When shopping for a pool table, whether new or used, there are a few very important things to consider about the slate. One is not required to have knowledge of the game or even to have played. The few key points outlined in this article will help to educate you on your purchase and make a safer investment.
A very common misconception is that one piece slate pool tables are “better” than three piece slate designs. This is by no means a true statement for anyone looking to put a pool table in their home or even use it for professional play.
“Obviously a three piece slate is easier to move but what about the seams?”.
If a three piece slate pool table is moved and installed correctly the seams will be undetectable. A one piece slate pool table tends to sag over time in the middle no matter how much support is added. Even steel cannot support the weight of the slate without eventually beginning to sag. A three piece slate pool table is adjustable. Each piece can be leveled (this process is also known as planing the slate) within tolerances of.005 in./sq. ft. The seams will then be sealed with a torch and bee’s wax and the excess wax will then be scraped off for an undetectable seam.
“Framed Slate, Unframed Slate and Slate Liners… What’s the deal?”
The Worst: No slate – MDF or particle board play surfaces. Bottom Line: Don’t waste your time!
Next to Worst: Slate Liners – These are used to fool people into believing that they are purchasing a framed slate design. The cloth will be shaped down (which is good) but the MDF “liner” will be attached to the frame instead of the slate which sags very quickly to the weight of the slate. Bottom Line: Try to avoid these if you can.
It’ll Do: Unframed Slate – This design normally promises a solid construction without having to worry about the MDF sagging because there is no MDF. The only disadvantage is that a the pool table felt must be glued down because there is nothing to staple to. Bottom Line: You can save a few bucks but try to upgrade to framed slate if you can afford it.
The Cat’s Meow: Framed Slate – This slate design offers the best of both worlds. With an MDF backing attached to slate, normally with adhesive or screws, there is no sagging involved because the MDF is attached to the slate itself. Another plus is that the felt can be stapled down for a tighter pull and faster play surface. Bottom Line: Go for it!
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