My quest to build a High End Pooltable

My gift to the Billiards Community

Drilling the rail mount holes, continuing the rail work

12/23/2000- Well Santa brought me time to work on the table as a gift. First we need to drill the rail mount holes in the slate. This is when I decided I would use 4 mount screws for the rails so they would be very solid. I borrowed this design from a well known table manufacturer so I will not take credit for it. I found the dimension of my slate and found out where the rails were going to sit on the slate. It worked out that 3/16ths of an inch of the subrail would overhang the slate. I then measured my rail caps to find out where the center of the mount hole would be on my rail when they were installed. I took that measurement and subtracted 3/16ths of an inch and that gave me how far from the edge of the slate I needed to drill the center of my 11/16ths hole. I must say when drilling holes in slate, Take your time and do not try to push the bit through the slate. The heat will expand the bit and chip your slate or even crack it. Don't worry it will go through JUST TAKE YOUR TIME. I used the same bit that I drilled the ends of the rails for the pocket ear holes with. I marked off as best the seam would allow 4 evenly spaced holes (24 in all). And carefully drilled the holes from the top. Around the 16th hole my drill bit lost its edge and I had to resharpen it. Every other hole I would continue to sharpen the bit to make sure I did not crack the slate when drilling.

Now we will continue to finish up the rails and install the rail caps. We have to drill the holes for the rail caps and for the pocket ear mount bolts. I laid my rails on the table where they were going to be located with the pockets in place. I then went up under the slate and used a magic marker stuck up through the mount holes in the slate to mark where the center of the holes were as they would line up with the rails. Flipping the rails over I had perfectly marked centers of where I was going to have my allthread from my rail mount caps to go into the rail. I also measured my pockets to find the center of my pocket ear mounting bolts. You want to measure from the top as some pocket irons are angled on the mounting side of the iron (that is so they have a tight fit when installed). Either way we want to measure from the top. You then want to subtract 1/8th of an inch from that measurement to accomodate the 5 degree angle at the end of your rail. Mark this from the center of the pocket ear hole on the underside of the rail. Now for the Rail caps I used a 7/16ths drill bit to drill the rail cap hole. This will allow the allthread in the rail cap to be inserted into the rail so we know where to route the rail to flush mount the caps. Drill approximately 1/2 inch into the rail. We can now drill the 7/16ths hole for the pocket ear where we marked our holes. It sounds like I am going back and forth here but the reason is you don't have to keep changing drill bits if you do these two steps at the same time. Now take a 2 x 4 and drill a 1" hole through it on one end. On the other end draw the outside of one of your rail caps. Using your router and the straight cutting bit route out the dimension of your rail cap. Now place one of the rail caps on the bottom of your router and adjust the bit so that the bottom of the bit is flush with the bottom of the rail cap. This will cut into your rail to flush mount the cap. Screw one of the all threads into the rail caps and line the template up on your rail. Slide the rail cap assembly through the template until you stick the all thread into the rail where you drilled your hole for the rail cap. Clamp your 2 x 4 template and rail down and pull the rail cap out of the hole. Take your router and run it inside of the template. This will cut out a perfect recess for the rail cap. Do this for all 24 of the rail caps. Now take your 1 inch boring bit already in your drill and drill into the rail where the rail cap hole are. This will leave room for the pressed metal threads that are in the rail caps. Put the rail cap on the rail and mark and predrill the 3 mount holes for the rail caps using the #10 countersinking drill bit. Place the rail caps on the rails one last time and secure them with the screws provided. Now flip the template around and in the 1" hole that we drilled previously, recess the hole for the pocket ear mounting bolt around 7/16ths of an inch. This will allow you to mount a standard bolt into the pocket ear and it will not be in the way when we install the rails. Some manufacturers use countersunk screws. I like having an oversized mounting hole and using star washers that way I have some room to play with when I install the rails. All of this may seem like a lot but all in all it takes around 3 hours to do if you set it up like an assembly line.

Now we are ready to do some final work on the rails when we get a chance to work on it again after Christmas...

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