A quality pool table should come with diamond honed slate (to insure flatness) that is at least 7/8″ thick. The slate on every Brunswick, Connelly Canyon Collection, Presidential, and Drawknife pool table we offer is 1″ thick. Connelly Plateau and Connelly Pinnacle Collection tables come with 1 1/4″ slate for added stability. In addition, the slate should be “oversized,” meaning that it fully extends underneath the top rails to provide support for any weight applied to the top rails (such as player leaning to make a shot). Higher end tables will incorporate a backed slate (wood backing) that allows installers to stretch the cloth tighter providing a better playing surface and prevent having to use glue to hold the cloth down.
Cabinet (Base Frame)
The base frame provides the foundation for your playing surface (the slate). The base frame a true quality pool table is made of not just solid hardwood, but North American hardwood. Lesser expensive tables claim to have “solid hardwood construction”, but fail to mention that the hardwood being used is an inferior grade, Pacific soft wood. Pool table constructed of soft woods are much more susceptible to scratches, dings, and dents. In addition, these tables will not retain their structural integrity as well as a pool table constructed of North American hardwoods.
Quality billiard tables utilize metal to metal construction at the joints to insure proper alignment and prevent over tightening.
The legs provide the support for the entire table. Legs are very important considering a billiard table typically weighs between 650-1000 pounds. Legs can come in a number of different style, but should provide ample support for distributing the weight of the table, base frame, and slate evenly.
The top rails are the most abused part of the pool table. They are constantly exposed to balls or cues being dropped on them, belt buckles being scraped across them and numberous other events that would damage wood with an ordinary varnish finish. Some manufacturers and models incorporate a catalyzed varnish finish that is baked into the wood, so while your top rails will get character marks (small dings) the finish will not chip or flake. Again, it is important to go with a pool table whose rails are made of a high-quality hard wood.