Recovering a Table

This article gives an idea of how the bed cloth of a table is recovered.

This photo shows the slates that make up the bed of the table. Tables are made up of 5 slates, usually 1 1/2 inches thick, although this Orme table has a 2 inch slate.

Here, you can see the softwood that is attached to the underside of the slates so that the cloth can be tacked underneath.

When a bed is recovered the table fitter will check to see if any small scratches or holes need filling. Sometimes the edges of the slates get damaged and you get a gap where the slates join together. These are filled to ensure that the surface is smooth. In this photo you can see a small white curved area that has been previously filled.

Another view of the slates.

The new cloth is placed on the table and dragged from side to side to remove any dust, before shaking it. It is then replaced. In this case 6811 Tournament was used. This cloth is suitable for billiards because it has a nice nap.

If there is any excess cloth, such as the overhanging part here, it can be cut and used later to cover exposed areas of wood near to the pocket entrances.

The cloth is initially stretched length-wise and tacked to the softwood under the slates.

It is then stretched sideways. It is always recommended to get an experienced table fitter to do this job; beware of trying it yourself! A good table fitter will get the cloth really tight, which will make a massive difference to how the table plays. Also, fitting of the cloth around the pockets is quite an art, especially around the middle pockets, because the cloth has to be stretched so much. The 6811 cloth used for this table is slightly easier to fit than the Number 10 match cloths used in professional snooker tournaments. These Number 10 cloths hardly stretch at all and are easily ripped, particularly when fitting around the middle pockets.

Once the cloth is on the cushions can be fitted. If the cushions are of the 'non-steel' type, then you can simply attach the cushions with the bolts. However, with steel block cushions, the steels are moveable so it is advisable to use pocket templates.

A corner template.

Another type of template.

Once the cushions are on the table needs to be marked. The middle spot is a tough one to get right, because you can't use a measure to find the centre of the table due to the middle pockets being in the way. The usual way to do this is to place a screws on the spot and also on the middle spot in the D; then take a third screw and line it up to find the middle spot!