Billiards / Pool / Snooker Table

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Billiards TableA billiards table is used to play billiard games like carom billiards, pocket billiards, or snooker. Regardless of the game, the table used in all these games is made of similar materials and they almost resemble in sizes. All billiards table are flat rectangular surface made of slate, covered by a cloth and surrounded by elastic cushions. The tables used in the three games differ slightly in dimension only. We will take a look at billiards/pool/snooker one by one.

History of Billiards/Pool/Snooker Table
The table used earlier for billiards game were very costly. The table beds were made of wood so they usually warped after few years. Nostandard sizes or shapes were predefined. The manufacturing of billiards table took a U-turn in 1826. John Thurston of England invented the slate bed, thus providing the table a far smoother surface. Slate was a lot heavier than wood, so the tables were a lot sturdier. Further making of the billiard cushions out of vulcanized rubber, cork and leather started. Then the green cloth/felt was introduced to the new slate tables to produce a pool table akin to those used today. Marble tables were also used but only by a small section of premium class, because the costs were too high.

Carom Billiards Tables
Carom billiards table is used for games like cushion caroms, three cushion billiards, straight rail etc. These tables are pocket less. The shape is almost rectangular and the regular dimensions of a table are: 10' x 5'. In recent days, 9' x 4.5' is becoming popular.

The cloth laid over the billiards table often absorbs moisture. Due to it, the slate is often heated to keep moisture out of cloth and to aid the balls rolling and returning in an efficient manner. Under international rules a heated table is required for some specific carom games.

Pocket Billiards Tables
Pocket billiard table, also known as pool tables, are used for different pool games like eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool and one pocket. These tables have six pockets one each at four corners and one each at the mid of each longer sides. The pockets have hanged bags, made of leather or plastic, to collect the balls. There is a drawer below the table, which is connected to all six pockets through channels, which collects all the balls.

Snooker Table
A snooker table measures 11' 8.5'' x 5' 10''. The height of top of cushion from the floor is between 2'9.5'' to 2'10''. There are six pockets of about 3.5'' in diameter. Snooker table pockets are rounded as compared to billiards table.

An inconvenience with a full size snooker table is the size of the room (at least 22ft x 16 ft) required to hold the large table. Thus it lessens the number of locations where snooker can easily be played. While pool tables are common to bar and pubs, snooker tends to be played either in private surroundings or in public snooker halls.

Materials used in different portions of the table have their own characteristics which help in improving the game.

  • Cushions: All type of billiards table have cushions along the edges. It is sometimes known as rails too. Cushions are made of elastic materials such as synthetic or vulcanized rubber. The main purpose of cushion is to provide a surface which rebounds the balls without letting them loose much kinetic energy.

  • Slate: Slate is one of the important factors to consider before buying a billiard table:
    • The surface of all types of tables are made of slate of thickness between ¾ '' to 2''. One inch slates are most common and approved for tournament play. It either comes as 1 piece or 3 piece. Three piece slate is common and best because it offer a more accurate leveling of your table. Slate should be attached directly to the frame with screws.

    • The slate joints must be in the same plane within .005 inch after leveling. Tournament tables must have a set of slates consisting of three pieces of equal size with wooden frame of at least ¾ inch (1.905 cm) thick attached underneath the slate.
  • Rails: Rails must be of solid wood as it play a part in the way the ball returns. The rails must be tightly bound to the table with screws to get the perfect cushion response. Rail width must be between 4inch to 7 ½ inch including the rubber cushions.
Billiards Table Buying Guide
Billiards Table Buying Guide: There is a lot of thing to consider before buying a billiards table. Here are some useful tips which will help you in buying a billiards table which suits you from every corner.
  • Size of table: The size of table should be according to the size of room in which table is to be accommodated. At first measure the dimension of the room. Billiards table generally come in three major sizes: 7 feet, 8feet, 9feet. The dimension of playing surface of each of these tables:
    • 7feet table- 39'' x 78''
    • 8feet table- 44'' x 88''
    • 9feet table- 50'' x 100''
    Size of rails add another extra 10'' to 12'' on all four sides of the table.

  • Size of cue: You should choose the size of a cue according to room size. The standard length of a cue is 57''. Other cue sizes are : 42'', 48'', 52''

  • Materials Used in The Table
    • Legs: The legs of table must be of wood.
    • Frame: Frame is that part which is attached to legs and upon which the slate is laid. It is mainly made of two types of materials : Solid wood and MDF.

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