If you don't have a clue, don't try to do

Twice in the past week Southern Billiards has been called out to a customer's home with a work order to move their 3-piece slate pool table to a new location and found their table on its side in the room when we arrived.  It is a really bad idea to attempt to move a slate pool table of any type if you are not trained.  I suppose the most common really bad mistake is to try to move a 3-piece table while it is still  assembled.  You are pretty much guaranteed to do damage to the table and likely will never get the table out of the room, much less get it to the second house.  

I can assure you that it takes alot of experience and expertise to correctly repair and service pool tables.  At Southern Billiards each lead man is required to have at least 4 years training wilth Scott or Bryan Carpenter.  We want to assure that our technicians not only know the correct way to complete the work but that they know no other way.  Couple that with reasonable pricing, great customer service, and integrity and you have a service reputation that keeps us busy constantly.  We are glad to be there for you and your gameroom!  Thousands of pool tables are happy they have us to take care of them!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions concerning your gameroom.  You are not bothering us, it's what we do.

Always smile and always remember, Jesus Loves Us!

November 10, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

Pool table lighting

We receive several calls a day at Southern Billiards concerning lighting. First let me say that there have to be more options concerning lighting than any other gameroom item.  There are literally hundreds of options, from antique to rustic to elegant and all kinds of collegiate and theme lights.  If you are interested in a particular type of light and don't have any luck in your search feel welcomed to call us and we will try to help you.

Almost all styles of light work best if they are hung 36"-40" off of the pool table surface.  This measurement is taken from the lowest point of the globes on the light to the play surface.  In the case that the pool table is not set up yet, the dimension is 70" from the floor.  It is always easier to hang the light first as it is not a good idea to have someone standing on the pool table after it is assembled as it can cause the seam to slip or do some other damage.

There is considerable argument as to whether the newer flourescent lights are preferred over standard incandescent lights.  Personally, I love the Diamond lights that are flourescent with chrome diffuser grids under the bulbs.  For many people, however, the styling is not acceptable for their setting. Certainly any light designed for a pool  table is better than "can lights" or shop lights, which I have seen many people try to use unsuccessfully.  If you own a 9' pool table then I recommend a 4-globe light or an 8' flourescent.  

It really is an important part of the pool table, so give it some thought and try to pick what's right for you and your table and not whatever's cheapest.   

And always remember, Jesus is the light of the world!  Let His light shine in you!

October 31, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

Pool table "felt"?

I had a recent request to explain the differences in pool table "felt" available now at Southern Billiards.  Pool table cloth  is certainly a widely misunderstood subject-so let's clarify some things.

Pool table felt is not really felt even though it consists primarily of wool.  Billiard "fabric" or pool table "cloth" are really more correct terms.   Even a cheaper grade of billiard cloth is still manufactured to much higher standards than most textile products.  I have gone on jobs to do a recover and the homeowner had attempted to install a standard wool felt from a fabric store!!  What a mess!  Sometimes it's best to let the professionals do some jobs.

Let's examine the biggest difference between billiard table cloth types-standard "fuzzy" cloth and worsted wool.  Both standard and worsted cloth have a little bit of nylon to allow for "stretch" and makes it easier to upholster the corners and pockets with the cloth.  A good mechanic is able to cover the bed and rails quickly with no wrinkles or loose spots on the table.

Fuzzy cloth is just that.  The manufacturing process for this cloth is cheaper and leaves fibers of the yarn sticking up creating a thicker, slower playing surface.  Because of this it is necessary to train the cloth after it is installed on your table.  This is accomplished by brushing the table with a pool table brush from the head of the table toward the foot in a straight line.  It is common knowledge in the billiard industry that the table should always be brushed in the same direction as the break.  This hopefully helps to alleviate any chance that a person would try to brush a table in the wrong direction after it has been trained.  I find that it takes quite some time to completely train the cloth in this manner but once you get the job done the cloth typically plays pretty well.  Certainly well enough for the average homeowner who only plays occasionally.  For obvious reasons you NEVER want to use a vacuum cleaner on this type of cloth.  There will be some pilling but avoid the desire to vacuum-brush, brush, brush.  Back years ago I used to recover the tables for The Green Room on LaVista Rd. in Atlanta.  Paul Turner always had me use Mali 821, a directional and pre-trained wool blend cloth.  It played great and everybody loved it but I haven't seen it around in years.  I do wish it was still available.

Many salesmen will tell customers that the standard cloth does not last as long in an effort to upsell to the worsted cloth. I have not found this to be true if the cloth is well maintained and covered when not in use- a good idea for any table with any type of cloth.  Southern Billiards stocks this type of cloth in 42 different colors with matching  chalk available for each.

Worsted cloth is also woven but is slick on the surface (the underneath still has some nap).  Serious players love it because it allows the balls to roll very fast and true right from the start.   Years ago in Atlanta the favorites were Simonis 860 and Granito Basalt, but recent history has shown the 860 to be the favorite by far.  860 Simonis is the cloth we install on the tables of all the finest pool halls in ATL.  Simonis also supplies other grades of cloth designed specifically for carom, snooker, etc.  The  cost is higher but every serious player I know wouldn't want to play on anything else.

Almost every supplier now offers "teflon" to make the cloth resistant to spills.  I have my doubts as we have tried several comparisons at our workshop and I can't tell any difference between the teflon treated and the standard.  I can tell you that it is NEVER a good thing to have a drink spilled on your cloth!  I also feel that if you did actually  spray teflon on the cloth it would negatively affect the play qualities.   Just my opinion.  In the billiard world I am always wary of the "better mouse trap".

One new product that I am very impressed with is "Quick-Clean".  Quick Clean is a dry foam cleaner that works great and your table is ready for play within minutes. Just spray the whole table top and wipe it off with a lint-free cloth.  It is effective on all types of billiard cloth and is available at Southern Billiards,  It's one of our best sellers and has a proven track record.  Whether it's for a home table or a pool hall, try it.  I think you'll love it!

Jesus loves you!

October 27, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

How much room will I need around my new pool table?

This is definitely one of the most misunderstood aspects of completing a new gameroom.  You can refer to the room size chart on the website but let me clarify and address some of the most common misconceptions.

The problem that arises the most often is customers wanting to know and use the outside dimensions of the pool table to determine spacing in the room.  It really does not matter what dimensions the table will occupy on the outside edges as the balls can only roll on the inside dimension and I recommend a minimum of 60" around the table beyond that.  Many people like more space than that.  Always keep in mind to allow for any chairs, bar, etc.  

FYI the outside dimensions are going to be approximately 11" to 12" more on width and length than the play surface.       Play surface dimensions for the most common tables are as follows and includes several common terms for each:

Home 8, Small 8, Standard 8:                             44"X88"                         

Pro 8, Oversize 8, Stretch 8, 8 1/2:                    46"X92" 

9 footer, Tournament size, "Regulation size":    50"X100"

The term "regulation size" is a often misused term referring to a 9' table as all of these are regulation sizes as well as several other less common sizes.  Basically, any table with an inside dimension of twice the length as the width is a regulation size.  This allows for the "diamond system" to be correct and effective.

Another useful fact is the length of the cue sticks.  A standard one-piece house cue is 57" long and a standard two-piece cue is 58". Other short cues are available in the typical sizes of 52",48",42",and 36".  Keep in mind that on a shot where the cue ball is frozen to the rail and you are shooting straight across or down the table, you will have to elevate the butt of the cue a small amount to prevent a miscue.

At Southern Billiards you typically receive 4 cues with your purchase of a new or used table and while you can swap one of the cues or more for a shorter cue, I believe it's a better deal for the customer to keep the long cues and just purchase the short cues necessary.

Please call the shop with any questions.  Often we are able to send out a mechanic or myself to help you measure and determine the best size table for your room.

And always remember, Jesus Loves U! 

October 23, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

How long will the cushions be good on my pool table?

How long do the cushions last?  Good question.

The replacement cushions installed by Southern Billiards are guaranteed for the life of the pool table and would include the parts and labor to replace.

I'm assuming, however, that you are referring to the original cushions that were installed at the factory on your pool table. 

Pool table cushions are referred to as "pure gum rubber" cushions.  Over time cushions begin to revert back to their original consistency of a syrup-like liquid,  Many times I have gone on a job where the cushions had actually "melted" onto the play surface and the cloth on the rails was effectively glued to the bed cloth.  We have on occasion had to pry them off with a screwdriver!  Obviously, these cushions were far past due.  

For the homeowner, you can usually tell when the cushions are going bad by the action of the balls off of the rail.  The rebound.  If you notice a thud when the ball strikes the rail there is a good chance the cushions are going bad.  And much like an old set of tires, once one goes bad the others are sure to follow soon thereafter.   We always recommend replacing all of them at once.  Often you will hear this job referred to as a "re-rubber".  

As far as longevity of the factory cushions, there is a huge disparity among the different manufacturers!  Some of the manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty but most do not.  

I can tell you that in my many years of servicing pool tables defilnitely the worst quality of cushion from the factory would be the tables from a certain "warehouse" company that has sold countless tables here in the Atlanta area.  The brand names are many and include Leisure Bay, World of Leisure, American Heritage, Olio, Winner's Choice and more. Of the many recushions we provide at Southern, I would say these models account for over 50% of the jobs done.  We average over 10 sets completed per week!  It's almost a sure bet when you work on one of these tables that the rebound is going to be sub-par from the factory.

Of the high-quality cushions that last many years, I would have to say Olhausen, Brunswick, C.L. Bailey, ProLine, AMF, Steepleton, Playmaster, Connelly and a few more use very good cushions as a rule.  I don't say this because we are a dealer for these as we are not a dealer for most of them.  I just want to be truthful concerning this issue and will be happy to answer questions regarding certain makes or models.

Be aware that there are outside influences that definitely affect cushion life.  Humidity is an enemy of your pool table cushions and hard on the table as a whole.  In a humid area like Georgia I recommend a dehumidifier for your game room if the air conditioner is not being run when needed.  Direct sunlight is also hard on the cushions and will destroy the cloth faster than the top of the back seat on your old '55 Chevy.  

The biggest factor is the beginning quality of the table though.  Ask a knowledgeable billiard table mechanic before making any big decisions on cushions and never, ever let a mechanic recushion your table on site.  Any mechanic that would offer that would not work on my table at all.  There is no way to do a good job with proper nose height and good adhesion of the cushion to the rail without taking the rails to the shop and using jigs and nose height gauges to assure proper completion of the work.  We recommend at least 3 days to do the job correctly.

Good luck and good shooting.  Always remember, Jesus loves us!!! 

October 18, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

Why a 3-piece slate pool table?

One of the most commonly asked questions about pool tables-why is a 3-piece table preferred over a single slate table?

1) Almost all one-piece tables are undersized slate.  That means that the rail bolts that should come up through a hole in the slate and into a nut plate in the bottom of the rail in order to get a good tight fit and a good rebound do not but come through a hole outside of the slate.  One exception to this rule is the Diamond tables from Jeffersonville, Indiana. Featuring outstanding playability, their one-piece tables are oversize and therefore have superior rebound.  It doesn't hurt that they also feature German Artemis cushions.  

2) The cost involved in delivering or moving the table.  At Southern Billiards we charge at least double for moving any one piece slate table.  These jobs require extra manpower, equipment, and added liability.  Typically these tables cost more to move than they are worth.  Consequently, many of the one piece tables end up being left in their original homes.  In the Atlanta area the most common brand of these tables were manufactured by Atlantic Billiard Company in Buford, Ga.

3) In almost every case it is impossible to get a one-piece table as level as a 3-piece table.  Have you ever played on a coin-operated table (commonly referred to as a bar box) and wondered why nothing rolls straight?  These tables are a prime example of how difficult (to impossible) it is to get a one-piece table level.  On the other hand I liike telling our customers we get their 3-piece tables so level that water wouldn't run off of them-it would just stack up on the table!!

4) Seriously, we feel confident enough to guarantee our level within .005 inch on 3-piece tables but can only guarantee one-piece tables to within .035 inch with the Diamond table being the exception of course.

Some manufacturers offer both types of slate configurations but most are constant with one or the other.  some of the most common tables for 3-piece are:

 Brunswick, Olhausen, C.L. Bailey, A.E. Schmidt, ProLine, Craftmaster, Connelly, Fischer(furniture style), Kasson, Diamond, Presidential, Beach, Steepleton, Gandy, American Heirloom, American Heritage, Leisure Bay, Winner's Choice, Olio, World of Leisure, etc.  

This is not to say that all of these tables are of equal quality.  Far from it!!!  You can contact me to get my input on any table you are  considering.  I have worked on and played on  thousands of tables in my many years in this industry and will be happy to share my thoughts with you considering value and highlights of the tables.

Some common one-piece tables include:

 Atlantic Billiards(most), Valley, Harvard(most), AllTech, Dynamo, Cooper, and more.

Please contact me with any questions concerning pool tables, cues, cue repairs, etc.

As always, remember Jesus Loves Us!

October 16, 2014 by Scott Carpenter

Regulation Pool Table Sizes

What Size Pool Table Is Considered Regulation?

The term "regulation" is thrown around quite frequently in the pool table and billiards industry. However, it normally means something totally different than what is understood. A regulation pool table means that the play surface is twice as long as the width. The 2:1 ratio, no matter the size, meets the regulation requirements for a pool table. This will allow the bank and kick shots to have the same result no matter the size.

What Size Do The Pro's Play On?

Most professional tournaments, such as the widely known 8 ball ESPN tournaments, are held on 9 ft pool tables. These pool tables have a play surface of 50" x 100" and normally have different pocket sizes depending on the tournament requirements. Some professional events may be held on smaller pool tables, such as oversized 8' tables and 7' bar box tables, but the vast majority of professional events will be held on the aforementioned 9' pool tables.

May 08, 2014 by Bryan Carpenter