Buying a used pool table can be no different from purchasing a used car. The adage “Buyer Beware” is a good rule of thumb when purchasing used. Nothing worse than looking around spending a bunch of time trying to find something decent for the family and you acquire a lemon. Here are some simple tips to use and what to look for when shopping used.
1. Do your due diligence. It is very important to learn about the various brands prior to viewing. Is the brand discontinued?
Finding these older parts can be near impossible? Yes the typical repairs can be made such as new cloth or new cushion rubber, but the specific parts for the older brands may not be readily available such as pocket casts or irons, apron mitres, rails, legs and so on. These older brands built by companies years ago may be out of business. Those specific table components are proprietary to those brands only. Be careful not to jump in without learning about your potential lemon. Call the professionals.
2. Did you know that pool table slate for all these table manufacturers are not compatible between the different brands?
In other words the pool table makers provide the slate companies very precise measurements for cutting the slate for their tables to size, thickness, rail bolt location, pocket cuts and slate screw locations. The bottom line is slate cannot be installed for just any brand because it will not fit or the rails do not anchor. All typical results of those used purchases. Plus the do-it-yourself (or oops factor) move and you notice a single piece of slate is cracked after you bought it? The best advice is to hire companies that employee professionals that move the table and slate for you. It is the safest method not to harm themselves or damages to the home access for both parties.
3. All standard home pool table slate sets are cut into three equal pieces to make it manageable for the professional installers to move and lift.
When viewing the used table make sure to bring a flashlight with you. First to check slate condition when the table is assembled knock with your knuckles on each of the three slate pieces and listen for the pitch to be identical three times. Cracked or broken slate is very recognizable when you knock on it. The sound it a lower pitch vs. slate in good condition. Slate is the most expensive component and very difficult to replace. The flashlight will confirm the slate condition by checking underneath the table. Make sure you inspect the table thoroughly for three perfect pieces.
4. The pool table cloth will reflect the condition of the slate under it. If the cloth has a diagonal wear mark on it is a strong indicator that the slate piece is cracked or broken. Our suggestion is to walk away from this purchase. Due to safety reasons our company will not move tables where the slate is compromised. No point to put anyone in harm’s way or damage the location.
5. If the table is apart and slate is stacked or leaning against a wall still requires a proper inspection of each piece. This will require at least two people to lift or lean each piece and again knock with your knuckles. We find tables that are dismantled and for sale are more susceptible for missing parts. You need all the hardware, six pockets, six rails, six aprons and four legs (depends on size could be more). If you do not see the right amount of all these parts again we suggest to walk away from this purchase. It is best to shop for tables that are assembled in a home. Much easier to inspect the parts and playability condition. Also make sure to ask about table accessories prior to completing the deal.
6. We suggest a proper inspection of the cushion rubber. This is a vital part of this game if the rubber is not responsive it will require replacement. Ask the seller how the table plays if there much rebound left in the rails? Run balls around the table and watch the ball reaction if a quick bounce. Also listen if the rail has that distinct “thud” sound. If so it is an indicator for replacement or loose rail bolts. There are occasions when the rails are not as responsive but the rubber feels pliable. This indicates the rubber is in good condition but not glued to the rail face. The rail cloth wrapping the rail is holding the rubber in position. This is a lesser cost to remedy but requires work back at the shop. When rail rubber requires re-glue will also require new cloth. New rail cloth pieces are trimmed after installation so it is difficult to re-use the original cloth and best to replace the bed too so everything matches color.
7. You need to decide if the table requires new cloth. We suggest a change only if the cloth is worn out or if the color is not suited for your home dÃ©cor. It is best to make the change when it is professionally moved. There is a cost saving at that time. Ask the professionals for cloth prices when you inquire about labor rates to moving tables.
Contact our company for further assistance with any table move. We move all pool and snooker tables, shuffleboard tables, air hockey and so on. Our labour rates are very competitive and we offer our professionally trained team for local or long distance work.
Please do your due diligence the best you can so you don’t get stuck with that lemon. Good luck….