My quest to build a High End Pooltable

My gift to the Billiards Community

Drilling the holes for the slate, final shimming, sealing the seams



11/26/2000 It was a rather nice 4 day weekend. I got a lot done even though I don't have many images to show. I reshimmed the slate again after some settling occured. The problem with putting the slate on the first time is the frame, shims, legs, and carpet all have to settle into where they are going to sit for a long time. So you need to be patient at this point and let everything sink in. I would suggest letting everything sit for at least 2 weeks. I know this may sound insane, and you may be very excited to get everything put together. But in the long run you will thank yourself that you did. I drilled holes in the slate and counter sunk them. I used 2 drill bits to do this. A standard 9/32 drill bit and a countersinking drill bit. extend the 9/32 bit out until there is around 3/4 of an inch of thread left over on your screw and drill into the slate trying to stay as vertical as possible. Drill 5 holes in the end pieces of slate and 4 holes in the center pieces. You want to drill them as close to the seams and the ends as possible. except for the holes on the short rail, which you will drill in the center of the rail. Counter sink the holes at least 1/32 deeper than flush. You will fill these later after you are sure that the seams and the slate are level. Then screw in a 3 1/2 inch number 10 screw into each of these holes. DO NOT USE A POWER DRILL OR POWERED SCREW DRIVER TO DO THIS!!! As tempting as it may be a power drill will get away from you and drive the screw too deep or to fast and the screw will heat up causing it to expand. When that happens you will be driving a big screw into a little hole. And you will chip your slate. Some minor chipping will happen it is a fact of life even when you screw it in with you hand. But a little chip is much easier to fill than a big one... When you get the screws just snug stick shims in the center of the seams. This is pretty easy if you have strong fingers. Stick the cards in until you can't fit any more in, then add one. Push up on the slate from the under side and slide the cards in You now have perfect support in the seam area. Now Tighten down all of the screws.

After you get the screws in, check the seams and the level of each section of slate. You may have to do some minor adjusting again. Stick a card in here, pull one out there. If it takes you around 4 to 6 hours to shim your table, you are not slow. All told I have spent probably eight hours leveling the table. And I plan on doing it again one more time before I put the cloth on it. Besides the rails it is the most important part of the table. After you get it all level again you want to get your fixall and mix up a batch of it. I still am not sure about the fixall because when it dries it leaves a white powder. I may end up going with "Bondo" instead to fill the scratches (a thanks goes out to Jack D for this suggestion). But anyway as a test I put fixall in all of the scratches on the slate and the seams. I used a 6 inch scraper to "strike" it smooth. The I lightly sanded ("lightly" being the key word here) using 320 grit sand paper when it dried and wiped it off with a damp cloth. Now is a great time to test you slate by rolling a ball across it from several different angles. Remember a ball rolls to the lowest point. Start from corner to corner. You do not need to roll it fast. Just a small push will make the ball roll from one end to the other. If you roll it too fast you will not get to see the imperfections in the slate or the seams. Then roll the other corners then side pocket to side pocket. then from one inch on one side of a seam to one inch on the other side of the seam. Do this on both sides of the seam. If your seams are off even a little bit the ball will not make it over the seam.

Next week I will be posting how to build the rails. I have already started but I think I have given you enough to read at this point... Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and looks like we may be playing pool by Christmas Morning!!!

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