12/27/2000- Today we finish the rails. This is where you decide how the design
of your rail will look. I decided to use a Roman Ogee edge. It looks classy and gives the
rail a rounded edge. Note: Do not use anything that is going to have a sharp edge on the
top of the rail. If you do either you or someone else playing on the table is going to smack
their knuckles on it and blood does not make a good wood stain. I removed
the rails from the table and removed the allthreads from the railcaps and clamped the rails upside
down on the table (make sure the table is clean under the rail. I would hate for you to put a
dink in that nice finish). Then you need to cut a groove in the underside of the
mahogany right where the subrail ends. It is the same width as the left over mahogany that
will be used for the blinds. The reason for the groove is so the blinds, when bolted to the
underside of the slate, will be supported at the top by the rail. Use one of the straight blind
boards as a guide for the bearing on the straight cutting bit and route a 3/16ths of an inch
groove flush with the back of the subrail. Then mark on the rail where your goove is to stop
move the blind so the outside of the straight bit is at that point and route out the rest of the
groove. I think it would have been faster to use a dado cutter here but I don't have one
so I used the straight cutting bit instead. Take your clamps off and flip the board back over
Now we want to do pocket facings. They are the rubber pad that gets glued to the end of the rail and cushion at the pocket entrance. Again I used Contact cement to glue them on and trimmed them to the end of the rail and cushion. Deno Andrews gave a great suggestion when doing the pocket facings. "Figure using one razor blade per facing." Was he ever right!!! The facing is made of a grainy rubber that dulls a razor blade in a hurry.
I then sanded all the sharp edges off the Ogee edge and did some preliminary sanding on the rails using the 320 grit sand paper. Then I finish sanded it with the 600 grit sand paper. I then stained the rails using the Polyshades that I used on the frame of the table. Same as before... Stain, dry, steel wool, stain again and then dry.
After letting it dry I did the rail sites. There are really only two types of sites to get, expensive and cheap. To tell you seriously the only difference between the two is how you feel about them when you get done with your table. If you get the expensive ones (made from legal ivory) you will be the only one that knows that they are made of that material. The cheap plastic ones look the same. I got the 7/16ths rail sights that look like pearl available at Ozone Park Billiards. I used a piloting drill bit to make sure that the holes are clean and acurate. You devide the playing surface equally by 4 for the width and 8 for the length to find out the spacing on the sights. For my 9 ft that works out to 12 1/2 inches. Using the side pocket and the center of the end rails, as the starting point for my measurements, I worked out equally in each direction and drilled the 7/16ths holes. You want to drill them deeper than the sight but not much deeper. You want the glue to be able to fill the void under the sight and still hold it into place. If your holes are clean the sight should be too tight to go into the rail. Put some tightbond in the hole and use a flat block of wood to tap the sight into the rail so that it is flush. Wipe off the excess tightbond with a damp cloth and shine it up with a dry cloth. This will ensure that there is not glue residue on the rail.
Tomorrow we finish the blinds and get ready to cloth the table.