Pool/Billiards/slate seams


QUESTION: Hi Bill, I have a 3 piece slate table going on 15 years. I had it installed originally by a pro installer who used plaster for seams. Eventually it cracked at seams and you could feel dust under cloth. 5 years later I decided to do it myself and I used Durhams rockhard putty, again having cracked at seams it did however seem to last longer than plaster. My table is in a finished basement so Ive read that wax may not be a good choice for humid areas. So I actually used a good quality elastomatic acrylic caulk I applyed a bead then wiped off with damp putty knife I know it wont crack it stays flexable. I filled imperfections and bolt holes with durhams. Its been 2 weeks and and it seems fine. So my question is before I cover it, can you think of any reason this may be a bad idea? Sorry for the long post     Thanks, Jeff

ANSWER: Hi Jeff,

I've never used elastomatic acrylic caulk so I can't really advise you on it. My only concern might be that I wonder if it may stain the cloth. Beeswax is not my choice for any installation because once it's been used you have a hard time using anything else. You have to scrub the slate very well with turpentine or nothing else will stick to it.

I've switched to using poly-filled resin like Bondo exclusively. If beeswax has been used I clean it off with turpentine and use Bondo. Never had a problem with it.

My guess is you're probably okay with the caulk. If it "wicks up" and stains the cloth at least you won't have to redo the rails. But you could put a super thin layer of Bondo on it, over top of the caulk just to be sure.

Play well and enjoy,


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QUESTION: Hi Bill, Thanks for your responce. The only reason I didn't use bondo is because I thought I might do damage to slate on future disassembly. I had some chipping with the Durhams.  Have you had any problems on disassembly where bondo was used? I like your idea about the thin layer of bondo. Thanks Jeff

I asked that exact question to life-long table mechanic Pat Sheehan. He got a little firm with me and said that every table he worked on since 1965 he used Bondo and has never had a problem. (!!) He did say that if you were sealing a large gap and using a lot of Bondo he would score it with a razor before picking up the opposite edge of the slate to break the seal. Personally I've never had to use a large enough amount of Bondo to cause me to worry about it.


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Bill Newsted


I can answer questions related to shot-making, aiming, position play, strategies, practice, mental preparation and the psychology of the game. Also, rules as they vary from venue to venue and how to become a winning player. I have experience recovering and maintaining tables and will also answer questions related to cues and billiard equipment. However, I prefer not to make brand recommendations. I do not offer information identifying old tables and equipment or estimating their values.


I have played over forty years in every state in the US (except Alaska). My experience is largely in pool rooms but I have also played extensively on bar tables and in league organizations. I have directed numerous tournaments up to the professional level and have played several world champion players. I am a former Billiard Congress of America instructor.


B.S. in Visual Communication M.A. in Education: Career and Technology Education

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