Monday, May 9, 2005

Apple #67: Pool Tables


I shot pool tonight, for the first time in maybe two years. I did all right, especially for not having played in so long. The tables in the place where we were playing had red felt on them. The chalk for the cues was also red. It got me wondering, what difference does it make if the felt is red or green? Because I think I like green better.
  • According to one site, "the color of the cloth is cosmetic." Unless, if you're color blind, you might really need the table to be covered in one color rather than another.
  • The cloth is not actually made of felt, but in higher grade tables, it is a wool/nylon blend, about 80% wool and 20% nylon.
  • Some tables are covered with 100% English wool, but those are usually snooker tables, which is more popular in England and elsewhere in Europe.
  • The higher grade of cloth, the higher thread density, and the faster the ball will travel. Cloth can make a difference of up to 8% in speed.
  • If you want someone to come recover your pool table for you, that will cost anywhere from $200 to $400.
  • Some other notable tidbits: the slate slabs that make up the bed of the table need to be sealed to create a smooth playing surface. The material that works best to close the gaps is beeswax because it is pliable when melted, but hardens very well and will not stain the cloth or become brittle.
  • If you need to move a pool table, take it apart completely first. This will prevent the slate from getting broken or anything from getting bent or warped.
  • If you do crack the slate, there are slate patching kits available. But you don't want to crack the slate, if you can help it. The idea is to have a playing surface that is level and smooth. Since nothing else works as well as slate, you want to keep it unbroken.
  • Minnesota Fats, by the way, apparently never really existed. There was one guy in real life who had lots of nicknames like "Chicago Fats" and "New York Fats," but he couldn't shoot pool all that well; he just liked to brag. After the movie The Hustler was released, he changed his name to Minnesota Fats and claimed to be the person on whom the role was based. Jackie Gleason, who played Minnesota Fats in the movie, didn't like him. He said he could beat the so-called Minnesota Fats if he played left-handed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pool Tables, from The Factory Outlet
Frequently Asked Questions, from Best Billiard Supply
Egyptian Area Agency on Aging, Famous People, Local Stories pages on Minnesota Fats and The Hustler

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