Slate For Pool Tables
Slate is a fine grained, homogenous, foliated rock derived from a shale type sedimentary rock composed through low grade metamorphism. Due to it’s thermal stability and chemical inertness, slate is the most common item used for the playing surface of the modern pool table. Slate is mined or quarried out of the earth and due to it’s flatness and weight makes an excellent bed for playing cue sports on. The slate represents the bed of the table and is then covered with a billiard cloth and the rectangular shaped sides are covered with vulcanized rubber cushions for the balls to rebound against.
Slate used for billiard tables typically comes from Italy, Brazil, or China. The slate is mined from the earth and is then usually re-milled and sanded for extra flatness. On a Carrom table the slate has no pocket openings. On Snooker and Pool tables however, the six half round pocket openings are cut into the slate edges.
Dimensions of Slate Pool Tables
Pool tables vary in size. The three common sizes of tables are the 7, 8, and 9’ pool table. The slate no matter what the size is always twice the length as the width. The world pool and billiard association for tournament play states that the slate thickness must be 1 inch in thickness. Slate is the highly recommended choice used for the play surface of the pool table. Other alternatives to slate may include engineered wood such as medium dense fiberboard and other synthetic composites marketed under various names that typically will be less than one inch in thickness.
The one inch thick approximately 4 x 8 sheet of slate will typically weigh around 600 lbs. The heavy weight of the slate is required to prevent movement in the table while playing pool and potentially leaning into the table while taking shots. Also, billiards is a game of extreme precision, so it is imperative that the slate bed of the table be carefully and properly leveled. This ensures accurate ball roll and consistent speed of play. In the modern era of billiards, the slate is cut into thirds, or better known as a three piece slate. Having the slate in three separate pieces allows for much easier transportation and installation of pool tables. Also, it is easier to level the three pieces for perfect flatness than it is to level a large singular slab.
Furniture Cabinets For Slate pool tables
When purchasing a pool table, there are many styles and designs to consider that may suit your personal tastes and game room décor. The essence of the game of pool is six pockets, rubber cushions, slate bed, some balls and a cue stick. That being said, this article will focus solely on the different types of furniture cabinets that pool tables are constructed with. We will ignore the playing features for now and assume for the time being that the playability on the different style tables are all equal.
Laminate Cabinets For Slate Pool Tables
The first style and typically the least expensive is the laminate-style cabinet. This type of pool table is constructed with particle board, press board or MDF (medium dense fiberboard), then covered in a laminate protective coating. These tables can range in appearance from very basic in style, to dramatic and contemporary. They are also the preferred choice for commercial establishments and professional events. So, ironically they are the beginning price point tables but also laminates can be high end heavy duty commercial tables as well.
Laminate tables will often have a gully ball return system that drops all of the pool balls into a drop area on the foot end of the table. This results in an enclosed pocket look where the top rail wraps around and “hides” the pocket, resulting in a sleek and modern design.
Another feature of laminates is the burn and scratch resistant finish. These tables are very tough and durable, making them ideal for high traffic game rooms and for kids to play freely without worry of the table being scratched or scuffed.
Veneer Cabinets For Slate Pool Tables
The next level of pool table species are the veneer cabinet tables. These tables are a very popular choice for the recreational mid-price point game room. They are a more classic and traditional design made usually of a hybrid of solid hard wood and veneer atop an engineered wood (MDF) cabinet. Veneer tables have the classic wood look and leather drop pockets however, they are usually less ornate than a solid wood table, which also keeps the price tag very reasonable and moderate for a great looking wood pool table.
Veneer cabinets can have straight or curved profiles, tapered or scrolled legs, and many features visually as that of an all hard wood table, making it a very popular choice for beginners and experienced pool players that desire a more classic design at a very fair price.
Solid Wood Cabinets For Slate Pool Tables
The third type of pool table furniture cabinet is the all solid hardwood table. The solid wood table will be by far the most prestigious of the options. These tables are built with various different wood species that include oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, teak, alder, and walnut just to name a few. Hardwood tables can have a fairly classic and simple styling yet can also be quite refined and elegant with exotic wood inlay work and intricate carvings. Of the three styles, these tables will have the strongest presence in the room. The furniture quality can be of old world design, allowing for very distinct characteristics that give them a timeless sense of grace. Hardwood tables are an investment of quality, style, and aesthetics that are for the most discerning of games rooms. The options are plenty and can result in a high level of craftsmanship infused with personal custom touches that can give you the satisfaction of a true heirloom table that will last for generations.