When Buying New: 3 Important Questions


Do you want your Table to just look good or Play good as well?
Where will your Warranty come from?
Who is setting up your Table?

5 important factors to consider when buying New or Used a table.


Size: How to Measure for your room

  • The most common length of a pool cue is 57"-58".
  • This means you will need 5 feet around the playing surface of your table to play comfortably.
  • Although shorter cues are available for that not quit perfect shot.

What is a regulation size tables.

  • Must have a length that is twice the width of the playing surface.
  • Note: All tables are regulation size.

Most commonly used sizes are now 7', 8' and 9' tables.  

To measure a table place a tape measure on the inside of the rubber and measure to the opposite side.

  • 39" x 78" for a 7'
  • 44" x 88" for a 8'  46" x 92" for a Oversized 8' (Usually older Dufferin Tables)
  • 50" x 100" for a 9'
  • 56" x 112" for a 10'
  • 62" x 124" for a 12'

I have included a chart for your convenience to measure your room size (click here to download).

Slate: Tables are classified as Slate and Non-slate Models.

  • If it does not have a slate top on it is not going to be able to provide a true and level playing surface.
  • Lined or Backed slate is Best.
  • This allows the cloth to be stapled on.
  • The liner reduces the sound as the ball rolls over the slate top.
  • Slate Liners are attached to slate usually made of Particle board as this is the best for adhesion and holding staples
  • Solid wood liners tend to eventually warp and become un-attached from the slate
  • Cheap made plywood from over seas will break apart very easily when the staples are taken in and out.
  • Plain slate
  • Means you have to glue the cloth on
  • Small amount of cloth is left behind each time you change the cloth
  • The cloth can not be stretched as tight

The best slate is from Italy and Brazil, both of these countries have been milling slate to "10:1,000" for years.

Quality of Play: Rubber and Cloth

Many customers get caught up in looking at the design and colour of the table and forget that they are buying not just to look at

Your table is being purchased to play on.

There is rubber under the cloth on the rails

Be sure to check all 6 rails to see how they play

All companies have Natural Gum Rubber.

Where the difference is how the rubber is mixed with other compounds than baked to make it into a playable rail. Test Your

Table: When rolling a ball across the table with a average shot the ball need to bounce off both rails or like wise end to end it should be able to travel the best part of the tables length

if not you will be forced to hit hard and not able to concentrate on accuracy.  
Ask how long their warranty is on the rubber and how to collect if needed.

Olhausen has a life time guarantee on "Accu-fast" rubber specially made to their standards in the USA. (the Best Money can Buy)

Legacy offers a 25 year warranty

Break down of how to determine if it is Pool or Snooker Table

Pool Table
Pool Tables
Use 21/4" balls are used for Pool tables with "V" Shaped rubber and angled corners approaching the pocket opening.
Both sets of balls should be the same size on the same table.
This shows a standard Pool table opening, using a 21/4" ball.

Snooker Table

Snooker Tables

Snooker tables can be any size 3x6', 31/2x7',4x8',41/2x9',5x10' or 6x12' like the pro's use.
 They use a upside down "L" shaped rubber
 Making the edge where the ball strikes be a flat surface about 3/8" ( rather than a point)
 Note: the rubber has a curve going into the opening.
The Ball size is 21/16" for these tables and both your Numbered set and snooker set would be 21/16" for a snooker table.

Cloth: A key factor that the individual dealer decides.

  • Not all cloth plays the same or last the same.
  • A good quality blended cloth will get about 2000 hours of play
  • Where as most dealers sell blended cloth that will only last 800-1000 hours.

Worsted cloth will play faster, but shows more wear

  • Very often it is used to compensate for poor quality of rubber.
  • Used by Pro's & Coin-op tables that are not designed to play well but make the owners money.
  • If this is what you are looking for and is the trade off
  •     Speed for longevity and ball control
  •     What's more important to you.

Ask us about the differences, a

Construction: Just because it is made of solid wood does not make it the best.  

Solid wood allows us to make nicer looking more decorative designs

  • Usually better quality of finishing.
  • Just because the seller says it is solid wood Is it really all solid wood?

Or are just certain components like legs and Top rails only. Many manufactures use veneers over a variety of products and tell customers they have solid wood tables.

Finish Quality is extremely important

  • The top rails gets rubbed, brushed and abused on a regular bases when being played on.
  • A high gloss finish Does not stand up as well
  • Take a look at look at high gloss hard wood floors finishes after just a few months.
  • Over seas use a variety of solid wood and do not always use as high a quality of finish
  • Some times colour and gloss all in one spraying.
  • Question how long it will stay looking like that
  • How long do you need your table to stay looking nice.

Olhausen uses premium North American woods and all finishes have from 6-12 coats to produce the finished Product

How the frame is assembled and the legs are attached:

  • When playing on a table we constantly lean on the surface
  • The most weight is in the slate
  •     On the top of your table
  • When our weight causes shifting on the legs
  •      You do not want the supports to wiggle loose over time.

Thin Steel brackets VS Solid wood

  • Not all Steel Brackets are made the same.
  • 1/16" steel Brackets Flex and are generally attached with barrel bolts screwed into the frame
  • a 10 lbs leg attached to the bottom allows them to regularly loosen over time.

Permanent Solid wood brace

  •  Create a solid connection

Quality hardware makes a difference when assembling and taking apart a table

  • Poor quality Hardware make a difficult job for the mechanic to work on the table.
  • Adds wear and tear to table Life

With such a big investment, do you really trust your self to get the most out of your table when assembling.


When buying used:

  • If the table is advertised with 10-12 cues
  •      Are any of them likely that good?
  • A good quality maple cue will make all the difference in your playing experience.

When Buying New:

  • Dealers decide what kind of cues, balls and brushes to add to your table.
  • If a WEB site is stating you will want to upgrade maybe that is a warning of what quality their tables are as well.

What make a good quality Maple Cue?

Selection of wood is important

  • The feral on the end that the glued on tip is attached should be of a yellowish or off white colour
  • Stay away from screw on tips
  •      The hard plastic feral will break quickly when used.

The quality of the joint is tricky for a beginner to determine

The 2 pieces of metal should not be of the same type,

1 piece cues will play better but lack the ability to travel with you.

The wrap on the handle should be of leather or Pressed Irish linen

  • Never nylon or polyester
  • It unravels in a few weeks you will be looking for new cues.

The best balls are phenolic resin they have a yellowish look not a bright white finish

  • they are harder and more durable
  • More scratch resistant
  • Just play better

How do I install a pool table?


All manufactures will agree that a slate pool table should only be installed by a trained pool table mechanic.

Warranty on a table is only honored by manufactures when the table is installed by a qualified mechanic.

When installing the table all pieces of slate must be true and flat, this is not something the average handyman is going to be able to do. Proper tightening of all screws is important, too tight and there is a chance of a crack while too loose could leave the table room to move. Stretching the felt takes years of experience to master. One must be sure to have correct tautness in order for the table to play and wear properly. The alignment and positioning of the rails also play a critical part of how the table will play.  

Here at All About Billiards, Mark has 35 years of experience,  that means he has worked on thousands of tables not only “The best in billiards” but on all brands. “The table is only as level as the person who put it together.” Do you want to invest your hard earned money on a table and not have it play the best it can?

Are all natural gum rubber rails the same?


There are five grades of natural gum rubber.

Most slate pool table manufactures claim to have natural gum rubber and say they meet BCA standards. This may be true but the higher the grade of gum rubber, the more accurate the rebound of the ball and the more lively the response.

Olhausen is the only company to offer the Accu-fast cushion with a lifetime warranty, made from premium grade rubber mixed with proprietary chemicals and pigments to increase accuracy.  Anti revision chemicals are used to prevent the rubber from reverting back to its natural state. A true k-66 face profile is used as a standard for over a century. 100% bonding, compared to 66% used by most manufactures ensures the best possible end product. Of coarse the cushions are made in the USA to unsure the quality control need to produce the most important part of the game.

What the rubber is attached to also makes a difference in the play of the ball. A hard backing secured properly to the slate will make all the difference in how the ball will react. A rail secured with free floating plates held by a staple will vibrate loose and change the play of your table.  This will also need regular tightening to keep in place and have a rattling sound. Olhausen tables are installed on only hardwoods using “T nut” construction. This combined with high quality bolts and washers maintain a consistent level of play.

Is there different types of body construction, they all look similar from the top?


Many tables designed have been copied from other larger brand manufactures. The problem with a copy is that corners are cut to make the selling price lower. Most of us have heard the saying “You only get what you pay for”, this very true in pool table designs.

Most copies are made over seas with inexpensive labour, therefore the attention to detail is lost because of non skilled workers. The frame is made of many pieces so more tables can be packed into shipping container, the quality of wood is generally overlooked which can cause the finished table warp in the future. Just because the lumber is from North America does not mean the wood is high quality.

Cheap low quality lumber makes for a poor strength final product that has lots of screw, bolts and metal brackets that weaken the overall integrity of the table. A true flat surface is needed to stabilize the slate.  

We do not drive a car with four bald tires, or build a house on a weak foundation: why would we buy a table the will shift when you put any weight against it.

Does the thickness of the slate make a better playing table?


No. The thickness of slate is not as important as where it comes from and how it is finished. More importantly, what is the slate being laid on?

For many years the standard thickness of billiard table slate was ¾”, making 1” an upgrade for 4x8 tables.  The thickness of the slate has minimal effect on the overall playability of the table.

Dufferin Tables: No longer made, ussually never atached the slate to frame. This made it a free floating bed of slate. Much, much harder to keep level.

If the slate shifts there will be a very slight bump between the slates causing the cloth to get a wear mark as it passes over the area of the table.

Olhausen offers 1” thick slate, with a bed liner glued to the back as a standard.  By attaching a bed liner with glue not screws, the ball will have less vibration sound when rolling on the table; this also provides a more stable piece of slate when handling during shipping and installation. The bed liner also offers the ability to staple cloth to the slate instead of gluing. Stapling will allow for a much more controlled installation and removal of cloth, therefore improving the end playing enjoyment.

Does slate warp?


No, slate can not warp. The best slate in the world comes from Italy and Brazil; hundreds of years working with the stone have provided them with experience needed to create the highest quality finish.  Diamond honed slate is ground on the top surface with a series of peaks allowing the surface to be much truer and flat. Many tables now offer slate from the orient.

 If the slate is not true and flat before it is installed than how will a mechanic be able to make it level on the table?

What should I look for when buying a used table?


When buying used there are many factors that come into play.

What shape is the cloth in, and does it need to be replaced?

Does it have a slate bed in it?

Does the table have good working rubber on all 6 cushions,

Is the rubber the same age and consistency for the table to play properly. This is an expensive part of the table to replace if the rails are dead.

The way to check the rails for lively, consistent play is to bounce a ball off of all 6 rails.  The ball should bounce off far enough for a bank shot to be made in any pocket.  The harder we have to hit the ball the less accuracy we will have.  The rails are the key to a table playing well.

What shape are the accessories in?

What kind of wood is the table made from, or is it even real wood?

A table should be set up and moved by a professional. Each slate slab can weight between 145 pounds and 375 pounds. If a piece of slate is damaged during transportation you will want to replace all 3 as they should be a matched set.  

There are several different bolt hole patterns, Therefore they do not fit every table.

You should also be aware of wether or not the table has the type of rails you want (pool or snooker).

Very often you can purchase a new Pool  table, complete with no headaches for about the same price, as a used table that is filled with many hidden costs.

Everything you need to get playing is included, plus professional installation.

For many customers a billiard table is a “once in a life time purchase”, this is why it is so important you know what you getting for your money.

By contacting our store we can educate you about what to look for and give you comparable pricing from new to used.

We will also educate you about the details of what makes up a great playing table.  

If you decide to buy used we can move it, recover it, replace rails, or just sell you the accessories you will require.

Making a educated purchase is always the easiest one.