Pool Tables: Timeless Generational Fun

Pool Tables: Timeless Generational Fun

Growing up in the 80’s meant we did a lot with friends in person as there was no internet or cell phone to be a time suck. Looking back at my childhood, I’m so thankful for that as we had a lot of backyard parties, movie nights or just played pool on the giant pool table in my living room. Even today when traveling, if I see a pool table at a hotel rec room or restaurant, I can’t resist shooting a game of two of pool. Although I have loved the timeless game, I’ve never really had an appreciation for how pool tables are actually made. There’s so much that goes into a quality table!

How are Pool Tables Made

Pool is a common pastime for most folks these days. The popularity of this table game has grown over the years since the initial idea during the 15th century which metamorphosed into what we have today. Nevertheless, most people don’t have an inkling about how pool tables are made.

This is why custom pool tables made by pool-playing enthusiasts are in short supply. Hence, in this article, we will reveal to you how pool tables are made. 

What Raw Materials are used?

The surface material which is most preferred and approved by the Billiards Congress of America (BCA) is the slate especially one in its natural state. Other materials used for inexpensive tables are plastic honeycomb sheets and synthetic slate. 

Slate is usually dense and most regular tables weigh 450 pounds (200 kilograms) or more. It is the dense nature of the table that ensures its stability while it is being used. Italian slate for a while has been the more preferred type; however, many are beginning to favor the Brazilian slate these days. 

No matter the slate type, they are primed at the slate quarry. With the aid of diamond-blade saws and laser measuring equipment that are strictly controlled by a computer, the material is cut into flat sheets. The cut sheets’ thickness range from 0.75 to 1 inches (1.9 to 2.5 centimeters). 

Apart from slate, wood is another major material used. Two major types of wood are used for pool tables. The first is poplar also known as tulipwood. Tulipwood is a hardwood that has an advanced self-healing ability that enables it to hold screws firmly as well as recover well after staples are taken away. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulipwood to read more about tulipwood. Hence, it is a favorite for the table’s structural framework. 

The second wood is used to provide a beautiful finish and make up the table’s outer surfaces. Examples of these include maple, mahogany, and oak. 

The Manufacturing Procedure

There are different procedures used by different manufacturers. However, we will provide you with the general procedure used.

Components Preparation

Step 1

The edge liners and the lumber are attached to the slate’s bottom using glue around the ends. Then the broader strips are then put under the ends where the pool table’s pockets are going to be. The liners must be clamped to the slate until the glue becomes dry. 

Step 2

Using the slate’s pockets cutout outlines, you then have to saw the pockets over the liner. Drill bolts into screw holes to attach the rails to the body of the table. Make sure that the liner is drilled in such a way that it matches the holes already cut into the slate. 

Step 3 

The sides of the frame of the body are then cut from finished lumber. The top edges and corners of the sides have to be cut carefully to ensure that they incline inward at 15 degrees from the top to the bottom. You must make the frame smaller than your slate that the materials overlap on the frame’s side. After this, the table sides are then glued before being nailed together. 

Step 4 

At this point, the legs of the table are prepared. You can choose how you want the legs to be as you carve them from your preferred wood pieces. Another option would be to create hollow legs from wood sheets assembly. The legs are then glued before being screwed into the table’s corner. 

Step 5

A frame made of slate is placed on the topmost end of the table body frame. Wood strips are then attached to make it hang from the frame of the body. However, it shouldn’t overhang at the angles. Two cross member lumber should be glued before being fastened between the slate frame’s long sides. This will act as the slate seams support. You can choose to include a support that runs longitudinally. To do this, you need to place it at the midpoint of the frame’s short sides. You then cut pocket holes into the slate’s frame corners as well as the long sides. 

Step 6

The upper and lower rail parts are cut from suitable woods. You then glue it together to create six laminated portions that are long as well as thick for it to fit the pockets’ successive pair. The rail angles are then cut exactly to ensure that the rubber cushion is properly positioned. You then cut a groove along the topmost corner to allow it to accommodate the rail’s covering cloth anchoring strip.

Step 7

Sights shaped like diamonds or circles are then positioned at three different rail section locations. 

Step 8

Cut out an apron section to fit each rail section’s length. This material will be used to cover the slate’s edges, the slate frame, body frame, and liner. 

Step 9 

Every component used is then stained, well sanded, and then finished using catalyzed varnish, furniture wax, or/and lacquer. Then the rail segments are attached to the rubber cushions with glue. Click here to watch a video describing the steps above.


The steps above are how the pool/billiard tables are made. If you have questions about any part of the article, feel free to ask.