I Need Advice on Antique Table

BeerBrewer

New member
I noticed another very odd thing today about the label. I cleaned off a lot of the grime at it looks like this was not the original label!!! You can see that someone spliced in oak veneer to fill in the space left by the original larger label. So I might have a forgery on my hands. Is there any other way to identify the maker of the table?

Any thoughts?





label-2.jpg
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Last night I was on Brunswick website reading all I could on the Narragansett table. Well my table seems to match it very well, except for the rails and the legs (I know these are original). As you can see in the pics, all of the rails appear to be oak, but the description on line says that the Narragansett had rosewood veneered rails. I also found another potential table that it could be if originally had square legs called "Algeria". Even the Algeria had veneered rosewood rails. So this morning I looked at the rails and most of the diamond rail sights seem raised a bit. Originally I thought this was due to moisture getting behind them and swelling the wood underneath, but I'm thinking that whomever worked on this table must have peeled off the veneer. Does anyone know if Brunswick ever make a tables with exposed oak rails? Thoughts?
Yes, they made plenty of tables with oak rail caps. The “Southern” is the first one that comes to mind.

Those Rosewood veneers were not a standard veneer. They are 1/8” to 1/4” thick, so not really something you just peel off.
 

Dan_B

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
ummm,
first thought, I checked
"Narraganset" and "Algeria"
is not the root too "Nostalgia"

This is a good example though...
the distinction between building a "Frankenstein" and a "Monster, a players player"
 

BeerBrewer

New member
ummm,
first thought, I checked
"Narraganset" and "Algeria"
is not the root too "Nostalgia"

This is a good example though...
the distinction between building a "Frankenstein" and a "Monster, a players player"

I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
Think he mean's you may be in the re-make of 'The Money Pit'. Take good pics and contact Derrick at Billiard Restoration. He's forgotten more about old B'wicks than anyone here will ever know.
 

BeerBrewer

New member
Yes, they made plenty of tables with oak rail caps. The “Southern” is the first one that comes to mind.

Those Rosewood veneers were not a standard veneer. They are 1/8” to 1/4” thick, so not really something you just peel off.

That sure is thick veneer, but very easy to spot once the rails are off the table and these rails are definitely not veneered. They are also really banged and nicked up, so much so that a lot can't be sanded out.

In spite of the fact that this table looks so much like Algeria and Narragansett (minus the legs), I'm concerned that I don't actually have a Brunswick table because the label looks forged to me and I don't know if its worth dropping any serious money into it to restore it.

Is there any other way to identify the maker of a billiard table besides the label?
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Does anyone know if Brunswick ever make a tables with exposed oak rails? Thoughts?

Not sure where it was listed that the New Narraganset had the RW overlaid rails?
Seems likely those (pre-1900) had plain w oak rails. Many of the lower price point tables had plain oak rails into the 1930’s I believe but have not carefully researched.

If you look at one of theposts relating to RW rails in my Q’s in the table mechanic section there are photos showing the structure of RW cap overlays. They are about 3/16” to 1/4” thick. Not “veneer”
At least you guys out on the island still have a good resource for materials like that.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be harsh, but using 10 penny nails to attach oak boards to an antique billiard table is not what a skilled wood worker would do. Mixing red oak and white oak on the

That does sound like hack work!
Original BBC construction on my mid 1920’s Royal is all refined 8 penny Common nails everywhere through all the glue blocks & structural parts. 😂 👍
Harrumph! Wherever they were loose or had to be removed to fix the veneer underneath I reattached things with QUALITY coated exterior deck screws. At least screws are reversible.

Seriously, I get what you are saying and some is worse by report than can be seen in the pix.
There’s a couple ways to appreciate it anyway:
1.) Screws & screw guns in particular are quite recent. When I started in trades in the early ‘70’s a Yankee was the cordless driver of the trim crews. BBC used a lot of nails in the u seen areas to hold things together while the glue set.
2.). Most tables are never sent out for restoration. The owner wants to play pool and thinks that any price over the basic cost of fabric & maybe (grudgingly) new rubber is highway robbery. So the mechanic/tech gives good advice, then pieces it back together as fast & cheap as the owner can stand & moves on.

Relatively wealthy people had the houses/space & retail money to buy these tables.
When they die or decades of deferred maintenance accrues the tables are sold, often cheaply. After a few cycles of this ever-declining value only the most rudimentary & expeditious repairs are performed To sort of keep the table in use, probably by non-discerning low level casual players. If you notice, same thing happened to most of the grand old houses in which the tables would originally have been installed throughout most of the US in all but a few neighborhoods.

smt
 

BeerBrewer

New member
Think he mean's you may be in the re-make of 'The Money Pit'. Take good pics and contact Derrick at Billiard Restoration. He's forgotten more about old B'wicks than anyone here will ever know.
Good advice...I will reach out to Derrick next week.

Even if it turns out that isn't a Brunswick table I'll still probably restore it, I just won't be so fussy. I'll make playable, but not in like new condition. So far nothing is warped and all the parts seem to be there. I'll need to put new veneer on, but that shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars. I'll need to make some new legs (nothing crazy), put new cloth on and use it.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
You couldn't pay me 5000 to restore that table! But, I will be following your thread and cheering you on:) Good luck, and thanks for sharing.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
it is a money and time pit for what you are going to get. if it is a satisfaction thing of making this into a fine piece again, then thats a different ball of wax. wait until you need some particular parts that will pop up and then it will hit.
sometimes free isnt free and not worth it.
good luck which ever way you go you seem determined and have the skill.
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Good advice...I will reach out to Derrick next week.

Even if it turns out that isn't a Brunswick table I'll still probably restore it, I just won't be so fussy. I'll make playable, but not in like new condition. So far nothing is warped and all the parts seem to be there. I'll need to put new veneer on, but that shouldn't cost more than a few hundred dollars. I'll need to make some new legs (nothing crazy), put new cloth on and use it.

You stated that the frame rails are not solid wood. As a woodworker you are no doubt aware that Brunswick & most manufacturers of high grade furniture of the period before good plywood was available used 5 Ply construction to add stability to wide plank faces & components. AFA BBC tables after 1900 mostly on glued up thick polar cores. Generally with relatively thick poplar crossbands from 1/28” up to .050” thick rotary cut. Face veneers were generally the standard (for pre 1960’s) 1/28” (.036”) thick plain sliced or QS sliced depending on species.

There is not a lot of point in re-veneering old construction unless it can be 2-plied each face, with traditional thickness veneers. Not the modern paint-thin options. I resaw all my own veneers for most work.

If you are familiar with hot hide glue veneer work as was used for billiard tables and really all interior woodwork in those days, re-attaching the old veneers is not terribly onerous. Just tedious. If the process is unfamiliar, and if you question the quality of your rails, as a project it would probably be easiest to keep the slate an start over making your own table construction from scratch. For instance, do you even know/have confidence that the glued up cores of the frame are sound under the veneer? They don’t need to be if both sides are adequately 2-plied as original. But if you are thinking of stripping them for new veneer, it could be one more gotcha.

Re the label - I suspect the original became loose at some point & got set aside or someone removed it as a souvenir. The labe installed is from a later era table. This model was not valuable enough in the past to “ counterfeit”

Here are the BR rail cap pix, scroll to end to see end view of construction & thickness.


smt
 
Last edited:

BeerBrewer

New member
I'm not sure where you got the idea that rails are not solid wood, they are definitely solid 3/4" oak. My concern is that the Brunswick catalog for the Algeria and Narragansett from the early 1990's said the the rails are veneered with rosewood and mine are solid oak. I copied the statement below, it appears in the descriptions for both the Algeria and Narragansett tables.

The cushion rails are of extra heavy construction and firmly bolted to the slate bed. The cushion rail tops are veneered with rosewood, which does not change color, cannot be easily disfigured and does not have the objectionable features of a polished surface.

So according to the old Brunswick catalogs that they have on the web, my rails should be veneered with rosewood. I can't find any documentation that says they used oak rails on those two table. That combined with the fact that the label was obviously not the original and I found those odd old leg pieces inside the existing legs that I don't believe this is a Brunswick table, it just looks like one.

As for the rest of the table I'm not exactly sure what type of wood it is (poplar??), but its solid and ranges in thickness from 1-3/4 to 2" thick. So far none of it has warped and that still amazes me!

It would just be impossible to reattach the old veneer. As it dried it curled, lifted and cracked. I've done veneer work before and I am aware that to keep things from warping you should veneer both sides. Having said that, I've never veneered anything so thick. A friend of mine restored an old pool hall table from the 1930s and he re-veneered his table. If I decide to do this I'll seek his advice.

I'm planning to reach out to Derrick at Billiard Restoration to get his opinion.
 

book collector

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure where you got the idea that rails are not solid wood, they are definitely solid 3/4" oak. My concern is that the Brunswick catalog for the Algeria and Narragansett from the early 1990's said the the rails are veneered with rosewood and mine are solid oak. I copied the statement below, it appears in the descriptions for both the Algeria and Narragansett tables.

The cushion rails are of extra heavy construction and firmly bolted to the slate bed. The cushion rail tops are veneered with rosewood, which does not change color, cannot be easily disfigured and does not have the objectionable features of a polished surface.

So according to the old Brunswick catalogs that they have on the web, my rails should be veneered with rosewood. I can't find any documentation that says they used oak rails on those two table. That combined with the fact that the label was obviously not the original and I found those odd old leg pieces inside the existing legs that I don't believe this is a Brunswick table, it just looks like one.

As for the rest of the table I'm not exactly sure what type of wood it is (poplar??), but its solid and ranges in thickness from 1-3/4 to 2" thick. So far none of it has warped and that still amazes me!

It would just be impossible to reattach the old veneer. As it dried it curled, lifted and cracked. I've done veneer work before and I am aware that to keep things from warping you should veneer both sides. Having said that, I've never veneered anything so thick. A friend of mine restored an old pool hall table from the 1930s and he re-veneered his table. If I decide to do this I'll seek his advice.

I'm planning to reach out to Derrick at Billiard Restoration to get his opinion.
Veneering that table would be like putting lipstick on a pig. If the slates aren't bad and the cushions are pliable and not chewed up. I would say make it solid , and put cloth on it and have some fun. You will have a few hundred in it and when you are done , pass it on.
Putting a bunch of time and effort into something rare may be worthwhile, doing it with a el cheapo, is a waste.
 

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure where you got the idea that rails are not solid wood, they are definitely solid 3/4" oak.



As for the rest of the table I'm not exactly sure what type of wood it is (poplar??), but its solid and ranges in thickness from 1-3/4 to 2" thick. So far none of it has warped and that still amazes me!

I'm planning to reach out to Derrick at Billiard Restoration to get his opinion.

We might be talking at cross purposes so I will clarify where you gave me the idea, then bow out of this.

In post #42 I commented:
that table is before WW1; probably before 1900.
From restoration perspective, the good news is that i think those are all solid wood. Given your descrption of storage conditions veneer would be peeling off in sheets. Solid wood framing moves a bit more with the seasons but is a heck of a lot easier to work with & fix.

you responded in post #44:

The top of the rails is solid oak, but the sides are definitely veneered.
.
The veneer is hanging on well to most of rails, but not to sides of the table where the veneer is lifting in sheets. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it. I probably can re-glue a lot of the loose veneer, but I don't know if its worth it, so I may end up installing new veneer. I also found a few broken support pieces......

I have assumed the rail caps were solid oak on those.
i thought the frame rails were solid lumber. (From oak frame tables of that era I have seen)
In some posts including #72 you say it is solid lumber despite saying inprevious that it is veneered.

As for the rest of the table I'm not exactly sure what type of wood it is (poplar??), but its solid and ranges in thickness from 1-3/4 to 2" thick. So far none of it has warped and that still amazes me!

I do see your point that it actually might not be BBC since many tables of the era were framed similarly and apparently not a few may have copied the brand leader. Will remain agnostic on that since ther is little to go by from here. Good idea to reach out to Billiard Restoration. Many of us will be interested in results.

good luck with it however you decide to proceed.

smt
 
Last edited:

BeerBrewer

New member
Sorry for all of the confusion....my fault. Just to clarify, I attached a few more pics.

Below is a pic of one of the rails with the bumper still attached. The top of the rails are 3/4" solid oak (you can see diamond sight in it) and sides are poplar that were oak veneered. The veneer that came off is laying next to the rail. This piece came off whole, but most didn't.

The other three pics are of the support structure and sides of the table. Two of the pics show both sides of the ends of the table. One shows the veneered side and reddish side shows underside and the corner supports. The other pic shows the two longer sides and the support beams that go underneath. It seems like the inside of wood was stained red at some time, I assume when it was made. All of this wood is solid and fairly thick (1-3/4" to 2"). Its dirty and you can see one of the corner leg supports needs to be repaired, but otherwise it seems ok.

Lastly when I said "solid" I meant that there is no laminated wood, plywood or particle board used on it that you might find on newer table . I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't veneered. So all the wood you see on the table when is put together was oak veneered (very thin) except for the top of rails, which seems to be 3/4" oak. Sorry for the confusion. I haven't discussed the legs because these are not any good and are being replaced.

As suggested above, I send a few pics over to Derrick at classicbilliards.net to get his opinion on this. His opinion, will greatly effect what I do with this table. If he tells me that this is definitely a Brunswick table I will do my best to restore it back to its original condition. If he can't say what it is or tells me that its definitely not a Brunswick, I'll probably still restore it, but I'll be just making it playable. For instance I'll make new legs instead of buying turned legs to match the original and I might not re-veneer it. I might just sand down the poplar, stain and finish it, put new cloth on it and just use it.

I know a lot of you think I'm nuts, heck even my wife does, but I really enjoy working with wood and restoring old furniture. Lastly I really appreciate everyone's input. I'll let you know what Derrick thinks.

Happy Holidays!
 

Attachments

  • Front and back 2.jpg
    Front and back 2.jpg
    137.8 KB · Views: 39
  • support pieces.jpg
    support pieces.jpg
    171.8 KB · Views: 40
  • rail sample.jpg
    rail sample.jpg
    164.7 KB · Views: 40
  • back and front.jpg
    back and front.jpg
    199.1 KB · Views: 41

Ssonerai

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I know a lot of you think I'm nuts, heck even my wife does, but I really enjoy working with wood and restoring old furniture. Lastly I really appreciate everyone's input. I'll let you know what Derrick thinks.

Happy Holidays

Any updates on table ID?

thanks.

smt
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
He gets like that. Might be smoky in his noggin, not sure.

Many of us are enjoying your journey, thanks for sharing.

Perhaps it is possible that over the years pieces of other tables were used to (re) build what you've got. Not completely implausible, I guess.

That notwithstanding, I know many local brunswick dealers did have their own nameplates fitted onto the tables they sold. The antique I gave away had non-b'wick nameplate and the guy I have it to chose to keep the dealer's tag coz it was bigger that the brunswick one.
 

pw98

Registered
You stated that the frame rails are not solid wood. As a woodworker you are no doubt aware that Brunswick & most manufacturers of high grade furniture of the period before good plywood was available used 5 Ply construction to add stability to wide plank faces & components. AFA BBC tables after 1900 mostly on glued up thick polar cores. Generally with relatively thick poplar crossbands from 1/28” up to .050” thick rotary cut. Face veneers were generally the standard (for pre 1960’s) 1/28” (.036”) thick plain sliced or QS sliced depending on species.

There is not a lot of point in re-veneering old construction unless it can be 2-plied each face, with traditional thickness veneers. Not the modern paint-thin options. I resaw all my own veneers for most work.

If you are familiar with hot hide glue veneer work as was used for billiard tables and really all interior woodwork in those days, re-attaching the old veneers is not terribly onerous. Just tedious. If the process is unfamiliar, and if you question the quality of your rails, as a project it would probably be easiest to keep the slate an start over making your own table construction from scratch. For instance, do you even know/have confidence that the glued up cores of the frame are sound under the veneer? They don’t need to be if both sides are adequately 2-plied as original. But if you are thinking of stripping them for new veneer, it could be one more gotcha.

Re the label - I suspect the original became loose at some point & got set aside or someone removed it as a souvenir. The labe installed is from a later era table. This model was not valuable enough in the past to “ counterfeit”

Here are the BR rail cap pix, scroll to end to see end view of construction & thickness.


smt
I think the original labels on brunswick tables of this era were carved and filled with lead which eventually got destroyed. Most of them now have a replacement label.
 

BeerBrewer

New member
As promised I sent a few pics of the table pieces to two pool table restoration experts, one of them was Derrick at Billiard Restoration. Both agreed that the table was most likely a Narragansett or possibly an Algeria. Basically the same table with different legs. The Narragansett has nice turned wooden legs and Algeria has square legs. Funny, but one of them even asked me if I had fireplace! They both said that the table isn't particularly rare and that I could probably find another one in very good condition for $5000 to $10,000. They both said that it would not make sense to have it restored because it would be way too expensive to pay to have it done. They added that if I was into wood working and had some attachment to the table that it could be repaired. Both of them also told me that if I'm going to restore it that I should take it completely 100% apart and re-glue the joints when reassembling it. I also heard back from Brunswick and they think that table was made any where between 1880 and 1904.

So I've started gently taking it apart and its progressing very slowly because I don't want to split anything. A couple of the support pieces that would sit on the legs are broken, but I've found a local source for 2" thick poplar, so these won't be hard to repair. I also bought a 5' 1x6 piece of white oak and I've made a new rail for the poorly repaired one. It's all cut and shaped to fit, I'm just waiting for new diamond inlays. I ordered enough for the whole table, quite a few of the old ones are missing or very discolored. I'm debating on what to do about the beam that sits crosswise in the middle of the table between the two longer sides. As it dries it is getting quite checked (cracks in the wood) and I don't know if its strong enough anymore (well I don't trust it). I am not sure if I should make a new one out of a solid piece of poplar or beef up the original one by laminating it with two pieces of 3/4" plywood (one on each side). Using plywood is the cheaper solution since I already own it and I also think it would be stronger as well, but using plywood may greatly diminish the value of the table, if I ever want/need to sell it.
 

Dan_B

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
oooh, tables have come by, to be shown, that are all patched up, "Frankensteined" some say, in a way to just get them to play, and play they do in a place where the game is the only thing that matters.

carry on, it's just a shame, maybe...
..that the table completed and placed in the location you describe won't get its full potential of the players' potential.
 
Last edited:
Top