12/29/2000-12/31/2000- I have got several suggestions on what to use on the seams and the
slate screws. I think I have finally come up with a solution and I will break out why I chose what I
First I wanted to use fixall because it was easy to use and it did not shrink when applied and dried. the problem with fixall, which I found out later, was that when it dries and you run your finger over it, it releases a white powder. Not something that I wanted coming up through my cloth.
So the second suggestion was bees wax. Not a bad solution but with the table sitting in a garage and not air conditioned in California the temp could go over 105 degrees. Which would make the bees wax soft and may soak into the cloth. Again not something I wanted
Third suggestion was using bondo for the seams. Really good suggestion the only problem with bondo is it works too well. It is very strong when it dries and when I have to tear the table down to relevel and recloth it I am going to have one hell of a time getting the bondo out of the screw holes and releasing the seams without cracking and chipping the slate.
So this is when my brilliant idea came out. Why not combine two of the suggestions. I went over all of the seams and the screw holes with a wet cloth to take off some of the fixall that I had already applied. Then I put bondo over the fixall. Hence I solved my problem with the white power and with just a thin sheet of bondo on on top of the fixall on the seams and the screw holes I will be able to remove it easily with a utility knife. So problem solved. How do we do it you ask??? Well after you make sure the table is still level fill the seams and the bolt holes with fixall. After it dries wipe it all down with a damp cloth. Wait until the slate is dry again and wipe it down again with a dry cloth (this will take up any excess white powder I was talking about). Then go over the seams and the screw holes with bondo. Let it dry and sand (LIGHTLY!!!) with 320 grit sand paper and a wood block. When you are done wipe it all down with a wet cloth again to pick up any fixall you may have missed. TA DA a perfect fix.
Go around the top of the slate and the top and bottom of the pockets with a flat file and take off any sharp corners. This way when you go to install the cloth you will not tear it when you pull it over the slate or the underside of the pocket.
Now we are ready to do the cloth. Make sure the slate is clean of any dust, bondo, fixall, sawdust, etc before continuing. How do you cloth a table you ask???
I got Granito Basalt Cloth from Gorina (available soon at Ozone Park Billiards) it is beautiful. I have always played on tables that had Simonis 860 on them (another great cloth) but when I got my Basalt I was amazed to find that it was better quality. What you want to do is get yourself a good electric staple gun. Start at one end of the table without the rails on (we will get to that). Staple the middle at the end of the table with 4 or 5 staples around 1/2 inch apart. Then pull the cloth to the corners (horizontally from the end of the slate) and put 3 or 4 staples in each corner. Then run staples across the end of the slate where there are none. Then go to the other end of the table. Start at the middle and pull the cloth over the slate. The best way is to roll the cloth up to give yourself something to grab hold of and pull pretty hard. You will notice that the cloth stretches a lot. Put 4 or 5 staples in the middle just like you did on the other end. Then pull the corners at a 45 degree angle from the center of the table. The first corner you will do you want to pull more down the length of the table than out from the center. Put 3 or 4 staples in the corner. Then pulling equally from both directions (length and width) put 3 of 4 staples in the other corner. Then run staples all along the end of the slate. Now this is where it gets tricky. Go to the side pockets and pull from the opposite side of each pocket. What I mean is if you are going to put staples in the left side you pull the cloth to the right. So what you are doing is pulling the cloth to the center of the table. Then do the other side pocket the same way. Then grab the cloth and pull it over the edge and work your way down the table... Then do the other side. For the pockets cut the cloth down the middle of each pocket like you were starting the cut just below the bottom of the slate of the pocket. You pull the cloth as hard as you you are allowed (before you hear a rip.. Ha ha) and roll it under the slate and put a staple in the middle. Pull the cloth around the pocket opening so that it is tight against the pocket and staple from the underside. Cutting the cloth as needed to relieve stretch in the pocket opening. If you cut it more than 6 times you are doing something wrong. Put several staples into the underside of the cloth and pocket. Then do the next one and so on...
Then come the rails. The cloth should be in 5 1/2 to 6 inch strips. lay the rail so the cushion is pointing away from you and the rail is face up. Lay the cloth on the rail with 1/2 inch of the cloth over hanging the feather strip grove good side down (you are going to roll the cloth over the rail, and when you do the good side will be up). So you should have 5 to 5 1/2 inches on your side of the feather strip. Place the feather strip into the grove on top of the cloth. If you are using a rubber feather strip like I did you will start at one end and work your way down. Otherwise with a bass wood feather strip you start in the middle and work your way out to the ends. Line up both ends and tap lightly with a rubber mallet to get the feather strip started. If you do not have a rubber mallet. Get a block of wood, place it on the feather strip and strike it with a hammer. Then working down each way of the feather strip drive it into the rail, a little at a time until the feather strip is the same height as the top of the cushion. Cut off the excess cloth on the cushion side of the feather strip. Flip the rail over and roll the cloth over the cushion. Start in the center and pull the cloth with a firm grip and staple the middle. To do the ends of the rail in the corner pockets, so you have no folds, may take a couple of tries but I will do my best to describe it. Pull the cloth towards the end of the rail and tack it with one staple in the end of the rail. Then starting just outside where the corner of the cushion is pull on the cloth. Staple then move a quarter of an inch and pull the cloth vertically to the end of the rail and staple. Move a quarter of an inch and pull again vertically from the edge of the cushion and staple. You will get some rolls in the cloth under the rail and some ripples on the underside of the cushion (there is no way around that). Once you get it all stapled work you way down the rail pulling vertically from the edge of the cushion. For the side pocket openings you do what is known as a hospital corner. Pull the cloth towards the top of the rail, in your case down. Put a finger on the end of the rail on the cloth. And fold the cloth over itself and pull it over the bottom of the rail then staple it. Cut off the excess and you are set. Do this for each rail. Cut the holes for the rail bolts in the slate through the cloth.
Assemble the rails to the pockets using bolts through the rail in the pocket ear mount bolt holes we drilled earlier. Using the allthread for the railcaps bolt the rails to the slate using the dome washers that come with the rail caps. When bolting them into place measure from cushion nose to cusion nose to make sure that you are maintaining the 100 x 50 playing area on the table. If you are off you can adjust the pocket ear mounting bolts to either lengthen or shorten the width or length. Once you get everything measured. Do a cross measurement on the table and the ends of each side rail to make sure you have not created a parallelagram. Now that the rails are square and equaldistant from each other tighten down the rail cap allthread nuts.
Staple the pocket leathers to the slate leaving enough slack in them so the balls can fall vertically in the pocket. Then comes the spots. Use strings to mark the center and second and sixth diamonds on the table. Where that string crosses that is where the spots go.
Measure that groove on the back of the rail for the blind to the bottom of the slate liner and place a 1 x 1 glue block at the same measurement on the blinds and secure it with tightbond glue and 1 1/4 inch #10 screws. I placed strips of felt on the tops of the blinds so they would not rattle inside the grove when the balls hit the rails. I then mounted the blinds into the grooves and secured them to the bottom of slate using 1 1/2 inch #10 screws.
Now comes the fun part....