English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : October, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : October, 1911

The Care of the Billiard Table

“However much a table has been neglected it can almost
always be made as good as new at a small cost, if you go to
a good billiard table manufacturer. It is no more use
employing an ordinary cabinet maker than it would be to
send a gold watch to be repaired by a blacksmith.”

So says “Billiards Simplified,” and the advice is quite
good. But it is even better to take such care of one’s table
that a drastic overhauling is rarely, if ever, required. To
speak the truth a good billiard table deserves to be taken
care of. Its life is practically endless and the pleasure that
it affords is ceaseless. It is gratifying, too, when a friend
drops in for an evening’s play to hear him remark upon the
perfect condition of the table. If he be a good player—and
these are the best friends to invite for a game—he will
probably make such a remark and will mean every syllable
of it. If he be a poor or a careless player his appreciation
of the playing conditions will be less warmly expressed, but
even a poor player may have a kind of an instinct that one
table is better than another, and such a table may as well
be yours.

Here are a few practical hints, many of which are quite
elementary, but all of which are worthy of attention.

The table should be brushed working from the baulk end
to the spot end, and the brush may be used with either backward
or forward movement to remove any deep chalk
marks. Finally finish by brushing towards the spot end,
and, just before ironing, use the brush in the same slow and
continuous manner as with the iron. We have mentioned
the brushing out of deep chalk marks, but really Spinks’
green cue food should be used, as this obviates much of the
extra labour that is involved where ordinary common chalk
is employed.

When a table is in a very dusty room a duster steeped
in cold water and wrung almost dry may be folded round
the brush and used in the same manner as when ironing
the table. This picks up dust that would otherwise be
brushed through the cloth.

To heat the iron a gas stove or ordinary fire may be used
but care must be taken that the iron is heated evenly. If
the iron is hotter at one end it will mark and streak the
cloth. The iron should also be quite clean (which can be
done with emery cloth) and the heat of the iron should be
tested on white paper or a cloth to make certain that it is
not likely to scorch the cloth.

Now place the iron lightly on the table at the baulk end
and move it broadside towards the spot end, and parallel
with the side of the table. When the spot end is reached,
lift up the iron, taking care that it does not touch the
cushion, and return with it to the baulk end. Let the next
swathe of the iron overlap the mark made previously and
repeat the process to the centre of the table. Do the other
side similarly, but now work the iron towards the side from
the middle. This allows the heat to be distributed fairly
over the entire cloth.

Be very particular not to allow the iron to press or slide
against the cushions as by doing so the face of the cloth
becomes polished and this will cause the balls to jump.

Never, under any circumstances, iron the cushions. The
rubber used for a modern Burroughes and Watts’ table
needs no heating by any method. Should the table be
thought slow attention must be paid to the cloth and if this
is slack it should be stretched, as this will greatly improve
the run of the balls.

A new cloth must always be stretched after being fixed
a few months, and the cloth ought also to be taken off occasionally
in order to have the slates cleared of dust beneath,
which often prevents the balls from running truly.

A few miscellaneous hints may be given in conclusion:—
1.—Put any new spots on the table after ironing and not
before.

2.—Do not lay cigars or cigarettes on the cushion rails
whilst playing, as these burn and blister the polish.

3.—Do not sit on the table. This may force a cushion
out of shape and cause balls to rebound at an incorrect
angle.

4.—Have the leathers covering the pocket plates renewed
as soon as they are worn through, otherwise the balls will
strike the metal.

5.—Should a cloth be cut, do not interfere with it by glueing
or gumming to the slate. Matters are often made
worse in this manner, and it is far better to send for a
practical man.


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