Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pocket Billiards (Pool) Tables

A cue ball and the 1 ball close to a pocket
A cue ball and the 1 ball close to a pocket

Pocket billiards tables, sometimes called pool tables, are specific to the various pool games such as eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool and one-pocket. As the name implies, pocket billiards tables have pockets; normally six of them – one at each corner of the table (corner pockets) and one at the midpoint of each of the longer sides (side pockets).

Pockets, usually rimmed with leather or plastic, may have leather bags to catch the balls, common in home billiard rooms and pool halls, or (most commonly in the coin-operated tables found regularly in bars/pubs) may lead to ball-return troughs inside the table, which channel the balls into a collection chamber on one side of the table (or, in non-coin-op models, on the racking end of the table).

"Pocket" can be used as a verb, meaning to send a ball into a pocket (as in, "He pocketed the 8 ball by accident.")

Carom Billiards Tables

Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail, balkline, artistic billiards and cushion caroms. Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10 feet by 5 feet (though 9 ft by 4.5 ft are increasingly common).

The slate bed of carom billiard tables are often heated to about 5 degrees C (9 deg F) above room temperature, which helps to keep moisture out of the cloth to aid the balls rolling and rebounding in a consistent manner, and generally makes a table play faster. A heated table is required under international carom rules and is an especially important requirement for the games of three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.[1]

Heating table beds is an old practice. Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901) had a billard table that was heated using zinc tubes, although the aim at that time was chiefly to keep the then-used ivory balls from warping. The first use of electric heating was for an 18.2 balkline tournament held in December 1927 between Welker Cochran and Jacob Schaefer, Jr. The New York Times announced it with fanfare: "For the first time in the history of world's championship balkline billiards a heated table will be used..."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cloth of Pool Tables

Billiard cloth (sometimes erroneously called felt) is a specific type of cloth that covers the top of the tables "playing area". Both the rails and slate beds are covered with 21-24 ounce billiard cloth (although some less expensive 19oz cloths are available) which is most often green in color (representing the grass of the original lawn games that billiards evolved from), and consists of either a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize.
Most bar tables, which get lots of play, use the slower, thicker blended cloth because it can better withstand heavy usage. This type of cloth is called a woolen cloth. By contrast, high quality pool cloth is usually made of a napless weave such as worsted wool, which gives a much faster roll to the balls. This "speed" of the cloth affects the amounts of swerve and deflection of the balls, among other aspects of game finesse. Snooker cloth traditionally has a directional nap, upon which the balls behave differently when rolling against vs. toward the direction of the nap.

Cushions of Pool Tables

Cushions (also sometimes called “rails”, “rail cushions”, “cushion rubber”, or “bumpers”) are located on the sides of the tables’ rails. There are several different materials and design philosophies associated with cushion rubber. The cushions are made from an elastic material such as vulcanized (gum or synthetic) rubber. The chiefly American jargon "rail" more properly applies to the wooded outer segments of the table to which the cushions are affixed.
The purpose of the cushion rubber is to cause the billiard balls to rebound off the rubber while minimizing the loss of kinetic energy.
The profile of the rail cushion, which is the cushion's angle in relation to the bed of the table, varies between table types. The standard on American pool tables is the K-66 profile, which as defined by the BCA has a base of 1-3/16 inches and a nose height of 1 inch [1]. This[clarify] causes the balls' rebound to be somewhat predictable during game play.
On a carom table, the K-55 profile is used (with a somewhat sharper angle than pool cushions). K-55 cushions have cloth, usually canvas, vulcanized into the top of the rubber to adjust rebound accuracy and speed [2].
Finally, snooker tables use the K-66 profile, like pool tables, but the cushion is an "L" shape. This is mostly[clarify] because snooker uses balls of a smaller diameter and smaller pocket entrances than does pool.

Dimensions of Pool Tables

Many people are confused by the use of the word "regulation", using it when what they mean to refer to is the size of tables used for professional tournaments. Regulation tables come in 3.5 ft by 7 ft, 4 ft by 8 ft, 4.5 ft by 9 ft, 5 ft by 10 ft, and 6 ft by 12 ft (depending upon factors such as available room in the venue, and what game type the table is intended for) with play areas twice as long as they are wide (plus or minus 1/8 in) from the nose of the cushion to the nose of the opposite cushion, i.e., perfect or close to perfect rectangles. The 4.5 ft by 9 ft model is the standard size for tournament play and is "regulation" when the side to side internal width is 50 in and the length is 100 in (plus or minus 1/8 in), when measured cushion nose to cushion nose. In previous generations 10 ft tables were standard for pool, and can still be found as antiques in some pool halls; this size remains the standard for carom games. For home use, 8 ft tables are somewhat common, but infrequently used elsewhere. Snooker tables, the largest at 12 feet when full-sized, have smaller pocket aperatures than pool tables, as do models for Russian pyramid. The 7 ft models, usually coin-operated, are typically found in bars/pubs due to limited space, and are also used for the Korean game of four ball.[citation needed] Coin-operated pool tables use multiple ways to determine the cue ball from the object balls, including light sensors[citation needed], different ball sizes/weights, or magnetic triggers.
While most tables are rectangles, there are novelty tables which are round, hexagonal and even zig-zag shaped. These variants, however, are all far less popular than the ubiquitous, traditional rectangular tables.

History of Pool Tables

In the United States, manufacture of billiards tables has been ongoing since at least the mid nineteenth century. The forerunner of the Brunswick Company began commercial manufacture in 1845.[2] In San Francisco, California, several manufacturers were active by the late 1800s

My First Post On Pool Tables

A billiards table or billiard table (or more specifically a pool table or snooker table) is a bounded table on which billiards-type games are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables, regardless of whether for carom billiards, pocket billiards (pool) or snooker, provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth and surrounded by resilient cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor.