Refurbishing a Snooker Table
Refurbishing an Older Snooker Table can be a worthwhile project. The table may hold sentimental value or be of a workmanship that you cannot find anymore, and a well-built table does not deteriorate, even if some of the parts do, so refurbishing may be a great way to bring about a fresh look to an old table. First, this is not about Boston pool tables. Those can be too varied to deal with here. There are a few things you can change when refurbishing a table, such as cloth color and quality. You can even change the level of play by changing the mouth of the pockets when shaping new cushions for the rails. Changing the rails out for newer rails will give new bounce and play to a deteriorated rubber. However, there are a couple of things you cannot change. One of those items is the pocket iron. That is the metal that creates the shape of the throat and back of the pocket, and which is often a structural part of the table itself.
As you will see below, the mouths of snooker pockets are shaped differently from standard Boston pool, and in order to get a proper cloth fit and stretch, it is recommended that you use traditional Snooker cloth, which has a nap, and is woven differently than what you would see on an 8 or 9-ball table.
Good 8-ball cloth will be woven in such a way that the direction of the ball is not affected by the weave and will not have a nap. However, snooker cloth is woven with a nap that lies in one direction. This means that as you roll toward the top of the table, the ball will roll slightly faster than it would when returning to the bottom (baulk end) of the table.
This also means that the manner in which you care for the cloth is slightly different. You want to make sure you are brushing your cloth with the nap so as not to loosen the weave, and you may use a cloth iron to heat the table before play.
As Snooker is a more traditional game, English Green is most commonly seen, but that does not mean there are no other colors available. Hainsworth not only makes a quality English Green but will also offer a number of other non-traditional colours to change the look of your older table and give it some new life. See Hainsworth cloth options here
Cushion rubber deadens over time. It is a natural substance, and as such, you may find yourself needing to change the rail rubber at some point. This is not an easy job, but when done really brings the table back to life.
Again, Snooker and 8 ball use different styles here. An 8 Ball rail has a triangular shape allowing the ball to hit at a precise point and rebound in a lively manner. Snooker rails are “L-shaped”, and sit a little lower to the playing surface, as traditional Snooker balls are smaller in diameter.
At the mouths of the pockets, the rails need to be shaped properly, and cushioning rails is not something you can do on site. In this case, the rails need to be brought to the workshop where the old rubber is removed and used as a template to carve the mouths on the new cushions, which are then glued into place.
There are some parts of the pockets than can be repaired more easily than others. The pocket may have a torn leather or cord basket, which can be replaced and attached to the shield or iron, and this can sometimes be done on site. Reweaving a leather basket can be more time consuming and may require taking the baskets away.
Re-stretching a torn or worn leather cover or attaching a torn shield over an iron is not an easy task, and often it is easier to replace the pocket, but if you know a skilled leather worker, you might be able to stich a new shield in place, or even create a new shield to cover the iron.
There are many types of Irons and many table manufacturers have used different irons over time. If the leather shield, leather basket, or net basket can be repaired instead of replacing an entire pocket, that may be a better way to go, even though the leather working is expensive.
If the iron or the whole pocket needs to be replaced, then it is important to know exactly what iron you are looking for, as the iron not only has the proper throat shape for the table, but may be structurally part of the table itself, and it is not always obvious which iron you might have.It would be impossible to reproduce all the variations of irons, but when looking at snooker table irons, here are some of the most common shapes:
The best way to verify your iron, would be to trace it on a piece of paper, and then provide all the necessary dimensions of the piece. Example shown here:
F.G.Bradley’s will try to find the parts you need for your table, but it is not always possible. If you are looking at repairing your old Snooker table, try to find the Brand and Model, and definitely take pictures and sketch dimensions of your pockets, so we can give you our best advice, and hopefully, get your table looking great again.