How to Recover a Slate Pool Table

by Contributor
Pool table

Pool table

This guide could help you with creative ways to recover your home pool table in no time and make it look stellar in the process. Your house and game room will look upgraded immediately. I helped my father in his amusement business and this pool table recovery system was unique. He effectively streamlined the recovery. You will need a friend or family member to help you recover when it comes to raising and lowering the pool table slate. These instructions will only cover a ONE piece slate. Gathering materials and help ahead of time will keep you from running out later to do so. (written by request).

Locate chrome trim and proceed to remove this. Remove the six rails by using a nut driver (possibly 7/16-inches) and they should just fall off.

As for what will be holding your slate while you work during the rest of this process are two simple pieces of wood (of your own invention). Use 2 x 4's screwed together. One is flat the other is raised sideways. Measure and cut them so they will span the length of the pool table and a little bit beyond. Then attach (by gluing) scrap pieces of carpeting along the wood so they don't scratch the slate when you slide it underneath. Afterward, slide them underneath the slate while your assistant(s) hold up one end at a time of the slate.

You are now ready to work on the pool table itself. If you prefer, you can simply lift the ends of the slate one by one and tear off the felt before you raise the entire slate with the boards. Tear off the old, glued on felt until you expose the entire bare slate. Clean off any chalk dust and residue so you have a clean surface to work with. Do not use any liquid cleaning solutions or spray.

Locate your felt and unfold it. Unroll section or cut it larger than your slate area. Then trim it off with your box cutter. Make sure the trim hangs over the edges of the slate a little ways.

Take newspaper and cover the sides of the pool table because you will be spraying glue adhesive. Cover the slate generously with newspaper (or a protective material) as well.

Take the felt and fold over so the bottom of the felt is exposed. Trim part of felt you will eventually attach to slate and spray heavily with adhesive. Start with the end and spray the bottom of the slate and let set so it gets tacky. Then, repeat on the other end of the pool table while the end you spray first is drying.

Return to the end you sprayed first and make sure it is tacky and ready to adhere. Then, adhere and pull tight underneath, fastening to the slate. Repeat this process on the opposite end. Now you have fastened end to end.

Repeat this process on the sides. Go to first side, spray in an up and down manner, attach the felt and repeat. Pull tight until you have flat felt, you do not want any wrinkles. At this point, your pockets are not cut yet.

With each of the pockets, take your box cutter, go underneath the slate and make diagonal cuts where you slate meets the corner of the felt. So you are cutting underneath the slate on a diagonal. Repeat on the other corners paying attention to where the slate bends into the pocket.

By the time you are done cutting pockets you will have several 1/2-inch wide strips of felt hanging. You can then spray them. Tension should be across the pocket itself. Look at the width of the strips and pull it tight. The pocket is cut tight and adheres at this point and you attach any excess felt underneath on the slate while pulling it tight and spreading it out underneath. The pocket should not have any wrinkles and will appear tight at this point. Repeat this process for all pockets.

Make sure you cover all cloth when spraying over it. Repeat process for all six pockets.

RAILS or bumpers: You will want to purchase them separately, but they may not even need to be recovered at the same time the slate does. The slate wears down quicker. If you do need rails, check the want ads, craigslist or auction sites for inexpensive, already recovered replacements. If you attempt this recovery yourself, it could take more than two hours just to recover a single rail.

Gently and slowly lower the slate to its original position afterwards, removing the support one side at a time with the aid of your helper(s). Refasten the rails and trim. Enjoy your newly recovered pool table.

Items you will need

  • Spray pool table cloth adhesive
  • Screwdriver
  • Nut driver
  • 2, 2 x 4 Wood Boards to hold up the slate
  • Unbacked felt
  • Exacto knife
  • Recovered rails (optional, purchased separately)
  • At least one helper

Tip

  • Take your time and seek help, especially the first few times you attempt this project.

Warnings

  • Do all you can to protect the slate from scratching and glue residue while you are working. Cover the work area with newspaper or other protective materials.
  • Do not use the felt backed with the white lining. You will get a nicer, cleaner result with the unbacked felt.
  • Use caution during this process, as it can become dangerous - one piece slate is very heavy.