful table, and I would love to see a thread on your progress.
4) don't expect to make any money on it, or come close to breaking even, it has to be a labor of love
 

BeerBrewer

New member
Ssonerai.... I totally believe your story and thanks for reminding me about the weight issue. Assuming that I'm correct and the table is a 4.5' x9' Brunswick table approximately what will each of the slates weigh? There are three of them all incased in a wooden crate.

As for the space where I plan to put the table, I already doubled up all of the 2x8 floor joists. I also added another layer of 1/2" plywood on top of the existing 5/8" plywood and then added 3/4" oak tongue and groove flooring on top of all that. The beams rest on a concrete wall on one end and steel I-Beam with a 2x4 wall underneath it. So I think the floor is rock solid. I did that about 5 years ago, after I was laid off from Verizon (after 32 years), so I guess you could say I'm retired. So the pool table has been in the plans for a while now. I also replaced about 60 feet of double 2x6 sill plates, across the entire back of the house due to termite damage. I guess you could say that I enjoy fixing things. We're in our 4th house, 3 of which were "handyman specials", but we're planning upon staying in this one.

I should have mentioned that there are only 3 walls to worry about in the 14'x18' room. I removed one of the long 18' walls (non-load bearing) creating a huge open space, so I guess I can move the table over a tad giving more room to the one side, but I was thinking of using 52" cues. Is that a no-no? I'll just have to move the light fixture above the table it so they line up.

I'm figuring that I'll have to purchase new leather pockets, new felt and bumpers and have a pro set it it all up. I'm thinking that I can handle all of the needed wood work. I've done veneer work and repaired some very old furniture before. My father does marquetry work, so I've got him as a resource if needed.

My main concern right now is the finding out the weight of the slate tops. I'd like to get over there and pick up all the pieces, but I'm worried that they may be too heavy to lift without equipment.
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here is a link to a thread concerning the weight of your slate, it says 300 lbs a piece for a 1-1/2" slate on a 9 ft. table for a total of 900 lbs. That seems about right to me.



Below is a link to a Brunswick room size requirement. 14' X 18' is not ideal, but I think it will be fine, especially with the old BBC tables where the rail caps are not as wide as the more modern commercial tables. With a 58 inch cue and the CB froze to the rail I doubt that you would run into interference issues.

room-size-requirements
 
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Dan_B

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
free?
seasoned wood worker?
52" cues. Is that a no-no?
weight of the slate tops?
felt?
I removed one of the long 18' walls

..umm, 52" on felt is the only thing that I see as an issue.

At this stage of your game, function always follows form form always follows function, resize the table.
do you want to challenge? I have recut an AMF set slates ready for the supporting cast of characters, in progress.
Time limit? one year, once you have your slates ready.
I'm just looking for some motivation, I already have a b@stard in play.

;)
 
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Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If the slate is 1” thick, 54” x 35” should weigh 184 lbs + slate liners. Maybe 190 all in. They fell heavier, though.

If 1-1/2” slate should weigh 276 + liners or just over 280 all in.

I have not weighed mine or individual components but have some memory these 1920’s “semi-jumbo” frame tables weigh around 1200 lbs assembled.
That seems a little high for 1” slate, maybe a little low for 1.5”. So good ballpark #.

your floors and structure are in much better shape than mine. :)

my room is 16’ x 25 with the hall wall removed. But those old guys that built it around the turn of the last century thought 16’ spans with 2 x 8’s was fine. Admittedly am attending to other sagged floors at the same time, pool room alone would only have take 2 pcs 16 ft steel.

Good luck.

smt
 
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Tennesseejoe

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not sure if this one is going to be worth your time, but first and foremost is everything there? so often tables that have been disassembled are just pieces and parts. If everything is present and accounted for and the slates are not broken, or cracked then it might be worth it. A word of caution though, I know you are a good woodworker, but those old T-rail tables tend to be very expensive to restore properly. It will likely need sub rails replaced, so be prepared for that, and if you aren't comfortable doing that you could always send the rails out to a good mechanic for restoration and then do the rest of the restore yourself. Everything else is basically just furniture restoration in my opinion. Could be a fun project, I hope it looks decent and is 100% accounted for. If you have a local mechanic that you could take with you that knows these old T-rail tables that would certainly help you determine if it's worth the haul.

Edit: I kind of assumed that this one would be a T-rail design since the owner says it's from the 1920s. All tables prior to World War II were of that design. Many times folks are way off on when the item was produced, so who knows, this one might be a post WWII era table.
The slate is actually 1 inch thick...I think you are measuring the wood framing under the slate.
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
Yes, a 14’ X 18’ room would be okay for a 4.5’ X 9’ with standard 58” cues being used. The slate being 54” wide would be a 4.5’ X 9’ T-rail table. Sounds interesting! Hopefully the short time that it’s been exposed to the elements won’t effect it too much.
I have a 9' table in a 15' wide room and tap the wall with the cue end on some shots.

Appropriate formula is 50" + cue length plus about 5" for backstroke.
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
Here is a link to a thread concerning the weight of your slate, it says 300 lbs a piece for a 1-1/2" slate on a 9 ft. table for a total of 900 lbs. That seems about right to me.



Below is a link to a Brunswick room size requirement. 14' X 18' is not ideal, but I think it will be fine, especially with the old BBC tables where the rail caps are not as wide as the more modern commercial tables. With a 58 inch cue and the CB froze to the rail I doubt that you would run into interference issues.

room-size-requirements
Rail width is a non Issue. Only the playing surface matters...50x100"

Brunswick's info is be wrong and we've discussed that around here quite a few times over the years.
 
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