Playing a good game of pool, whether with a friend or a stranger is supposed to be an enjoyable and leisurely past time. The game is a contest of skill between two opponents of equal caliber, and if not equal caliber, then at the very least, playing on an evenly level field.
Like any other sport, take basketball or football for example, even if the talent is not equal the field of play is equal. In basketball, no matter where the two teams play, the court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. In football, the opposing teams know that they will be battling on a field that is exactly 100 yards long and 53 and 1/3 yards wide. In either instance, the players know that they will be competing on a court or field with no irregularities and no surprises. The same can not always be said for the game of pool.
If a pool table is not properly cared for, there can, and indeed will be many irregularities and surprises. These uncertainties van surely make for an aggravating and frustrating game, devoid of pleasure.
5 Ways to Test Your Pool Table For Damage
From time to time you may have to have your pool table's felt surface repaired or replaced. While that's true, almost never should you have to have your table's rail cushions replaced.
Properly used and cared for, a pool table's rail cushion rubber has a lifespan of 25-50 years. This lifespan is severely reduced if your table is misused, exposed to temperature or moisture extremes, or improperly stored.
Extreme heat, cold or moisture can cause your table's rail rubber to become either, brittle or very hard. Here are five tests that you can perform, in order to tell if your pool table has suffered significant rail rubber damage:
- Listen - Shoot a ball into each rail. The ball should rebound with moderate to fast speed, but most importantly, you should be able to hear the exact same sound as you go around the table.
- Squeeze - Using pressure from your fingers, systematically go around the table squeezing your table's rail cushions. You should be able to squeeze the cushion a moderate distance of between 1/8" and 1/4".
- Feel - Using your fingers, run your hands around and under the table rails, where the edges hang over the table's playing surface. You are feeling for worn grooves and tracks under the felt. If you find any, this is an indication of worn cushions. this type of wear will cause the rails to be less "springy".
- Spin - Shoot a ball straight ahead int each rail using high speed and moderate topspin. If the ball jumps more than an inch or so, the rail cushions probably need to be replaced.
- Rebound - Roll a ball slowly at each rail and note the reaction. If the ball comes to a stop, your rails are worn and need to be replaced. On the other hand, if the ball springs back into the playing field, you're ok. Also, note the angles of rebound. If the rebound is consistent with the angle of incidence you're in good shape.
4 Essential Pool Table Accessories For Proper Table Maintenance
- Pool Table Cover - Always cover your table after use, no exceptions.
- Horse Hair Brush - You may be tempted to buy a synthetic bristled brush, but horse hair is much softer and gentler on the table felt.
- Vacuum - Use a low suction vacuum to remove debris from the table surface.
- Soft Towels - Dirty balls cause excess wear on the playing surface. Use hot water and a soft towel to clean them after every few games.
Use these tips and you can enjoy your table for many more years to come.