Pool Table Basics
As every pool player has realized at some point or another, the regulation pool table found in most pool halls is not the same size as those found in many homes and activity centres. Pool tables come in a full range of different sizes and are often designed quite differently to incorporate different styles of play. For instance, bumper pool is a unique form of cue games that requires a pool table with a special set of bumpers installed the middle of the table. The games of English billiards and snooker are traditionally played on ten-foot tables.
The common six pocket pool table of today shares little in common with the first billiard tables. Much like ping pong, billiards was invented as an indoor innovation to popular outdoor games such as croquet and golf. The first cue games appeared during the late sixteenth century and were played with the thin end of a mace rather than a cue. This mace was used to push the balls around the table and to keep the balls from falling off the edge of the early billiard tables. It was not until the dawn of the nineteenth century that first pool cues appeared and the sport evolved into a shooting game. The concept of pocket pool was the last innovation and was originally used as a hazard for players to avoid.
Of all of the features to take into consideration when purchasing or maintaining a pool table, none are quite as important as ensuring that the felt surface is absolutely flawless. Despite the popular nomenclature, the fabric surface of a pool table is not "felt" but a manufactured woollen textile known as baize. Because even the slightest amount of surface moisture can affect the game, some pool tables are designed to provide constant warmth to the surface of the pool table and keep it completely dry.
A solid pool table can easily last for many generations so long as it is properly cared for. Much like a musical instrument, changes in humidity and temperature greatly increase the chance of warping a pool table in ways that can be fairly difficult to repair. Other damages come from simple thoughtlessness, such as setting a sweating beverage upon the fabric of the table.
Traditionally known as cue sports, there are actually quite a large number of variations that players might choose to play outside of the traditional game of eight-ball. Other common forms of billiards include nine-ball, bank pool, one-pocket and snooker.
A professional six pocket pool table is nine feet long and four and a half feet wide. When shopping for a good pool table to use at home or a private gaming parlour, it is also important to decide whether you need a table that has been constructed out of a single slab of slate or three separate slabs. While a single slab table is more affordable, a three slab table will ensure that the table does not retain moisture.
One interesting project for the home hobbyist is purchasing a cheap, used pool table and restoring it to perfect condition. While much of the work of restoring an old pool table is involved with refinishing cosmetic flaws, the two primary steps of pool table repair are making sure that the table is absolutely level and steady and replacing the fabric surface of the table if necessary. Both of these items take a little bit of planning, but they are nothing that any home craftsman can't take on.