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Pool/Billiards/refurbishing a pool table


Hello Bill, I have an Ingraham drop pocket 8 foot slate home pool table that I purchased at Sears about 15 years ago for my son and his friends.  That son is off to Grad school and the table is now mine.  But the rails, which I believe from your earlier comments to be K55s, are dried up and the cloth is very slow.  
 I would not undertake a restoration myself, but my question is whether it is practical to replace rails and cloth on such an inferior table.   The slate seems to be intact, and the table is level enough to satisfy my standards.
 I have never been a good player and have no desires to progress past a fun game with friends.  
 Any thoughts / comments would be appreciated.    Tom

Hi Tom,

Yes, I understand very well. Bottom line? I think you have to hire someone to restore that table, from all points of consideration I can imagine.

I'll first say that real slate alone is worth more than the cost of replacing cushions and cloth. And, with good cushions and cloth it will play well enough that you and your friends can enjoy it for another fifteen years. Without new cushions it will get worse, soon, and become a large table on which you store boxes of stuff you should probably have thrown away.

Your son will be back from time to time and, gambler that I am, I'll bet a thousand he'll really enjoy hitting a few balls on the table he grew up with if it's in good shape. If it's not in good shape it will seem like part of his childhood lost, and getting rid of it would make that even more true. One of my sons lives 2,400 miles from me now; he comes home once a year at most. One of the first things he does is pull the cue I bought for him off the wall and play a few games. I also make sure his old bicycle has air in the tires because I know he'll want to ride it around the neighborhood a couple of times as he did years ago. Yeah, for better or worse it seems a part of our job is preserving the past, pieces of home base. Knowing his bike, the pool table, cue, first computer, and boxes of "kid" stuff are still around comforts him whether he's thinking about them or not.

So not only do I feel like you have to keep the table, you also have to keep it "up". But that's good. You can play a little on it, and if it plays really well I know you'll get around to it more often. Get some friends over there too, make a point of it. There is great pleasure to be found in meaningless activities, especially when done with friends. You don't have to be good at it to enjoy it.

If there are pool rooms or bars near you that have tables in good condition ask the owner who does the work for them and give them a call. Get a good medium priced cloth like Mercury Ultra and similar quality rubber. It'll probably cost you $400 - $500 but you can't buy a new table of that quality for three times that at least.

Besides, you know you really want to do it, right? :D




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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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